So where were they on the two days of globally televised horror? Why, for instance, didn't DoD fly all this help close to New Orleans as soon as it saw Katrina coming? The answer, in military argot, is that you don't deploy troops beneath a bombing run; Katrina predictably would have wiped out any help put in her uncertain path, just as she rolled over the Big Easy's wholly unprotected "first responders."Read, as they say, the whole thing.
Then there's American history, tradition and law. Once disaster arrives, several federal laws designed to protect state sovereignty from being swept aside by a Latin-American-style national police force dictate that a state's officials, specifically the governor, is supposed to phone the federal government and describe what they need. If asked by Homeland Security, DoD will send in the cavalry. But this is one audible at the line even Don Rumsfeld doesn't get to call.
UPDATE [10:08 - 9/11/2005]:Exile makes a great point in the comments to this post. Why do we need to point political fingers at each other. It's obvious that no one intended for the system to fail, and that it failed on several levels at the same time.
So how about we just figure out what those failings were, and correct them for the next time. Who's with me?