Friday, September 16, 2005

Government's response to Katrina

Check out this Newsweek article about the government's response to Katrina. There is much more to be written on the topic, but it's an interesting if very preliminary first draft of history. Credit to The Daily Howler for providing the link.

I was a bit slow to appreciate the magnitude of hurricane Katrina--due to the tendency of television news to hype every minor hurricane I ignored the early TV coverage--but no slower than the White House. On September 1, when I was composing a blog entry titled, "A Failure of Leadership," Dan Bartlett was making a DVD of TV coverage of the event for Bush to watch. The next day there was a meeting on Air Force One:

As the president's plane sat on the tarmac at New Orleans airport, a confrontation occurred that was described by one participant as "as blunt as you can get without the Secret Service getting involved." Governor Blanco was there, along with various congressmen and senators and Mayor Nagin (who took advantage of the opportunity to take a shower aboard the plane). One by one, the lawmakers listed their grievances as Bush listened. Rep. Bobby Jindal, whose district encompasses New Orleans, told of a sheriff who had called FEMA for assistance. According to Jindal, the sheriff was told to e-mail his request, "and the guy was sitting in a district underwater and with no electricity," Jindal said, incredulously. "How does that make any sense?" Jindal later told NEWSWEEK that "almost everybody" around the conference table had a similar story about how the federal response "just wasn't working." With each tale, "the president just shook his head, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing," says Jindal, a conservative Republican and Bush appointee who lost a close race to Blanco. Repeatedly, the president turned to his aides and said, "Fix it."

"The president just shook his head, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing." That's been my response to just about everything the Bush Administration has done over the past five years.


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