MoveOn calls for independent Katrina investigation

Let me just preface this by saying that this is not a partisan issue. Everyone in the country, most especially those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, deserves a full and independent investigation into the federal response, not just some whitewash, which is what we usually get. With that in mind, I was forwarded a letter that MoveOn sent to its members today, the text of which appears below.

Identifying information has been stripped from the letter. Its publication here should also not be construed as an endorsement of MoveOn or its political positions generally.

Dear MoveOn member,

Ten days after Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans is still mostly underwater and hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, yet NBC Nightly News reported last night that FEMA’s portable housing remains hundreds of miles away unused. It is now obvious that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina is a national scandal that requires a proper investigation. But Republicans in Congress have proposed an investigation that would be run by them. Democrats are insisting on an independent commission with its own independent investigators and subpoena authority’modeled after the 9/11 Commission.

So far the media isn’t exposing that the Republican leadership is trying to cover over the Bush administration’s failure to keep us safe. We need to make sure the media get on the case. One easy way to do that is on the Letters to the Editor page of newspapers. We’ve set up an online tool that makes submitting a letter easy. You write your letter, choose where you want it to go, and click to send. Will you write a letter to the editor? Click below to get started.

An effective letter to the editor is short’just a couple of paragraphs. The goal is to show your local media, your neighbors and even our elected leaders that people want an independent investigation of what happened, and apparently what continues to happen, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Letters to the Editor page is often the most-read page in a newspaper.

Your letter will be very timely. New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is introducing legislation that would establish the independent Katrina Commission. According to Sen. Clinton’s website: “The Katrina Commission would be charged with providing a comprehensive and unbiased evaluation of what could and should have been done to avoid the extraordinary damage, the loss of life, the evacuation problems and the inadequate relief efforts that have exacerbated the dislocation and suffering of thousands of Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina.”

But while Sen. Clinton’s proposal is exactly what we need to do, many in the media are reporting on this as a squabble between Democrats and Republicans. Your letter can send a signal to the media that the public wants an independent commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission that is widely respected and viewed as the right way to look into failures by our government. Please write a letter today.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Republicans tried to stack the deck in an investigation. After September 11, they tried to push a phony investigation and only after 9/11 widows insisted on an independent investigation did they pass legislation to establish the 9/11 Commission.

The heads of that commission are now speaking openly about the failures they saw during Katrina. We need those independent voices.

We need to insist the media reports this right by making it clear that people want an independent commission much like the 9/11 Commission–a Katrina Commission.

Please write a letter today. Thanks for all you do.

‘Tom, Justin, Wes, Micayla and the Political Action Team
Friday, September 9th, 2005

P.S. More information:

Details on the Katrina Commission from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“9/11 commission heads see repeat failures with Katrina,” Reuters, Sept. 8, 2005.

“Sen. Hillary Clinton Calls for Independent FEMA Probe,” ABC News, Sept. 7, 2005.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Again, this is far from a partisan issue. I’ve heard from many Republicans who are equally disgusted at the federal government’s continued bungling of the emergency response.

Calling for an independent investigation in a letter to the editor is a great idea. However, you should also contact your representative and Senators as well.

One thought on “MoveOn calls for independent Katrina investigation

  • September 12, 2005 at 10:13 am

    We can find things wrong at all levels, if that’s what we’re looking for.

    My chief complaint was — and is — that the feds consistently refused private aid and foreign aid into New Orleans, and continue to do so. In addition, the feds frustrated local and state level responses whenever possible.

    Not to mention the utterly inhuman treatment of people being evacuated, documented here and elsewhere.

    This sort of disaster should be handled at the local level first, state level second, and federal level last. However, this particular disaster crossed state lines, so I can see a place for a federal response.

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