T Nation

President Takes Full Responsibility


Very noble...


Bush Takes Responsibility for Blunders
Sep 13 12:13 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


President Bush said Tuesday that "I take responsibility" for failures in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and said the disaster raised broader questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters as well as terror attacks.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.

The president was asked whether people should be worried about the government's ability to handle another terrorist attack given failures in responding to Katrina.

"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond," Bush replied.

He said he wanted to know both what went wrong and what went right.

As for blunders in the federal response, "I'm not going to defend the process going in," Bush said. "I am going to defend the people saving lives."

He praised relief workers at all levels. "I want people in America to understand how hard people worked to save lives down there," he said.

Bush spoke after R. David Paulison, the new acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, pledged to intensify efforts to find more permanent housing for the tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors now in shelters.


Well, it was a long while in coming (in that other responsibility issues had been totally ignored), but this is what a president should do in my opinion.

Nice to see. It raises my estimation of the man...


It is the correct, and admirable, thing to do.

Meanwhile dubya and daddy decided to make the most of their visit to NOLA.


As I said previously, one fault you cannot assign to the GOP is lack of brilliance in marketing -- this was basically part of a greater political recovery strategy.

Now, was it heartfelt? Maybe. I never thought Bush was Bad(tm), just, as orion once put it, without a functioning brain.

Does it matter? Not really -- actions speak much higher than words. So what matters is what he's going to do about it.

Talking about this, there's this absolutely brilliant article on Newsweek that should be compulsory reading for every American:



Nice chop.


Another piece of superb journalism that definitely merits a good, hard read:



Nice gesture, considering Mike Brown got to take the brunt of the blame. Not saying he didn't fuck up either, but I think it's pathetic that we have to make an example out of anyone. It's not any one person's fault.

Pretty sanctimonious, IMO.


I think the next time that they predict impending disaster and warn everyone to leave the area they ought to heed the advice and get out. Then no one dies! And local, state and federal governments are not blamed for individuals not acting in their own interests.


Bush said, "to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job..". He's taking responsibility to an "extent" which deflects much of the well deserved shit the federal government deserves on this. I wonder how far he believes the federal government should have reached out to help the poverty stricken, disenfranchised, non-voting citizens?

I was in New Orleans last spring for the first time. It's was a fucking third world shithole last June. I was not shocked at all that this happened. The government sure as hell wasn't helping these people before Katrina.


The media has no idea about the extent of the response that went on.


Yes all issues of national importance should be based on liberal media spin.

Too funny. We should have some college professors and reporters running this response. They could use the real world experience and the rest of us could use a break and of course the entertainment.


And what 'help' should the gov't be giving to these people that was NOT previously afforded them. It's easy to make blanket statements and factless arguments. how about explaing possible solutions and where exactly the gov't failed these non-voting Americans.

Thjere is plenty of blame to go around, not the least of which is personal responsibilty. Then comes local,state, and federal failings.

those of you who believe this could have been averted by simple policy fail to understand the scope of this situation. The magnitude is before unseen. FEMA did not work perfect here I would agree, but to put all the blame at the federal level is simply Bush mongering. Now he has accepted responsibility for the federal shortcomings, and he is crucified for that because the mongerers say it is simply political and not heartfelt.

What to do??


Agreed. This guy has some good/daring consultants under him. Actually accepting responsibility is a new trick for an American President. Nixon and Clinton could have learned a thing or two. By accepting responsibility they are hoping to lose some of the criticism. But though he "took the blame" Brown is still the one who lost his job...


I think from what I've learned in the past 2 weeks--Brown deserves to lose that job. Not first and foremost for scapegoat reasons--he simply is not qualified for the job


While actions do speak louder than words, I think you do need to at least acknowledge the words. It is a hell of a step from previous stances.


Normally I am not terribly impressed with Altman's material, but I think there is some good stuff here. But a few things.

  1. He trots out the tired line about 'tax cuts for the rich'. Tax cuts across the board include the rich and since the rich proportionally pay more into government, algrebraically they get more back. What stinks about this is that it can be easily refuted, but it has become a commandment of the Left's language.

  2. While he does a decent job of discussing both sides of the issue, what he leaves untouched is the plight of New Orleans specific to its ridiculously corrupt local government. Corrupt governments don't often do much for the plight of the poor and downtrodden, and New Orleans was a painful example.

  3. He wants Bush to have his uber-moment by tackling the issue of poverty - but how do you do it? Rewarmed socialism is not an option no matter how badly Altman might want it. Education is a great start, and I am glad to see him castigate Democrats for being in bed with the teachers' unions at the expense of students.

Poverty cannot be 'solved' in any real sense, but the two best options are maintaining a robust economy and making sure that education is not only available, but good. I think the part about a good education gets overlooked - folks are whining for more money and computers in classrooms, but what good is more money and more computers if the kids can't do basic math without the help of a PC?

There will always be 'classes' in a free society. Any attempt to extinguish this is an invitation to tyranny and ignorant of human nature. But we are obligated to help the weak, and there is no better way than creating opportunies through education.


Sorry to be blunt, thunder -- and take this in the best possible way -- but don't be a smartass. I'm an Economist for a living (I'm actually in DC starting this week, since I was asked to come in as a consultant...) and not only I can't refute it, I have plenty of arguments for it. My work has only reinforced my political beliefs. Actually, the rich should pay a lot more taxes than they do already, even if the major key to that is actually reducing tax fraud, rather than increasing taxes per se.

But that's another discussion altogether -- the time now is to find some way to rebuild the region without having a major economic catastrophe, and I'm here in DC to do my part...


Yes, this is momentous. It's the first time the President has ever publicly accepted responsibility for any mistake. It only took ten days of nationally televised bodies floating in floodwaters, and all of the political fallout pertaining thereunto. But at least we all now finally know what magnitude of error could ever bring our beloved Dubya to such candor.

Blinded by an ideology that dismisses FEMA as a needless exercise in patronage, Bush reified that mistaken view by staffing FEMA's hierarchy with incompetent pols as if it were some kind of plum tree. All the while acknowledging, through a major reorganization of the federal government, that FEMA was an essential component of Homeland Security. It boggles the mind.

We are talking here about how a sitting American president willfully jeopardized the security of the United States in a way that baffles all common sense.

Let's hope our enemies sit on their hands until this miserable excuse for a wartime president is off of ours.


Like how much more? The rich should pay 50+% of their income in taxes, while the poor pay -10% of their income? How does punishing the achievers help anything?


Endgamer, well said.

What could the feds have done before the hurricane? Let's see, New Orleans has been identified as one of the U.S.'s most economically important ports. See the oil prices go up. Mmmm, maybe "Homeland Security" could have read the studies that have been done years ago that conclude that the levees would not withstand a category 3 hurricane. Bush appointed a dooshbag with no experience in emergency management, unless you count shoveling Arabian horse shit, because he was a college roomate of some politico of his. As was 9/11/01, this was a ticking timebomb. The feds had the information that showed this disaster was going to happen and, what do you know, it did.
Bush has not taken FULL responsibility. He has only come out and said this because his advisors told him it would make him look more presidential. He is a fucking disaster.