Gotta give some kudos to the press for not letting up on asking the tough questions about the response to Katrina, especially in New Orleans. Below are some exchanges between reporters and White House spokesman Scott McLellan yesterday (I've bolded some things that stood out to me):
Q Scott, the reality at hand right now is that the President said that we still live in an unsettled world. This is an administration that has told us since 9/11 that it's not a matter of "if," but "when" that we could be struck by a terror attack and, obviously, other disasters that are the result of Mother Nature. So at this point, where is the accountability? Is the President prepared to say where this White House, where this administration went wrong in its response to Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: You know, David, there are some that are interested in playing the blame game. The President is interested in solving problems and getting help to the people who need it. There will be a time --
Q Wait a minute. Is it a blame game when the President, himself, says that we remain at risk for either another catastrophe of this dimension, that's not manmade, or a terrorist attack? Isn't it incumbent upon this administration to immediately have accountability to find out what went wrong, when at any time this could happen again?
Q But, Scott, more concretely, an officer of the Northern Command is quoted as saying that as early as the time Hurricane Katrina went through Florida and worked its way up to the Gulf, there was a massive military response ready to go, but that the President did not order it. It could have been ordered on Sunday, on Monday, on Tuesday — the call didn't come. Why not?
MR. McCLELLAN: Bill, let's point out a couple of things. There were a lot of assets that were deployed and pre-positioned prior to the hurricane hitting. And you have to look back --
Q These assets were deployed, but the order to use them never came. The Bataan was sitting off behind the hurricane.
MR. McCLELLAN: I know these are all facts that you want to look at and want to determine what went wrong and what went right. I'm not prepared to agree with your assessment just there. There is a much larger picture here that we have to take a look at, and --