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FEMA Director Michael Brown
New Orleans’ local newspaper, the Times-Picayune, is blasting President Bush for his handling of response to Hurricane Katrina, and is calling for heads to roll within his administration.
“Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially,” the paper states today in an open letter to Bush in its print edition.
The paper was scathing in its criticism for what it believes to be a slow federal response to the emergency and a lack of honesty from government officials.
Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.
Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.
Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a “Today” show story Friday morning.
Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.
We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.
The paper cited comments by Brown, who said Thursday night his agency was unaware until that day thousands of survivors were stranded at the city’s convention center, and noted Brown’s comments Friday morning, when he stated, “We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.”
“Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President,” said the Times-Picayune. “Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, ‘You’re doing a heck of a job.’ That’s unbelievable.”
Editors said the citizens of New Orleans “are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We’re no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.
“No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn’t be reached.”