Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Did Bush’s Temper Prevent Action On Katrina?

Amid stories coming out of Newsweek, Time, and other places, insiders are saying that the White House was slow to react to Hurricane Katrina because the president simply does not like to hear bad news.

Newsweek reported that there’s a standing joke among the Bush’s top aides: who gets to deliver that bad news. 24 hours after the storm ripped through New Orleans, White House chief of staff Andy Card, deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, White House counselor Dan Bartlett, and Press Secretary Scott McClellan held a conference call to discuss the delicate task to asking Bush to cut his vacation short by a few days.

Several White House aides who wished to stay anonymous because of Bush’s temper, said that the reality of the situation did not sink in until Thursday night, four days after the storm hit. Dan Bartlett had to make a DVD of the newscast so Bush could see them as he flew down to the Gulf Coast on Air Force One.

It seems that when the hurricane struck there was no one to tell Bush that the state and local governments were overwhelmed, and FEMA was did not have the leadership to react properly. Only the military had the adequate resources to react to the a disaster as large a scale as the flooding of an entire major US city, and yet the commander-in-chief remained isolated from reality.

What kind of situation does this put on the nation for our safety and security? Should another terrorist attack take place, would it be seen as bad news to White House insiders? Would such a disaster prevent key White House staff from keeping the president informed? The only thing we know for sure is that Homeland Security has failed it’s first test in preparing the nation for an emergency, a disaster everyone could see was in the works. Will terrorists give us those same warnings?


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