Friday, September 09, 2005

Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together . . .

This New York Times story is not comforting. Andrew Sullivan understands the problems inherent in the Times story:
They were worried about partisan politics and how things might be "perceived" if they acted to respond to what was by then obviously a monumental crisis. Then there's this caveat in the anonymous quote: "unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result." Wasn't that completely clear to many at that point? The first responders were overwhelmed and these politicians were worrying about gender issues and partisan politics? Given the fact that thousands of lives were at stake, "perception" is not or surely should not be an issue. Nor should petty fights over jurisdiction or legal wrangling. Nor should the relative incompetence of governor Blanco. If she was incompetent, then that's all the more reason for Bush to have over-ruled her.


Jonathan V. Last said...

Yes, I know. Go ahead and take your shots at me. It's not like I'm not asking for it.

Anonymous said...

Does the Times story remind anyone else of the John DiIulio letter from years ago. DiIulio's most substantive criticism was that in the Bush White House, all policy divisions were subject to political approval. He said:

"...there is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: complete lack of a policy apparatus. Besides the tax cut, which was cut and dried during the campaign, and the education bill, which was really a Ted Kennedy bill, the administration has not done much, either in absolute terms or in comparison to previous administrations at this stage, on domestic policy. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, being run by the political arm."

Anonymous said...

So you have been reduced to saying that Andrew Sullivan understands the problems in crisis management and decisive leadership?

What's next, quoting Al Sharpton on civic leadership?

Jonathan, why don't you take some time and pick somebody out who can offer a reasonable critique of Bush's actions in light of the planned FEMA reponse cycle, the demands of logistics in area of thousands of square miles of devestated infrastructure, and the realities of treating the chief executive of a federal state like an appointed dog catcher?

My lord...


Anonymous said...

The administration had lots of plans on post-war recovery in Iraq. Unfortunately, they were put together by the state department instead of the DOD, so they were simply ignored. (The same state department, by the way, that was RIGHT about Iraq NOT having WMD's. The same state department that was run by Colin Powell who coined the Powell Doctrine which mandates all wars to have a clear goal and exit strategy...)

Anyway, when the Bush adimistration was NOT thinking about post-war recovery, they had a choice about going to war. It was not something that just happened one day. They campaigned for it for a LONG time. In the case of Katrina, while the Bush administration was dithering on technicalities, people in N.O. were dying.

What would have been an acceptable reponse time? I don't know enough to say. Letting disaster recovery get hamstrung over the appearances of over-riding a female govener? BS.

Bottom line: the CEO of giant corporations like IBM or HP or GE can make a big difference in how that organization performs (without being the "dog catcher"). They can make a difference by hiring qualified people for important jobs. They can remind people what the right priorities are. They can provide support to make sure critical tasks get done.


Anonymous said...

Damn straight! It's all Bush's fault--because Blanco (not to mention Nagin) was incompetent.