Brown blames Gov. BlancoBrown is going to continue to be pilloried in the press anyway, but he said yesterday what I was thinking as the hurricane was subsiding and "reporters" were making wild accusations about FEMA not being there for this, and FEMA not preparing for that.
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
Michael D. Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Congress yesterday that Bush administration officials hurt hurricane relief efforts by rejecting his requests for more money, but his worst problem was a "dysfunctional" response from Louisiana officials.
He said he warned Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco days before Hurricane Katrina struck that she should order a mandatory evacuation, and he said it is not the job of the federal government or the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be a police or fire department or to provide food and gasoline to people in the hours and days after a disaster.
"FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications," Mr. Brown told the House select bipartisan committee investigating the response to Katrina [my emphasis]. (link)
In my lifetime, I don't remember FEMA ever being expected to rescue people after a natural disaster. Or to drive through a hail of gunfire to provide transportation for a stranded group of citizens who, seemingly, couldn't walk their way out of town. Even in the Bill Clinton days, spoken of so fondly by the media, FEMA was expected to bring in relief supplies and provide low-cost rebuilding loans. That was it.
But somehow, with Katrina - and George W Bush - FEMA was to be the cavalry, the New Orleans police, and Greyhound.
Look for more truth-telling as time passes.