Blame Hearings Begin
The House of Representatives began hearings yesterday to determine just who blew the Katrina relief effort. First up was Michael Brown. In all, his testimony was an effort to blame everyone else. I'm inclined to follow this timeline which agrees with some of what Brown said, but passes blame in appropriate proportions, and mainly to Blanco and Nagin who should have been at the tip of the spear in protecting their people.
Unfortunately, they punted to the Feds.
Interestingly, the Dems refused to be present for the very kind of hearings they demanded. It was a "nonpartisan" commission they wanted based upon the pretext that this was the worst disaster that the U.S. has ever faced--worse even than 9/11. True enough, but the gravity of the disaster was not preventable. This was a hurricane that came ashore and was going to do the damage it wanted to. There was nothing we could do to stop it. The issue is why pre-disaster safety and evacuation plans and post disaster rescue and relief efforts were not in place sooner to avoid a humanitarian problem in New Orleans that now seems to have been improperly reported. And not to minimize the horror of the situation in New Orleans, but the disaster caused by nature dwarfs acts done by people. So the need for another wasteful commission seems unclear.
But claiming that it was going to be a political exercise by Republicans was cover, likely for fear that fact had called their bluff. The bulk blame seems to rest on state and local governments that had years of notice yet not a second of care to prepare the people of New Orleans, other than to pass out DVDs through churches on the eve of Katrina to tell residents that their local government's disaster plan was to leave them on their own when they needed it most.
If anything, the incompetence at the federal level was largely restricted to their reliance on the local leaders to do their jobs.
We'll see what happens with Gov. Kathleen Blanco today, but I wonder if Louisiana residents are questioning the wisdom of the decision to elect her over Bobby Jindal, who has proven a more than competent Member of Congress for the 1st Congressional Distrcit of Louisiana.