The lead editorial in today;s New York Times is all over the Bush assministration’s “blame-gaming”.
With the size and difficulty of the task of rescuing and rebuilding New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas still unfolding, it seemed early to talk about investigating how this predicted cataclysm had been allowed to occur and why the government’s response was so slow and inept. Until yesterday, that is, when President Bush blithely announced at a photo-op cabinet meeting that he, personally, was going to “find out what went right and what went wrong.” We can’t imagine a worse idea.
No administration could credibly investigate such an immense failure on its own watch. And we have learned through bitter experience – the Abu Ghraib nightmare is just one example – that when this administration begins an internal investigation, it means a whitewash in which no one important is held accountable and no real change occurs.
Mr. Bush signaled yesterday that we are in for more of the same when he sneered and said, “One of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game.” This is not a game. It is critical to know what “things went wrong,” as Mr. Bush put it. But we also need to know which officials failed – not to humiliate them, but to replace them with competent people.