There are few people more incompetent and unqualified to handle their jobs and responsibilities than President George W. Bush. But I suppose it is only fitting that one of those people was appointed directly to his position by Bush himself.

It’s hard to have a more pathetic rsum than Bush, but the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown, might actually have Bush beat.

Brown, prior to becoming the head of FEMA, ran the International Arabian Horse Association for nine years. That job ended tumultuously when he was forced out due to numerous lawsuits stemming from his enforcement of rules for judges and stewards.

So the man who could not even run a horse association was hand-picked by Bush to run FEMA. I’m not sure how failing at dealing with horses makes one qualified to run an organization that exists to help victims of disasters and other emergencies.

I guess the obvious answer is that he isn’t qualified, as he demonstrated last week during the tragedy in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina.

One of the reasons that so many lives were lost in Louisiana and Mississippi was the failure to evacuate residents to safer ground.

Since there was no organization, many people were left stranded in their houses with no way to flee the city.

Many of those who did make it out of their homes found shelter in the Louisiana Superdome.

However, lack of organization there led to even more problems, ranging from robberies to a story of a 14-year-old girl being raped. Officials in Louisiana needed more help providing food, water and security for the victims.

But someone forgot to inform Mike Brown of this, as the head of FEMA admitted that he did not even know that some 15,000 people were in the Superdome until Thursday.

I honestly have no idea what Brown was doing while those people, among many others in the area, were dying. But Bush did not seem to find this to be a problem, congratulating Brown “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

Not that Bush had a better idea of what was going on in the region until far too late.

He went on with a scheduled trip to California as Katrina struck New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Both Bush and Brown also found it easier to blame the people of Louisiana for the chaos and anarchy that ensued in the aftermath of the disaster.

Brown claimed that the lack of evacuations were the fault of the local governments, though these governments clearly do not have the resources for an evacuation of such magnitude.

Bush, meanwhile, with his endless comments, managed to anger Louisiana residents so much that mild mannered Senator Mary Landrieu threatened to “punch” Bush if he continued to criticize local officials. She accused Bush of failing to send troops, supplies and other assistance quickly enough as well as failing to fortify the levees.

By the way, I should mention that last year, FEMA rehearsed how they would respond to a hurricane in New Orleans and what they would do if residents were stranded.

Even practice can’t make up for the incompetent running of FEMA.

Daga can be reached at ndaga@campustimes.org.



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