09/15/2005: About those responsibilities...
... and speechifying.
"... The wording of the president's statement on Tuesday was important, and at least a bit worrisome. Mr. Bush accepted responsibility "to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right," which may suggest that he thinks the jury is still out on what the federal government's role should have been. Obviously, it will take time to completely analyze all of the federal system failures, and no one imagines that the city and state were perfectly prepared for the disaster. But we certainly hope that the president was not taking responsibility for a government that he doesn't really think was responsible.
Localities have plenty of duties that are uniquely their own, and if a building catches on fire or a sewer pipe breaks, no one blames the president if the response isn't adequate. But no one community, or even any one state, can protect against hurricanes or vast flooding, any more than a city or state can protect itself against international terrorism.
It would be wonderful if the president would take the opportunity tonight to endorse an independent inquiry into the Katrina disaster, similar to the 9/11 commission's work. It would also be heartening if Mr. Bush announced that from now on, the federal government, which pays the bill for flood control projects, would make sure that the most important priorities were taken care of first - even if it required the kind of commission used to arbitrate Pentagon base closings to make sure that Congressional pork didn't trump necessity. It would be amazing if Mr. Bush really showed his sense of responsibility for this disaster by apologizing for stuffing the Federal Emergency Management Agency with inexperienced political appointees..."
-- NY Times Op Ed: Hopeful Words: On Taking Responsibility.
Karen on 09.15.05 @ 05:30 AM CST