Friday, September 09, 2005

More Snafu being uncovered in Katrina Response

According to a New York Times article there were several issues in dealing with who does what, how and what order in a crisis situation. This is yet another example of the incompetence we have seen from the administration (and yes, down to the local level). At the end of the day though—the issues arose out of the national disaster response plans—a federal level plan from this administration, who have continually harped on the fact that they should be the people on guard to protect the country. A key issue noted in the article is that Hurricane Katrina had exposed a critical flaw in the national disaster response plans created after 9/11. That is, that the first responders – local police, fire and medical personnel – might be taken out of commission. How can that possibly be missed? In any competent and well thought out contingency plan, you must take those kinds of things into account. Certainly this could occur in a terrorist attack if WMD’s are deployed. Once again, the key point here is competent and well thought out plan.

There are other problems that are noted in the article that frankly surprise (scare) the hell out of me since we have seen crisis events similar (if not nearly as bad) as this one. In particular the coordination of National Guard, Active Duty troops and who commands them. It even notes that enacting the Insurrection Act was considered. Net effect, this really looks like it was a cluster of keystone cops trying to figure stuff out on the fly rather than leading properly and executing well laid plans.

I do find it annoying though that many “lefties” keep harping on the President being on vacation during this event. Well he might have been and probably should have high-tailed it back to DC. But that would have been more for show than anything else. Being in DC probably would not have made that much difference. In this day and age, telecommunications capabilities allow the President (or anybody in a leadership position) to command from anywhere. Heck, Air Force One is setup to be a flying command center if necessary (e.g. in a nuke attack). And that’s been for years. Question is, what was the President doing to make sure his people were doing the right things. And for that matter, if the governors were overwhelmed why weren’t the right people advising them (including the President). Leadership, leadership, leadership. There’s a big difference between managing a situation and leading through it. In this case, we got failures of both.

And “righties” don’t get off easy either. They continually and blindly focus on the local authorities and once again give the administration a pass. Ann Coulter was on Hannity & Colmes yesterday and true to form focused on locals and democrat bashing. At one point, Coulter says something to the effect of “and this from the party that planned the Iranian hostage rescue”. What does that have to do with the price of tea in china? If she has to go back over 20 years to find a military blunder under a Democrat president, she has more issues than I thought she had. Of course it is fling arrows at the democrats.

One big question that hasn’t really been addressed here is: Where was Cheney in all this and where were the rest of the staff?