Senate Panel Says FEMA Is Beyond Repair - Yahoo! News: "Senate Panel Says FEMA Is Beyond Repair By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 40 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina turned FEMA into a 'symbol of a bumbling bureaucracy' so far beyond repair that it should be scrapped, senators said Thursday. They called for creation of a new disaster relief agency as the next storm season looms on the horizon.
The push to replace the beleaguered agency was the top recommendation of a hefty Senate inquiry that concluded that top officials from New Orleans to Washington failed to adequately prepare for and respond to the deadly storm, despite weather forecasts predicting its path through the Gulf Coast.
'The first obligation of government is to protect our people,' said Sen. Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation. 'In Katrina, we failed at all levels of government to meet that fundamental obligation.'
She added: 'We must learn from the lessons of Katrina so that next time disaster strikes, whether it's a storm that was imminent and predicted for a long time, or a terror attack that takes us by surprise, government responds far more effectively.'
The bipartisan report's executive summary gives President Bush a mixed review for his performance. It credits him for declaring an emergency before the hurricane's landfall, but faults him for waiting until two days after it hit to return to Washington and convene top officials to coordinate the federal response."
And the message here is if it is broken fix it - bungling is not an option - accountability is PR