The Outcome of Katrina

Here is what the government’s bungled response to Katrina was really all about:

President Bush on Monday urged Congress to examine whether the White House needs stronger powers to deal with catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina.

Bush’s backing for the congressional inquiry raised the possibility that lawmakers might expand presidential authority to:

  • Order mandatory civilian evacuations
  • Dispatch U.S.-based armed forces for emergency search-and-rescue operations
  • Grant wider leeway for active-duty U.S. military personnel to carry out law enforcement operations.

Am I surprised? No, I am not. This is exactly the point of an excellent article by Paul David Collins titled “Katrina and the Politics of Disaster”:

The lesson to be learned from Katrina is fairly obvious. In the event of a catastrophe, we cannot depend on the government to be our savior. The politics of disaster are not about relief for the victims. They are about the acquisition of power.

From the government’s standpoint, things went very well in New Orleans.

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