"Passivity did the most damage," it said. "The failure of initiative cost lives, prolonged suffering, and left all Americans justifiably concerned our government is no better prepared to protect its people than it was before 9/11, even if we are."
The panel, made up mostly of Republicans, faulted state and local officials for not being prepared for the initial consequences of Katrina, but also blamed Bush for not recognizing or completely ignoring the situation as it unfolded.
The report finds fault with Chertoff for failing to activate a national plan to trigger fast relief, and with Homeland Security for overseeing a bare-bones and inexperienced emergency response staff. It found that the military played an invaluable role in the response but lacked coordination with Homeland Security and other relief agencies.
The report, coming on the heals of Senate hearings, is an indictment of the Bush administration claim that it has prepared the nation for emergencies. But, hey, Bush has conviction, right... and he looks good with a blow horn in his hand, standing on top of a pile of rubble.