Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What didn't go right?

Times Record News: Washington:
Pelosi recounted a conversation with Bush, during which she called for the resignation of Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who has been under fire since the outset.

"He said, 'Why would I do that?' " Pelosi said. "I said, 'Because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said, 'What didn't go right?' "
Perhaps it would be worth writing a letter to the president explaining what didn't go right.

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

Be polite, mention that he asked the question, and then explain how the USS Bataan sat waiting for orders while its water purification systems, hospital and helicopters could have been saving lives.

Point out that various states and foreign nations offered their National Guard troops, firefighters, police, specialized search and rescue teams, bottled water, food, etc., all before the storm hit, but that many of them didn't hear anything back until days later, and only a fraction of the resources were used, even though the need for more and faster action is blindingly obvious.

Mention in passing that the government is allowed to call up civilian aircraft for use in national emergencies, which could have really helped in pre-positioning supplies and personnel. It's the same program used to move troops to the Gulf in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Mention that it would have been useful if funding had been provided to analyze the results of the paper simulation of Hurricane Pam, and to implementing lessons learned from that to better prepare all participants for the evacuation of an entire city.

Calmly note that, as a nation, the immediate aftermath of a disaster is a time when we need strong leadership, not birthday cake and quips about rebuilding one of a Senator's houses.

In your smallest words, describe how a week's worth of prep time was available to discuss how to deal with the worst-case scenario in the Gulf, and no evidence exists that it was used for that purpose.

Those are my suggestions, I'm sure you can think of some ideas of your own.

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