In response Joshua Edward's letter (Empire, Sept. 13) regarding the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, I want to point out a few things that Mr. Edward is either oblivious to or is conveniently ignoring.
First, the immediate blame, if any, needs to focus directly on the local and state governments of Louisiana and New Orleans, not on the White House or the Bush administration.
Second, Mr. Edward mentions the response to the tragic events of 9/11 by stating; "Our nation was better prepared and responded better after Sept. 11." Yes, we were better prepared. The preparedness of our military to handle an attack on our country, something that we are always expecting and on the lookout for is better than probably any country in the world.
Third, Hurricane Katrina, while a known entity at the time, was something that no one, not even the weather forecasters, could have predicted with enough speed to mobilize the federal response much faster. The levees not holding certainly weren't something that had been predicted and that was the major cause of the flooding.
So, you've got this massive event caused by mother nature, who President Bush does not control, state and local governments who were ill prepared to handle this type of an event and a federal government agency, FEMA, bogged down by layers of red tape. No one was prepared to handle an emergency of this magnitude because it simply exceeded everyone's expectations and forecasts. Were there mistakes made? Could things have been handled better? Is this the first time a catastrophe of this nature and magnitude has happened in the United States? Certainly. You can bet that if this type of event happens again, the mistakes made during this Hurricane won't be repeated.
Then comes the news that President Bush, even though he is not even remotely responsible, is accepting full responsibility for what has gone wrong. He has been accused of being racist; he has been accused of not caring enough about the poor and has even been accused of purposely delaying the arrival of aid to the victims of Katrina. I accuse the people who actually believe that of being complete imbeciles. President Bush is a man of integrity, honesty, and he cares for the people of this country. It's time that people like Mr. Edward open their eyes to the truth and quit playing the blame game.
J. Marc Mulkey