Tuesday, February 14, 2006

AMEF

Since Scott is unable to post today, I’ll be taking over his afternoon posting duty. Enjoy…

FEMA is currently in shambles and appears to have been run, in the last few years, in the most ass-backwards way imaginable (now do you understand the title of this post?)

First comes news that some of the Federal Aid that was aimed at helping victims of the hurricanes were used improperly.

Add that to the fact former FEMA head Michael Brown made an appearance on Capitol Hill earlier this month where he attacked FEMA, his former boss Michael “Not Brownie” Chertoff (Head of Department of Homeland Security or DHS) and the White House… all the while stating that talking to Chertoff during the hurricanes was “a waste of time.”

All of these culminated with a 600-page report by a special Republican-dominated House inquiry panel that found unheeded warnings, poor planning and general apathy in recognizing the scope of Katrina's destruction, led to the slow emergency response from the White House down to local parishes. The report goes on to say that late arriving state and local evacuation orders exacerbated what was already a grossly untrained and inexperienced group of emergency responders.

Additionally, the report also stated President Bush received poor and incomplete counsel about the crisis (with no clear chain of command being in place) and that, overall, the federal government's response to Katrina was marked by, according to a summary of the report acquired by The Associated Press “fecklessness, flailing and organizational paralysis.”

Furthermore, the House investigation criticized Chertoff directly by stating his overall responsibilities for the federal disaster relief during Katrina were fulfilled “either late, ineffectively or not at all.”

It concluded that Chertoff unnecessarily delayed naming a top federal coordinator for relief efforts and the activation of an internal disaster management group. More prompt action by Chertoff would have quickened the relief effort, the report said.

Chertoff has now announced sweeping changes to the nation's embattled disaster-response agency that range from a full-time response force of 1,500 new employees to establishing a more reliable system to report on disasters as they unfold. Most of the changes are scheduled to be complete by the start of the 2006 hurricane season on June 1st.

Additional changes that were announced on Monday include the use of satellites to track trucks carrying emergency supplies such as ice, placing FEMA employees at shelters so victims can apply for aid in person rather than by phone or the Internet (because after a natural disaster it’s so easy to get access to either of those) and the order to create a database of pre-approved contractors so cleanup can start quickly (wild guess on my part that Halliburton or one of its subsidiaries will be on that list, but that’s just a guess)

I refrain from judgment until I see how the changes at FEMA are enacted…but I believe that it’s a good first step, but this is by no means the final piece of the puzzle. The disastrous follow-up to Katrina was not the sole fault of the Bush Administration or the Federal Government. The local and state governments must share some of the blame as well, and changes need to be made in those areas as well.

Stay tuned…

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

4 years after a terrorist attack and the Federal Government is incapable of moving to limit damages to property and life in a real time manner. I guess the question that this begs is do you feel safer with what we see being released for public consumption. How bad was it really? I think maybe worse than we will ever know.

robert perry said...

AMEN! the arrogance of the entire
Bush team has been totally exposed. the trick of blaming someoone else is par for the course, then sending out all these messages is the same trick they used to get elected and reelected. i can hardly hold my breath for the next salvo {just like iraq.
\

Trish said...

NOTICE!!!

This country is up for grabs. The Marine that followed Brown scared the dickens out of me. Apparently Brown was supposed to take the FEMA hat off, and put on another one. Thank heaven he refused to do that. MY GOD, they had it all worked out. (My opinion only.)

Brown would be the scapegoat, his hands were tied, he couldn't go to the site, he'd be found to be the impotent one, the poor and blacks would riot, the military would come in and shoot at the rioters, and Bush would end up being seen as a "law and order" Prez.

Hearing the Marine talk about the plans that were written down about what Brown was supposed to do, and didn't, sounded to me to be way too close to a military take over of our country. I really felt like maybe - just maybe - our country is already lost. Then, I remembered that we're smarter than that. We know, and we can think, and we will watch, and we will vote.

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