Monday, February 13, 2006

Courting Katrina Disaster One More Time

How's this for an example of utter tone-deafness? Chertoff Defends DHS Response to Natural Disasters:
Some people just know when to be silent and roll with it. Unfortunately for the Bush Administration, Secretary Chertoff does not appear to be one of them: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff denied criticism today that his agency cares only about terrorist threats at the expense of devastating natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

"I unequivocally and strongly reject this attempt to drive a wedge between our concerns about terrorism and our concerns about natural disasters," Chertoff said at a conference in Alexandria.

His comments were in response to Senate testimony last week by former Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael D. Brown, who resigned his post in the wake of raging criticism of the government's sluggish response to the hurricane. Brown testified that if Katrina had been a terrorist attack rather than a natural disaster, the government response would have been very different.

At the National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Conference in Alexandria, Chertoff also announced a re-structuring of Homeland Security, saying it is urgent that the agency take a "hard, honest look" at improving the government's response capability before next hurricane season.

Chertoff's comments came after the leak of a blistering report by House investigators exposing numerous failures in the federal government's response to the hurricane.
It's no surprise that the Reasonable MSM would pile-on the Administration over Katrina. Their salivation for Absolute Individualism appears bonded to a devotion to Welfare Statism and central planning. The lack of holding the state of Louisiana accountable, even as a one-line mention, should surprise no one.

Those committed to the Catholic Social Teaching of subsidiarity should appreciate the role states have in natural disasters. NOLA authorities were the first responders charged with addressing the crisis. Their miserable failure complicated subsequent efforts by FEMA and the DHS.

Nevertheless, in a disaster of Katrina's magnitude, the Federal government had a crucial role to play. By all accounts, FEMA and the DHS fubarred it up. Even taking NOLA out of the equation, the Federal response remains completely unacceptable.

The media's attention to "Brownie's" outrageous claims is certainly unfair. Anyone could understand Secretary Chertoff's righteous indignation. However, his agency utterly screwed up in NO post Katrina. He is in no position to look indignant at anything, however outrageous. All his tantrum does is make the Bush Administration appear defensive and completely out of touch with ordinary Americans.

The President--and the nation--would be better served by a Secretary of Homeland Security that understands this. So far, Secretary Chertoff has shown no sign he is that secretary.