From the New York Times:
House Republicans plan to issue a blistering report on Wednesday that says the Bush administration delayed the evacuation of thousands of New Orleans residents by failing to act quickly on early reports that the levees had broken during Hurricane Katrina.
“Our investigation revealed that Katrina was a national failure, an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare,” the draft says. “At every level — individual, corporate, philanthropic and governmental — we failed to meet the challenge that was Katrina. In this cautionary tale, all the little pigs built houses of straw.”
What is most disturbing about the hurricane response, the draft report says, is that the entire catastrophe was so easily foreseen — given the weather reports and the precarious position of New Orleans as a below-sea-level city in a major hurricane zone — yet still the response was so flawed.
“It remains difficult to understand how government could respond so ineffectively to a disaster that was anticipated for years, and for which specific dire warnings had been issued for days,” the report says. “This crisis was not only predictable, it was predicted.”
A White House spokesman said that President Bush was now focused on the future, not the past.
This is the biggest problem this administration has: they don’t learn from the mistakes of the past. Of course the assumption is that they will even admit to having made any mistakes, and so far their record is pretty clear on that.
By the way, this is one report that the spin-meisters won’t be able to blame on partisanship: this is a Republican report.
Democrats declined to appoint members to the committee, raising concerns that the group would produce a whitewash, though several House Democrats participated in committee discussions. After the Republican report was prepared, Democrats praised it in a written response for being comprehensive and detailed, though they complained that it did not hold enough individual officials accountable and continued their call for an independent commission.
And they take Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to the woodshed, too. So let’s see how creative the White House gets on pretzeling this to their advantage. Of course, it won’t be the first time the president has choked on a pretzel.