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September 08, 2005

Comments

Davis

Can you imagine how much worse things would have been with a knee-jerk liberal like Gore or Kerry in the Oval Office? Either one of them would have hurried down to New Orleans last Monday, strutting their stuff for the cameras, “feeling the pain” of the locals, and generally getting in the way.

President Bush, on the other hand, has once again demonstrated steady, mature leadership. He correctly had his staff assess the overall situation and prepare a plan for the deployment of federal resources. He kept out of the way of the rescue operation for the first 3 or 4 days, letting the state and local governments execute their primary responsibility to deal with the crisis. When it became obvious that Katrina’s aftermath was too much for the locals, President Bush, well prepared and with a clear vision, became personally involved. Ever since then the situation has steadily improved.

This is the leadership that our country needs – cool under pressure, always considering the big picture, not seeking partisan gain but looking after the interests of all Americans. During a crisis like this, there is no better man to lead our country.

Appalled Moderate

Davis, you leave me breathless. You aren't Etienne having a little fun with us, are you?

In any event, Bush seems to be making up for lost time on getting in the way. You know, using firemen as part of his NO photo-op (when they could have been, um, rescuing people).

Syl

I have yet to figure out what the hell it is that Bush did wrong.

All I've been hearing is snarky comments about non-essential stuff. Oh, and criticisms of appearance, words. Again, non-essential stuff. And mostly juvenile snarkiness.

I have yet to hear of something of substance that Bush actually did wrong. And one must bear in mind what Bush could legally do. I think a huge part of the perception is the lack of understanding of who has what responsilbity vis-a-vis state vs federal. And most people don't know what FEMA's role actually is. Or even what the declaration of emergency meant.

This is a very dangerous game the democrats are playing. If it were just the Angry Left that end up looking like fools, that's one thing. But the whole party?

Geek, Esq.

I have yet to hear of something of substance that Bush actually did wrong.

It's what Bush didn't do. Bush didn't lead and didn't act.

And he treated destroyed FEMA from this inside out by treating it like a welfare program for political hacks.

boris

At every critical juncture we find out that W was in the wings calling out the proper play and Blanco was second guessing based on political considerations and partisan suspicion.

Blaming W for what he didn't do is just a recipe for openended criticism. I love it because it makes the critics look like bratty whiney crybabies.

Appalled Moderate

He didn't take charge. A Commander in Chief can order the troops in and, frankly, stomp on the locals if necessary. Bush is the kind of guy you'sdexpect to take action now, be unilateral, and ask permission later. It's a helluva time not to live up to the image, isn't it?

Again -- you can find excuses for every step Bush made, but it seems like every step Bush made was one that was passive/least resistance/take no charge.

Plus, if you want a substantial demonstration of what Bush did wrong, look at the qualifications of the three top guys at FEMA. Not a disaster relief expert among them. Bush felt comfortable staffing the agency with contributors and friends of friends. One of the things Clinton did right was staff that agency with pros, after FEMA fouled up Andrew relief.

boris

FEMA plus Jeb = good

FEMA plus Blanco = bad

You figure it out.

Etienne

The true opportunity for Democrats because of this disaster are going to be apparent in the months to come. This disaster will have a monumental impact on our economy. Oil prices, already high, are now going to skyrocket, just in time for the home heating season. We have lost not only the refining capacity, but probably more importantly, our major port. This will be felt very personally by every American, particularly the zero-savings middle class. Add a bursting real estate bubble in there and the end of people cannibalizing their own equity and you have got quite a recession brewing.

People are primarily selfish, and our zero-savings households are extremely vulnerable. If Republicans still look to push through tax cuts and other giveaways to the wealthy, they will almost be committing suicide.

People should care about the exposed poverty and misery of this hurricane, they should care that our federal agencies are being corrupted from within and our lifesaving infrastructure bankrupted. But what they will care about is the pinching in their pocketbooks, which is likely to be harsh.

boris

He didn't take charge

1. He legally could not take charge.

2. By the time he could have ...

unconstitutionally taken charge the disaster would still be well underway and the criticism for not taking charge would instead be lynching for screwing it up so bad.

boris

opportunity for Democrats

Blanco and Nagin are Democrats. The fallout from this is not going to be kind to Democrats.

Steven J.

"It's time to actually show this government can be competent."

It sure is. Time to clean out FEMA!


Michale Brown: estate planning lawyer and overseer of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association.

The Chief of Staff is a guy named Patrick Rhode. He planned events for President Bush’s campaign. Rhode has no emergency management experience whatsoever. From Rhode’s official bio:

His first position with the Bush Administration was as special assistant to the President and deputy director of National Advance Operations, a position he assumed in January 2001. Previously, Mr. Rhode served as deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin, Texas.

The Deputy Chief of Staff is Scott Morris. He was a press flak for Bush’s presidential campaign. Previously, he worked for the company that produced Bush’s campaign commercials. He also has no emergency management experience. From Morris’s official bio:

Mr. Morris was also the marketing director for the world’s leading provider of e-business applications software in California, and worked for Maverick Media in Austin, Texas as a media strategist for the George W. Bush for President primary campaign and the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign.

(Via ThinkProgess: http://thinkprogress.org/2005/09/06/fema-deputies/)

Steven J.

FEMA plus Jeb = good

FEMA plus Blanco = bad

You figure it out.

Florida == Swing State, 27 electoral votes


Geek, Esq.

At every critical juncture we find out that W was in the wings calling out the proper play and Blanco was second guessing based on political considerations and partisan suspicion

Boris, you'll have to stop posting fan fiction from the Free Republic if you want to have any credibility.

As far as TM's post is concerned, the political thrust right now is to get Republicans to either defend or repudiate Bush's behavior during and handling of this crisis. Those that openly criticize him undermine his agenda and sow discord, while those that pull a Tammy Wynette and stand by their man look like people more loyal to the RNC than the USA.

I'm really hoping that Wes Clark has figured out this political stuff--he'll play VERY well in red states--especially compared to John Forbes Kerry.

Etienne

Keep thinking that way, Boris. The only Democrats those people have to answer to are the ones in Louisiana.

Steven J.

BORIS - 1. He legally could not take charge.

Yes he could have. DHS by itself has the legal authority to engage in "pro-active" measures. Bush could've used the 8,000 soldiers at Ft. Polk, LA (a 5 hour drive to NO) to provide relief services but he didn't.

Bush could've put competent people in charge of FEMA but he didn't.


boris

Florida == Swing State, 27 electoral votes

So you're saying they can be competent but only for big red states?

Anybody else I would suggest taking a point of view and debating it consistently, but given the source I know that's not possible.

Steven J.

BORIS - At every critical juncture we find out that W was in the wings calling out the proper play

The only play Bush called was "blame the locals."

Steven J.

SYL - I have yet to figure out what the hell it is that Bush did wrong.

Start with being criminally uninformed:

In comments on Thursday, President George W. Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/09/02/levee.criticism.reut/index

Steven J.

SYL -And most people don't know what FEMA's role actually is.

We know and the poltical hacks that Bush appointed to run FEMA are grounds for impeachment.

Appalled Moderate

Florida and New Orleans just don't compare in numbers or type of damage so stop comparing. Problem in NO is flooding, not just storm damage. There was comparatively little permanent flooding in Florida. (Just as there is little flooding in Mississippi)

boris

Yes he could have.

Not legally. Your interpretations of gov speak are not credible.

a 5 hour drive to NO

After a 5 state cat 4 Hurricane it may have taken a little longer. There was already Red Cross relief waiting in LA that was turned away.

Steven J.

DAVIS -

Please stop doing those things with Jeff Gannon.

boris

so stop comparing.

Do Re Me Fa Q I can post whatever I want. So there !

Steven J.

There was already Red Cross relief waiting in LA that was turned away.

Posted by: boris

As instructed to do so by FEMA in DC. THEY told the local guys to prevent outside help from coming in. This happened after Chertoff, another political hack, declared an "Event of National Significance" late Tuesday.


Trelaney

It is a total myth that FEMA did a great job in Florida last year. Rep. Mark Foley (a Republican) and other Congressmen and Senators from Florida have repeatedly criticised FEMA and Brown. Check out today's Pensacola News Journal at www.pensacolanewsjournal.com.

Jim E.

Nagin's about as much of a Dem as NYC's Bloomberg is a "real" Republican. Nagin supported Bush for President in 2000 and supported Blanco's Republican opponent in the election for governor.

But, of course, you all keep saying partisanship should be kept out of this, so what does it matter what party Nagin is in? I don't think anyone is praising Nagin or Blanco for the jobs they've (not) done. They've shown little, if any, leadership.

But I don't see how Nagin's and Blanco's shortcomings absolve the federal government of anything. Call me crazy, but I'd rather have the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA actually be able to live up to the official responsibilities spelled out on their respective websites. I'd also love to have qualified people running FEMA. Is that such a crazy concept?

Steven J.

TRELANEY -

I looked but I couldn't find it. Could you please give a direct link?

Thanx!

boris

The moonbat levee broke !!! Run for your lives !!!

richard mcenroe

Apalled Moderate — "A Commander in Chief can order the troops in and, frankly, stomp on the locals if necessary." No, he can't. By law. And if you honestly think that, you're not a "moderate"... you're a lot closer to the fascist that Bush is always accused of being.

Steven J. — Another thing your "arguments" don't match is Governor Blanco's own timeline.

Steven J. — Another lie. The LA authorities turned away the Red Cross. This has been confirmed now by both Hugh hewitt and NPR. What are you waiting for, Mother Jones and The Nation?

Steven J.

Well, at least Boris is gone! I hope he can't swim.

:-)

Steven J.

Steven J. — Another lie. The LA authorities turned away the Red Cross. This has been confirmed now by both Hugh hewitt and NPR. What are you waiting for, Mother Jones and The Nation?

Posted by: richard mcenroe

The LOCAL officials were ordered to do so by FEMA.

Trelaney

Florida and FEMA: www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050908/NEWS01/509080329/1006

I found this by searching news.google.com and searching "FEMA Florida". There are many links to other Florida news sources.

Steven J.

On Sunday, Aug. 28th, Gov. Blanco faxed the WH a request for IMMEDIATE emergency relief:

http://gov.louisiana.gov/Disaster%20Relief%20Request.pdf

What did Bush do? On Monday he went to Phoenix, on Tuesday he went to San Diego.

Meanwhile, Chertoff was relying on WorldNut Daily for his storm information:

N'Orleans dodges bullet

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46025

Steven J.

TRE-

Thanx again!

Steven J.

THE LOOTING BEGINS

10 days later, FEMA hires a private contractor to remove the corpses.

Roland Patrick

In a natural disaster the operative word is 'disaster'.

Meaning there are, by definition, problems. So citing problems unresolved doesn't tell us anything about the effectiveness of FEMA--which has only 2,500 full time employees to cover the entire USA. Just as Ted Williams wasn't a bad baseball player because he failed to get a hit 66% of the times he stepped into the batter's box.

Any judgment of someone's effectiveness has to be made IN CONTEXT. Which I take to be syl's point.

Appalled Moderate

Challenge to the posters:

OK guys, I think we've exhausted the blame game quite enough. Frankly, all this shouting is boring. So. Let's be like our host, chuck away the knives, and break out the crystal balls.

Where do we go from here? Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Is Bush neutered by this, and what's the consequence of that? Will New Orleans ever really be New Orleans again?

All worthy subjects. And relatively undiscussed.

Steven J.

APPALLED -

The real looting will begin when Bush "privatizes"* the re-development.

*code for patronage payoffs

Steven J.

Any judgment of someone's effectiveness has to be made IN CONTEXT.

I got your context right here, pal:

Urgent Weather Message from NWS New Orleans

WWUS74 KLIX 281550 NPWLIX URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA

1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005


DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED

Jim E.

I'll take a stab at AM's last three questions:
1. Yes.
2a. No.
2b. More of the same, both home and abroad.
3. No.

But if we really wanted to be like our host (as AM recommends), we would post third-hand, unsourced smears of the marital lives of possible 2008 Dem pres candidates on the main page just for the partisan hell of it.

Syl

SJ

Wow. You have links for everything but your lie about Federal FEMA telling locals to call of the Red Cross. funny that.

I STILL haven't heard how Bush failed. Lots and lots of snark though.

To the left, appearances are everything. If your head tilt isn't the proper degree, you're a failure. If you don't yell about it, you're not leading. If you make a spoken gaff, which is expected of our president, you're ridiculed as if this is the worst thing in history. When you know he makes them all the time. That's what makes some of us fond of him.

BLANCO didn't order enough troops.

There was only enough food in the superdome for 3 days for 10,000 people but 24,000 showed up.

The Red Cross was not allowed in.

BLANCO didn't call for assistance from the DoD until 3pm Tuesday.

As soon as they got the call the Bataan rolled into action. And victims WERE brought out to the boat until the airport opened and the chopper ride was shorter.

Troops who were not staged IN area got rolling as soon as they could. The ones from the boats got there the fastest. The others had to take time to clear their path. With 90,000 square miles of tree covered highways, it wasn't fast going. They are not expected to arrive until some 48-72 hours after the winds die down.

The police communications completely broke down. They ran out of gas for their power and the locals had nixed their having propane tanks in case of emergency.

Honore was on the job as of Tuesday at 3PM as well, coordinating military efforts. Funny nobody mentions him at all until the MSM discovers him on Friday.

Some of the many things that the propaganda timeline at think progress omits. It could have been put together by Michael Moore.

Steven J.

SYL - BLANCO didn't order enough troops.

She ordered what she had. Her best prepared troops are in Iraq.

Steven J.

SYL -BLANCO didn't call for assistance from the DoD until 3pm Tuesday."

She didn't call then and she didn't have to. Her fax the the WH on Sunday, Aug. 28th was sufficient.

Steven J.

SYL - BLANCO didn't call for assistance from the DoD until 3pm Tuesday.

As soon as they got the call the Bataan rolled into action.

They weren't called anywhere near soon enough because Bush is incompetent and surrounds himself with incompetents.

"We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately So, we had things ready.
"The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion; we have to wait for the president to give us permission."

BBC VIDEO - LT. COMMANDER KELLY, NORTHCOM - http://news.globalfreepress.com/movs/katrina/BBC_Katrina.mpg
WARNING: THIS FILE IS 27.3 MB

Syl

What fax? You mean her emergency declaration? No, that was not sufficient to call out the military. I already pointed that out to you.

Steven J.

You have links for everything but your lie about Federal FEMA telling locals to call of the Red Cross.

It's not a lie. The top 3 officials at FEMA are political hacks and their first goal is to protect Bush. Allowing the Red Cross in would prove that Bush is criminally negligent.

Syl

SJ

Tuesday, 3PM, the Bataan got the go ahead from FEMA.

As for Blanco's troops. The divisions in Iraq were combat troops. She also had available to her guard troops from OTHER states and she did NOT call on them until Wednesday.

Syl

Okay, now, Steven. You're not playing fair. I knew you didn't like to admit it wasn't such a good thing for the LA Dept of Homaland Security to block the Red Cross from coming into NOLA. But to LIE about it?

Get thee to a nunnery.

Sheesh.

Steven J.

SYL - What fax? You mean her emergency declaration? No, that was not sufficient to call out the military. I already pointed that out to you.

Let me quote from her fax of the 28th:

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective responses will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments..."

Steven J.

SYL - She also had available to her guard troops from OTHER states and she did NOT call on them until Wednesday.

Held up once again by DC hacks:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.

Congress likely to probe Guard delay
By SHARON THEIMER
Associated Press Writer
Sep 3, 9:51 AM EDT
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/K/KATRINA_NATIONAL_GUARD?SITE=AZTUS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Syl

I can put my finger on a real significant difference between the right and the left on this. The right gets its info from sites like www.navy.mil, national guard sites, the red cross site. The left gets its info from the New York Times, DailyKos, and CNN.

The right looks for facts and figures, the left looks for quotes.

The right looks at the legal process and procedures, the left looks at what party everyone belongs to.

The right looks for results (what was the levee funding all about, what was and was not accomplished) the left counts $.

The left hates Bush. The right finds him a decent, steady leader. The left takes things out of context (they don't note Lieberman's comments re Brown's Asst Gov experience, but only talk about Arabian horses.) the right tries to fill in the gaps the left misses (on purpose, I may add).

It's all a game to the left. Their biggest find of any day is a quote they can splatter with ridicule. What joy it brings them!

Syl

"Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday."

That's bad.

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity...."

That is not an authorization to the DoD for active duty military assistance.

Etienne

Syl, I've read exactly that kind of paragraph on every partisan site I've ever visited - with the words "left" and "right" interchanged. I may fall definitively on one side of the dividing line politically, but even I can see that trying to pigeonhole the "others" in that way is asinine on its face.

I've seen that Fox News generated report about local FEMA blocking the Red Cross blasted across every conservative site, as if it was the only pertinent fact that explained the madness. First it was school busses. Then it was lies about when Blanco declared an emergency. Today it's state FEMA, when the chain of command of state FEMA offices is very much in question. Just like every other detail of this event.

The facts need to come out. We can't let our one party controlled Congress slip us a mickey on this. That's all. Let the facts come out and the chips fall where they may. Let's be sure the people who were hurt are the ones who get help, not the profiteers who are already gearing up their "free market" snake oil wagons.

The problem for Repubs is that any Dem failures were LOCAL. Our federal government is in the grip of a one party dictatorship. The minority party can barely open its mouth without being accused of treason. So the responsible party at the federal level (and today's most recent CBS & Zogby polls are showing a strong shift in the tide of public opinion against the feds) is Republican. The best course for Republicans would be to start acting like responsible adults.

If you care about America as much as you claim to, and if you honestly believe Republicans can claim higher moral ground in the state of our current political discourse, you certainly aren't demonstrating it with your own posts.

Steven J.

SYL -

Honore may have been appointed Tuesday but the set-up didn't start until Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2005 – Joint Task Force Katrina is setting up today at Camp Shelby, Miss., as the Defense Department's focal point to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's relief efforts along the Gulf Coast, Air Force Maj. Eric Butterbaugh, a U.S. Northern Command spokesman, confirmed today.
Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, 1st U.S. Army commander, will head the task force to coordinate DoD active-duty support for disaster relief efforts in the hurricane's aftermath, much of it already under way or in the works.

Steven J.

That is not an authorization to the DoD for active duty military assistance.

Posted by: Syl

It's enough for DHS and FEMA to take charge and use DOD.

See page 43, the start of pro-active responses section of DHS's National Response Plan.


Steven J.

SYL - I STILL haven't heard how Bush failed.

Does this help?

"Officials braced for what could be a staggering death toll by readying 25,000 body bags."

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/H/HURRICANE_KATRINA?SITE=AZTUS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2005-09-08-13-18-42

Syl

A killer storm was feared to cause thousands of deaths. It's all Bush's fault. You need a life, SJ.


"I have been working in Emergency management in Grant County Washington for the last three years. Anyone who works in emergency management will tell you that local authorities are in charge via what is called the incident command system; and they are responsible for all four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparation, response and recovery. Moreover, any local EM type will tell you that you need to plan to be on your own for at least 72 hours. The role of FEMA? it is NOT a first responder; the have 2500 employees and exist to channel aid to first responders."

Steven J.

JOE ALLBAUGH, Bush's first FEMA head:

"FEMA is a bloated entitlement program." From that point on, FEMA was consistently shrunk by the criminal Bush.


Now we have the bloated bodies in the streets of New Orleans to show for this "compassionate conservatism."


Steven J.

SYL -

What Bush whore said that?

Etienne

From Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC:

"The bottom line is that despite the fact the president was strapped with two governors who bungled this crisis badly, in the end it is the president who sends in the National Guard and FEMA relief. The president's suggestion that the size of this storm caught all by surprise just doesn't get it. His administration was 48 hours late sending in the National Guard and poor Americans got raped and killed because of those mistakes."

I believe it is dawning on everyone, slowly, because it is very hard for many to accept, that being a good American in this situation means not being a "good German".

Steven J.

ETIENNE -

WOW! If Bush has lost Scarborough.....

Davis

FEMA is restricted in their clean-up efforts because of legal retrictions on the removal of debris from private property. The homeowners will need to give their position. Once again, there are too many laws and too many lawyers.

Trelaney

Davis, that is what Vice Pres. Cheney was discussing on CNN. It seems pretty feable, though - when debris (not to mention corpses)is floating around, how do you know to which property it belongs? And how do you contact people (or for some, their estates) when there is no central database of the locations of the evacuees?

Steven J.

FEMA is restricted in their clean-up efforts because of legal retrictions on the removal of debris from private property.

LMFAO! If Cheney said that, some real patriot should put 5 in his noggin.

Syl

"What Bush whore said that?"

Someone who actually works in Emergency Management, just like you.

Oh, wait..

Wolfman

The Katrina disaster has been quickly used as a political battering ram by administration critics. Predictably, this has resulted in administration defenders going on the offense - which is always preferred to playing defense.

I have a few simple questions:

1. With a cat 5 bearing down on NO, why weren't more meaningful efforts taken to evacuate citizens who didn't have the means to evacuate themselves? I am astounded that city and school buses - or even National Guard trucks - weren't used for that purpose. They couldn't have gotten everyone out, but evacuating thousands of additional citizens before the storm arrived would have been a good thing.

2. Is it true (and I hope it's not) that the Louisiana government prevented the Red Cross from delivering food and water to the Superdome and Convention Center immediately after the hurricane passed? If true, heads of those responsible should roll.

3. Why couldn't the NO police department provide adequate security at the Superdome and Convention Center? Why wasn't the National Guard at those locations?

4. Why weren't food & water pre-positioned at the specified evacuation center?

5. What caused the delay in the post-hurricane response? If our emergency response system is ill-designed, then change the design. If the leaders are incompetent, fire them or - if they are elected officials - get them out of the loop.

This disaster has proven once again that first reports are almost always wrong. At first, the media wrongly reported that NO had dodged a bullitt when Katrina veered a bit to the east of the city. It had not. I suspect a lot of the "facts" now being reported will prove to be wrong as well, and that we will learn new information that affects our view about this entire affair.

Syl

Wolfman

(1)I don't know

(2)Yes, it's true. But I suspect it may be SOP in a dire situation where mandatory evacuation has been declared. Don't bring assets into the area that would make it a magnet for others to come or otherwise stay. In fact the JTF (headed by Honore) worked under the same policy.

The situation was no longer disaster relief (which was planned for until the awareness of the levee break became apparent. Remember communications were difficult. People at Fema didn't even know about those stuck at the convention center. It seems nobody formally knew. The Times-Picayune didn't mention the convention center AT ALL until Thursday. CNN reported it for the first time Wednesday night.

It had become a rescue operation instead. And I think the switchover from a 'normal' hurricane disaster relief response to one of rescue caused some confusion at first.

(3)there were police and guard there. Obviously not enough. More people came than they thought. (I know I know)

(4)Food and water was supplied for three days for 10,000 people. 24,000 showed up. And they all had a hot meal Sunday night. That didn't leave much left.

(5)I hinted at it in (2). But we have to define 'delay' as to exactly WHAT was delayed. If it was food and water, that wasn't delayed...it was refused.

Coast Guard was there and doing a superb job of SAR, army was dropping sandbags on the breach which took six days to fill. Couldn't bring in cranes or dumptrucks because of the flooding. It all had to be done by helicopter drops.

Blanco needed more troops because the ones she had pre-placed had to take away from rescue to do law enforcement. She requested guard from other states via mutual agreements but either didn't or delayed giving them law enforcement powers.

But her request didn't go out until Wednesday, I believe. On Thursday she issued and EO authorizing out of state law enforcement to act in LA. But even as late as Thursday night law enforcement types from out of state were being turned back. Poor communication again.

Gov of new mexico had offered his guard troops Sunday, but paperwork didn't get through 'til thursday. If the paperwork had come through immediately it still would have taken at least 72 hours for them to arrive. Which would probably be Wednesday.

And New Mexico isn't the only other state with guard troops.

FEMA authorized use of DoD assets on Tuesday afternoon. Honore was coordinating though his task force didn't have an 'office' until Wednesday (which SF snarkily pointed out as if Honore just twiddled his thumbs in between).

Depending on where ships/assets were physically and how long it took them to procure, load, and refuel, they came physically into the area starting immediately. By Friday there were so many there that the media noticed Honore.

What we, as tv viewers, witnessed was the bedlam in the superdome. We saw they weren't getting food or water or even busses to get them out. What we didn't know at the time was that the local authorities had decided they weren't going to get food and water at all.

What I'm seeing in this whole tragedy, though, is a breakdown in physical communication. And I don't think people knew what ONE person or phone number to call to get answers. After all this time you'd think we could have set up some satellite communications system for FEMA and first responders.

Syl

SJ

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective responses will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments..."

Then why did she refuse to cede control to the feds? She could not command the US military, only the president can.

Geek, Esq.

Someone who actually works in Emergency Management, just like you.

Oh, wait..

Given that a career failure and fraud like Brownie 'works' in Emergency Management, you'll have to provide more credentials on your source. As a rule, you can eliminate anyone appointed by a Republican president as being credible on the issue.

Bill Arnold

Wolfman et al,
another item to add to the list of possible things to attach blame to is organizations associated with the levees.

New Orleans, being largely below sea level, is/was an artificial city, maintained by levees. The levee failures were therefore largely a *human* failure. If they had been bigger and stronger, New Orleans would be dry right now, and thousands would not be dead.

Syl

Etienne, all the Scarborough quote shows is that he doesn't know any more than you do. FEMA does not bring in relief. It only coordinates the positioning of assets according the requests of the local first responders.

Syl

Geek

That quote got to you, huh?

Cecil Turner

"The levee failures were therefore largely a *human* failure. If they had been bigger and stronger, New Orleans would be dry right now, and thousands would not be dead."

This is the most cogent criticism I've seen of pre-Katrina actions that were arguably a federal resposibility. The obvious rejoinder is that it's impossible to build a perfect levee system within an acceptable cost, and that a timely and effective evacuation would have saved them as well. Not sure where the logical cost/benefit break point is in that equation, but we probably ought to be looking for it.

Syl

Cecil, according a WaPo article, I'm not so sure even the levees were a federal failure. The local politicians made an art out of funneling levee money into other projects.

Bill Arnold

Syl, that's why I said "organizations associated with the levees". However, I'll be astonished if it is not found that funding levels/priorities associated with the Army Corps of Engineers were at least partly to blame.

The right spinocracy's "Operation Blame the Locals" is reasonable (at least understandable) since there is clear evidence of plenty of local incompetence, but there is also evidence of federal incompetence.

Cecil Turner

"I'm not so sure even the levees were a federal failure."

I'm not either, but at least it's a sensible criticism. I'm having a hard time seeing how presidential leadership, no matter how inspiring, was going to speed up evacuation or get food and water to stranded citizens. The same goes for FEMA officials' resumes. And while the feds could be faulted for oversight if NO's disaster plan was SNAFU, most of the problems appear to be in failures to execute the plan, rather than the plan itself.

There are plenty of lessons learned (Instapundit's list is a good start), and the majority aren't federal responsibilities.

Etienne

Wrong, Syl.

There is a FEMA program called the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System (US&R) -- now part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate (EP&R) of the Department of Homeland Security. According to federal legislation, it "provides specialized lifesaving assistance during major disasters or emergencies that the President declares under the Stafford Act. US&R operational activities include locating, extricating and providing on-site medical treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures, victims of weapons of mass destruction events, and when assigned, performing incident command or other operational activities."

Miller

Syl and others continually understate the role of FEMA in major disasters. One only needs to read their website and Brown's speeches to learn what they consider to be their role. Small government advocates can argue that it was correct for the current Administration to cut back FEMA funding each year. In that case, their funding does not match their responsibilities. If the states need to pick up for FEMA's underfunding, they need to know that. And so does the electorate. Can you imagine Florida voting Republican again if the state is expected to pick up what FEMA has been doing - both prganizationally and financially?

Syl

Bill

"The right spinocracy's "Operation Blame the Locals" is reasonable (at least understandable) since there is clear evidence of plenty of local incompetence, but there is also evidence of federal incompetence."

A reasonable statement. And I started under that assumption myself.

The FEMA failure I see is bureacratic (no, you gotta call this guy over there, you gotta send an email) and physical comm breakdown in the area itself.

I see that as a federal responsibility and not working all that well, but not a total failure. Remember part of what we consider 'failure' was not getting food and water to the superdome.

I think there was a day lost. The transition from relief efforts of a post-hurricane relief to search and rescue due to flooding caused some confusion.

From the moment DoD was authorized to come in, they started coming in, and were there in full force in the expected 72 hours.

Our problem is that we were watching the convention center on tv. Those folks were there from Sunday. You don't start counting your 72 hours until the hurricane is past. So the earliest they should have expected to be evacuated (by Feds) was on Thursday, but it was Friday instead.

Everything else that I see is the lack of capability of the first responders pre-positioned in the area pre-hurricane. Not enough of them and the police comms failed.

Etienne

The federal failings were these:

1. Failure to properly fund the infrastructure. Clearly levee failure was a much more rational fear for New Orleans than is terrorist attack in ANY American city. Just one way the anti-government crusade has weakened our country.

2. Failure to appoint competent leadership to critical positions.

3. Failure to display the required IMAGE of leadership, ironically the one thing about himself Bush sold harder than anything else. It is a subliminal effect, but an important one. Another irony is that this was a political gimme and this ultra-poltical White House was so oblivious they didn't even notice that.

Miller

Syl, where do you get the idea that FEMA does not expect to act until 72 hours after a disaster? Is this official policy, or just another excuse?

Syl

I meant we were watching the superdome on tv. The convention center didn't come into it until later.

Etienne

So? Were they deployed? How many people were involved. Did they do any rescues? What I said stands though. FEMA does not supply relief (like food, water, police) but now we can add they may supply a few people to do SAR. Okay?

Oh, and BTW, saying something stupid or not tilting your head right does not constitute either failure or incompetence.

Syl

Miller, I was speaking specifically of military assets.

However, the 72 hour rule stands for any assistance that has to come in from outside the area. So for any assets the locals ask FEMA to get for them, how soon it comes depends only on how soon the asset can get to the affected area.

Sometimes it's immediately. The Red Cross was ready to bring in tons of stuff immediately, for example. Law enforcement people from other states would take longer.

Whenever you make a disaster kit for yourself, the standard recommendation is to have enough so you can be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. It does not mean you definitely won't get assistance before then, but it can, and most often does, take at least that long.

Syl

Hell, I lived through Isabel. The winds didn't seem that bad when it came through. Was I wrong about the damage it caused though.

No power, no water. For four days. And I considered myself lucky.

Miller

Syl, would military assets be deployed in 72 hours if there was a military attack on our country? Or would we all be on our own in that situation as well?

Syl

Miller

Do you read? puhlease. Who said it takes 72 hours before the military deploys? When they're ordered to deploy, they deploy.

But, yes, it takes time for them to get their equipment and gear together and move from A to B.

That's why first response is ALWAYS local. Pay attention to you elect locally. I'm serious.

Lurking Observer

I seem to recall that the National Response Plan (and most local plans) are based on the idea that people in the heart of a disaster area will be on their own from 3-5 days.

Hence, Tom Ridge's suggestion a few years back that people stock 3-5 days of food and water, plus other essentials (e.g., tampons).

As for military readiness:

The US military maintains few forces capable of immediate response. The nuclear forces, for example, could respond on short notice (probably less than half an hour), but that's still subject to communications systems working. More to the point, all that's involved is turning keys (and some percentage of the forces would not fire, due to a combination of them being off-line for maintenance, reliability, systems failures, etc.).

Beyond the nuclear forces, however, yes, it would actually take quite some time to respond. The US maintains, iirc, one battalion of the 82nd Airborne as a the ready-response force. That's 1/9 of the combat battalions, and actually a lower percentage of the division's overall strength (b/c there's also artillery, logistics, communications, air defense, and other battalions thrown in).

That unit is on, iirc, 18-hour stand-by, meaning that it can deploy 18 hours after it's ordered to do so.

For the rest of the army, the readiness and availability is far lower. Indeed, when you have to move equipment and supplies (and those things are heavy and bulky), it will easily take days. And that's assuming all your resources are located right there.

Moving a convoy of vehicles, remember, requires getting the soldiers back from leave, loading the vehicles up (which in turn means breaking out the supplies, which are probably in depots which may or may not be co-located with the unit), getting maps and situation reports, getting authorizations and orders, etc., etc., etc.

And that's assuming the convoy is moving within a relatively short range. Move a convoy a few hundred miles, and you'll need fuel and water points for the convoy itself. Which means sending people (and vehicles) out ahead in order to establish refueling points.

Same applies to most of the rest of the armed forces. Ships at sea, for example, are engaged in an enormous amount of maintenance, both of the ship and its associated weapons. Few ships sail around at Condition-1.

It's also a matter of what you want to do with them. If you're talking about placing a few cruise missiles or bombs on a target, but weren't too picky about what target, or potentially taking losses, sure, you could probably fire off a missile or two w/ little notice. But a full-blown strike package? Consider that it took days to plan the strike on Libya, and that was knowing in advance that it might happen.

If you read the 9-11 Report, OTOH, you'll see that far more likely, it will take hours just to get a handful of planes off the ground, and even then, they'll as likely head off in the wrong (but standard operating procedure-dictated) direction.

So, yeah, if somebody attacked us with no warning (see Pearl Harbor, Task Force Smith), most of the armed forces would be unable to do more than muster a very local resistance and response.

owl

Heard Trump today. He had a project ready to start in NO. His question was who was responsible for inspection of the levee. Was it inspected within the year?

I have decided this entire thing was a Democratic political play in LA. They play dirty in that state. The Red Cross was furious that the state would not let them take food and water to those trapped in the Dome and Center. I am actually watching her right now, along with the Salvation Army guy on FOX. Red Lady saying the first problem was the failure to follow the plan for evacuation.

owl

Regardless, they had thousands of buses 70 miles up the road to go get those people.

So someone tell me why they didn't. Why let all those go without the food and water?

Wolfman

The federal failings were these:

1. Failure to properly fund the infrastructure. Clearly levee failure was a much more rational fear for New Orleans than is terrorist attack in ANY American city. Just one way the anti-government crusade has weakened our country.

E,

This claim seems to be belied by the WP article today that says that Louisiana received gigantic federal funding for "water projects" but used it for questionable projects rather than shoring up NO's levees. The article suggests that the decision about where the money was spent was made by local politicians, including Louisiana's Congressional delegation.

Wolfman

Appalled Moderate asked,

Where do we go from here? Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Is Bush neutered by this, and what's the consequence of that? Will New Orleans ever really be New Orleans again?

At the moment, the feds seem inclined to spend whatever amount of money it takes to help NO recover and be rebuilt. It will be interesting to see whether that attitude continues after the horror of this catastrophe diminishes and the real cost of rebuilding a city below sea level sinks in.

I wonder how many of NO's displaced citizens will return. Tens of thousands are being dispersed throughout the country. If they are away for a long enough period of time, and integrate into their new communities, I would expect many of them not to return.

Steven J.

Then why did she refuse to cede control to the feds? She could not command the US military, only the president can.

Posted by: Syl

Cede control to Michael Brown? Are you fucking kidding me?

Steven J.

WOLFMAN - At first, the media wrongly reported that NO had dodged a bullitt

The Media did not report that. I looked at the headlines on Tuesday of the WaPo, NYT and Wash Times. They all wrote of disaster!

The only "publication" that I know used "dodged a bullet" is WorldNut Daily:

N'Orleans dodges bullet
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46025

Lurking Observer

And there you have it, Steven J.

If you want the Feds to do the job, you have to cede the authority to them. And you don't get to pick and choose who among the Feds gets that authority.

Steven J.

WOLFMAN - Katrina veered a bit to the east of the city. It had not.

No, it did veer at the last moment. I was watching the live coverage from WDSU.

Steven J.

WOLFMAN - 3. Why wasn't the National Guard at those locations?

LANG was there. Wolfman, no offense, but you are a bit lacking in knowledge.

goto www.nola.com and read up.

Steven J.

Blanco needed more troops because the ones she had pre-placed had to take away from rescue to do law enforcement.

Another lie.

Steven J.

If you want the Feds to do the job, you have to cede the authority to them. And you don't get to pick and choose who among the Feds gets that authority.
Posted by: Lurking Observer

Sending supplies and rescue personnel does not require federalization of LA.

Etienne

I'm sure when the facts come to light, Wolfman, that local corruption and mismanagement is going to be huge. But that hardly answers the question of why the federal government is spending money - and no one contests that levee reconstruction has been underfunded since 1998, pre-Bush- and not overseeing the safety of its citizens in a situation of such known hazard. It's still federal money. Who decided where it went? Who oversaw its use? We are forcing little third graders to prove their schools' worthiness for federal funding every friggin day. We can't have any system in place to control state use of federal funds?

This also doesn't addresss the federal government's willful refusal to heed the warnings of its own Army Corps of Engineers. It doesn't address the way FEMA became a shadow agency with no leadership whatsoever. it doesn't address why Homeland Security has formulated no plan whatsoever to deal with major urban catastrophes. Zero. Nothing. In four years. With billions of dollars of our money.

During the election, I kept hearing how the people were making their choice. I thnk the American people deserve to have the conservative philosophy of starving government explained to them. They should understand what it means when federal powers are ceded to state governments, what they are going to be responsible for as taxpayers in their states. They should be voting on whether or not this is what they want their representatives to do to our federal government - i.e. dismantle it except for defense, and some interstate matters. Do you think the people of Louisiana knew they were voting for this when they voted overwhelmingly for Bush last year?

Steven J.

MILLER - Two helo pilots from Pensacola were mildly reprimanded for turning around from Biloxi after they dropped off supplies and going to NO to rescue people.

They saved about 100 or so.


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