Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Feds failed New Orleans?

During the great Tsunami everyone complained that there was not sufficient warning time for people to escape. In New Orleans there was debate as to whether the call for the evacuation was equal to crying "wolf." I don't watch television as a general rule because it wastes my time. My housemate asked me, "You want to watch TV and see the hurricane come in?" There was enough warning that you could watch it come in with anticipation similar to the droves of idiots who can't wait to see who the next American Idol will be.

New Orleans now claims that the Feds failed them because despite having unprecedented warning of a category 5 hurricane that was coming right at their city, they also want immediate evacuation and help to get there for the citizens who stayed...stayed in their city that sits under sea level.

Now I know not everyone can leave. Especially people who are so used to urban living that they don't even own a car. I was sickened to see that no serious attempt was made to remove the sick, infirmed, and nursing home residents. Everyone I've seen asked about why they didn't leave had the same reply: "I had nowhere to go." So I guess that's the Feds fault too.

I'm not going to be in too many situations to defend the Federal government, but this wasn't anyone's fault. The blame belongs squarely on anyone who could've left, but didn't bother.


Robert the Grump said...

I disagree. There's lot of blame to be handed out, and I don't want waste an opportunity to bash Bush for yet another failure.

Why blame all of the people who didn't leave? Let's just remember that saying they should leave and paying for it when you are dirt poor are two different things. Was the government offering a place to go? Nope. Did any of the surrounding states erect a tent city for hurricane refugees? Nope. How do you leave if you can't afford the price of a Motel 6 for a week? Especially when you may not be allowed back for months. Where do you go? How do you get there? Lot's of warning, but no options. That's the reason they stayed.

Let's dwell instead on how poorly FEMA reacted to a natural disaster in the richest, most powerful country in the world. They made virtually no preparations despite a decent warning. They did nothing for about five days, didn't even have a Headquarters location picked out despite having people on the ground for three days. Hmmm. Poor leadership for sure. Of course, the leader of FEMA is George W. Bush's college roommate, whose only qualification is that he judges horse shows.

Sweet. If I'm in an emergency situation, say, Mt Rainier erupts and covers Seattle in hot ash, I know that I want a horse judge in charge rather than a retired General who is used to commanding troops and has made a living solving huge logistical problems. Or perhaps, a former CEO who can get things done...well, you get the drift. Trump would have cleaned up and rebuilt New Orleans by now, and fired Bush in the process.

We can also note that Bush pulled FEMA's teeth and removed a great deal of their authority by putting them way down the command chain in Homeland Security, when they used to be a high priority, stand-alone department.

And we won't forget that the flooding was caused by the levees breaking, and Bush pulled much of the funding for the Army Corp of Engineers, who were responsible for maintaining them. In fact, he specifically pulled funding intended for that use. Had a war to pay for, you know, lots of WMDs to be found.

The rest of the world is stunned to silence that we have done so poorly by our own citizens. So am I. How productive is it to sit here and blame them for their own problems? Have lung cancer? Well, you should've moved to a non-smoking country where you wouldn't have to breath second-hand smoke. See what I mean? Silly, and unproductive.

The blame for poor disaster response has to go to the people who are responsible for disaster response, plain and simple. Who cares why the victims didn't leave, why didn't FEMA and the government do their jobs? That's the only question.

And I have the answer. George W. Bush. Somewhere in Texas, a town is without an idiot.

Tracy said...

You're right, it was Bush's fault.

Tracy said...

oh wait...hold your tongue and say, "Seattle is in hot ash."