The level of failure around Katrina, as even Europeans have expressed, is astounding. It’s hard to get your head around actually. Everyone knows that when catastrophe strikes, there are going to be things out of the control of those in charge. This is accepted and understood. What is so stunning is the number of things that have gone wrong with this disaster that were within the control of our leaders.

They knew – they have known for years that New Orleans was vulnerable. They knew last week that a huge hurricane was about to hit. They knew on Tuesday that a catastrophe was occuring and people were dying.

And yet, budgets to shore up the levees were repeatedly cut, no planning was done prior to the hurricane hitting, and after it hit, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Dennis Hastert and Andrew Card, among others, remained on vacation and attended campaign fundraisers.

This is not about Republican or Democrat – poor leadership is not only the domain of one party – but it most definitely is about politics. It is about who we elect as our leaders, the choices they make on our behalf, and whether we are paying attention to the job they are doing before it is too late.