Monday, September 12, 2005

Open Letters


From one priceless open letter...

To another.

Personally, I think New Orleans is worth saving. And things ARE going to get better (in Baton Rouge), even though right now the Bush cartel stands to make a bundle, the Department of Homeland Security failed their first big test, and all of the sudden we don't look so hot in front of the rest of the world.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face the Facts

In case you aren't familiar with how our government is SUPPOSED to work: The chain of responsibility for the protection of the citizens in New Orleans is:

1. The Mayor
2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security (a political appointee of the Governor who reports to the Governor)
3. The Governor
4. The Head of Homeland Security
5. The President

What did each do?
1. The mayor, with 5 days advance notice, waited until 2 days before he announced a mandatory evacuation (at the behest of the President). Then he failed to provide transportation for those without transport even though he had hundreds of buses at his disposal.

2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security failed to have any plan for a contingency that has been talked about for 50 years. Then he blames the Feds for not doing what he should have done. (So much for political appointees)

3. The Governor, despite a declaration of disaster by the President 2 DAYS BEFORE the storm hit, failed to take advantage of the offer of Federal troops and aid. Until 2 DAYS AFTER the storm hit.

4. The Director of Homeland Security positioned assets in the area to be ready when the Governor called for them

5. The President urged a mandatory evacuation, and even declared a disaster State of Emergency, freeing up millions of dollars of federal assistance, should the Governor decide to use it.

Oh and by the way, the levees that broke were the responsibility of the local landowners and the local levee board to maintain, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The disaster in New Orleans is what you get after decades of corrupt government going all the way back to Huey Long.

Funds for disaster protection and relief have been flowing into this city for decades, and where has it gone, but into the pockets of the politicos and their friends.

Decades of socialist government in New Orleans has sapped all self reliance from the community, and made them dependent upon Political correctness and a lack of will to fight crime have created the single most corrupt police force in the country, and has permitted gang violence to flourish.

The sad thing is that there are many poor folks who have suffered and died needlessly because those that they voted into office failed them.

For those who missed item 5 (where the President's level of accountability is discussed), it is made clearer in a New Orleans Times-Picayune article dated August 28:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.

Acknowledging that large numbers of people, many of them stranded tourists, would be unable to leave, the city set up 10 places of last resort for people to go, including the Superdome.

The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should. He exempted hotels from the evacuation order because airlines had already cancelled all flights.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

With a 5-day heads-up, Mayor Nagin had the authority to use any and all services to evacuate all residents from the city, as documented in a city emergency preparedness plan. By waiting until the last minute, and failing to make full use of resources available within city limits, Nagin and his administration messed up.

Mayor Nagin and his emergency sidekick Terry Ebbert have displayed lethal, mind boggling incompetence before, during and after Katrina. That city's government is incompetent from one end to the other. The people of New Orleans deserve better than what this crowd of clowns is capable of giving them.

Mayor Nagin let 569 buses that could have carried 33,350 people out of New Orleans-in one trip- get ruined in the floods. The media is blaming a President who provided resources, instructions and emergency plans to a corrupt Mayor and inept Governor who utilized none of them.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Jack Kelly said...

Jack Kelly: No shame

The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed
Sunday, September 11, 2005
It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.


"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.
Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief.

He notes that: "The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached.

In the course of that week:
More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.

The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.

Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.

Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog,

Moltenthought:
"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.
"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.

Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can't be on the scene immediately.

Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.

And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.

Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.
The levee broke Tuesday morning.

Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?

Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (jkelly@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1476).

6:43 PM  
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11:58 PM  

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