Monday, September 05, 2005

BlameGate Begins

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, we now find that the White House is implementing its damage control plan of attack in order to shift blame from the federal government's weak, delayed response. They would have us all believe that the reason for the delayed response is due to Louisiana Governor Blanco's failure to request federal assistance in the face of a looming disaster.

In fact, we know that Governor Blanco DID request federal assistance under the terms of the Stafford Act on August 27, 2005, fully two days before the storm hit New Orleans.

We also know that the White House received this request and responded to it by AGREEING to provide federal assistance later that same day.

Clearly, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security failed to act in a timely manner, both before Katrina hit and after it became clear that the flooding of New Orleans had begun. I knew about the rising water from watching CNN and MSNBC on Monday night. For some reason, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff still was not aware of the flooding while he bageled over his Tuesday morning newspaper. That does not speak well of our government's ability to lead and assist in this country's time of need.

Wherever and whenever the blame game ends on this debacle, the end result MUST be a drastically improved federal response to disasters in this country, both before AND after the fact. What we've witnessed over the past week doesn't inspire confidence.


At 4:14 AM, Blogger Kirill Nils Senior said...

Not sure if you've seen the BBC report in which a military man has said that they were ready to go, basically following the storm on the Bataan, the day after the storm hit but wouldn't act until they had the go ahead from the White House or Congress.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger DrewL said...

Yes, I did. And in this morning's Dallas Morning News, there's an article about how a FEMA search/rescue team from California was told to cool its heels in Dallas for several days instead of coming right to New Orleans. They could do nothing but bide their time at the Hyatt Regency until they got the okay to move.

The brilliance of this operation continues to amaze me.


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