Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Federal Emergency Mismanagment Agency

The incredible failure of F.E.M.A. dominates coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the disaster in New Orleans. Former Congressman Newt Gingrich, not known for his liberal views, cast the situation in frightening perspective:

I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, firefighters who volunteered to help F.E.M.A. were subjected to two days of orientation meetings — including a session on sexual harassment — before being sent to stand in the background of a Bush photo op.

Everyone connected to the administration has misplaced priorities. Barbara Bush, George Bush, Junior’s mother, actually explained how poor children in New Orleans benefited from the flood:

What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this is working very well for them.

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s employer, Halliburton, has won a contract to repair naval facilities damaged by Katrina.

For the sad details of this ongoing calamity, visit these sites:

Crooks and Liars has video from Fox News, C-SPAN2, and ABC, an interview on N.P.R. with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The accounts of Geraldo Rivera and Shepard Smith on Fox captured the anger and dispair of Katrina's victims as they wait for food, water, and a way out.

Since taking office, George Bush, Junior has consistently placed politics above principle. The result has been debt, war, and nearly surreal incompetence. As the recovery effort continues, the best we can hope for is that F.E.M.A. doesn't make matters worse.