Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Admitting the problem is the first step

I’ve avoided pointing fingers for the Katrina aftermath and, although I felt the local response was more critical and thus more responsible, the federal response was also deeply inadequate. Today, President Bush stated the obvious:

Bush on Tuesday accepted responsibility for failures in the government's response to Katrina and admitted "serious problems" with the handling of the response to the storm that struck the Gulf Coast more than two weeks ago.
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.
"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.
There’s a reason that President Bush’s job approval rating has maintained a solid floor of around 50% (now around 42%) and it’s the same justification that got him re-elected: above all else, Bush was supposed to be the President to “keep us safe.” New Orleans exposed that the federal response to natural disaster was not what the American public required, expected or deserved. But worse than that, Katrina made it clear that Homeland Security appears to be completely unprepared for the exigencies of a terrorist attack since they couldn’t even address a problem known to be heading our way.

Look at these two quotes from an article (linked below) on NASCAR dads:

I asked him, "So you vote Republican?" "Yep," he replied. "Always?" "Pretty much." "So you like Bush?" "Before or after the hurricane?"

Anyway, I found out he was a big Bush supporter but that he too was sorely disappointed with the president's hurricane response. Two men don't make a Gallup poll, but I found this interesting.
Hey, everybody who reads this blog knows I’m a huge Bush booster. I posted daily on Blogs for Bush every day before the election. But the Gulf Coast demanded an overwhelming influx of men, machines, and material and the federal government dropped the ball. Above all, President Bush needs to make this right.

[Side note: if there’s one saving grace for Bush is that he’s been blessed with a feckless opposition party, from Harry Reid to the completely wacked Mary Landrieu.]

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Above all, President Bush needs to make this right."

What does this sentence mean? How exactly would he, or anyone, go about accomplishing this?

Anonymous said...

I thought the primary purpose of DHS was to prevent attacks. We should fear the day that terrorists get a hold of something a hundredth as powerful as Katrina, because I assure you they will do a better job of using it to cause harm. Our focus should be on preventing them from acquiring those things.

opine6 said...

I keep hearing people, especially CNN, MSNBC, and the major network and print media, say the Federal response was lacking. What I haven't heard them say is, in what way?

Think of the magnitude of the storm. It covered the entire Gulf of Mexico. I live 7 hours away from NO, in extreme Southeast Alabama, 90 miles from the coast, and we had some winds and storm feeder bands way over here.

Now think about what the Federal responders had to go through to get there. There aren't that many ways to get to the Gulf Coast from the North. Look at a map. All of lower Mississippi and Alabama are pine forests. Trees were down on the major highways going into Gulf cities. All power was out, all cell and land line communications were out. Airports were closed. How are you supposed to get supplies there if not by land and air?

Besides, Katrina didn't turn into a major storm until two days before landfall. Maybe FEMA could have been clairvoyant and had ten times the amount of supplies they thought they needed positioned in Louisiana, but who knew the storm would turn out to be the monster it was? Half the state of Mississippi was affected by the storm.

The levee breach was discovered on Monday evening after the storm had passed. There were buses sitting in parking lots, ready to go before they flooded. Nagin said they didn't have drivers. I'm sure there were able bodied men in the Dome and the Convention Center that could drive a school bus. I can drive a school bus! A 20-year old boy "commandeered" and drove a school bus and saved 100 people. I hope that boy runs for Mayor of New Orleans. He has more sense than the current Mayor.

And the petty Governor dragging her feet on calling up the LA Guard and requesting active duty troops was just plain burying her head in the sand. Neither she, nor the Mayor, and probably FEMA, thought the levee was going to break. Unfortunately, it did. FEMA in Baton Rouge had no way to get timely info on how bad it was getting in New Orleans, or anywhere else.

Louisiana has been given over $100 million dollars in Depertment of Homeland Security grants since 1999 to get ready with. $60 million was to upgrade New Orleans' disaster communications capability.

I think FEMA's mistake was in not recognizing the utter corruption and graft in Louisiana politics, the incompetence of the Mayor and Governor (and yes, the State Coordinator of disaster response, also known as the AG of the Louisiana Guard).

Given Louisiana's long-term reputation for corruption and graft, someone from FEMA should have been checking behind them to see that the money was spent properly and as earmarked.

That is where the Federal Government failed. And there other cities and states in America that are just as corrupt as New Orleans and Louisian. The Federal Government has to play Nanny if our response system is going to work as envisioned. Shameful!

opine6 said...

I keep hearing people, especially CNN, MSNBC, and the major network and print media, say the Federal response was lacking. What I haven't heard them say is, in what way?

Think of the magnitude of the storm. It covered the entire Gulf of Mexico. I live 7 hours away from NO, in extreme Southeast Alabama, 90 miles from the coast, and we had some winds and storm feeder bands way over here.

Now think about what the Federal responders had to go through to get there. There aren't that many ways to get to the Gulf Coast from the North. Look at a map. All of lower Mississippi and Alabama are pine forests. Trees were down on the major highways going into Gulf cities. All power was out, all cell and land line communications were out. Airports were closed. How are you supposed to get supplies there if not by land and air?

Besides, Katrina didn't turn into a major storm until two days before landfall. Maybe FEMA could have been clairvoyant and had ten times the amount of supplies they thought they needed positioned in Louisiana, but who knew the storm would turn out to be the monster it was? Half the state of Mississippi was affected by the storm.

The levee breach was discovered on Monday evening after the storm had passed. There were buses sitting in parking lots, ready to go before they flooded. Nagin said they didn't have drivers. I'm sure there were able bodied men in the Dome and the Convention Center that could drive a school bus. I can drive a school bus! A 20-year old boy "commandeered" and drove a school bus and saved 100 people. I hope that boy runs for Mayor of New Orleans. He has more sense than the current Mayor.

And the petty Governor dragging her feet on calling up the LA Guard and requesting active duty troops was just plain burying her head in the sand. Neither she, nor the Mayor, and probably FEMA, thought the levee was going to break. Unfortunately, it did. FEMA in Baton Rouge had no way to get timely info on how bad it was getting in New Orleans, or anywhere else.

Louisiana has been given over $100 million dollars in Depertment of Homeland Security grants since 1999 to get ready with. $60 million was to upgrade New Orleans' disaster communications capability.

I think FEMA's mistake was in not recognizing the utter corruption and graft in Louisiana politics, the incompetence of the Mayor and Governor (and yes, the State Coordinator of disaster response, also known as the AG of the Louisiana Guard).

Given Louisiana's long-term reputation for corruption and graft, someone from FEMA should have been checking behind them to see that the money was spent properly and as earmarked.

That is where the Federal Government failed. And there other cities and states in America that are just as corrupt as New Orleans and Louisian. The Federal Government has to play Nanny if our response system is going to work as envisioned. Shameful!

Mike said...

money+
is easy. money+

kalisekj said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

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