Sunday, February 12, 2006

Katrina Report

The Washington Post is leaking details of a report by House investigators (a Republican committee, comprised of 11 Republicans and chaired by Rep. Tom Davis). The report is about Katrina, and says what we all knew: the fish stinks from the head.

"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."...

The report portrays Chertoff, who took the helm of the department six months before the storm, as detached from events. It contends he switched on the government's emergency response systems "late, ineffectively or not at all," delaying the flow of federal troops and materiel by as much as three days.

The White House did not fully engage the president or "substantiate, analyze and act on the information at its disposal," failing to confirm the collapse of New Orleans's levee system on Aug. 29, the day of Katrina's landfall, which led to catastrophic flooding of the city of 500,000 people.

At the same time, weaknesses identified by Sept. 11 investigators -- poor communications among first responders, a shortage of qualified emergency personnel and lack of training and funding -- doomed a response confronted by overwhelming demands for help.

That last paragraph just infuriates me. Five years after September 11, the SAME FLAWS IN THE SYSTEM that were identified THEN haven't been fixed. What the hell will it take to fix them? Proof that they impact Halliburton's profit margins? The incompetence of this crew is absolutely astounding. They decide on their course of action without ANY regard to reality. The know what they WANT to be true, and then they behave as though it IS, facts be damned. They use "stay the course" to mean "Keep doing the same stuff over and over even after it's been proven wrong."

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