04 September 2005

Is Bush to FEMA What Katrina is to NOLA?

Props to BluegrassRoots for posting the links about FEMA history.

First is this piece about how Canadian authorities are standing by to deliver succor, but are apparently being prevented from flying into U.S. airspace by Homeland Security.

Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm.

And then there's this article called Disaster in the Making which details some history of FEMA and how it was systematically weakened under Bush.

At FEMA, President Bush appointed a close aide, Joe Allbaugh, to be the agency's new director. Allbaugh had served as then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff in Texas and as manager of his 2000 presidential campaign. Along with Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, Allbaugh was known as one part of Bush's "iron triangle" of professional handlers.

Some FEMA veterans complained that Allbaugh had little experience in managing disasters, and the new administration's early initiatives did little to settle their concerns. The White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001 conference: "The general idea--that the business of government is not to provide services, but to make sure that they are provided--seems self-evident to me," he said.

And here's an article from the Knight-Ridder newswire about the initial response and what disaster-relief experts think of it.

The experts, including a former Bush administration disaster response manager, told Knight Ridder that the government wasn't prepared, scrimped on storm spending and shifted its attention from dealing with natural disasters to fighting the global war on terrorism.
And if you want just a quick & dirty timeline review of FEMA under Bush, this piece from the Washington Monthly should suffice.

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