The Blog

Katrina, Katrina

The fact is that we have largely frittered away not just one year, but five years since the 9/11 attacks made it clear that we have huge gaps in our emergency response system.
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One year later, I am still as mad about the bungled response to Katrina-- and more significantly, no more confident that the federal government could respond any better to the next natural disaster or serious terrorist attack. The fact is that we have largely frittered away not just one year, but five years since the 9/11 attacks made it clear that we have huge gaps in our emergency response system. Some of those gaps made evident five years ago-- such as the lack of interoperable communications for first responders-- are still gaping. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security has actually made other elements of the response system worse, because of the turmoil caused by the largest reorganization in history and the failure of Congress to ride herd over it. A few years ago, I was part of a Council on Foreign Relations task force on first responders; our report, without hyperbole, was entitled "Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared." Tragically, the same title still applies. And except for the hapless Michael Brown, no one has been held accountable.