An American Tragedy
Our Special Report on the Hurricane Katrina disaster drew mail from readers expressing sympathy for the suffering of the survivors and outrage over the agonizing slowness of the Federal Government's response. Many blamed President Bush for the delays; others called such finger pointing unfair
The sluggish response to the crisis of Hurricane Katrina was shameful [Sept. 12]. There seemed to be a lack of organization and little coordination among federal, state and local authorities. The Gulf Coast contains vital ports for oil and natural gas and should have been given a high priority in U.S. defense planning against terrorism. The government's unpreparedness makes me extremely skeptical of the effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security. It certainly didn't seem to have made plans for evacuation and disaster management in this major urban area. The scale of the disaster may have been unprecedented, but I thought the Bush Administration had spent the years since 9/11 planning for the unprecedented. BETH CONLIN Brookline, Mass.
How dare anyone blame the President for this disaster. The left-wingers have criticized the Bush Administration constantly. How can anyone--politician or member of the news media--not support our government? The critics have gone too far. We must work together, and those who can't must stay out of the way. I am tired of the divide in this country. SUZANN SOLIDAY Fresno, Calif.
Bush's slow response to Katrina was a national disgrace. Officials knew that the storm was coming and that there was going to be massive devastation. The President should have been mobilizing troops and supplies long before the hurricane ever hit. After it struck, poor people died because they had no food and water and no way out. Hospital patients, including infants, died because hospitals had no supplies or power. Looting was rampant because troops were slow to be mobilized and there were too few of them. I bet that if Bush felt he needed the military in the Middle East to protect an oil facility that he said was vital to U.S. interests, he would have had more than enough troops there immediately! JAMES SLOANE Las Vegas
The media just couldn't wait to criticize Bush and pick apart his response. Even in this time of crisis, you jump in and politicize the situation. Have you ever heard of pulling together with the rest of the country and keeping your mouth shut for a while? BARBARA WELSH Houston
Nancy Gibb's article described the government's inept response to the disaster. That's one report we should all keep close at hand when Administration officials go on TV and try to rewrite history to save their political skins. MARJORIE HERTELENDY Grafton Township, Ohio
Bush uncharacteristically said the initial relief response to the devastation along the Gulf Coast was not acceptable. Given the past reluctance of the Administration to hold anyone accountable for failure, it only remains to be seen who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom after this tragedy. BUCK RUTLEDGE Knoxville, Tenn.