a Someone should care, maybe not you....: My Katrina Rant. (it isn't pretty) .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

03 September 2005

My Katrina Rant. (it isn't pretty)

Okay, I have been avoiding a lot of Katrina writing. It seems everyone is doing it so why join in the free for all? Nothing really new to add. But my limit has been reached. I am tired of elected officials, and other blaming the executive branch of the government in the Person Of George W. Bush for the disaster in New Orleans. I mean, come on folks, it is NOT the job of the President of the United States to deal with this. It is the job of numerous elected officials, appointees, and bureaucrats to deal with these issues. NOT THE PRESIDENT!
Let’s start at the bottom shall we? The mayor of New Orleans. I’ll give him credit. He called for the evacuation of the city, he said it was mandatory, he warned that it wasn’t “a drill”. He got a lot of people out of the city. But if the situation was that bad why didn’t he finish? Get more people out? Well, people are poor, they haven’t got cars, they don’t want to go, blah blah blah. He could have used the city bus systems vehicle to move people out. He could have ordered hospitals to move their patients, he could have asked the Governor to activate the National Guard to come down and help get people out. He knew what the projections for a Cat 5 hurricane hitting the city called for and he didn’t do any of those things. He told people to go to the Superdome. Ok, it seems like a big strong place (unless the power goes out, and it always does) When he told people to go there he OBVIOUSLY failed to lay in enough supplies for them. He fell down on his job. Or, more likely, he expected someone higher than him to take up the slack.
The Governor, she could have followed up on all of that stuff in NO and the neighboring communities. She could have activated more of her Guard units and pre-positioned them with food and water ready to move in at once to affected areas.
And don’t give me the old, “but the Guard has all been called away to Iraq by W’s illegal war” drivel. There are more than 11,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard, about 3700 of them are in Iraq. Even now only 3800 of the remaining forces have been activated. Now I’ll grant her that some Guard units were called up, there were about 200 at the Superdome and a few others scattered about. But nothing like enough to prepare for what was obviously going to be a major crisis. And if there weren’t enough ready even then, she could have asked some of her neighboring states (inland) to activate some units to help out. They would have, it is a standard practice. Doesn’t seem to have been done.

Everyone makes a big deal out of the fact that the money for flood control in Louisiana from the federal Government was cut. So why didn’t the state step up and cover it? (“They are a poor state.” Apologists will whine) Well choices have to be made and they decided that flood control wasn’t on the top of their list either despite the fact that they live there. I heard an interview with a former Mayor of New Orleans the other day. He states that in their disaster preparedness meeting it was always acknowledged that if a Cat 5 Hurricane hit New Orleans disaster would be the result and there was nothing they could do about it short of building about a 100 foot wall around the city. Everyone knew there was a problem but no one on LOCAL level seems to have done squat to prepare. They all expect the Feds to provide. They could have put a 10 cent a beer tax on at Mardi Gras and raised money to prepare. (but of course it would have been siphoned away for local pork projects)
And if I hear one more person say or imply that the problems in the area are the result of some sort of racist plot I’ll probably bust a blood vessel. (I change the channel if the Black Congressional caucus even shows up on the news now) I guess Whitey steered the hurricane to hit the poor blacks. (Ignoring for the moment that while there may be a majority of blacks affected there are a lot of whites down there too) When in fact you consider that the Mayor and the city council of New Orleans are black (or should I be PC and say “African American”? It seems to be the thing unless of course you are in the Black Congressional Caucus.), it really seems strange to blame the disaster on the white guys. I’m not even going to get into the looting, the absolute confusion and chaos on the local level as further evacuation efforts proceed, (Noticed how the mayor said martial law had been declared but the Army says no it hasn’t?) The elected officials of Louisiana have had YEARS to prepare a plan for this. And it seems they have done nothing except wait for the Federal Government to do something.
Pathetic, just pathetic.

Note: I am not absolving the Feds in this. Their response has been slow and not very well planned out either. I rather suspect this is at least in part due to FEMA having been absorbed by that monstrosity of an agency, Homeland Security. New levels of Bureaucracy to deal with will always slow things down.
It is UGLY and it is going to get UGLIER.


Blogger GWhizKids said...

Very good post. I had one yesterday along the same lines.

6:54 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Very well put. I'm sick of seeing the same thing.
About all I would add is, let's go one more level down, to the citizens of New Orleans. They were told to get out. Not counting the elderly or infirm who couldn't get out without assistance, a lot of people chose to do nothing, to "ride it out".

For those who keep saying "But they're poor. They couldn't leave". Fine, they were told to go to the Superdome. The ones who did initially are already out of New Orleans. "But they're poor, they didn't have transportation". What, they couldn't walk? Funny, when the National Guard showed up to transport the initial 10,000 that were there, 30,000 more showed up ON FOOT because they thought it was a way to get out. If they could've made it across flooded streets with roaming gangs of thugs, they could've made it when conditions were better.

Sorry to keep yapping, but I'm getting sick of all the finger pointing as well.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

THANK YOU. You just said exactly the same things I have been asking. They knew the outcome of a storm like this long before it hit. They were caught with their collective pants down and now everyone is scrambling to shift the focus of blame on everything and everyone else. And the idea that its some sort of racial conspricy is so much BULL..there are no words for this one. The thing I keep thinking about too...is that this is only tbe beginning of the hurricane season. It could happen again before its all over..If they think it cant..take a look at Floridas hurricane season last year.

ps..thank you for the comment on my blog exmi. I appreciate it.

6:12 PM  
Blogger clothosfate said...

hmmm.. very interesting. I have myself only been hearing the talk about the New Orleans disaster, and not been doing any reading on it. I tend to avoid the news these days, but I found your post on the subject enlightening. I agree with you, its easy for people to point fingers, especially at the president; I mean c'mon he's practically a blinking target, but we all have to admit from time to time that there are some things he is not to blame for, like... my damned sore throat. DAMN HIM.

3:28 PM  
Blogger CapitalistImperialistPig said...

ExMI - I've got to differ on the President's responsibility. He appointed political hacks with no emergency management experience to fill the top FEMA jobs, he ordered the agency downsized, and worst of all, he clowned around in Arizona while the worst natural disaster in American History was unfolding.

7:56 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Welcome Capitalistimperialistpig, and what you say in no way releases the local officials from their primary responsibility for their people. the mayor and the Governor both sat around and failed to do their jobs before the storm hit.
As for "political hacks with no...experience" Well, Bush is far from the first president to do that. And prehaps some day I will figure out why peopel seem to think the President not being in Washington makes any real difference.

7:55 AM  
Blogger CapitalistImperialistPig said...

exmi - some day I will figure out why peopel seem to think the President not being in Washington makes any real difference

The point is not his physical location, the point is his disinterest and neglect. If General Patton had decided to go off for a three day holiday in London after the start of the Battle of the Bulge, it would have been a similar act of dereliction. Of course he didn't - he bent his entire effort to meeting the great challenge. Long after it was clear that an immense tragedy was unfolding, the President kept up a busy schedule of frivolity and triviality - politicing, cake cutting, and guitar strumming. The only man in the world commanding the resources that could still make a difference continued his vacation. His subordinate, too foolish or timid to proceed on their own also did nothing. Whatever the blunders of the local and State Officials before the catastrophe, and no dubt there were some or many, once the disaster was underway, only the federal government had the resources to effectively intervene. It didn't, and Bush has the ultimate culpability.

Almost equally offensive to me is his callous attitude toward the victims. It's preposterous that the government of Bangladesh could have resources in place to help the living and bury the dead twice as fast as the United States.

9:56 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

I suspect Bangladesh has the resources on hand to deal with things like this so much more effectivly becasue things like this happen so much more often there. Practice makes perfect you know?
Patton and the Bulge is not even close to valid analogy to the situation. When the war in Iraq was run from a HQ in Florida it sort of demonstrates that battlefield presence isn't needed. In fact, frontline presence witha lack of communication was probably a hindrence. The Mayor of NO was out on the frontline, so no one was able to coordinate with him as to what he needed and re was reduced to screaming at people via the press.
I would agree that DUE to the screw ups and errors on a local and state level the Feds were the only people who could effectivly respond after the disaster. Unfortunetly, the Federal Government's emergency response teams are not set up to go in and take over. They are set up to go in and assist and backfill for the local teams. And someone at the local level has to coordinate that. Which from my POV is a good thing becasue I do not want the Federal Government to be able to come in and take over at the drop of a hat.

11:40 AM  

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