Monday, January 02, 2006

New Orleans Postmortem

I'm surprised how little attention has been paid to an outstanding piece in the Jan. 9 issue of the New Yorker. Reporter Dan Baum lays the blame for the Katrina disaster squarely at the feet of the New Orleans police department and says barely a word about the much-maligned FEMA.

Here's his conclusion:
Yes, the levees should have been built stronger or better, the city should have had an evacuation plan for those without cars, the governor should have called for help earlier, and FEMA should have responded more vigorously. But the police owned the failure. However much other agencies pass the buck, cops know they’re responsible for the safety of a city.
Note what I've emphasized. Compare this level-headed report to the hysterical, politicized coverage at the time -- which, it is now clearer than ever, failed to adequately attribute responsibility locally, where it belonged.


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