PUBLISHED: 3:58 PM on Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Independent committee should review response to Hurricane Katrina
Letter to the Editor
We are all saddened by the tragedies surrounding the loss of life and homes in the Gulf Coast. On a pragmatic level, however, it is critical that we hold negligent officials and agencies accountable for their pathetic federal response. Their mismanagement of the National Guard, FEMA and search and rescue crews is nearly systematic and scandalous. The public deserves to know why the Department of Homeland Security failed in its disaster preparedness and why we are clearly less safe than before 9/11.

Anticipating public outcry, the Bush administration has volunteered to investigate itself. We must all recognize this trickery as a conflict of interest. Perhaps any administration would attempt the same cover-up. But now, aside from politics, we must all support an independent investigation that is not tied to either party. The Bush Administration must not be allowed to cover it's own trail. I challenge our media to join the call for an independent investigation. The media, after all, is supposed to objectively seek the truth. If the media does not do its job, America suffers.

The investigation should be modeled after the 9/11 Commission and have full subpoena power to call on whomever they see fit for information and testimony. Their goal must be to identify what could have and should have been done to lessen this disaster. They should identify whose responsibility it was to carry out these tasks and hold them accountable. If the directors of certain programs were incompetent, the Katrina Commission should identify who was responsible for appointing these individuals to office. We desperately need accountability! Accountability is impossible with a partisan commission (aka Congress), hence the need for an independent investigation.

Hiram Henry

Juneau, Alaska