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Hurricane Katrina

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For more than a week now, the outpouring of help for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, both public and private, has been impressive – even inspiring. Americans at every level are reaching out. And Utahns should take pride in the way they’ve so graciously welcomed the hundreds of evacuees sent here.

Still, serious questions persist about the initial response to the catastrophe and why it took as long as it did to get the relief effort in high gear.

The Department of Homeland Security, in the aftermath of 9/11, spent billions of dollars analyzing various disaster scenarios. Think of the equipment the bureaucrats purchased, the drills they conducted and the reams of manuals they assembled. Then ask yourself, based on what happened in New Orleans last week during the first 48-hours, if American taxpayers got their money’s worth.

And it is not just Uncle Sam on the hot seat.

Local leaders who were responsible for evacuation plans and initial rescue and recovery efforts must likewise be held accountable. And let’s not overlook individual citizens who failed to prepare or follow life saving instructions.

Meantime, we can be grateful for what’s happening now: for Herculean efforts to repair what’s broken; for generous donations to aid to the needy; and for smiles that are gradually returning to the faces of those so devastatingly afflicted.

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