Today's revelations about the grotesque failures of FEMA's response to Katrina weren't necessarily shocking for the information that was brought to light -- but by the fact that nobody seems to care, and no one is being held accountable.
The report by Joby Warrick in today's Washington Post presents a damning indictment of FEMA, this time for being offered vast resources by other federal agencies -- and then utterly failing to follow up:
Acting in the "immediate aftermath" of the hurricane, [Department of] Interior officials provided FEMA with a comprehensive list of assets that were "immediately available for humanitarian and emergency assistance," according to the memo, dated Nov. 7, 2005. Those assets included more than 300 boats, 11 aircraft, 119 pieces of heavy equipment, 300 dump trucks and other vehicles for clearing debris, as well as Interior-owned campgrounds and other land that could be used as staging areas or emergency shelters.
Also offered were rescue crews from the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service, teams specially trained for urban search-and-rescue missions using flat-bottom boats.
When it became clear that FEMA was completely useless, workers in these agencies took matters into their own hands:
Ultimately, many Fish and Wildlife teams did travel to the Gulf and assisted in the rescues of more than 4,500 people -- but they were "never formally tasked" for that assignment by FEMA, the document states.
These stories raise an interesting point, which I haven't heard anyone mention: despite all the dreadful stories you hear about lazy and coddled government workers, it seems many sprung into action to help in the face of tragedy, in spite of the colossal incompetence of their superiors.