Q1. In the above video, do you find Brown's explanations for the failure of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina convincing? Why or why not?
The criticism of the government on the Hurricane Katrina issue has been tagged to mismanagement and uncoordinated preparation in disaster management. The delay in response to a catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina’s magnitude is very telling of the failure of the Federal flood protection. Many stakeholders concerned with disaster management have had criticism leveled on them due to poor or lack of execution of emergency evacuation programs. Federal Emergency Management Association’s take on the storm has been in the limelight with its Director Michael Brown forced to construct record on how he handled the whole issue in conjunction with the relevant authorities. The Colbert report interviewed the former FEMA head on the Hurricane Katrina aftermath on March 28th in 2006. Michael Brown made a rather non-sublime effort in clearing his name from the many misconceptions that the fourth estate and the general American population had of him and FEMA’s actions in the aftermath of the fateful Hurricane Katrina.
The Colbert report hosted by Stephen Colbert took on Mr. Brown on the FEMA management of the disaster that has forever dogged the Bush administration. The Comedy Show’s Colbert report, in my opinion was Mr. Brown’s chance to redeem his image which was heavily tainted in his realm as a FEMA head during the Hurricane Katrina. Judging by his responses on the talk show one would be forgiven to believe that Michael Brown was making a mockery of the whole mess that took place during his tenure more so during the storm that hit heavily the New Orleans. He pretty sure seemed as if he was enjoying every moment talking about the federal government at all levels oversaw a hurricane catastrophe that claimed over a 1,000 lives. The first question that was asked by Colbert was “why should we forgive you?” and he responded bluntly that he did everything he could. The response by itself was not satisfactory at all in relieving the American masses the gory images of the floods that took lives and destroyed property millions which was greatly linked to the authorities’ poor emergency response.
The former FEMA head was not convincing at all during the show as he provided scanty details on the whole fateful Katrina incidence. At some point during the show, the host asked him to describe the disaster in five words or less. “One. Giant. Mess” and in addition “Screwed up” he responded chuckling. In his own words he believes that that the mess was big but manageable if he had acted effectively as was demanded of him. In the talk show he fails to expound to the public the reason to the poor evacuation by the authorities that would have evaded more deaths of the citizenry. He fails also to set the record straight on Hihop artiste Kanye West’s accusations of the Bush administration being racist for its lackluster approach to the disaster that hit a black populated region in America. He also fails to provide the general public with any developments that FEMA might have incorporated in its future approach to disasters after its poor performance during the storm.
2. Can large bureaucratic organizations like FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security ever run effectively?
Bureaucracy is defined as the administration of a government majorly through departments or bureaus with non-elective officials. The concept bureaucracy has been blamed by many for its complexity, inefficiency and inflexibility. In the modern day management bureaucracy is termed as dehumanizing and a hindrance to the effective operations of a department, firm, organization or corporation. In this context, FEMA and the department of Homeland Security have been dogged with the negating issue of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has been a major obstacle in proper flow of commands and timely emergency response to afflicted areas by these two governmental departments. FEMA, for instance, many critics have little faith in its ability to respond to emergency situations and believe that it does more in hindrance of recovery efforts than in helping the afflicted. FEMA has poor finance policy that acts as an obstacle in the efficient containing of disasters. The retrieval of the needed finance is hectic to the areas of assistance. There is a lot of paperwork needed for local authorities or small scale disaster management departments for them to secure financial aid in averting of disasters. Federal reimbursement is also hard to come by local responders to disasters. FEMA has too many rules that have to be strictly adhered to in emergency response. These rules govern its engagement with security departments and state emergency response departments.
The bureaucratic organizations such as FEMA can, however, run effectively if the relevant heads come up with brilliant strategic approaches. Disaster monitoring should be the prime objective of such an organization. The federal government should invest in efficient disaster monitoring facilities that can help proper planning for emergency response. The strict rules that are synonymous with agencies such as FEMA should be narrowed down and made flexible to enhance timely disaster response and swift coordination with local disaster respondents in different states. The agency, further, should factor in public opinions in its operations and carry constant reviews in order to boost its service-delivery.
"Michael Brown - The Colbert Report - 2006-28-03 - Video Clip | Comedy Central." N.p., Web. <http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/60903/march-28-2006/michael-brown>.