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Bush: Investigation planned on Katrina response
September 6, 2005
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Buffeted by criticism over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush said today he will oversee an investigation into what went wrong and why — in part to be sure the country could withstand more storms or attack.

<snip>

“What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong,” Bush said.

(source)


Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?
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Amlord
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

As the guy in charge, it is Bush's job to see that things improve. The only way to do that effectively is to figure out what went wrong, where they went wrong and why they went wrong.

I think the way things played out here is a big reason why they seemed to move so slow. Ordinarily, a hurricane relief involves moving supplies into an area which has wind damage, damaged infrastructure, and things of that nature. I remember the collective sigh of relief on Monday that the storm had spared New Orleans. I think at that point, efforts were shifted to other areas which were very hard hit by the storm (Alabama and Mississippi). Then the levees broke and the disaster in New Orleans began Monday afternoon/evening.

I think what we need to focus in on is the possibility of things happening in multiple locations. I think if this tragedy were limited to New Orleans or to Mississippi, then the results would have been much different. The weakness in the system seems to have been responding to a widespread and multi-faceted emergency.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

I am sure some will call for one. Depending upon what comes out of this assessment, perhaps one will be needed. However, I doubt the CEO of IBM necessarily needs to call in outsiders to assess why they didn't deliver a rush order of computers to some big customer in time.
overlandsailor


Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

The appearance of impropriety is usually as damaging as actual acts of impropriety.

With an issue of this magnitude it would be best if the President called for an independent commission to investigate. Preferably a panel made of more of those outside of the halls of bureaucracy and politics then from within.

After all, there are some who blame Bush specifically here. But most blame the government in general. How can we have the government properly investigate itself without the appearance of impropriety in the eyes of many Americans?

There are a multitude of organizations dedicated to weather forecasting, engineering, emergency response planning, etc that are independent of the government. It would be best, IMHO if a commission made of "outsiders" from such groups was used to investigate the response and propose changes.

Better to have a fresh prospective, then one from those who live in the "red-tape jungle" and see nothing wrong with it. Better to have Americans see independent professionals and scholars looking at the issues then government personnel and politicians whom many already blame for the failures.
Dontreadonme
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

It's not appropriate at all. Actually no government official or political appointee at any level, or from any party should oversee such an investigation.

After a debacle such as this, with demonstrated evidence of malfeasance and ineptitude by officials at every level from the Executive Office of the country to the Executive Office of the City of New Orleans, a thorough after action review is in order. After the immediate rescue and logistical concerns are taken care of. An investigation should convene soon, but not until all facts are in, and not while lives are still being saved and bodies are still being buried.

The citizens of this country deserve answers, they deserve reform and they deserve accountability. An investigation ran as a farce such as the 9/11 Commission, will give none of the above. Only an independent panel will ensure that the true purpose of such an investigation will be in the interest of saving future lives and property, rather than an exercise in political skullduggery.
Amlord
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Sep 6 2005, 02:41 PM)
The citizens of this country deserve answers, they deserve reform and they deserve accountability. An investigation ran as a farce such as the 9/11 Commission, will give none of the above. Only an independent panel will ensure that the true purpose of such an investigation will be in the interest of saving future lives and property, rather than an exercise in political skullduggery.
*



Which to me is why a quiet, internal investigation is best.

An outside investigation, with hearings, testimony, and other such public displays of theatrics doesn't really get to the bottom of anything, as we witnessed in the 9/11 hearings.

I think any organization worth its salt does these types of internal audits. How can we get better? What does the customer expect? How do we meet the customer's expectations?

In this political climate, a low-key investigation is best.
DaffyGrl
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

I’m sure I’ll be accused of Bush bashing, but good heavens, NO! You don’t hire the fox to investigate a henhouse, for goodness sakes! He should be part of the investigation, not the leader of it. If this is how it ends up being structured, chances are all the blame will be laid at the feet of city and state officials (or anywhere else so that the mud doesn't splatter him), and the feds will be painted as squeaky clean and blameless. As this Newsweek article shows, there is plenty of blame to go around. But seeking someone to blame isn’t going to answer the question "what went wrong?"
QUOTE
What went wrong? Just about everything. How the system failed is a tangled story, but the basic narrative is becoming clearer: hesitancy, bureaucratic rivalries, failures of leadership from city hall to the White House and epically bad luck combined to create a morass. In the early aftermath, fingers pointed in all directions. The president was to blame; no, the looters. No, the bureaucrats. No, the local politicians. It was FEMA's fault—unless it was the Department of Homeland Security's. Or the Pentagon's. Certainly the government failed, and the catastrophe exposed, for all the world to see, raw racial divisions.
<snip>
Washington, too, was slow to react to the crisis. The Pentagon, under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was reluctant for the military to take a lead role in disaster relief, a job traditionally performed by FEMA and by the National Guard, which is commanded by state governors. President Bush could have "federalized" the National Guard in an instant. That's what his father, President George H.W. Bush, did after the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Back then, the Justice Department sent Robert Mueller, a jut-jawed ex-Marine (who is now FBI director), to take charge, showing, in effect, that the cavalry had arrived. FEMA's current head, Michael Brown, has appeared over his head and even a little clueless in news interviews. He is far from the sort of take-charge presence New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani conveyed after 9/11. Newsweek

Even Bush supporters must admit it would be foolish to launch an investigation with Bush as its leader. How in the world do you maintain credibility leading an investigation when your actions are in question, too? I believe it would wind up being the same kind of toothless tiger as the 9/11 Commission. A big, big mistake.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Most definitely. I think the investigation should consist of experts in the fields where the many failures occurred - people from organizations that have launched and managed successful recoveries and rescues in other disaster situations (such as leaders from the dearly departed pre-Homeland Security FEMA and the Red Cross).
BoF
QUOTE
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?


The answer to that depends on whether or not one trusts Bush. It does not matter whether one never trusted Bush, did trust him at one time and has changed their mind or still has faith in the president.

From my perspective, it’s hard to improve on what DaffyGrl wrote:

QUOTE(DaffyGrl @ Sep 6 2005, 02:31 PM)
NO! You don’t hire the fox to investigate a henhouse, for goodness sakes! He should be part of the investigation, not the leader of it.


Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Yes! Hello, yes! I predict that this is exactly what will happen in time, but not before the administration has gone through the usual tactics of stonewalling, minimizing, arguing about documents and who will be allowed to testify. Remember the 9-11 Commission? Remember the resistance to forming it? Remember the teeth that had to be yanked to get Bush to testify and then only with Cheney holding his hand?
Lever



Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?


I feel he is in error wishing to oversee an investigation in which he himself has been blamed. I feel he should take his cue from the courts where if a juror is involved in the case or impropriety may be charged (true or perceived) he should recuse himself and allow an independent investigation.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?


I believe most Americans will lend more credibility to an independent investigation and charges of coverup can best be avoided later. It doesn't matter what his motivation or purpose. He can avoid the normal fallout and accusations by allowing and independent review.

President Bush has a hard time it seems letting go of things that he should not touch. His let me do it attitude is one of his biggest problems and causes much grief for him politically.
Dontreadonme
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 6 2005, 02:08 PM)

An outside investigation, with hearings, testimony, and other such public displays of theatrics doesn't really get to the bottom of anything, as we witnessed in the 9/11 hearings.

The problem we had with the 9/11 Hearings is exactly what Daffygirl was getting at. The fox investigating the henhouse. Gorelick, instead of being investigated was an investigator.
I don't trust politicians from the Republican nor the Democratic parties to be fair or impartial. Ever.
logophage
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Sep 6 2005, 03:26 PM)
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 6 2005, 02:08 PM)
An outside investigation, with hearings, testimony, and other such public displays of theatrics doesn't really get to the bottom of anything, as we witnessed in the 9/11 hearings.

The problem we had with the 9/11 Hearings is exactly what Daffygirl was getting at. The fox investigating the henhouse. Gorelick, instead of being investigated was an investigator.
I don't trust politicians from the Republican nor the Democratic parties to be fair or impartial. Ever.
*

I agree with DTOM. Politicians must earn my trust one politico at a time. Given the scope of Katrina, heads will roll. I fully expect theatrics, grandstanding and many other rhetorical techniques employed to deflect criticism. Thus, I don't believe there is any way such an investigation can be done quietly or internally nor should it be. The costs alone justify a thorough, independent investigation. There is plenty of blame to go around and Dubya shares some of it.
Google
Wertz
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Sure, why not? No investigation of what went wrong is ever going to implicate anyone remotely connected with the Bush administration. In the unlikely event that it did, such findings would be dismissed as pure partisanship, no matter who conducted it.

Since any investigation into the handling of Hurricane Katrina will exist solely to exonerate the federal bureaucracy, why not let them do it themselves? They're already seasoned experts at passing the buck, making excuses, covering up, spinning evidence, blaming everyone else, and broadcasting misinformation. Why leave such a job to amateurs? Indeed, considering the September 11 attack, the invasion of Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina, whitewashing appears to be the only thing they're good at. It would be churlish to deprive them of the one thing at which they excel.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Not in the least. Who would be appointed to such an investigative body? No politicians, surely. Regardless of their affiliation, someone would accuse them of partisanship. Businessmen or management experts? One might as well appoint politicians. Any manager with a high enough profile to be considered would already be subsidizing one party or the other. Scientists? Hell, this administration doesn't believe in science - why should they countenance any scientific "evidence" that might be presented? Investigative journalists? The media coverage of the story has already demonstrated inarguable responsibility at the highest level of our government, so there would be clear "bias" there. They already know the facts. An international body? Yeah, right. Only if a John Bolton or a John Poindexter or a John Roberts were setting their agenda and editing their findings.

No. Any investigation will be a waste of time and money and will only tell us what we already "know": the Bush administration is not responsible for anything. That, oddly, is something about which everyone seems to agree.
Aquilla
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

I don't know what lead or oversee means in this context. I think an investigation should be conducted by the agencies involved and they ultimately report to the President, so technically he would be "overseeing" it I suppose.


Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

No investigation that doesn't blame Bush entirely for everything with a healthy dose of Halliburton bashing is going to have any "credibility" with the left.
So, who cares? What would be constructive would be a "lessons learned" investigation that would seek not to place blame, but rather to assess flaws in the way this disaster was handled.

I'd like to see something like an NTSB accident investigation which is conducted in private with a broad range of experts in a variety of disciplines related to the action. As a matter of fact, that's who I would choose to head up such an investigation, the professional career NTSB people. I've personally worked with them a few times and they are highly professional and fully capable of getting to the facts and causes at hand. I would give them broad authority to call on resources and experts from any field they feel is germane and charge them with finding out what things went wrong and how to fix them. I think they would be able to do it.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Sep 6 2005, 10:56 PM)
No investigation that doesn't blame Bush entirely for everything with a healthy dose of Halliburton bashing is going to have any "credibility" with the left.
So, who cares?  What would be constructive would be a "lessons learned" investigation that would seek not to place blame, but rather to assess flaws in the way this disaster was handled.
*


Can we leave the tinfoil and liberal bashing out of this for once? You are completely wrong aquilla. All any of us should want is an open and honest discussion about how we correct the mistakes. What we don't want to see is another farce of an investigation like the 9/11 commission. It needs to be something public enough that people can monitor it and ensure things aren't being swept under the rug but private enough that it doesn't turn into the next media circus. Transparency is important on this one.

Incidently that investigation that the "left" wants might look a little bit like this topic thumbsup.gif

However, I'm not getting my hopes up that we'll have anything even remotely approaching an honest evaluation of where we messed up (and are still messing up). I'm preparing myself for a 9/11 commission style hearing run by politicians with agendas, plenty of stonewalling, a good dose of partisan politics and in the end determining absolutely nothing. Meanwhile we'll continue to keep pumping billions of dollars into agencies that don't work and the people that caused this problem will keep their jobs.
Wertz
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Sep 7 2005, 01:56 AM)
No investigation that doesn't blame Bush entirely for everything with a healthy dose of Halliburton bashing is going to have any "credibility" with the left.
*

Nice blanket statement. Talk about partisan! As someone on "the left", I am seriously concerned about about having an adequate, appropriate, and timely response to such disasters in the future. I would love to see an investigation that fairly assessed what went wrong at each level of government - local, state, and federal - and a prompt report that would have specific solutions that would be acted upon immediately. After five years, I simply have no faith that any investigation lead or overseen by the Bush administration will produce any such thing. Nor do I see the Bush administration accepting any responsibility or making any significant changes on the basis of an investigation that they haven't lead or overseen.

I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

This is about saving lives, Aquilla, not playing political games. And that is exactly why I don't believe that any investigation orchestrated by the White House will be of any use whatsoever. It is already patently clear what their priorities are - and the lives of American citizens don't even figure. Unless, of course, they're in a persistent vegetative state - or haven't been born.
Aquilla
My goodness! Such outrage from the :::cough::: non-partisan left here. I must have pushed a button and I didn't even refer to the "Democrat Party". devil.gif

Oh well, moving on......

My proposal for an investigation into what happened would follow the model of an NTSB aircraft accident investigation. Now, in keeping with the questions posed in this thread, technically the President is the ultimate "boss" of the NTSB since that is part of the Department of Transportation which is in the executive branch. However, the typical NTSB accident investigation board is not made up of political appointees. They are career professionals, and I mean "professionals" in every sense of the word. I've worked with them on a few occasions and they are really, really good. Here is an example from personal experience.......

Back in the late 70's a DC-10 lost an engine (literally, the darn thing fell off) as it was leaving Chicago O'Hare Airport and crashed, killing all onboard. The NTSB launched an accident investigation into what happened, why and what needed to be done to make sure it didn't happen again. They went to McDonnell-Douglas (the manufacturer of the DC-10) for help and also to my company at the time, Lockheed. We made an airliner, the L-1011 that was similar to the DC-10 and we were requested by the NTSB to perform an analysis of our airplane to see if a similar problem could cause an accident with our airplane. I was assigned to do the aerodynamic stability and control analysis portion of our report to the NTSB. We did wind tunnel testing, simulation and analysis over the course of a few months and then I presented my portion of the report to the NTSB experts in my area. There were no cameras, no media circus and no lawyers. I was there alone with some of the top experts in the country. I sat down with them in private, presented my data, what we did to collect it, how we collected it, how I analyzed it, why I used the techniques I used and finally what my conclusions were. They asked questions and I answered them the best I could. All told it took about 5 hours. There was no finger-pointing or agenda thing going on there, it was just an honest discourse and discussion of the facts at hand. It kind of reminded me of my Masters oral dissertation at CU, only longer. At the end, they thanked me and that was it. No flashbulbs, no TV, no "instant analysis" by talking heads, no 15 minutes of fame.

That's the way you get to the solution to the problem. And that's the way this should be done. But, I fear in these times it won't be. sad.gif
Jaime
How about we all drop the intentional digs and focus on the topic in a civil constructive, fashion?

DEBATE:
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?
Amlord
I find it hard to believe that some people blame Bush personally for this.

Did one of the agencies under his control perhaps do some things wrong? Maybe. Could one of the agencies under his control use what happened here and improve our response to a future "Event"? You're darn tooting.

Maybe some people believe that there was intentional malice here, but I would hope that these people would be in the extreme minority. A bureaucracy stumbled and mistakes were made--no doubt there. However, unless you somehow believe that the administration has no desire to improve upon its response time, then an investigation whose goal is to improve that response could be lead by the President (or someone he appoints).

Aquilla, the NTSB is very good at investigating physical evidence. They are quite skilled at determining why an aircraft went down. However, this is an administrative investigation where red tape and inter-department authority were the main culprits (in my preliminary estimation). I'm not sure they have the expertise that would be needed. An accounting firm or an FDA audit team would have a better grasp of the obstacles here.
Julian
FWIW I don't think Bush should oversee the inquiry or take any part in it at all other than to initiate it and then possibly serve as a witness to it should the investigation turn that way.

And for all the left-right infighting that spawned from Aquilla post, it might be worthwhile remembering that he didn't say Bush should run the investigation.

This is half the topic, after all, so it looks like you're all in violent agreement on at least that much.

For myself, I rather like Aquilla's & Amlord's ideas.

Also FWIW, it's traditional in the UK for such investigations into possible governmental cupability (at any level of government) to be headed by a senior judge (though recently these have been seen as governmental whitewashes, especially the ones surrounding the Iraq War - the Hutton & Butler inquiries). Where this has worked, on the traditional complete separation between the judiciary and electoral poltics has been central to the public's trust in the outcome. This separation may not be as delineated in the USA, where some law officers are elected, and where senior judges are sometimes seen as politcal appointees.

So, maybe the NTSB, FDA and other agencies could work on the investigation and present the facts, and the USSC should be the panel that decides where and with whom the fault lies?
Aquilla
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 7 2005, 05:51 AM)
Aquilla, the NTSB is very good at investigating physical evidence.  They are quite skilled at determining why an aircraft went down.  However, this is an administrative investigation where red tape and inter-department authority were the main culprits (in my preliminary estimation).  I'm not sure they have the expertise that would be needed.  An accounting firm or an FDA audit team would have a better grasp of the obstacles here.
*



That's not quite true, Amlord. The NTSB senior investigators are very good at defining the problem and then defining the kind of expertise they need to investigate the problem. It's a by the book scientific approach, one with which, as an engineer, I'm sure you're well-versed. When an airplane crashes, they look at the entirety of the circumstances of what happened, why it happened, and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. If they determine weather is involved for example, they will look at how that weather circumstance could have been determined at the time, how it could have been communicated to the flight crew, and what the flight crew could have done as a result to save the aircraft. If they determine there were problems with maintainance, they will look at the procedures involved every step of the way. It can be a pretty extensive investigation depending on all the factors involved, and the NTSB is really good about "thinking out of the box" and keeping an open mind while they define the problem.

Now certainly an audit team would be useful in such an investigation and the NTSB would probably enlist several to study portions of the problem and present a report. I use them as an example because I am not familiar with other agencies like the FDA etc. The point is though that this investigation should be handled by professionals at problem-solving, it should be private until the final report is released and it should concentrate on fixing the problems, not on assigning the blame.
Fife and Drum
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

No. For the simple reason the victims of Katrina were let down by the government on all levels. Why would you allow those who potentially dropped the ball the opportunity to make further excuses and cover their exposed rears.

In addition, this administration has clearly demonstrated their ineptitude in examining facts (see Iraq) and drawing conclusions. Why, pray tell, should we allow them the opportunity to muddle and massage the facts into their own agenda and skirt responsibility. Again.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Not only would it carry more credibility but the end results, fixing what was broken, will be more effective if it’s an independent investigation. This is not a time for bias, it's the time for honest answers.
Hobbes
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?


I think internal investigations are often the most successful, provided that they are indeed motivated to make a thorough and objective analysis. Companies do this all the time. I know many here will say they're not motivated to do that, and I can only say time will tell. I think any sort of cover-up will be fairly apparent, at which time an external investigation could be conducted. There can be just as many problems with an external investigation, so to me it's not so important who does it, as it is whether or not they do it right. Essentially, I'd say the same thing if it had been decided to have an external (I don't like the term independent...how exactly is anyone independent from the very government they'd be investigating?) investigation.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?


Probably...but that doesn't mean they'd actually do a better job. I think the output of the investigation, regardless of who does it, will determine its credibility. If the results indicate the necessary changes, and those changes are implemented and we end up with a better system...no one will remember or care who did the investigation. On the other hand, if the necessary changes aren't indicated or initiated, then all anyone will talk about is who did the investigation. So, the key is for a whoever does it to do a thorough job, and for needed changes to actually be made.
inventor
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Of course it isn’t as implied by many unless he was responsible for the outcome. And that is the essence; he does not take responsibility of his actions from what I have seen.

In my field when there is an accident/failure we determine why it happened for many times liability reasons. Otherwise history repeats itself. So yes in Engineering, like a brake failing the company can do the proper job and generally does but that is because they will ultimately be held responsible if not criminally for their actions. If Bush was to accept responsibilities to the fullest i.e. be sued for it and lose or be jailed I would accept him as a leader of the investigation. But Pardon me, didn’t we just see a governor use the pardon the ultimate non-responsibility vehicle….

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?
Yes, but not like the 9-11 committee where the right was in charge, the minority should always be in charge when a disaster or corruption/ hiring personal friends to top positions when they have no experience, and so on.

Here is what my state senator the minority leader just asked, ya got to love it…

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3343381
Sept. 7, 2005, 12:09PM

Top Democrats assail Katrina response
Associated Press
QUOTE
In a letter to the Senate's Homeland Security Committee chairwoman, Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, pressed for a wide-ranging investigation and answers to several questions, including: "How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation? Did the fact that he was outside of Washington, D.C., have any effect on the federal government's response?"
Lever
The more I watch the more disgusted I get.

Watching MSNBC news coverage tonight I saw a story of firefighters who arrived in the NO area to take part in rescue efforts. Upon reporting to FEMA were instructed that they were to be passing out flyers with FEMA's telephone number to people in the effected area. The same people who have no power or telephone service and who's houses are under freaking water.


Where will this bumbling stupidity end? sour.gif
Eeyore
QUOTE(Lever @ Sep 7 2005, 11:53 PM)
The more I watch the more disgusted I get.

Watching MSNBC news coverage tonight I saw a story of firefighters who arrived in the NO area to take part in rescue efforts. Upon reporting to FEMA were instructed that they were to be passing out flyers with FEMA's telephone number to people in the effected area. The same people who have no power or telephone service and who's houses are under freaking water.


Where will this bumbling stupidity end? sour.gif
*



Let's remember the rules of the site and have all of our posts remain constructive and on target. The rules are located at the top of most or all pages here at America's Debate.

The questions for debate in this thread are:

Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Paladin Elspeth
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

How much do we trust our politicians to be altruistic and not self-serving or working hard to cover their own hindquarters and blame "the other guy"? That should serve to answer the question--in other words, no.

Yes indeed, there must be an investigation, but by disinterested parties, if that kind of authority can be proven to exist.

I'm still wondering what was in the 28 pages deliberately left out of the 9/11 Commission Report. Fat chance that that information will ever reach the light of day.

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

Of course. For those who pay attention to polls, confidence in the President is very low right now. For Bush to avoid being accused of going into full CYA (i.e., Cover Your--er--Derriere) mode, it would be good to have the investigation conducted by someone who is not one of his cronies, and who does not have political aspirations himself or herself, nor an axe to grind.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
I think internal investigations are often the most successful, provided that they are indeed motivated to make a thorough and objective analysis. Companies do this all the time.


Private corporations who engage in internal investigations never put an officer (someone elected or appointed; NOT an employee) in charge. It's considered a gross breach of corporate ethics. Corporate officers may initiate an internal investigation, but they are always conducted by the employees and not by stakeholders. Just thought I'd mention that.
Julian
Regardless of whether Bush would be impartial or would try to steer blame away from himself, I would think that any investigation needs to be led by someone with an analytical mind who can cope with a lot of detail and complexity. In other words, someone who not only "does nuance", but actively likes it.

By his own admission, Bush is not that person. Even without the worries over partisanship, I would think this makes the President a poor choice for any inquiry into the strengths & weaknesses of the handling of Katrina & The Waves, and for making the recommendations based on the learning points identified as part of such an inquiry - surely the main point of the thing is to make sure the same mistakes don't get made again, and blaming this person or that department is only a side issue?
moif
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Its hilarious. Its like a joke, or something dark and chilling by Orwell. I can just imagine it in the pages of '1984', it fits right in there with the double speak, hate sessions and propaganda entertainment that is gradually becoming daily fare in the USA.

That the US can actually sink so low that this sort of thing doesn't raise a calamity of incredulity is astounding to me. I know this sort of thing would take place in Europe... in fact its the sort of thing that makes the EU looks so ridiculous... I expect it from the self serving hypocrites in the EU (or Tony Blair) but I have always comforted myself in the knowledge that we (Danes) still have our national government (yet) to protect us and provide us a safety valve from the EU.

That the US government chooses to do this though... where is the safety valve for the US people? I'm laughing at the thought of it, but its a nervous laughter.

When a government investigates itself... who is it really accountable to?


Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?

What do you mean, 'more'?

Ted
He should lead it as the President. And since it is becoming clear that the Mayor was criminally negligent the probe sould move quickly.

Here is an interesting story:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3344347

Some quotes:

Saturday evening, Hurricane Katrina had intensified to Category 4, with the possibility that it could strike land as a killer Category 5 storm.
About 8 p.m., Mayor Nagin fielded an unusual personal call at home from Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, who wanted to be sure Nagin knew what was coming.

Still, Nagin waited to issue a mandatory evacuation, apparently because of legal complications, said Frazier. She said the city attorney was unavailable for an interview to explain.


But Kris Wartelle, spokeswoman for the attorney general of Louisiana, said state law clearly gives the mayor the authority to "direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area."
"They're not confused about it. He had the authority to do it," Wartelle said.

The mandatory evacuation order came at 10 a.m Sunday.
schmed
QUOTE(Ted @ Sep 8 2005, 01:56 PM)
He should lead it as the President.  And since it is becoming clear that the Mayor was criminally negligent the probe sould move quickly.

Still, Nagin waited to issue a mandatory evacuation, apparently because of legal complications, said Frazier.
But Kris Wartelle, spokeswoman for the attorney general of Louisiana, said state law clearly gives the mayor the authority to "direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area."
"They're not confused about it. He had the authority to do it," Wartelle said.

The mandatory evacuation order came at 10 a.m Sunday.

*




Ted,

There are a lot of questions I want the mayor to answer: What was your evacuation plan? Did you follow it? What about the timing of the evacuation order? What about all those unused buses?

I want the mayor to answer all these questions, and more. He is a public official and he needs to be held accountable.

Notice I said I wanted him to answer these questions, not lead an investigation into them. Ted, do you believe the mayor would not lose some, if not all, of his objectivity about his actions or that of his administration if he were leading his own investigation? Do you honestly believe he could act as an impartial judge looking at himself? Don't you think he would try to put himself in the best possible light? Don't you think the truth would be lost in the process? I sure do.

So, why would it be any different for the President to lead an investigation into his actions and those of his administration? Some think FEMA was criminally negligent. The President appointed the head of FEMA--and said he was doin' a heckuva job. And the President believes that admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness. Now, that's really a formula for objectivity.

Yes, investigate the mayor and his administration. Objectively. Investigate the governor of Louisiana and her administration. Objectively. Investigate the President and his administration. Objectively. There are still a few people with enough integrity to command the respect of both parties to do the job.

But that person can not be the President. Nor anyone else who was involved with the response to Katrina.

The federal government has to be able to respond effectively to the next disaster. Without a critical assessment of its' peformance to Katrina, we can only expect more of the same.

We all deserve better.
Amlord
QUOTE(schmed @ Sep 8 2005, 08:38 PM)
QUOTE(Ted @ Sep 8 2005, 01:56 PM)
He should lead it as the President.  And since it is becoming clear that the Mayor was criminally negligent the probe sould move quickly.

Still, Nagin waited to issue a mandatory evacuation, apparently because of legal complications, said Frazier.
But Kris Wartelle, spokeswoman for the attorney general of Louisiana, said state law clearly gives the mayor the authority to "direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area."
"They're not confused about it. He had the authority to do it," Wartelle said.

The mandatory evacuation order came at 10 a.m Sunday.

*




Ted,

There are a lot of questions I want the mayor to answer: What was your evacuation plan? Did you follow it? What about the timing of the evacuation order? What about all those unused buses?

I want the mayor to answer all these questions, and more. He is a public official and he needs to be held accountable.

Notice I said I wanted him to answer these questions, not lead an investigation into them. Ted, do you believe the mayor would not lose some, if not all, of his objectivity about his actions or that of his administration if he were leading his own investigation? Do you honestly believe he could act as an impartial judge looking at himself? Don't you think he would try to put himself in the best possible light? Don't you think the truth would be lost in the process? I sure do.

So, why would it be any different for the President to lead an investigation into his actions and those of his administration? Some think FEMA was criminally negligent. The President appointed the head of FEMA--and said he was doin' a heckuva job. And the President believes that admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness. Now, that's really a formula for objectivity.

Yes, investigate the mayor and his administration. Objectively. Investigate the governor of Louisiana and her administration. Objectively. Investigate the President and his administration. Objectively. There are still a few people with enough integrity to command the respect of both parties to do the job.

But that person can not be the President. Nor anyone else who was involved with the response to Katrina.

The federal government has to be able to respond effectively to the next disaster. Without a critical assessment of its' peformance to Katrina, we can only expect more of the same.

We all deserve better.
*



The difference here is that it was not the President who made the decisions about when to send the National Guard or who to deliver supplies to. It was his appointees that made these decisions.

As such, this is more of an inquiry by a boss to determine if his subordinates did their job to an acceptable level. I don't see this as a case of Bush not executing some plan that was created to deal with situations like this. This is a situation where either the mayor, the governor, the director of FEMA of the Secretary of Homeland Security (and their respective subordinates) either failed to plan or failed to execute the plan. Bush is not directly involved.

Bush needs to do this as any boss would have to. The results were not acceptable and it is up to him to determine why.
Lever
Just read an article that I hope is not true. If it should prove even partly true we are indeed in the worst of times.

http://matewan.squarespace.com/journal/200...artial-law.html
Cyan
Lever, the questions for this debate are:

Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility?


Please be sure to formulate your responses to coincide with these questions. Additionally, please refer to the Rules and Survival Guide, particularly the section regarding sources.

It is extremely helpful when posting a link to explain why you are citing it and how it supports your opinion.

Thank you.
Domethesis
Yes he should investigate. I'm afraid that any other organization independent of the administration would taint the investigation unfairly against Bush. I'm sure the other side feels the same way about Bush investigating. Hey,you can't satisfy everyone. Everyone has their own opinions, even though some of them are warped and wrong, not having anything to do with factual events or circumstances.
Get your facts straight and try to see both sides of the issue before you get any rash beliefs. Bush is an honest, hardworking and loyal President who will do everything in his power to give this country the respect it deserves.
Rancid Uncle
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?
Maybe the republicans could have gotten Bill Clinton to investigate whitewater? FEMA is an executive agency and it would be a conflict of interest for the executive branch to investigate itself.

Throughout his presidency, Bush has totally avoided any type of contrition. An investigation of what went wrong may involve a little of that. President Bush appointed an old friend with no experience to head up an agency charged with protecting people's lives. If he isn't man enough to answer for that maybe he should just resign and run the Arabian Horse association. What ever happened to the buck stops here?

Wouldn't an investigation independent of the Administration have more credibility? Yes, that way it could find out the facts and then tell us without considering the politics of the answer.
Julian
QUOTE(Domethesis @ Sep 9 2005, 09:12 PM)
Yes he should investigate. I'm afraid that any other organization independent of the administration would taint the investigation unfairly against Bush.
*



Is it your contention that there is nobody in the entire USA (outside the administration) that would be able to treat the facts neutrally, then?

Not a single judge or investigating body would be able to look at the documented records detailing exactly who said what to whom, and who decided what and when - surely the central task of any investigation into the Katrina aftermath? - Without being "unfairly tainted" against Bush?

The USSC, NTSB, FDA audit teams, and the major accounting firms (all of which have been suggested as possible investigating bodies) are all rabidly partisan Bush-Bashing organisations that are just as likely to fit the facts to their preconceived notions as Michael Moore or MoveOn.org?

No organisation independent of the administration? The American Junior Golf Association? The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists? The American Zoo & Aquarium Association? Are they all hopelessly biased too - it that why you rule them out? Or are they part of the Bush administration? blink.gif blink.gif

Maybe you didn't consider any of these suggestions because none of them has much experience of the kind of careful, politically neutral investigation designed only to establish the facts, with no fear or favour, do they?*

But - here's the thing - NEITHER DOES ANYONE INSIDE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION - least of all the President, who doesn't himself list, even among his undisputed talents, any great gifts for detective work or deductive reasoning. So why is he the right man to head up any investigation into anything, especially one that has to investigate himself and his own administration?

QUOTE
I'm sure the other side feels the same way about Bush investigating. Hey,you can't satisfy everyone.


You're right, you can't satisfy everyone. But then, the mooted investigation isn't supposed to satisfy anyone of anything except that the kind of organisational chaos we all saw in the first week or so after Katrina hit won't happen again. It isn't going to be useful if all it does it dole out blame and identify "guilty parties" - only if it makes actionable observations on what went wrong and how to do it better the next time something similar occurs.

In that context, the mere fact that many people - even some with no political axe to grind - suspect that some of the mistakes were made inside the Bush administration, whether or not those suspicions are sufficiently justified, should rule out the President

QUOTE
Get your facts straight and try to see both sides of the issue before you get any rash beliefs.

You might like to take your own advice on this - President Bush himself is under (as yet unproven) suspicion of making some of the mistakes that contributed to the confusion of Katrina relief operations.

That is a FACT i.e. that suspicion does exist. You and me and everyone else will only be able to decide whether or not that suspicion is justified after a non-partisan investigation has taken place. What we can say though is that President Bush is not going to be able to be non-partisan in investigating his own behaviour.

QUOTE
Bush is an honest, hardworking and loyal President who will do everything in his power to give this country the respect it deserves.


That's a point of view, certainly. But you also said ...

QUOTE
Everyone has their own opinions, even though some of them are warped and wrong, not having anything to do with factual events or circumstances.


... which amply sums up how much weight anyone needs to give to such a point of view. No more and no less than any other opinion. You'll forgive me if I find it hard, given the other things you've said which I've challenged above, to think that your own opinion has very much baiss in "factual events or circumstances".

*Actually, that's a purely rhetorical flourish - my choice of two scientific associations from the Googling of "American" and "Association" as examples was deliberate - they probably are rather better qualified to examine the facts objcetively than anyone in any part of politics.
Argonaut
I guess I'm the only one so far to offer the following take on this whole situation. First, allow me to state that I am neither a Bush synchophant, nor a Republican lackey. As a Libertarian, my gripes with the current administration are legion. Having said that, I honestly believe that this whole thing (his statement and the ensuing cacaphony of speculation) has been blown way out of proportion to what it really means.

At the end of a cabinet meeting the President made the statement in question:

QUOTE
“What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong,”

I actually saw that live on C-Span and I clearly heard him say "...an investigation...", and being familiar with the difference between Bush "off-the-cuff" and Bush "on script", I honestly did not take him to mean-

"After careful thought and consultation, I hereby decree that I will officially rule over the one and only investigation of my administrations response to this disaster, and that any other investigations shall be deemed irrelevant by the good people of the United States." king.gif

Bush did not say that he would lead "the" investigation. And yet this is what is both asserted and implied in Schmeds original question in this thread-

QUOTE
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

rolleyes.gif "The investigation" rolleyes.gif As if Bush and his team didn't know fully well that there will be numerous "investigations" by any number of "concerned" entities.

I mean come on now, we all know that the President has trouble putting thoughts and words together in impromptu situations (I keep waiting for him to say-"This is a disaster of...disasterous proportions." whistling.gif ) ... But rather than being a "Rovian" attempt to exclude a congressional investigation and/or outside investigations, I believe it is much more likely that the word "leader" was floating around in his mind and he wanted to project that sense of "leading". Hence- "I will lead an investigation..."

Please do Mr. President! I look forward to the findings of your investigation. I will evaluate them in a context of who exactly does the investigating and makes the findings. hmmm.gif Just as I look forward to the Majority and Minority findings of any Congressional investigations. These too I will judge in the context of their inherent agendas. hmmm.gif

Does anyone here really believe that the 911 "commision's" findings are the un-biased complete and final judgement of that tragedy?

What I would really like to see is an investigation performed by a "commission" of experts in the appropriate fields who are not registered members of the either the Democratic or Republican Parties (also excluding those "Independents" who still always vote for the same party) dry.gif

I think the creators of the TV show South Park would be ideally suited to serve as the selection commitee for such a "commision". cool.gif
DaytonRocker
I think Bush leading an investigation makes perfect sense.

All he would have to do, is decrease the amount of vacation he takes from 27% to 25% of his presidency. That should free up enough time.

Secondly, while he's busy investigating himself, there's not much he can do to screw something else up.

Lastly, he'd really need someone detached from the situation. Again - he's a perfect choice.
Ultimatejoe
Ok, this is the third moderator's note in three days asking people to stay constructive. It will also be the last. Please remember to keep posts constructive.
NiteGuy
Is it appropriate for President Bush to lead or oversee the investigation of what went wrong in the response to hurricane Katrina?

Oh, yes, it's absolutely appropriate for Bush to lead an investigation into FEMA's response to Katrina. After all, consider the following:

At an impromptu press conference in Baton Rouge last week with Chertoff and Brown in tow, Bush told reporters that "Brownie was doing a heck of a job".

Or how about his conversation with Nancy Pelosi on Friday?

Pelosi: "Mr President you should fire Michael Brown."
Bush: "Why would I do that?"
Pelosi: "Because of everything that went wrong."
Bush: "What went wrong?"

Yeah, this investigation is going to be real impartial and fair, I'm sure-- whistling.gif
Jaime
CLOSED.

If sarcastic comments are all that we have, this debate is no longer constructive.
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