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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Accountability For Local Government or CYA Cover-up?

On Sunday, September 11th 2005 America will observe the fourth anniversary of the September 11th atrocities. It was day that Americans of all stripes, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, young and old came together, united in a common goal to recover our fallen, and march forward to protect our nation. New York's finest, the police and firefighters, many of whom lost friends and family in the attacks, worked tirelessly for weeks after the attack, first to rescue those they could, then to recover what few remains were found.

If you haven't had the chance to see the National Geographic special "Inside 9/11" it will be repeated on Thursday, September 8, 2005. The first part of the four hour special was a real eye opener on the events which led up to the attacks and formed the basis of my post here.

Four years later, we find ourselves facing another tragedy. This was not a terrorist attack, but an act of nature. Yet even with the winds of Hurricane Katrina still howling, as people were being rescued and as many were dying, we saw the opposite of a united front of caring and compassion. In stark contrast to the unity expressed after the September 11th atrocities, Hurricane Katrina brought forth an instant chorus of race baiting and finger pointing aimed in one direction, and one direction only: President Bush and the federal response to the disaster.


205 School buses made inoperable by the flood in New Orleans. Buses that could have been used used BEFORE the storm, or in the immediate aftermath to evacuate and save the poorest residents. Should President Bush have seized these buses and other state and local government assets to save New Orleans BEFORE the storm?

Never before have we seen such a crass, and transparently political C.Y.A. operation launched to shield the complete breakdown of state and local government that occurred BEFORE Katrina's winds reached the gulf shores.

A few miles away from New Orleans, the residents of Mississippi took the direct hit that was feared for New Orleans. Flooding, wind damage and immediate loss of life far exceeded that found in New Orleans on early Tuesday. Yet, we didn't hear stories of a failed evacuation plan or poor black families trapped and deprived of food and water for days as people died.

Back across the waters of Lake Ponchatrain, The Federal Emergency Management Agency began surveying the scene preparing to bring in relief supplies. The Red Cross stood poised to move in as well. But armed thugs decided that helicopters offering rescue made good targets and the relief effort was delayed until the security situation improved.

Where was the National Guard? Were they in Iraq? Noooo.... They were ready to move, but that decision, by law, had to come from the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Ms. Blanco waffled at so many critical points. First in not ordering the mandatory evacuation of the poorest residents using the full transportation resources of the state and local government BEFORE the storm (she did so on Wednesday, August 31, AFTER New Orleans buses were made inoperable by the flood). But as egregious as that failure, Ms. Blanco refused to send in the guard and STILL refuses to grant the federal government the full authority it needs to conduct operations in New Orleans.

Federal Emergency Management disaster plans clearly state that it is not possible for the federal government to respond fully to the needs of disaster victims for at least 72 hours AFTER a storm passes. The massive footprint of supplies and personnel were prepositioned in the safety zone outside the worst swath of Katrina's destruction. Had they been closer, they might have become part of the tragedy, not part of the response.

Within that 72 hour time-frame, the federal government, with the authority belatedly granted by Governor Blanco, entered New Orleans and immediately established order. The evacuation of those trapped at the Superdome and the Convention Center was completed in another 24 hours.


Blame Bush Continues

You might have thought that after the massive and effective federal response the one-way finger pointing by those on the left would stop. Sadly, not so. Sadder still are the people who say that they won't give one dime for relief because A. Bush is responsible for the hurricane or B. The people who live in red states deserve to get hit because they voted for Bush.

It hasn't been much better in Congress, where Democrats fresh from their long August vacations launched an instant outrage offensive. Interesting that at the same time many Democrats were sitting on the beach enjoying the last days of summer sun, leaders like Senator Frist, the Senate Majority Leader, was on the ground at the New Orleans Convention Center offering his services as a physician on the first line of rescue and hope.

And many of our commenters at Mike's America offer little more than a tepid throwaway line of blame for the local and state governments before launching an extended and continuing demand that Bush and the federal government be held to account. Such a transparent device is clear evidence of the most massive C.Y.A. operation I have yet seen. And it will do nothing to hold accountable the first responders in local and state governments dominated by Democrats for generations.

And what about those who suggest that President Bush should have realized the gross incompetence and corruption of local and state governments would impair their response to evacuation, preparedness and response needs? Many of these same lefties have screamed bloody murder about expanding federal intrusion into their lives via the Patriot Act. Bush was Hitler and we were living in a fascist police state. Yet, NOW, they ask why President Bush didn't act BEFORE the storm to supplant the legally elected governments in New Orleans and Louisiana.

Apparently, Bush wasn't Hitler enough for you folks!

Now we learn that nearly a third of the New Orleans police force abandoned their job after the hurricane. The remaining force was quickly overwhelmed and is now headed to R&R in Las Vegas at city expense. Mayor Nagin also has his hand out, salivating at the prospect of the first $ 10.5 billion down payment from the federal government.

Perhaps we should send a contingent of New York firefighters and police down to the "Big Easy" to fill in while their brothers are in Vegas.

The City of New Orleans has known about their vulnerability to just this kind of tragedy for decades. And they did what to prevent it? Here is their disaster plan. Did they implement it effectively to avert the post Katrina disaster? Were some of the poorest and sick evacuated BEFORE the storm to safety outside the city? Did the city preposition supplies at the evacuation sites? If so, I am sure the "mainstream" media would like to hear about it. Wouldn't you think the Bush blame/ Bush hate media would be all over this story as proof that the local government followed through on it's disaster plan?


The silence is deafening!
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