4 Places Where the System Broke Down

A TIME investigation shows how confusion, incompetence and, ironically, a fear of making mistakes hobbled the government at all levels

Ten days after Hurricane Katrina trashed the Gulf Coast, a radio talk-show host in Los Angeles asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice if it was true that President Bush does not care about black people. (She said no.) A man standing in the ruins in Gulfport, Miss., told the Vice President, "Go f___ yourself." (He smiled.) And the mayor of New Orleans secretly decamped for much of the week to Dallas to install his family there, refusing most media interviews, although the bodies had only begun to be counted in his drowned city. Even as soldiers swarmed into the Gulf Coast...

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