Friday, September 09, 2005

Brownie quietly shuffles back to Washington

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was just on C-SPAN at a press conference announcing that FEMA director Michael Brown has been relieved of duty overseeing the relief effort for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and nearby areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Chertoff brushed aside a direct question as to whether this move was a prelude to Brown's resignation, but it's a question that won't go away so easily.

Michael Brown's management of the Katrina crisis has been woefully inadequate and hopelessly incompetent — an obvious and foreseeable result of the Bush administration's policy of filling crucial posts with political cronies who lack all relevant knowledge and experience. Not only Michael Brown, but also the #2 and #3 posts at FEMA, must be fired immediately, since they didn't have a single day of emergency management experience among them before this crisis. Running FEMA is not a task for which on-the-job training is appropriate. Lives are at stake, as is the economic survival of the entire region. This is not a time for faith-based direction, but rather direction based on experience and solid planning. I sincerely hope that Vice Admiral Thad Allen (Coast Guard) and Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Army) are better equipped than Brownie and his cadre of clowns.