Video footage of President Bush’s briefing on Hurricane Katrina was recently released and it’s appalling that, after several warnings, President George W. Bush and his administration were still woefully unprepared for the disaster.
According to Nicole Gauoette’s Los Angeles Times article, “Bush Is Warned on Katrina in Video,” federal officials, including Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, warned President Bush, then-Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael D. Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Aug. 28 about the storm.
Mayfield told them that he wanted “to make it absolutely clear to everyone that there is potential for large loss of life…in the coastal areas from the storm surge” and that there is a “very, very grave concern” about the levees that separated Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, according to Gauoette’s article. Mayfield did not think the levees could hold up against the storm. President Bush then responded by saying that they were “fully prepared.”
What did President Bush think “fully prepared” meant? Obviously, they weren’t fully prepared or we wouldn’t have this tragedy. It seems like he just brushed off the warnings.
However, President Bush later stated that he didn’t think “anybody anticipated the breach of the levees” on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Sept. 1.
Now he is trying to place the blame on someone else when it is obvious that he is a contributing factor to the lack of readiness. He was specifically warned about the levees and the possibility they would not stand up to the storm. But, instead of rolling up his sleeves and helping formulate a plan, he claims that he’s fully prepared when they are not. He is one of the people responsible for the government not being ready.
It is clear that the video showed the administration’s lack of response to the warnings. They were given a disclaimer, but they chose to ignore it. They are the ones to blame here. No one else is.
On Feb. 15 House Democrats issued a report saying that the government “failed in its most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare.” We at the Campus Times agree. They didn’t put the people first. President Bush just gave them the cold shoulder.
It is evident that President Bush and his administration not only failed to provide the kind of protection the people of New Orleans needed, but they also tried to cover up their blunder by claiming no one expected things to play out the way they did. But thanks to the magic of videotape, we now know they dropped the ball.