Friday, February 10

Brownie bites back!


Michael Brown of FEMA fame is back in the spotlight. He's apparently not happy about his portrayal as the scapegoat for the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

"Brownie" (as famously dubbed by President Bush) has told a congressional panel that the White House knew when the New Orleans levees broke — and it was much earlier than previously disclosed. He is casting doubt on the claims that the administration was caught off guard by the levee disaster. It's all turning into a "who knew what, and when did they know it" scenario.

"Brownie" made for some great one-liners for the late-night comics. He was the bumbler, the easy butt of easy jokes. Certainly, he and FEMA were guilty of incompetence that went beyond comedic and into the tragic. "Brownie" had to go, and he did.

What's been odd from the start of this fiasco is the relative inattention to Brownie's boss, Michael Chertoff. As head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chertoff was in charge, and Brownie was his subordinate. Yet Chertoff escaped the brunt of the late-night jokes and the newspaper editorials.

That is, until now. As head of Homeland Security, Chertoff is responsible for its core task: to ensure that the nation is ready for disaster, be it manmade or natural. His department is charged with preparation and communication, with special attention to eliminating the federal-state-local problems in dealing with the unexpected. Under Homeland Security, agencies at all levels are supposed to work together, talk to each other and protect the American people.

Homeland Security's wretched performance during the Katrina disaster and recovery has exposed the failure to meet this mission. The Dullard Gazette, therefore, calls for Michael Chertoff to resign, effectively immediately.

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