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YOUR TURN / A sample of responses received for last week's question

Q: Was the response to Hurricane Katrina adequate, and if not who is to blame?

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All levels of government failed in this crisis, right from the start. Nobody stood up and took the reins like Rudy Guiliani did during 9/1 1. This doesn't bode well for the next national crisis. A major earthquake, storm or terrorist attack will be devastating, and few have confidence that the government will efficiently handle the aftermath.

Rick Lange, Farmersville

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I think it's disgusting that liberal Democrats are trying to make the hurricane disaster a political issue when there are still corpses in the streets. It's not time for the blame game. It's time for Americans to go out and help their fellow Americans. In a disaster of such magnitude, the federal government takes 72 to 96 hours to react because of all the red tape. That's just how it is.

James A. Ziolkowski, Buffalo

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The federal response was absolutely unacceptable and President Bush must be held accountable for all of the lives lost after the hurricane due to his lack of leadership in the rescue efforts. Our military could not move without orders from its commander in chief. Where was Bush?

Penny Favale, East Amherst

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The Bush administration's pathetically slow and inept response to this disaster reminds me of an observation by P.J. O'Rourke: Republicans keep telling us that government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

Kenneth R. Boudreau, Tonawanda

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I believe the president did his best to respond in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, Democrats wasted no time in their arm-chair quarterbacking, finding nothing nice to say about the government's efforts in helping the victims. And then there's Jesse Jackson, accusing the president of not caring about black people. How ridiculous.

Jeffrey P. Mathes, Lake View

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Officials at every level of government are to blame for this disastrous response, from the mayor of New Orleans to the governor of Louisiana to those in Washington, D.C., who are allegedly in charge of Homeland Security and FEMA to the president. Shame on them.

Celeste Lawson, Buffalo
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The state of Louisiana should take some responsibility for not having its ducks in a row for such a disaster. Residents knew that they lived below sea level. But now is not the time for blame. Let's learn from this and help all our U.S. citizens. I am proud to be an American.

Linda Scurci, Buffalo

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We are all to blame for this catastrophe. We elect local, state and federal officials who give us catchy slogans instead of long-term planning and accountability. We voted for tax cuts instead of paying down the deficit and adequately funding our military. And we created a Homeland Security Department without a nationally cohesive plan.

Bruce Kolesnick, Town of Tonawanda

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This was an event of unprecedented magnitude. For people to politicize and use it to smear Bush is pathetic. He declared a state of emergency before the storm hit to speed up funding, and pushed for mandatory evacuation long before it was ordered. Levee problems were known for decades, long before Bush was in office. To claim any racially motivated lack of effort is ridiculous. Only Mother Nature should be blamed.

Suzanne Marasi, Tonawanda

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In news conferences held after FEMA's inept response to Katrina became apparent, the president's press secretary used the phrase "blame game" 15 times. Bush used it also. It's the current mantra for the administration to defuse rising and legitimate criticism of its massive failure. It is not a blame game, it is accountability and responsibility.

Daniel O'Rourke, Cassadaga

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Our government's response to the disaster wrought by Katrina was woefully inadequate. It was yet another example of the incompetence of our elected officials. Republicans have sung the siren song of small government and low taxes for 25 years and created the illusion that this would bring us economic prosperity and a lean but efficient government. Our lack of resources to effectively respond demonstrates the folly of this policy.

Richard H. Klauber, Buffalo

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The sole responsibility of any freely elected government is to protect its citizens. In the case of Katrina, the government failed miserably. As the floodwaters rose in New Orleans, every federal agency sat on the sidelines watching. Where were FEMA and the National Guard? Actually we know where the National Guard was -- in Iraq.

Justin DePlato, Buffalo

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