Friday, September 02, 2005

Here's a powerful summary of Bush administration inaction. After listing various budget cuts and the bureaucratic downsizing of FEMA, Kevin Drum, writes, "So: A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.

"Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush administration in a nutshell."

(Meanwhile, here's a conservative rebuttal to the liberals' alarms and critiques, making fun of critics of the Bush administration. Worth a look to know what the emerging conservative defense is shaping up to be. And here's the White House response to critics, as reported in the New York Times .)

Even so, Drum also points out the assorted federal leaders' comments that indicate the failure to realize what's happening on the ground:

"CLUELESS....Could the people in charge of managing the catastrophe in New Orleans possibly be more clueless?
George W. Bush, President of the United States, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, following widespread eyewitness reports of refugees living like animals at the Convention Center: "I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the Convention Center who don't have food and water."
Mike Brown, Director of FEMA, referring to people who were stuck in New Orleans largely because they were too poor to afford the means to leave: "...those who are stranded, who chose not to evacuate, who chose not to leave the city..."
Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, providing needed reassurance to the newly homeless: "It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that's seven feet under sea level....It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed."

This is beyond belief. What's with these people?"

Meanwhile, New Orleans has descended into a cauldron of violence, death, rapes and desperation.

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