14 September 2005

the katrina "blame game" is technically over, w/ president bush accepting, yes, the blame for the federal government's response. "and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right," he said, "i take responsibility. i want to know what went right and what went wrong." similarly, kathleen blanco has accepted her share of the blame. "the buck stops here, and as your governor, I take full responsibility," she says. it's almost too neat, the way this has come together, sort of like brownie resignation from fema. mayor ray nagin was on cnn's 'larry king show' tonight. but i don't watch larry king.

the blame will continue unabated, though, until a final report is issued--and beyond, as the case of the 9/11 commission (and the attendant "able danger" would-be scandal) demonstrates.

so, what about the claims from government spokespeople that we shouldn't focus on blaming, we should focus on saving lives? this presupposes that investigation and field action are necessarily overlapping and that one would impair the other. i'd argue that they are, in fact, two separate entities, as separate as the president maintains that katrina relief and the war in iraq are. (and, surely, supporting both of these operations is more taxing on the government than the "blame game" is.) an analogy occurred to me earlier: in a missing persons case, one doesn't simply search for that person; one also tries to find people who might know something or be responsible. it's an imperfect comparison b/c a witness in a missing persons case can help w/ the search, and that wouldn't be the case w/ katrina. but! finding the responsible parties, removing them from their offices, and repairing the damage to communication between government offices would help in future catastrophes.

"impeach bush" is currently the number one search on technorati. a figure that this administration has long, i think, wanted to "impeach," so to speak, is the un's kofi annan. recently, a report from a committee created to sort out the oil-for-food "blame game" cleared kofi annan of any personal wrong-doing. the economist reports that, despite this, senator norm coleman is still calling for annan's head, saying that "the secretary-general should take responsibility for the fraud, administrative bungling and leadership failures" in the report.

now i understand why many on the right don't want a katrina commission. for, even if mr. bush is cleared directly, as he v. likely will be, how will his supporters, like mr. coleman, muster up the hypocrisy needed to turn a blind eye to the president's "leadership failures"?

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