Pootergeek links to Tim Newman (an engineer - so he should know about these things) who has a really good bit of perspective on Hurricane Katrina on his site. The blame is being distributed faster than drinking water has been in New Orleans.
"Does anyone realise that Hurricane Katrina was the 3rd most intense hurricane on record and the fiercest in 35 years to hit the US? Does anybody actually acknowledge that this is an extremely rare event? The whirlwind of bullshit emanating from the media and blogosphere since Katrina's passing ...." etc. You can almost work out the rest for yourself
Read the whole thing.
And now I'm going to slightly contradict him by agreeing with one of the points that he derides.
Point 10: "This is all the fault of Small Government. Only Big Government can handle such emergencies."
I doubt if 'Big Government' would have differed with the risk-assessment that Local Government made. But I do think that the variable geometry of US federal Government makes for sub-optimal policy-making - and an inability to respond as well as they could.
Wolfgang Munchau had a good piece in the FT saying exactly this a few days ago (you need a subscription to read it though). He takes the work of Mancur Olsen as his text and writes about the variable geometry of the Eurozone and the Schenegen countries. But this lesson could equally apply to Katrina, the FA or the UN.