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Friday, September 09, 2005

KATRINA: Why Did We Expect Anything Else?

What happens when a huge, distant, incoherent bureaucracy and two corrupt and incompetent politicized bureaucracies closer to home are simultaneously struck by a catastrophic natural disaster at precisely the point most likely to result in the most death and destruction? Just look at we have seen in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. since Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast near New Orleans.

New Orleans is a city storied since its founding for corruption. The state government of Louisiana produced Hueg Long and a succession of small-time imitators seemingly bent on robbing the public treasury of every dollar. FEMA is a federal bureaucracy lost in the layer-upon-layer of confused authority and CYA-culture that defines Washington, D.C.

So what else did we expect to see in the aftermath of Katrina but incompetence, confusion, delay and finger-pointing at everybody and anybody but the officials directly responsible for handling the governments' response to the disaster?

The MSM and the activists Left is shreiking that it's all Bush's fault. The GOP leadership in Congress is determined to prove it recognizes no limits to its willingness to fund reconstruction. The White House is acting pretty much like it always does regardless of the party affiliation of the occupant of the Oval Office.

Thomas Lipscomb, a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, reminds us of these basic facts about the scandal that is Katrina in a scathing piece on TechCentralStation.com that is required reading for anybody who claims to have something worthwhile to say about what has been and is likely to continue happenning on the Gulf coast. Here is a sample of why:

"Those who dream of the perfectibility of human institutions through increasingly, compulsorily collective government will always attack the highest levels of government when it does fail. Republicans and Democrats alike have created huge institutions like the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and now Homeland Security, built on dreams that can never meet the excessive demands placed upon them.
"If we are to learn anything from the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, we will have to review the more practical expectations of the Framers of our Federal system. Local and state government are the primary responders.

"To keep their powers and responsibility intact the Federal Government is a resource they must administer wisely and decisively. Focusing on the habitual incoherence of Bush Administration communications is beside the point. There is no excuse for ignoring the key failures of local and state government in facing the challenge of Hurricane Katrina. Doing so will only ensure the next disaster."

Go here for the complete Lipscomb piece. Then bookmark it for future reference and email it to every person you know who has or may have something to say about Katrina. It's that good.

HT: Democracy Project's Bruce Kesler, a dependable source of prescient insight and useful information.