Friday, September 09, 2005

Plenty of blame to go around…

It’s now been well over a week since Katrina wreaked its havoc on the Gulf Coast. Anyone, regardless of their political stripe, would have to agree that the situation is a mess. I’ve criticized the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, because it’s obvious to me that he’s way in over his head. He’s a political appointee, with no previous experience in Disaster Management. His interview last week on NightLine showed, in excruciating detail, that he is just not up to the job. But I’ve been careful not to criticize FEMA itself, nor the Federal Government, nor anyone else. Not because I don’t think there haven’t been any screw-ups, but because, unlike a lot of the Talking Heads, I’d like to have my facts straight before I open my big mouth. There is lots of spin and finger-pointing going on, but even so, some interesting facts are beginning to emerge;

Both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have said that they had “core supplies” (food, water, etc.) pre-positioned and ready to bring to both the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center, but were prevented from doing so by Louisiana state officials. These officials stated that they didn’t want people staying in these places because “the plan was to evacuate these people.” Why isn’t this story in the mainstream media? The MSM and its fans love to criticize the FOX network, but FOX is the only one reporting this story. More about this at Radioblogger…

According to the New Orleans Emergency Preparedness plan, the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, is responsible for evacuating the citizens in case of an emergency. Obviously this didn’t happen. In fairness to him, it couldn’t have happened. Even today, they can’t get everyone to leave New Orleans. But he certainly could have done a better job. He had the buses to move people with as this now-famous photo of unused buses shows.


He didn’t even want to declare a mandatory evacuation until President Bush pleaded with him to do so, 2 days before the storm hit.

We’re now throwing money at this problem – over $60 Billion in aid has now been allocated by Congress and signed into law by the President. As a comparison, the levees could have been strengthened to handle a Category 5 Hurricane for $20 Billion. If that had been done, New Orleans wouldn’t have been flooded. The knowledge that the levees could fail has been around for a long time. If I was a Louisiana newspaper, I’d certainly be investigating how this could have happened…

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