Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bush asked for it. We paid for it. It failed.

Today, Homeland Security Chief appeared before the Senate panel investigating Katrina and made the following statement:

“It is completely correct to say that our logistics capability in Katrina was woefully inadequate. I was astonished to see we didn’t have the capability most 21st century corporations have to track the flow of goods and services,”

Yeah, I'll buy that. And we know that many, many mistakes were made, that lack of communication, failure to pay attention to warnings, and lack of planning at both the local and national levels contributed to it.

But here is the problem I have.

Go back to September 11. President Bush within days announced the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to FEMA, many other Federal agencies were folded into it, in the name of efficiency. The President asked for and Congress pumped billions after billions of dollars into the new agency, all for the purpose of making us safer.

Remember all the training that was supposed to go on, coordinating responses among Federal, State and Local responders? Remember how we were supposed to be ready to respond to a terrorist attack anywhere in America? We certainly spent the money for that.

So, Katrina came. And were we ready? No. Were there communications problems similar to 9/11? Yes. Was there a lack of planning on display? Yes. Was there bureaucratic ineptitude on display? "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie." Did help get where it was needed? No. Were the responders around? No. Were warnings ignored? Absolutely.

And the frightening thing is, that there is no reason to think that this couldn't be a terrorist attack. If terrorists had detonated a nuclear weapon in New Orleans, would the result have been all that much different?

This was the first real test of the system that the President put in place to protect us following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And it failed that test.

5 comments:

Indy Voter said...

One of the more interesting pieces I saw about the Cheney shooting tried to portray the shooting as a microcosm of the entire Bush administration. The one part of that that's particularly relevant to your post is the writer's assertion that the Bush Administration's modus operandi is "Ready! Shoot! Aim!"

Ready - the creation of DHS in the fall of 2001.

Shoot - the Keystone Kops extravaganza that was the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Aim - it's not at all clear that they've advanced to this stage yet.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish President Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford,Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II would have heightened and strengthened the levees in Louisiana. But, it's the Republicans Fault.

I am sure that 1f the Democrats hadn't lost control of congress in 1994 that the Levees in Louisiana would have been made stonger in time for Katrina. The Previous forty years was just not long enough. It's the Republican's fault. The Democrat's magic crystal that provides hyper-hindsight vision just wasn't given time to work properly.

DHS is a huge expense. I just know that when the Democrats win back the presidency that they will eliminate the DHS and we can all sleep better knowing that we can count on the strong liberals to keep our troops here at home to protect us after we get attacked again. I am positive that a strong liberal like Ted Kennedy, or Harry Reid can save us from terrorists better than some old religious freak cowboy. After all, wasn't it the stong liberals of the Democratic party led by couragous President Carter that sent in our troops and rescued our hostages from Iran in 1981 and saved us all from having to deal with radical hatred from the Islamic world. It certainly wasn't the Republicans.

Eli Blake said...

anonymous:

You completely missed the point of the post. I said nothing about the strength of the levees. Neither did Chertoff, who had nothing to do with strengthening the levees.

But the Department of Homeland Security is a creation that the President asked for and got after 9/11. It was supposed to fix the problems of that day-- including the problems with response.

So it got, if you will, a 'dry run' during Katrina-- a disaster just as big as any terrorist attack.

And if failed.

shrimplate said...

Failure is a tool, a personal psychological device, that Bush uses to assuage his problematic psyche.

He has never really, on his own merits, been successful at anything. All of his business ventures were rescue missions in which he failed, but was subsequently bailed out by wealthy and powerful friends.

In this way, by being rescued, Bush is able to see himself as worthy. He is simply unable to provide this for himself any other way.

This is not a very good life script to play, but it's something that alcoholics (even dry ones) like Bush sometimes fall into.

It is even worse a script for running a country. We cannot afford the failure and presumed redemption that Bush will inflict upon us.

EAPrez said...

He did more than ask for it --- those who questioned it were said to be pro terrorists and against defending the country!