Hurricane Relief, Part One
August 29, 2006
As the anniversary of hurricane Katrina approaches, the MSM has taken it upon themselves to ‘present’ a post Katrina evaluation to the American public. That would be an admirable endeavor if the MSM had a credible record when it came to reporting on Katrina. Sadly, they do not, Then, as now, the MSM’s record of is nothing less than atrocious (Our post, Hurricane Relief, Part One, can be found here).
Let’s take a short walk down memory lane.
The Katrina disaster impacted 90,000 square miles – unprecedented in modern history. No matter that the levee system in a sinking city was doomed to fail and no matter that even if for the last 15 years, all the levees in New Orleans were brought up to standard, we’d still have 5 years to go before they would be ready. There are those that are stupid enough to think that miracles originate in the Oval Office.
Many critics want to portray the Katrina relief efforts as a complete failure of this administration. Here’s a reality pill: FEMA’s mandate is to coordinate with state and local emergency response personnel to assist and augment state and local disaster plans. It is not the mandate of FEMA to be on the front lines of disaster relief.
The State of Louisiana received an extra 300 million dollars to assist in disaster planning and preparations. Still no word as to where the money went.
Of course, FEMA is not blameless in the ongoing Katrina debacle. It was and is FEMA’s job to coordinate with the states in advance, so as to be better prepared to help. What kind of coordination did they have with the State of Louisiana? When it became evident that Louisiana had no plan, what did FEMA do?
People in the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans need to be held accountable for the complete failure of the emergency planning commissions. Those planning commissions are the front line of defence in facing a natural disaster. The complete failure and implosion of those so called plans were inevitable. When the New Orleans and Louisiana disaster plans failed, it is unreasonable to expect the federal government to send fire trucks to the front lines.
The mayor of New Orleans didn’t do ‘his best,’ as he claims. Ray Nagin did nothing but wait for the federal government to respond to what was his problem- and screw up. Ray Nagin didn’t evacuate a single soul from New Orleans- and did nothing to help those who wanted leave, but couldn’t. See this, from The Anchoress. Critics of the administration- including the MSM- don’t like to be reminded of that.
Did we really expect an incompetent mayor and governor to miraculously find their mettle a day or two before the onslaught of a catastrophic event? Where were Michael Brown’s critics before Katrina? Why was there uproar as he oversaw 160 disasters FEMA responded to prior to Katrina?
The critics of the administration don’t give a damn about the victims of Katrina. The hurricane disaster relief efforts were no more than a platform for bashing this administration. Notwithstanding FEMA’s errors, critics demanded the impossible- they wanted this administration to provide miracles. For the critics, the politics are still more important than the needs.
When political gain can’t be had, the critics ignore reality. In Mississippi, a state that suffered horribly, the disaster relief program is working- not perfectly, but working- and that is why the critics refuse to talk about that state. Their own efforts and that state’s coordination with FEMA, was very different from that of Louisiana. They had a real plan. Louisiana did not. No one wants to talk about fabled Louisiana state government corruption.
Part of what made this country great was a ‘can do’ attitude. No problem was too big, no problems were insurmountable. America and Americans make things happen
Katrina has clearly shown that many Americans, even those in government, seem to be frozen, incapable of initiative and lacking the self motivation to ‘do for themselves,’ instead wanting and waiting to rely on ‘the government.’ It is this very inertia that serves as the fuel for terrorism. We appear as if we are incapable of responding to any kind of threat or disaster.
Critics of the administration are gearing up for an overtime effort. With all due respect, when have Harry Reid, Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton, et al, and an become experts on emergency readiness planning? Since when do Harry Reid and Jesse Jackson know more about Louisiana than Mary Landrieu? She has requested that a cabinet level post be established to oversee the relief and reconstruction, so that they they may “go over the heads of local officials.” Senator Landrieu knows what everyone else does- that local officials are corrupt and incompetent.
The critics want to play politics. Well, that goes two ways. The Louisiana levees were ignored for decades. Why didn’t years of successive Democrat administrations in the State of Louisiana, do anything about the levees? As we have noted, emergency preparedness is the responsibility of the state. What exactly did they do for decades with all that money assigned for disaster relief? Where are the water stores, for example. The was no water pre staged by the City or state. They had a full weeks notice- and years of pissed away planning, by both the city and state was revealed. Simply stated, New Orleans and the State of Louisiana screwed up.
They had no plan and the proof is in the pudding. They were incompetent- complete failures. The Feds were put in a position where they had to provide everything- a role that is not a part of their mandate.
The gnawing, lingering question remains: Why didn’t mayor Ray Nagin call for the school buses to assist with the evacuations? That has nothing to do with the levees. Nothing.
Let’s look a little closer at the politics.
Every governor in Louisiana since 1887, with three exceptions, have been Democrats. In other words, it would be very easy to blame Democrats for the failures of the infrastructures in New Orleans and the Louisiana coast.
It should be noted that in Mississippi, every governor since 1836 has also been a Democrat, save for five Republicans and one Union Democrat.
Alabama Governor’s Mansion has been occupied by Democrats since 1819, save for six Republicans.
It is the States responsibility to build, maintain, and support state infrastructure. It is also the state’s responsibility to to maintain local civil administration, emergency planning or emergency response. Those are the responsibilities of local governments.
The fact remains that is is the federal government that had to step in and clean up the mess made by the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, two local governments that imploded.
Playing politics isn’t a one way street. There’s more really juicy reality bites. See So Much News It Can’t All Be Read!, from The Anchoress.
This is just the warmup. More later