Michael Browne's willingness to be honest about what happened during Hurricane Katrina and not be just another ass-coverer for the sins of BushCo. has facilitated one of the most amazing image rehabilitations in blogger history. Over at The Moderate Voice Joe Gandelman wrote an apology to him, and received this in his comments (Joe believes it is legitimate):
Dear Joe:I'll pick up that baton from Joe -- Michael Brown was in over his head but contrary to what I snarked about at the time, the tapes show that he did appreciate the threat and he was trying to get the government to respond. They wouldn't, and they deserve to absorb every bit of scorn that was heaped on Brown at the time for their failure to do so, so I would officially like to transfer my snark. It is to Brown's credit that he's being honest about it now and refusing to be the BushCo. goat. I offer my apologies and hope that others are encouraged to follow in his footsteps.
I have religiously avoided responding to any of the blogs, but feel compelled to respond to you. Apology accepted. And thank you, too, for the apology.
I have stated on numerous occasions the mistakes that I made and accepted responsibility for those mistakes. And, I hope now that the public, Congress, and especially the Administration, will heed the warnings I wrote to them in 2003, 2004 and 2005, that this kind of disaster was inevitable because of the way the Department of Homeland Security was functioning. I would be glad to provide you copies of those memos if you're interested.
In January, 2005, I came to the conclusion that FEMA was doomed to failure. But rather than quit immediately (which my wife reminds me constantly was a huge mistake for our family) I commissioned an internal study (the "Mitre Report") in order to leave a legacy of how FEMA could make things work that were broken - logistics, supply chains, communications. We were never able to finish that study because of a lack of funding and of course, impending disasters.
The Mitre Report is now in the hands of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and I hope they make good use of its initial findings and recommendations.
Michael D. Brown
Update: FWIS "Michael Brown" responds in the comments.