I try not to beat on horses others in the blogosphere have already turned into a bloody pulp, but I'm just going to have to vent some on this. I can't help myself, the utter lack of intelligence based editorializing infuriates me. Today in the Chronicle, we have Thomas Freidman saying that the war on terror detracted from Katrina relief, without pointing to any measurable fact that would support such a claim. WHAT HOGWASH! Then we've got two pitiful excuses for political cartoons, one from The Palm Beach Post, and another from CP Houston. Let's see if we can actually determine what the truth really is:
Issue 1: The Mayor of New Orleans was notified that he needed to evacuate the city at least 36 hours, some say 48, before the storm made landfall. He did not order a mandatory evacuation at that time.
Issue 2: The Mayor of New Orleans did not follow the city's disaster preparedness plan. Nowhere in the document is the Superdome or the convention center even mentioned, Nor did he roll out city owned and school district busses to evacuate people. Nor did he put food, water, or other disaster supplies in the dome or convention center. He left those people to die. He may not like that being pointed out but it is the truth. He tried to kill those people by neglect.
Issue 3: Governor Blanco is at least as culpable as Nagin. She was asked to roll out the LA National Guard to assist in the evacuation and taking care of evacuees. She did not. President Bush contacted her and ASKED her to turn control of the NG over to the feds for disaster relief duty. He does not have the authority to wrest control from her, she has to give control. She chose not to do so. She is as responsible for those deaths as Nagin is. BOTH need to be brought up on multiple (in the thousands!) counts of involuntary manslaughter because of thier utter indifference for the lives of the people depending on them.
Issue 4: The people of NOLA that did not leave mainly did so because they were poor and owned no vehicle capable of carrying them out of harms way. The rate of automobile non-ownership in NOLA is 3 times that of the rest of the country. The Mass Transit system in NOLA reinforced that behavior by allowing those without vehicles to live their day to day lives without personal mobility options. The mass transit system cannot carry them out of town however.
Issue 5: The poor in NOLA, like poor all over the country have had decades of exposure to the welfare state. They no longer know how to wipe thier own ASS without the government showing them how, or doing it for them. Like inbred domestic turkeys stupidly staring at the sky and drowning, they sat there waiting on the all powerful government to carry them in out of the rain.
Issue 6: NOLA was besieged by gangsters shooting at first responders. Many of those were likely prisoners that NOLA police let loose because they had no plan to deal with them. First responders have a duty to retreat until it is reasonably safe for them to perform thier jobs. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people died because first responders had to wait for the military to restore civil order before they could do thier jobs.
Issue 7: The simple fact is this. FEMA has never been, nor can it ever be under the constitution we have now, the first responder in a crisis. That role is for the local and state government to perform. FEMA tells everyone that they should not expect FEMA's assistance for at least 72 hours after a disaster strikes. Local and state governments must take charge to prevent as much destruction and loss of life as possible, begin recovery operations and then FEMA steps in. FEMA got there in less than 72 hours, thereby beating thier own stated mandate. But they still had to wait for civil order to be restored.
Issue 8: Much is talked up by our moonbat bretheren about cuts to the Army Corp. of Engineers budget. But the simple fact is this. The cuts were of a study of the feasibility to upgrade the levee system to survive a cat 4 hurricane. It was not due to be complete until 2008. And had the recommendations been greenlighted and completed before Katrina hit, it might still not have been possible for the levees to survive. Katrina was a high order Cat 4. It was a CAT 5 until shortly before landfall, and it is rain combined with storm surge, not wind specifically that would determine the survival of a levee. Hurricane categories do not address how much rain a storm can generate, and the storm surge was that of a Cat 5, not a Cat 4 because it had only recently been downgraded. The fact of the matter is that the primary levee breech at 17th street was a levee that HAD JUST BEEN UPGRADED.
There is plenty of blame to be affixed, but I cannot see where the Federal Government has done anything even remotely negligent here. Feel free to show me where I am wrong.