Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Brown Blames 'Dysfunctional' Louisiana"

LARA JAKES JORDAN of the Associated Press wrote this piece on Michael Brown's recent testimony before a congressional committee:

Brown asserted that "'My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional,' two days before the storm hit."

The article continues (and I'm going to skip some things in the article, mostly becuase I think they are there because the author specifically seeks to discredit Brown. So, wherever you see [...] you can feel free to go read the article itself):

Brown, who for many became a symbol of government failures in the natural disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, rejected accusations that he was too inexperienced for the job.

"I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," Brown said....

Brown in his opening statement said he had made several "specific mistakes" in dealing with the storm, and listed two.

One, he said, was not having more media briefings.

As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."
"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said.

Referring to Brown's description of his "mistakes," [Representative] Jefferson [D-LA] said: "I think that's a very weak explanation of what happened, and very incomplete explanation of what happened. I don't think that's going to cut it, really."

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., cautioned against too narrowly assigning blame.

"At the end of the day, I suspect that we'll find that government at all levels failed the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and the Gulf Coast," said Davis.

Davis pushed Brown on what he and the agency he led should have done to evacuate New Orleans, restore order in the city and improve communication among law enforcement agencies.
[I'm going to throw some emphasis here]
Brown said: "Those are not FEMA roles. FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications."
Brown said the lack of a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans before the storm was "the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong." Brown said he had personally pushed Louisiana Gov. Blanco to order such an evacuation.

He did not have the authority to order the city evacuated on his own, Brown said.

I once again assert that Bush was courageous to take the blame for mistakes in this disaster. On one level, he basically shut people up and kept them from speculating about who was at fault. When push comes to shove--as it is starting to do--I think this commission is going to find huge failures at the state and local level. The state and local governments failed their people, and they are going to blame the federal government and then ask for FORTY BILLION DOLLARS to fix their mistake.

At this point, I'm going to quote Ms. Jordan from the AP article:
"Both Blanco and Nagin are Democrats."
(That is Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lousiana and Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans)

As for Mr. Brown, he lost is job in a witch hunt. FEMA did mess up here, but he is not the only one to blame.

That is all.


Redoubt said...

Somone should write a satire about people expecting leaders to control the uncontrollable.

Soren said...

Jon Stewart's response was "Didn't know Louisiana was dysfunctional? Have you ever been there? It's a wonder the state's name is spelled correctly on the license plates."

I squirted Sierra Mist from the nose when I heard that.

Robert Anthony Pierce said...

I'm not even sure Louisiana has EVER been spelled right. It's probably supposed to have some extra silent letters like Louisianauex.