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View Diary: Dear Mr. President - My Letter to the POTUS (146 comments)

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  •  What went wrong? (none)
    It looks like the actions taken yesterday may be the right ones. But many of them should have been taken sooner.  The likelihood is that lives were lost because Federal response was too slow in gearing up.  We know from media reports that responders on the scene were frustrated and trying to get those up the chain to get moving on the massive level needed.

    Why was the Federal response in the first couple of days after Katrina blew through so much less than the need? I don't think we really know yet.  It's going to take some hard looks into it after the fact to discover what went wrong, and how to make sure we don't stumble like this again.  It is of a grander scale than anything before, but that's no excuse for not doing all that could have been done sooner.

    A number of years ago FEMA had badly stumbled in responding to several disasters.  But it seemed to be corrected, and response to the last several disasters has generally seemed excellent.  Why was response so much poorer this time than in other disasters in the last few years, under the same President?  Response planning is designed to be able to be implemented quickly by the involved agencies.  It should not require personal involvement of the POTUS to get it fully into gear.

    I imagine Bush assumed that the government was set up to mobilize quickly after a disaster to do what was needed.  As things unfolded, he was criticized for not being highly visible early on.  But if he had been, he probably would have been criticized for interfering by taking the key managers out of responding to appear with him in a press opportunity.

    Disaster response is not an area where people of different parties and different ideologies usually have much disagreement.  Did all of his disastrous policies on many other things contribute much to the failure here?  I personally doubt it, but we won't know until a careful look is taken after the fact to see what happened.

    All the infantile comments we've seen on this thread will do absolutely nothing to improve anything.  We need to do what we can to see that both government and non-governmental response from this moment on is the best possible.  But let's gather the evidence and have the trial rather than go on a lynching party to hang someone.

    Bill Samuel, Silver Spring, MD USA
    My Web Journal

    •  Enough Bush apologetics (none)
      I imagine Bush assumed that the government was set up to mobilize quickly after a disaster to do what was needed.
      He's the president. He's supposed to KNOW how the government is set up, not make guesses.

      Leadership is partly real and partly appearence. On September 11, 2001, the leader of this country appeared to be Rudolph Giuliani. But because he's a Republican buddy of Bush, he never pointed that out, and instead contributed to making Dubyuh seem all leaderly when he was calling for revenge a couple of days later.

      Today we appear to have no leader.

    •  wsamuel (none)
      I appreciate the overall tone of your comment (except for maybe referring to comments in the thread as "infantile" but you have your opinion and have expressed it, I think, respectfully) and the thought that you put into it.  I want to be clear on a few things, however.

      First, my letter came more out of a deep conviction I have that there is a price to be paid for everything.  Decisions made have implications and the implications of those decisions, if realized, need to be analyzed.  The letter really rose out of that.

      I mentioned specifically that I think that there is a certain component of the disaster that no human could have controlled or ameliorated... But there IS a certain component that could have been addressed through planning, funding and forward thinking.  The specter of a disaster scenario in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf region of the US is NOT unexpected.  The Army Corps of Engineers themselves has been urging for years that the issue of the levees needs to be addressed.  The issue of funding is also addressed by Army CoE and it is no secret that that funding was not provided under this Administration.

      But let's back up to a more human level - it is a small thing to ask (and we shouldn't have to ask, frankly) that the President of the United States stand and express solidarity with those who are suffering as well as express sympathy for the lives lost.  He was FAR too late in his public response and frankly, I found the response itself lacking in essential huamnity.  His performance and the performance of the Federal Government in this has been disgusting.  This was a known scenario and they should have been better prepared to deal with it.

      No excuses.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 07:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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