Today's Blogs

A Katrina Commission?

Bloggers discuss Sen. Hillary Clinton’s call for an independent investigation into disaster mismanagement and ponder the forced evacuation of New Orleans residents; they also react to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s admission that he was partly to blame for the oil-for-food scandal.

A Katrina commission?: Answering the White House’s declaration that it will analyze—not “investigate”—why the government response to Hurricane Katrina was so inadequate, Sen. Hillary Clinton called for an independent investigation to be modeled on the 9/11 commission. She is also co-sponsoring a bill that would extract FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security.

Clinton’s suggestion makes sense to some. “By having an independent committee, people in government involved in overseeing the massive job that we now face would be free to continue their work, opines liberal La’ikoa. “Sounds like a better plan then Bush dragging out a self-investigation until after the 2008 elections, and then dropping it. A state-level inquiry would be most effective, believes a poster at group-blog Blogtemps.  “A state investigation would most likely be the only bipartisan investigation as to the truth of the matter because a Congressional and Presidential investigation will be tainted with careers at stake.”

Conservatives don’t buy it. “No, I repeat, NO government agency could have provided assistance to an area that enormous in the time demanded. … To politicize this disaster by the absurd fiberals like Hillary Clinton is more than shameful, it is detrimental to America, all because she drools to be president,” fulminatesNewsGnome’s Woodrow Wilson Carver. And, in her column, superblogger Michelle Malkin claims that the 9/11 commission didn’t do any good anyway: “There isn’t a single Katrina victim who will benefit from hindsight hound dogs publishing thousand-page tomes with cherry-picked evidence that distorts the true narrative of what happened and why.”

Bloggers are also riveted by New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin’s announcement that those who refuse to leave the city will be evacuated by force if needed. An estimated 10,000 people are still left there; many say they don’t want to leave their pets, their property, and their way of life behind. According to thisWashington Post story, “A Louisiana official said this morning the state won’t make people leave their homes in the besieged city.”

Some have no sympathy for those who refuse. “We should take a picture of you, have you sign a waiver, and then that’s it. … You get no more food, no more water, nothing. You will either die of starvation or catch some horrible disease and shit yourself to death. And it will be your own damn fault. To everyone else, hold on, they’re coming,” writesMister Beightel’s Neighborhood’s Benji-san, an environmental science expert in Kansas.

Others are more conflicted. “My question is: what do you do if people still refuse to leave? Shoot them?” asks right-leaning Al Bla’ag, who attempts to understand why people wouldn’t want to leave and bashes the New Orleans police force for its incompetence. The Houston Conservative’s Will Malven adds, “Where does rescuing end and loss of freedom begin? I honestly don’t know whether this order is right or wrong.” Black Cat Bone’s James Bailey, an artist who has worked in New Orleans, writes, “[T]he Mayor of New Orleans knows better - he knows the heart and soul of a true hard-core New Orleanian. Leaving ain’t an option.” He suggests that people who want to understand this sentiment better should read John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

Read more about Hillary’s call for an investigation and about forced evacuations.

Embarrassment for oil for food: Paul Volcker, who led a probe into massive irregularities in the United Nation’s oil-for-food arrangement with Saddam-era Iraq, informed the Security Council yesterday that its members “shared the blame,” alongside Secretary-General Kofi Annan, for failing to administer the program properly. “The report is critical of me personally, and I accept its criticism,” said Annan, claiming that the Volcker report’s discoveries are “deeply embarrassing to us all.”

Conservative bloggers are having a heyday. “Embarrassing enough to resign over, Kofi? Hope so,” snarls Deacon Dan, commenting on Blogs for Bush. Mystery writer Roger L. Simon points to the Volcker Report’s main recommendations, which include creating a CEO position and setting up an Independent Auditing Board to review hiring choices. Simon insists, “[S]omething rather obvious is missing, something even rudimentary intelligence would tell us is the sine qua non for battling and ending corruption - simple economic transparency … permanently opening the UN’s books for the citizens of the world who pay for it.”

Annan does have a few supporters. “It should be pointed out that the only criticism currently is misadministration; the report stops short of accusing the Secretary General of maladministration, a far more serious criticism. Note also that under the procurement rules of the UN, Kofi has no say in the awarding of contracts,” writesThe Casimir Effect v. 2.0’s Casimir, a techie.

Read more about Kofi Annan and the oil-for-food scandal; read the Volcker Report.

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