The Magazine

Heck of a Book, Brownie

Bush’s FEMA director makes his case.

Jun 20, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 38 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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And on September 3, days after the levees in New Orleans had been breached, President Bush advised Governor Kathleen Blanco to request federalization of the disaster. Brown writes that he “was certain this would be a turning point in our efforts to respond and start the recovery process.” But Blanco requested 24 hours to “think about it,” and Bush acquiesced. Brown writes, “I knew it would be the death knell for that option.” 

Be that as it may, the narrative was quickly established: The federal government failed New Orleans, and Brown was a big part of why. Dangerous Indifference offers, as if it were a unique insight, that politicians sometimes go into “cover your ass” (CYA) mode during and after a crisis. Brown says the Bush administration played CYA by making him a scapegoat. But Brown apparently never stops to wonder whether he’s just covering his own.

Michael Warren is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.


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