Thursday, September 08, 2005

"What didn't go right?" Says Bush of FEMA Response | "What didn't go right?" - NP

According to, The president thinks the FEMA response to Katrina was just fine, and that FEMA director Brown is doing a great job. Sydney Blumenthal, at Salon, says the Bush agenda of limited government has been tested and has failed in this incarnation. Read the story at the link for more info.

The sad part is that, though limited government is something to strive for, in national emergencies like the devastation of an entire, important part of the Gulf Coast by a natural force, the federal government is supposed to act - it is up there with projects too big for a single state to handle - like Wars, treaties, and massive roads.

For those of us who like to cite the Constitution, let's remember that it is in the preamble that guides me to this conclusion: "insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". There was no domestic tranquility in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the common defense - more than one state was affected, the three which were devastaed by katrina, and the many states who have taken in refugees - straining their resources (especially Texas); the general welfare of the people in the region was affected, obviously. The entire Nation was affected, both economically and socially. Our tax dollars go into that big hole called D.C., and they are seldom given out these days. If this type of situation is not the kind of significant event to involve fast response from the feds, then no event is. Blame game? You bet there is plenty of blame to go around, but sticking one's head in a hole and denying the responsibility or the accountability is idiotic and wrong.

Link: Click here to go to the News Story
"The Bush Agenda of limited government". That's pretty funny. The Bush Agenda is anything but limited government. The neo-cons are nothing more than democratic socialists with a hawkish outlook on foreign policy. JFK in the GOP.

The claim that libertarian ideas of smaller government is what was found wanting is just flat wrong. FEMA's budget and staffing has increased tremendously in the past decade, and they are still incompetent. This demonstrates, clearly in my mind, that centralized government is not, and cannot be, the panacea to events of this nature. This was the lesson of the Soviet Union that we have completely ignored. The lesson we should have learned was from 9/11. Individuals, acting in concert with each other, are the key. A marketplace approach is far more successful than top down oligarchy. Decentralization breeds innovation, incentive, motivation and creativity. There is a reason that the military decentralizes the authority to plan and execute. We could all learn something by looking at the military model for a large organization.
Thanks, Eric! Your post hits a nail right on the head. I believe the version of limited government suggested by the article at Salon was attributed to the type of limited government envisioned by this current admisitration. The bloat, waste and sheer incompetence of FEMA and other bureaucratic institutions have been slowy, ponderously obsolete in this day and age. The military model does work well for some agnecies, and shouldbe looked at for the future of Ready-Response agencies, but do you seriously think that will happen?
No, I don't think we will see agencies like the CIA, DHS, FEMA, FBI, etc. go to a military model anytime in the next decade. They have a military org structure, but all authority to execute is held inside the DC Beltway. One of the keys to the military's ability to function so superior to any other comparable sized government organization is that the authority to plan and execute is pushed as far down the chain of command as possible. Can you imagine the CIA allowing someone 6 reporting levels away from the Director to plan and execute a mission in a foreign country? Or FEMA, during Katrina? Hell no, they'll never do it.

95% of the reason why is the Congress that sticks their nose into everything and creates a zero tolerance for failure environment.
good post
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