The response to the hurricane Katrina disaster was so obviously pathetic, that everyone is criticising it. Here I am putting my two bits worth. I will occasionally compare with Australia's response to Tracey in Darwin.
1) George W should have cancelled whatever he was doing when it became certain Katrina was going to make landfall. (He was on holiday or something)
2) He personally should have declared a state of emergency the very minute that he heard the levees had been breached. It was an absolute no-brainer that full scale military command and control was going to be required, requiring emergency laws.
3) Since several states were struck, it was absolute nonsense to involve state governments in any way whatsoever.
Contrast what happened in the aftermath of Tracey. Australia's top military commander was given carte blanche on Christmas Day, holiday of holidays. Communications and electricity being out, he had to make blind guesses as to the state of Darwin. Buses to evacuate the tens of thousands out were sent in from thousands of kilometers away. Proportionally to Aus population at the time, this was quite equivalent. The city was evacuated within a week.
All this argument over Bush going to war over Iraq, yet, I believe this is Bush's real shame.