Mr. Bush, I'm happy to see that you returned today to states devastated by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. It appears you and your folks are finally starting to take this catastrophe seriously, and federal manpower and assistance is now pouring into the ravaged communities. I agree with all who say that America's attention should be focused on saving lives, helping the victims and cleaning up and re-building devastated communities. But, Mr. Bush, that doesn't mean that Americans are going to forget that you, FEMA, Homeland Security, and the rest of your folks failed miserably to prepare for Katrina, and to assist with rescue and relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of the Hurricane and levee breaches in New Orleans.
Mr. Bush, tomorrow the Congress returns to work in Washington, DC. It's not too early for the House and Senate to start asking the tough questions - mainly the really big one: How did the only remaining superpower, the richest, most prosperous, educated, skilled country in the world so miserably fail its citizens at a time of such great suffering??
I'm also hoping, House Speaker, Dennis Hastert has done some soul-searching about his comments immediately following the Hurricane. Mr. Hastert felt that much of what he saw in should be bulldozed in New Orleans. He questioned whether it was a wise use of federal funds to re-build a city situated below sea level in a hurricane zone. I quote, Mr. Hastert, "It doesn't make sense to me."
Well Mr. Hastert, you should be ashamed. New Orleans is home to thousands of Americans - many of whom want to return someday to their homes after the city is rebuilt. New Orleans, one of America's oldest cities, rich as it is with history, should be re-built the same way we re-built New York City after 9-11, California communities after earthquakes and Florida communities after Hurricanes just like Katrina. Shame on you Mr. Hastert, I hope you've re-considered your position.
Tomorrow, when the Congress returns to work I hope Members begin investigations into 'how our goverment could have done better', so that we can 'do better' in the future. Specifically, regarding New Orleans and its levee breaches - they need to ask the Bush Administration why it has repeatedly lobbied against Army Corp of Engineers' requests for funding to improve the levees that hold back Lake Pontchatrain.
According to the Washington Post, Mr. Bush and his crew, just weeks ago in July, lobbied unsuccessfully against 1-billion dollars in funding to re-build coastlines and wetlands that serve as a buffer against Hurricanes. Mr. Bush, now that the eyes of America and the world are on you, are you going to do the right thing and spend the 14-billion dollars that experts say is needed to fully restore the coastlines and wetlands, and repair the levees so that New Orleans won't suffer this same fate in the future?
For now, Mr. Bush, you and your folks must keep your undivided attention on helping the Americans who have just suffered through this catastrophe and are now homeless. They've already suffered enough and their future is in your hands. You've already failed them once, and Americans aren't going to forget that. At the proper time you and your folks must be held accountable. Without accountability the suffering was for naught and other Americans could oneday in the future suffer the same horrible fate.