Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sadness Does Not Equal Justification

Two excellent articles from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News which I found on Drudge. And then there is Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) threat to punch the President if he levels criticism at the way the local authority handled the problem. And then she proceeds to blame him for all of the problems of her state, claiming that his presence in New Orleans was a "photo op." Of course, had he avoided the "photo op", his absence would have been used to support Kanye West's charge that he doesn't like black people. Can't win them all...

The New York Daily News article makes what I think is an excellent point about how absolutely unseemly it is to play the blame game while New Orleans remains a disaster area. And while it is by all means an emotionally trying time for all involved in Louisiana, those on the state and city levels should not be able to cloak themselves in their despair, using it as both a shield from valid criticism and a weapon to affix blame to the President for political purposes. Just as Cindy Sheehan used the loss of her son as emotional cover to attack the President, we cannot clothe the state local officials' culpability within their anguish to work an exoneration. We don't solve problems or prevent future ones by allowing people who behaved unwisely to escape a frank evaluation of their actions. Loss and pain do not relieve one of responsibility.

And whatever criticism one has of FEMA (and yes, flying people to Charleston, West Virginia rather than Charleston, South Carolina is more than a detail), asking for the head of the FEMA boss (which may happen) does not mean that local heads in Louisiana will not also roll for failures that were all the work of the state and local leaders.

Because the buck stops with the leaders...and not just with the President.


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