Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Stepping into the Minefield

President Bush has just announced that he will personally oversee an investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Call me a bit slow on the uptake, but I'm still scratching my head over this one. Admittedly, the federal government might have been a bit faster in its initial response. I say "a bit" because it takes time to position and stage resources in responding to a disaster, as noted by the commander of Joint Task Force Katrinia, Lt Gen Russell Honore. We can also debate the qualifications of his homeland security chief (Michael Chertoff) and FEMA Director, Michael Brown.

What's disturbing is Bush's apparent willingness to focus on the federal response, while giving an apparent pass to Louisiana officials, whose incompetence and inaction set the stage for the catastrophe. Maybe I'm missing somethinig here, but any inquiry into the failures surrounding this disaster must include the local response, before, during and after the storm. And, since the federal government provides funding for a number of local programs and organizations--including the National Guard--the Bush Administration has the authority (IMO) to look into the local response as well.

Perhaps Mr. Bush believes that New Orleans and the state of Louisiana will conduct their own inquiries. Riiight....political corruption has been elevated to an art in the Bayou State, and the chances for an independent, honest inquest into the failures associated with the hurricane are approximately zero.

The proposed inquiry will be a repeat of the 9-11 Commission, with lots of administration bashing, but little effort to investigate the long-term, systemic failures that led to the debacle in the first place. And guess who's leading the charge for that sort of inquiry.

By trying to get in front of the investigation "groundswell," Mr. Bush has taken an ill-advised step into a political minefield. The left-wing moonbat brigade and their cohorts in the MSM must be positively salivating over this boneheaded move.

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