Sunday, December 31, 2006

An 8-29 commission?

Nola.com is reporting that, with the Democrats set to control Congress, there is talk about establishing a Commission to investigate the government's response to Katrina. The panel would be modeled on the 9-11 Commission, leading this yet-to-be-formed body to be called the "8-29 Commission," referring to the date when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

FEMA is already getting defensive:
Aaron Walker, the national FEMA spokesman, said the agency has acted on "numerous reports from outside interests, Congress, and the White House on how to improve the agency and determine where the missteps were in our response to Katrina.
"At this point, it is doubtful that futher reports or commissions will reveal new, actionable insight," he said.
Well-spoken words from a man utterly disconnected from reality. You're doing a heck of a job, Aaron.

Apparently Republicans also feel that the current response has been adequate:
Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist, questioned how impartial a new commission could be.
"If you listen to the Democrats, the Republicans actually caused the storm, that they created the hurricane, and did all the damage," Luntz said.
No, the Republicans didn't cause the storm (unless you want to start talking about the possible contribution of global warming...) But the Republicans--excuse me, not all, just some very key Republicans, including the President, and his appointees--have shown an utter failure of leadership, an absence of clear thinking about recovery, a placement of bureaucracy over people, and a basic turning of the back and walking away from the Gulf Coast.

For those who don't know, more than a year later New Orleans and Mississippi are still just starting the recovery process. Every day that passes without a clear plan--and the subsequent steps to implementation, which includes funding--makes the recovery that much more difficult, if and when it ever gets underway. It also drags out the recovery since time and effort must be spent making up for lost time and in some cases undoing the damage that the inital delays have caused. Leadership and funding are in short supply, Mr. Luntz, and that is a problem for which the Republicans must take responsiblity. I don't know if Democrats would have done better, but I suspect they would have.

As far as FEMA's Mr. Walker, I suppose you don't need a commission if you know all of your mistakes and you are actively correcting them. In other words, we desparately need a commission because there are lessons that still haven't been learned. I know FEMA and President Bush could use a good schooling.

Happy New Year, everyone. May your 2007 be brighter and more fruitful than 2006.


3 comments:

Sandy Rosenthal of Levees.Org said...

If you agree there should be an 8-29 commission, sign petition here: http://www.levees.org/campaigns/

The commission would investigate both the Katrina response and the failure of federalized levees in south Louisiana.

Dr Scott said...

Thanks for the link!

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