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It's Not a 'Blame Game'

Published on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 by the New York Times
It's Not a 'Blame Game'

With the size and difficulty of the task of rescuing and rebuilding New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas still unfolding, it seemed early to talk about investigating how this predicted cataclysm had been allowed to occur and why the government's response was so slow and inept. Until yesterday, that is, when President Bush blithely announced at a photo-op cabinet meeting that he, personally, was going to "find out what went right and what went wrong." We can't imagine a worse idea.
No administration could credibly investigate such an immense failure on its own watch. And we have learned through bitter experience - the Abu Ghraib nightmare is just one example - that when this administration begins an internal investigation, it means a whitewash in which no one important is held accountable and no real change occurs.

Mr. Bush signaled yesterday that we are in for more of the same when he sneered and said, "One of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game." This is not a game. It is critical to know what "things went wrong," as Mr. Bush put it. But we also need to know which officials failed - not to humiliate them, but to replace them with competent people.

It's obvious, for instance, that Michael Brown has met the expectations of those who warned that he would be a terrible director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is no time to be engaging in a wholesale change of leadership, but in Mr. Brown's case there seems to be precious little leadership to lose. He should be replaced with someone who can do the huge job that remains to be done.

But the questions go way beyond Mr. Brown - starting with why federal officials ignored predictions of a disastrous flood in New Orleans - and the answers can come only from an independent commission. We agree with the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Senator Hillary Clinton and others who say that such a panel should follow the successful formula of the 9/11 commission: bipartisan leadership and members chosen by the White House and both parties in Congress on the basis of real expertise. It should have subpoena power and a staff expert enough to find answers and offer remedies.

Mrs. Clinton has also proposed pulling FEMA out of the Homeland Security Department and restoring its cabinet-level status. That is premature. The current setup makes sense, at least in theory. The nation should not have to support two different bureaucracies for dealing with sudden disasters.

Before throwing the system into chaos again, an investigation should determine whether the problem lies in the structure or in execution. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal showed how the Bush administration had systematically stripped power and money from FEMA, which had been painfully rebuilt under President Bill Clinton but had long been a target of Republican "small government" ideologues. The Journal said state officials had been warning Washington - as recently as July 27 - that the homeland secretary, Michael Chertoff, was planning further disastrous cuts.

This page supported the creation of Mr. Chertoff's department. But it was poorly run by the first secretary, Tom Ridge, with his maddening color-wheel alerts.

It is clearly in need of a hard look and perhaps serious reorganization. Senators Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, have plans for hearings, which is fine. But they created the department in the first place and may have more of a stake in the outcome than a panel of impartial experts.

The panel should also look at the shortcomings of local officials and governments. It was chilling, to put it mildly, to read Mayor Ray Nagin's comment in The Journal that New Orleans's hurricane plan was "get people to higher ground and have the feds and the state airlift supplies to them."

But disasters like this are not a city or a state issue. They concern the entire nation and demand a national response - certainly a better one than the White House comments that "tremendous progress" had been made in Louisiana. We're used to that dismissive formula when questions are raised about Iraq. Americans deserve better about a disaster of this magnitude in their own country.



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Fema Director Brown faked his resume.....

Probably not a big deal since 99% of republicans are fakes anyway.

Does anybody in the Bush regime have any sense of personal reponsibility or integrity? Who failed to verify Brown's references? Or, more than likely, past job experiences and qualifications strictly irrelevent - Buddy of Dubya, you're in!


We agree with the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Senator Hillary Clinton and others who say that such a panel should follow the successful formula of the 9/11 commission: bipartisan leadership and members chosen by the White House and both parties in Congress on the basis of real expertise.

Successful formula?

Three thousand people died on 9/11 and nobody got fired.

Bush insisted that Uncle Dick hold his hand while he "testified" before the 9/11 Commission - not in public, not under oath, off the record, behind closed doors.

Four years after 9/11:
Despite Dubya's pledge to make America and the world safer, terrorism around the globe has actually increased significantly since 9/11.

On top of that, here at home:
Cargo still goes on planes unscreened.

Over 90% of shipping containers that pass through our ports are not inspected.

Our borders remain wide open.

And we have painfully fresh evidence of the monumental failure that is Bush's Department of Homeland Security, which was supposed to maximize preparation for and response to natural disasters, as well as protect us from further terrorist attack.

The 9/11 Commission is nothing more than a bi-partisan whitewash, and there is not an ounce of evidence to suggest that a "Katrina Commission" would be any different.

The Dems are talking a good accountability game, but the real goal is to avoid it.

Wanna prove me wrong? Roll some heads this time, starting with a complete house cleaning at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.

John Perry

Government Insider Says Bush Authorized 911 Attacks

Keep in mind when reading this, that the man being interviewed is no two-bit internet conspiracy buff.

Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole (R) and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.

To hear Alex's interview with Stanley Hilton -

The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie
by Dr. David Ray Griffin
9/11 Visibility Project

The only way to deal with this matter is a duely impowered Federal grand jury. Any investigation by Bush, or Congress will be a sham. The 9/11 commission was a complete sham.

Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer, in an online article, has this to say about the legacy of neglect:

The calamity was enormous, the toll in lives and ruin like nothing the country knew. Yet the ultimate disaster was in the staggering negligence of the government and its oblivious leader. Despite years of warnings and then the stark sight of suffering, help was disgracefully slow, too late for so many. "People must realize now," one witness wrote in her diary, "how rotten the structure has become." Long afterward, historians would think it a breaking point in trust, the moment when the future began.

No, not the great New Orleans flood of 2005. The great Russian drought and famine of 1891. Not George W. Bush. But a similarly fey Nicholas II. Not a breaking point in America perhaps, though there are intriguing parallels.

... It hardly began with George W. Bush and the Republicans. The oligarchy that left New Orleans to its fate for so many years of borrowed time was thoroughly bipartisan. The disaster could never have happened without the Democrats, from Congress after Congress to the spectacle of Bill Clinton last week adding his clubbish alibi for the inexcusable failure of a government to read its own files.

... I've worked with presidents Johnson and Nixon - tough nuts but capable of changing their minds. Those in power in Washington now speak directly to God; I have no hope that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are going to undergo some spontaneous conversion to a different way of thinking post-Katrina. What we can hope is that both Republicans and Democrats - in the Congress and those contemplating running in 2008 - sense the pressure for a major reversal of priorities, for troops to be brought home and resources reapportioned to true homeland security. And this pressure may just force the administration's fiercely grudging hand at least to begin the process. A slim hope.

From where I sit, it seems a very slim hope indeed.

The New York Times, September 9, 2005
Political Issues Snarled Plans for Military Help After Hurricane

..."Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential..."

I posted this yesterday, but a repeat it seems to fit here.

Disrupted communications (offshore jamming?), withholding and outright blockages of aid, and other observations are also fueling concerns beyond mere incompetence. There is growing speculation that much of the U.S. federal response was seen by administration officials more as a "practice run" for port city takeover and propery protection tactics than as a rescue operation. In that context, undermining local preparedness and state control is seen as a pretext for inserting the military into domestic affairs and the FEMA concentration camp approach (mentioned in another thread) would seem to fit that overall picture quite nicely.

P.S.: Just a friendly hint. Your long links will appear much neater if you use <a href="URL">Reference</a>

Aren't the people who don't want to play the blame game, usually the ones to blame? Of course no one wants to play the blame game when they are to blame. But love to play it when it involves someone else.

They have to go and we have to make it happen. Get rid of Bushy!


If we don't learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat it." This is an quote I have heard all my life. Only now, since our President directed the American people to do otherwise, have we questioned this prudent lesson. Is it to early to blame? I don't think so; with the amount of spin coming out of the White House and the tendency of the American people to have a short memory of facts, you would be less then smart not to at least keep up with where the Blame is being directed. This administration is not being fair. By asking everyone to delay the blame, the President knows he has two slanted news agencies ready to plant a right wing slant for the him and the Republicans. As we speak, Fox and CNN are avoiding interviewing the Mayor and is in full delivery of the Bush spin that the local and state government is in blame for this terrible lost of human life.

If you remember the way the word Liberal was used to label the Demarcates in a negative light, the President's use of the term "Blame Game" is just another attempt to make negative any dissent concerning how he performed after the storm. Teenager do this when they make something unpopular; they simply give it a bad name no one wants to be affiliated with. To be a "Blame Gamer" is to be a Liberal in the anti-war vain. The tactics enlist the already established support on the right. We can chalk this tactic up to the American spy Karl Rove.


$748M project near breached levee was not for flood control

"...the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects."

Money Flowed to Questionable Projects

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