Thursday, September 08, 2005
Dems to Chertoff - Please Sugarcoat Your Briefing
DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff is taking some heat from Congressional Democrats about his briefing on the situation in the areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The New York Times claims there is some dispute as to exactly what was said during this briefing - as it was closed to the press. Never the less, the SOTR has obtained a transcript of some of the proceedings and is please to provide them to the public in this forum.
Begin Transcript:OK, maybe I took a few stylistic liberties with the transcript.
Representative Bernie Thompson (D-MS): Secretary Chertoff, I want answers!
Secretary Chertoff: You want answers?
Thompson: I think I'm entitled to them!
Chertoff: You want answers?
Thompson: I want the truth!
Chertoff: YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!
Here's the bottom line. Chertoff is giving an overall report regarding the rescue and recovery situation in the entire area (roughly 90,000 square miles). Thompson and company are looking at the images relayed to them via media outlets. Either Chertoff or Army Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum stated the sparse images coming out of New Orleans offered only a "small soda straw view of what was going on."
The media reports what it can see. It does not have the resources to see everything, and frankly horrific images make better news copy that do images of rescue and recovery. That's the truth. If it bleeds, it leads.
Nobody likes to think about the decisions that must be made in a disaster situation. Sometimes, no matter what decision is made, innocent people - men, women, children - of all races - will die. Trying to sugarcoat that truth does nothing except calm the senses of those on the receiving end of the briefing. Chertoff has better things to do.
What happened in the Superdome and Convention Center was truly horrible. I don't know of anyone who tries to waffle that issue. The causes for that disaster within a disaster need to be investigated and those responsible need to be held accountable. That said, that investigation should not shy away from the truth - no matter who it implicates.
Sugarcoating information for the sake of Congressional Democrats cannot be part of the process.
Here endeth the lesson.
UPDATE: Robert Tracinski over at The Intellectual Activist has some more thoughts sure to rile the Dems.