Hurricane Katrina was one of the most destructive natural disasters in recent history, killing thousands of victims and leaving the Gulf Coast region in shambles. The total damage amounted to many billions of dollars, and the Federal Government has scrambled to coordinate relief efforts in attempt to repair and rebuild what was lost. Amidst the destruction in the Gulf Coast region, however, a single question still stands: who can we blame for the damage caused by the Hurricane? This question has raised important issues and controversies about whether or not Bush's response to the Hurricane was adequate; but as the dust settles, all fingers still seem to point toward Bush. The poor communication, failure of initiative, and misinformed decisions during the hurricane relief effort were President Bush's responsibility, and his greatest failure.
Immediately after the Hurricane struck, poor communication was the government's largest breakdown. On the night of the hurricane, an e-mail message from FEMA's public affairs staff was sent to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, which said that conditions "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting.
Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought..."1 Chertoff then called the Whitehouse to update the Hurricane's damage, but the President seemed oblivious to the current information. Even until the next morning, President Bush stayed on vacation in Texas, feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet", as he later recalled.2 The President's delay to increase hurricane relief efforts left thousands of people stranded in trees and on rooftops for hours without adequate rescue efforts. These crucial hours escalated seniors' and hospitalized patients' fatalities, who could not withstand the deadly weather through the night.
Other failures in communication added to the disorganization and fatalities during the hurricane. On the morning of...