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September 15, 2005

Brownie's heckuva job

Michael Brown / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn an interview with the New York Times, Michael Brown, former director of FEMA, demonstrates the various qualities that made him such a capable leader before, during, and after the cataclysm of Hurricane Katrina (note the ring of awesomely powerful credibility surrounding his words):

Effective leadership and communication
"I am having a horrible time," Mr. Brown said he told Mr. Chertoff and a White House official - either Mr. Card or his deputy, Joe Hagin - in a status report that evening. "I can't get a unified command established."

Assertiveness
"Would you please call the mayor and tell him to ask people to evacuate?" Mr. Brown said he asked Mr. Bush in a phone call.

Level-headed leadership (and articulateness)
Mr. Brown passed the list on to the state emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, but when he returned that evening he was surprised to find that nothing had been done. "I am just screaming at my F.C.O., 'Where are the helicopters?'"he recalled. "'Where is the National Guard? Where is all the stuff that the mayor wanted?'"

Fact-finding
In fact, he said, he learned about the evacuees there from the first media reports more than 24 hours earlier, but the reports conflicted with information from local authorities and he had no staff on the site until Thursday.

Brownie's final word
"Until you have been there," he said, "you don't realize it is the middle of a hurricane."

And even if you were there too, apparently.

Now, let us not forget the man who gave him this job ...