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An all republican prepared report on the Katrina Response:


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Someone better tell republicans to stop blaming the federal government for natural disaters eh?

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/na...eadlines-nation

 

Scathing Katrina Report

# Homeland Security's botched management of the emergency is singled out in House findings.

 

By Johanna Neuman, Times Staff Writer

 

WASHINGTON ? A House select committee examining the federal response to Hurricane Katrina is preparing to issue a report Wednesday that blames the federal government for "an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare"? but the legislators who participated in the study are divided about how to address the lapse.

 

Assailing Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as being detached from events ? when New Orleans residents were clinging to rooftops, he traveled to Atlanta for a conference on bird flu ? a draft of the report says he switched on federal response systems "late, ineffectively or not at all."

 

Specifically, the draft report, which runs about 600 pages, faults Chertoff for his failure to designate a principal federal official to coordinate relief efforts on Aug. 27, two days before Katrina made landfall, and to convene an interagency group to manage the crisis. It also describes his coordination with the Pentagon as "not effective."

 

If Chertoff had designated Katrina "an incident of national significance," the report said, federal agencies would not have had to wait for individual requests from overwhelmed state and local officials in order to provide help.

 

The committee that prepared the report was composed of 11 Republicans, led by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia. Democrats refused to be involved officially in the deliberations, saying that the extent of the disaster mandated an independent commission similar to the one that investigated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

 

However, two Democrats from Louisiana did participate informally in the committee's activities and called Sunday for Chertoff's removal from office. They said although they agreed with many of the draft report's 90 findings, they took issue with the committee's failure to assess accountability.

 

"Our judgment, based on a careful review of the record, is that the Department of Homeland Security needs new and more experienced leadership," Reps. Charlie Melancon and William J. Jefferson said in a 57-page response to the committee's draft report.

 

They said they agreed with the committee's puzzlement over "the range of clumsiness and ineptitude that characterized government behavior right before and after this storm" and reiterated their party's call for an independent panel "that will put politics aside and follow the facts wherever they lead."

 

Chertoff testifies Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. His press secretary, Russ Knocke, said Sunday that Homeland Security officials vested "all authority" in Michael D. Brown, the FEMA director, to make decisions and called Brown's actions during the crisis "willful insubordination." Brown testified before a Senate committee last week that he bypassed Homeland Security officials because calling them would have "wasted my time."

 

In their response, Melancon and Jefferson pointed out that the White House refused to release communications from Brown, who told the House committee and a Senate committee investigating the disaster response that he warned the White House in 30 conversations that he could not establish command and control, that the levees had failed and that he needed help.

 

"When the White House refused to provide any of these communications, the committee rejected our requests to subpoena them, effectively shielding the White House from scrutiny," the two Democrats said.

 

The committee refused to provide a copy of its report to the Democrats, allowing them only to take notes as they read it in the committee staff offices, they said.

 

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the panel that will hear from Chertoff on Tuesday, said Sunday that his panel's inquiry so far "confirms exactly the indictment of the House Republicans."

 

"It's shocking, and it is unsettling," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "I'll tell you, the president ought to be outraged?. Our whole apparatus failed to protect the people of New Orleans.

 

"And next time, God forbid, it could be a terrorist attack, and there's not going to be a warning from the weather service."

 

In the House committee's draft report, excerpts of which were provided to The Times by a committee staffer, the White House was criticized as being disengaged and ill-informed, failing to "substantiate, analyze and act" on information coming into the situation room.

 

For example, although the Coast Guard flew nine helicopters and two airplanes over the city Aug. 29 and eventually rescued half of the 74,000 residents stranded in New Orleans, word did not reach Washington until midnight that the levees had broken. "Earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response" to Katrina victims, said the report, which was first reported Sunday in the Washington Post.

 

"If 9/11 was a failure of imagination, then Katrina was a failure of initiative," said the report. "In this instance, blinding lack of situational awareness and disjointed decision-making needlessly compounded and prolonged Katrina's horror."

 

The report also casts blame on state and local officials, saying that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin failed to complete a mandatory evacuation, leading to hundreds of deaths. The report also examined what it termed "hyped media coverage of violence and lawlessness," suggesting a perfect storm of failures.

 

In an interview Sunday, Melancon said: "The frustration I have is the non-responsiveness of the federal government not just before, but since. Levees have to be rebuilt. People are still living in hotels."

 

Noting that more than 10,000 trailers are in Hope, Ark., awaiting distribution to Katrina victims, Melancon said the ongoing response had been "as bad if not worse" than during the crisis.

 

"I just don't think they took this seriously," he said, agreeing with Brown's argument before the Senate committee last week that the Department of Homeland Security revolves around terrorism concerns.

 

"Had this been a terrorist group blowing up the levee in New Orleans, it would have been a totally different response."

 

White House spokesman Allen Abney said the White House was completing its own study. "The president is less interested in yesterday and more interested in today and tomorrow and making sure we can be prepared for the next time," he said Sunday.

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LA times is a more left wing source and I am sure it is written in that direction. But, is there any reason that independant non partisan inquiry can not be done into this? Besides the obvious political concerns, it should be done otherwise. It is foolish and terrible to think what happend, and could of been avoided.

 

Instead it sounds like someone is to be made "one big scapegoat" instead of fixing the problems all around.

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LA times is a more left wing source and I am sure it is written in that direction. But, is there any reason that independant non partisan inquiry can not be done into this? Besides the obvious political concerns, it should be done otherwise. It is foolish and terrible to think what happend, and could of been avoided.

 

Instead it sounds like someone is to be made "one big scapegoat" instead of fixing the problems all around.

 

 

 

 

How is the LAtimes a left wing source and how does that defeat the concept that this was a republican prepared report making these conclusions? Is this the same foxnews is fair and balanced because it is pro-right analysis?

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