Yesterday, former FEMA chief Michael Brown went on Fox Business to talk about the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Obama administration to the H1N1 flu virus. Brownie, who gained infamy for his incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, launched into a tirade accusing the WHO for addressing the H1NI virus in a selfish bid to gain “more attention” and said the Obama administration is recklessly overreacting:
BROWN: Well I think there’s one thing they’re legitimately worried about and that is this H1N1 is a new strain we haven’t seen before so we’re not sure how Tamiflu and everything will work against it. Here’s what I really think is going on. I think they want to raise this level because that gives them more attention, it gives them more, you know, more legitimacy, and allows them to get out there and say ‘oh look at us, we’re in control we’ve got this thing taken care of.’ It legitimizes what they’re doing. We shouldn’t be scaring the public. [...]
Neil, my theory always was after Katrina that the Bush administration and now the Obama administration will do it too. They will come out and they will do everything including the kitchen sink because they don’t want to get caught with their pants down. But what that does is, that’s the same as crying the sky is falling, chicken little. And next time people will be less inclined to believe it.
Host Neil Cavuto tried to rehabilitate Brownie’s image by telling him that he was a “sacrificial lamb” for the Bush administration’s Katrina failures. But just as Brown was woefully unqualified to take the job of FEMA director, it is unclear that he knows anything more about reacting to a possible pandemic.
After all, Brown (aka “Brownie“) was a central figure in the Bush administration’s dismissive, inadequate response to the disaster. He waited days after Louisiana had declared an emergency to even request DHS personnel to the Gulf region. As officials attempted to inform Brown that people were dying at the New Orleans Superdome, his press secretary responded that Brown needed “much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes” to eat at a restaurant. Brown told the press he had just learned about the situation at the Superdome four days after Katrina made landfall and a day after his colleagues had tried to tell him. He later resigned in disgrace.
Despite Brown’s attacks, the Obama administration has been praised by experts for its response to the flu outbreak. Officials have made rapid moves to dispel “unjustified fears about the flu virus,” while “stressing the need for precautions, such as washing hands, covering sneezes and seeking medical attention for flu-like symptoms.” The WHO has raised its global alert level to phase 5 because the virus appears to be spreading easily person-to-person, and cases are appearing that have no link to Mexico.