Brilliant NYT Editorial Slams Bush On An Inhouse Investigation of His Administration's Handling Of The Hurricane
Yesterday, FEMA announced a plan to issue $2,000 debit cards to evacuees from the hurricane. Today, it said it wasn't ready to issue the debit cards, and it was left to the Red Cross to give the evacuees, for now, ATM cards.
What a disgrace! The hurricane occurred 10 days ago, and yet FEMA is still not ready. It is clear that Michael Brown, the inept FEMA director, should be the first government official to be replaced by a more competent administrator.
But President Bush seldom fires anyone for incompetence. He has kept Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld on the job. Now, he says, "Brownie" has done a wonderful job.
I draw your attention to a New York Times editorial yesterday dismissing the Bush notion of an inhouse investigation of what has gone "right and wrong" in the hurricane aftermath.
The beginning of this pointed editorial deserves quotation:
"With the enormity of the task of rescuing and rebuilding New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast still unfolding on a daily basis, it seemed early to talk about investigating how this predicted cataclysm had been allowed to occur and why the government's response was so slow and so inept. Until yesterday, that is, when President Bush blithely announced at a photo-op cabinet meeting that he personally was going to find out "what went right and what went wrong." We can't imagine a worse idea.
"No administration could credibly investigate such an immense failure on its own watch. And we have learned through bitter experience -- the Abu Ghraib nightmare is just one example -- that when this administration begins an internal investigation, it means a whiewash in which no one important is held accountable and no real change occurs.
"Mr. Bush signaled yesterday that we are in for more of the same when he sneered and said, 'One of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game.' This is not a game. It is critical to know what "things went wrong,'as Mr. Bush put it. But we also need to know which officials failed -- not to humiliate them but to replace them with competent people....."
The New York Times, which unlike the L.A. Times, has a competent, principled editorial page, wants a 9-11 independent commission to examine everything, and, as a downpayment, it urged the immediate replacement of the incompetent Michael Brown.
So be it.
Unless Bush can do better, perhaps it is not too early to examine the possibility of his early replacement by a more competent leader. Richard Nixon had to resign. Why not Bush, unless he can demonstrate a genuinely new tack?