Wednesday, February 15, 2006
POPULAR MECHANICS got a hold of a draft copy of the report from the “Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina,” and posted an initial response.
You may not have noticed Popular Mechanics (PM) of late, or can’t imagine why anyone would look to PM as an authoritative source for evaluating Katrina and governmental responses. But if so, I have reason for you to take note. It turns out, PM has been paying very close attention.
And what do the folks at PM conclude of the “Bipartisan Committee” report?
We've given the report an initial read and found it riddled with poor logic, internal contradictions and exaggerations.
Their strongest criticism suggests the effort itself is founded on a conceit that will make any of its conclusions worthless in an actual emergency, as it transforms 20/20 hindsight into an assumption of almost perfect clairvoyance on the part of the responders the report pillories:
While the 9/11 effort pinpointed large institutional problems and focused on solutions, this report seems designed to narrow attention onto a few individuals, ignoring larger, and frankly more important, issues—such as what role FEMA should actually take in large-scale emergencies.
For now, though, here’s a quick overview of what seems to be the report’s most troubling shortfall: consistently blaming individuals for failing to foresee circumstances that only became clear with the laser-sharp vision of hindsight.
When you get the techno-geeks this fired up, from a technical standpoint you’ve missed the mark for any kind of investigative effort, no matter how “Bipartisan.”
Given that the “bipartisans” we’re talking about are Congress-people, how about a truly “Non-Partisan” effort instead? (Please, no politicians need apply.)
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