Sunday, February 12, 2006
Isn't that a Led Zeppelin song?
"I don't think anyone could have forecast the breaking of the levees."
---George W. Bush (paraphrasing) after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans
Now we know that was a lie, or just plain ignorance. The National Weather Service certainly knew it. Didn't someone inform Bushie of this?
We may never know the whole story here, considering the ongoing spectacle of dueling bureacrats deflecting blame (Brownie and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff). But according to a scathing report from a House select committee chaired by Republicans, Hurricane Katrina exposed the U.S. government's failure to learn the lessons of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as leaders from President Bush down disregarded ample warnings of the threat to New Orleans and did not execute emergency plans or share information that would have saved lives, the Washington Post reports.
Not sure how Karl Rove will play the partisan card on this issue.
A draft of the report, to be released publicly Wednesday, includes 90 findings of failures at all levels of government, according to a senior investigation staffer who requested anonymity because the document is not final. Titled "A Failure of Initiative," it is one of three separate reviews by the House, Senate and White House that will in coming weeks dissect the response to the nation's costliest natural disaster.
The 600-plus-page report lays primary fault with the passive reaction and misjudgments of top Bush aides, singling out Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Operations Center and the White House Homeland Security Council, according to a 60-page summary of the document obtained by The Washington Post. Regarding Bush, the report found that "earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response" because he alone could have cut through all bureaucratic resistance.
Do you think Chertoff will pay by losing his job? Not bloody likely. Incompetence is apparently not vice in this administration.
Democrats would be wise to run on the issue of managerial competence, though I have little faith that any among their leadership would do much better in that regard. Not that they could do worse.