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The National Guard Moves Into New Orleans

2005_09_03_ng.jpg
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - To cries of "Thank you, Jesus!" and catcalls of "What took you so long?," a National Guard convoy packed with food, water and medicine rolled through axle-deep floodwaters Friday into what remained of New Orleans and descended into a maelstrom of fires and floating corpses.

"Lord, I thank you for getting us out of here!" Leschia Radford shrieked amid a throng of tens of thousands of storm victims outside the New Orleans Convention Center.

More than four days after the storm hit, the caravan of at least three-dozen camouflage-green troop vehicles and supply trucks arrived along with dozens of air-conditioned buses to take refugees out of the city. President Bush also took an aerial tour of the ruined city, and answered complaints about a sluggish government response by saying, "We're going to make it right."

In what looked like a scene from a Third World country, some people threw their arms heavenward and others nearly fainted with joy as the trucks and hundreds of soldiers arrived in the punishing midday heat.

Note that the commander-in-chief of the Louisiana National Guard is Governor Kathleen Blanco (D). How she's deflected all blame for the delays in deployment is beyond me (certainly having the "D" behind her name doesn't hurt), especially when (as of Wednesday) only half of the available Louisiana National Guard was deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts...


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Comments (20)

The governor's leadership w... (Below threshold)

The governor's leadership was abysmal. If anyone should be accountable it should be a public official who has the pulse on a city or state - that goes for the Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco. Why don't they even appear on national television and appeal for the country to help their innocently desperate residents?

Goes to show that a leader like Giuliani does not come around so often.

"We're going to make... (Below threshold)
jc:


"We're going to make it right."

That's why I like this president. Instead of making excuses or passing the buck, he just says, "We're going to make it right."

I agree 1000% about Governo... (Below threshold)

I agree 1000% about Governor Blanco, but Mayor Nagin? That man loves his city. I'm sure he would love to go on national television, but there's this small crisis going on and he can't really step away. I'm sure everyone's heard his radio rant by now, right? Nagin can't be a Giuliani for one reason and one reason alone: Giuliani wasn't trying to unify a bunch of rapists and murderers.

Blanco, on the other hand, has been completely useless since the day she took office.

And you know, he probaby doesn't have the chance to go on tv. There's dimwit Sen. Mary Landrieu going on every chance she gets to thank politicians and bash President Bush instead of getting help.

The more I read about Nagin... (Below threshold)

The more I read about Nagin before disaster, the more I liked about him - but when he refused to call for mandatory evacuation until he was forced to, then lied to the citizens of New Orleans by saying it would only take 1 or 2 weeks to get the electricity and water back on after a Category 5 hit - (and this is on tape!) and - worst of all - not having any evacuation plan and making no attempt to get the ill, the old and the poor out of the city in the 24 hours before the storm struck - he is the one who will have caused more people to lose their lives than anyone else.

As I watched him on TV, I started blogging on his bizarre behavior before the storm to see if enough of us brought this up - that the MSM might get him to be pro-active, but it was too late.

And then when the leeves broke - did Nagin get the school buses within easy joggin distance of the Superdome to get the people out? No. He did not order a single bus or truck to get people out before the rest of New Orleans was flooded. He never once appealed for those who could get out to take people with them. He did... nothing.

Mayor Nagin never called fo... (Below threshold)

Mayor Nagin never called for a mandatory evacuation, saying that people SHOULD leave is not by any definition mandating it. It's a suggestion, nothing more. Excluding tourists from the suggestion is nothing short of incredibly stupid, they most likely don't know their way around town, in short they are lost in a flooded city with no idea where to go, what areas to avoid that may be flooded or dangerous and probably know very few people there to ask for reliable directions or assistance. He seems to have put very little thought into the decisions he has made before or since the storm.

I remember when the mandato... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

I remember when the mandatory evacuation was being discussed, the police chief objected because he said he didn't have enough cops to enforce it!

If you want to see an examp... (Below threshold)
Greg:

If you want to see an example of her poor leadership, read or watch this response to criticism of her actions that was made on the PBS Newshour show a few days ago.

Shall I modify the left's catchy phrase?
"Blanco whined, people died!"

When you compare how other ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

When you compare how other states handle hurricanes, there's definitely something wrong at the State level. Unfortunately, I think the Federal level operated from a presumption of compentancy of the State level. Bush's people should have been pointing out who controls the National Guard from day 2 (or late day 1), not just to defend Bush, but to rather embarass the Governor into doing her job.

"These conditions ma... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


"These conditions make it extremely impossible to do everything that is absolutely essential to be done simultaneously."

That's exactly what I was thinking.


Watching this I have been a... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Watching this I have been as mad as anyone at the Mayor, Gov and our President. Now that I am seeing more of the relief come in it is becoming more obvious what has occurred. Alabama and Mississippi were prepared and have responded as well as could be expected based on the amount of damage. Louisiana did not prepare, did not evacuate, did not step up and have its elected officials show leadership and reach out for Federal help when it was initially available. Any one that followed this and knows about disaster preparedness knows that President Bush declared a Natural Diaster days prior to the storm making landfall. The Governor did not reach out and ask for the available help until days after the storm.

With all the help we see being given by the great state of Texas could anyone with half a brain not figure out that President Bush has (behind the scenes) made sure that his home state stepped up and demonstrated all the qualities that Louisiania officials have failed to show.

The Mayor, Governor and State Director of Homeland Security should be removed from office effective today and some thought should be given to criminal proceedings.

I agree that the governor a... (Below threshold)
tongancat:

I agree that the governor and mayor are a disgrace! I don't care how loud the left tries to blame the president, these two are the ones at fault. The city/state would STILL be floundering if the feds hadn't finally stepped in and taken over. I just saw Nagin on CNN saying that "the CIA may be coming to get me"....(because of his criticism of the president). He is a TOTAL LOON and the governor is an incompetent idiot who is getting a pass from the MSM because she's a dem.

From the <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)

From the DHS website:

"Principal Federal Official (PFO). Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to act as the Principal Federal Official. Designated by Secretary Chertoff, the PFO leads the deployment and coordination of all federal response resources and forces in the Gulf Coast region. This role, established under the NRP, streamlines leadership and gives state and local leaders one point for delivery of critical Federal aid and support."

The National Guard is part of the U.S. military and answers to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Quit trying to deflect blame from your President and his piss-poor administration; everyone in America knows the Bush Junta has made this natural disaster unnaturally worse. Well, everyone with a brain -- which excludes all those on the political right.

Correction: The National Gu... (Below threshold)
S.M. Dixon:

Correction: The National Guard is "state" entity, but still currently controlled by the Federal government for the duration of this crisis.

From the Louisiana State Co... (Below threshold)

From the Louisiana State Constitution:

Article IV, Sec. 5 (J) Commander-in-Chief: "The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the state, except when they are called into service of the federal government. He may call out these forces to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency."

This indicates that the Louisiana Guard is "firstly" under the control of the Governor, then the President.

Dixon, you're an idiot. If... (Below threshold)
rayabacus:

Dixon, you're an idiot. If you're going to comment on something, get your facts straight so you at least have a chance of convincing someone you're not a complete moron.

The LANG is strictly under the command of the Governor, unless the President declares Federal Martial Law. Then they are under his command.

The crime here is the Mayor abandoning thousands of his citizens, basically saying, "We'll pray for you; good luck". The crime is almost 600 buses sitting in water right now that could have got those people to a relief center days earlier. The crime here is the Mayor not having any kind of plan to evacuate those people before hand. Basically what I am saying is that the crime here is the Mayor.

Let this be a lesson to you and all those good people in New Orleans, elections do have consequences and the duly elected Mayor of NOLA failed his constituents.

"Well, everyone with a brai... (Below threshold)
GC:

"Well, everyone with a brain -- which excludes all those on the political right."

SM (stupid monkey ??) Demonstrates once again the 5th grade level of knowledge it requires to be a lib. The level of incompetence at the local is staggering as witnessed by the writeups on Hurricane Ivan that are now being re-published, the busses sitting in water, the large numbers of NO police who just left....etc.

Keep talking SM I gonna love the 2006 elections and the total confusion of the left. I can hear it now....how did we lose, the people are stupid/brainwashed, we didnt get our message out...etc. All said without one braincell firing saying "Maybe they did get the message and it sucked".

Yo Dems, the wheels have co... (Below threshold)
GOP Boss:

Yo Dems, the wheels have come off your wagon and Katrina simply luminates this fact! Corruption has been King is NO and LA state fo-yeeuzz and yeeuzz!
Hmmmm, Lets see now my entire electorate live on a floating city , a Cat.5 is coming and the levies are Cat.3 and I've got a whole lot of buses sitting idle
and apx 24-48 hrs. what should my worthless mayoral ass do? I know call the guvnuh! Oh no her ass is worthless too! Oh well blame it all on Uncle Sugah!
Oh yeah and while I'm at it I'll go all Crack-wack screamin' on the radio that will help my fellow citizens survive my incompetence. I love it when a plan is handeled by the grown-ups.

Please, folks, can't we get... (Below threshold)
ernie camacho:

Please, folks, can't we get away from this red state / blue state madness, just until we get past this disaster?

As has been said before, there is plenty of blame to go around. Here's a few details that I'm aware of, although I may have gotten it wrong (you just can't trust the media, right or left):

1. Louisiana is a different country. It doesn't operate the same as the rest of the US. People I know who live there tell me that graft and bribery are expected at all levels of government. Remember the governor who had problems 'cause of the gambling interests he was beholden to?

2. The federal government CAN NOT simply roll into a state. They MUST be asked by the governor. I've read that even though the feds filled out all the paperwork needed for the request ('cause the state wouldn't) several days before the hurricane hit, the Gov. refused to sign it until several days after. The same was true for nearby states wanting to lend a hand.

3. The Mayor, as has been mentioned here, did not do a number of things that he should have done, including using the buses he had available, insisting that everyone evacuate, and making sure that they did.

4. I read in the paper that officials in other areas have a procedure where they go into the community to get people out beforehand. If someone refuses, they say OK and hand them a permanent marker asking them to write their ssn on their body parts so they can be identified later. That usually gets them moving.

In short, at all levels, government has failed to do its job. But, from what I read, it looks like the majority of blame falls on the local leadership, both city and state. I don't think it's as simple as saying "it's 'cause they're Democrats". That's too simplistic. This attitude has been a fact of life in LA for generations.

Or so I read, and hear.

Bottom line: Save lives. There's plenty of time for blame later.

Well, that's what I get for... (Below threshold)
Ernie Camacho:

Well, that's what I get for simply relaying what I've been reading and hearing. After posting the prev. msg., I did a bit of web searching and (of course) found lots of stuff refuting most of the items I'd mentioned.

For example, I'm now reading that the Gov. asked the feds. for help on Sunday, before the hurricane hit.

And, I'm reading that the refusal of the feds' offer was 'cause of some historical baggage. According to a few sources, Bush has been trying to "federalize" the national guard for some time, and the Gov. was pushing back 'cause that's what this looked like. I don't know what's right here, refusing on principle, or accepting.

As has been said, we need to keep our tempers in check, do what we can to help the victims, and let the facts (hopefully) come out in due course.

I can't believe the simplic... (Below threshold)
Alex:

I can't believe the simplicity of thought that people express by blaming the President, whether it had been Bush, Kerry, or even Gore, for even 10% of the preventable suffering that occurred as a result of Katrina.

Here is the order of blame that I see based on nothing but logic, common sense, and a general understanding of the basics of our system of federal, state, and local governments here in America...

(and many of these are not to say that anyone should have known better at the time, we're not clairvoyant us humans)

1. Building a city below sea level that borders the ocean in the first place.

2. Building a levee system to withstand only up to a cat 3 hurricane.

3. Louisiana legislative sessions repeatedly appropriating funds away from upgrading the levee systems, considered by many legislators to be "pork".

4. The city or New Orleans lacking an effective hurricane evacuation plan.

5. The Mayor of New Orleans not using the hundreds of city buses and school buses to bus out people for FREE. (this is why the issue of being poor is moot point) Those buses just sat there and got swallowed up by the water.

6. The Governor of Louisiana refusing the President's midnight request to federalize the National Guard on Friday.

Now there are other bits that fit in there somewhere, like the sheer bureaucracy involved at all levels of government... it's just the world we live in. And here are some other facts to think about. The National Guard, no matter who they're controlled by, have to wait for requests for help before going into action. This tradition may be revised in the wake of this new level of disaster, but that will take a LOT of new legislation... and it will be fought over by the states. You have to appreciate the importance of state's rights in America. People fought and died over state's rights. It's why the Governor of Louisiana didn't want to give up control of the National Guard initially. In a sense, as per my disclaimer above, she can't really be blamed for her reaction. Only now, after the fact, will we be re-evaluating how the government responds to disasters of this magnitude. But I'm sure that will be argued wildly by those opposed to too much government authority, such as those who oppose the Patriot Act. Such is our system, and yes, it's still the best there is.

Finally, though I could go on about more, FEMA's mandate, and you can look this up, is to ASSIST state and local governments. It was never designed, back in 1979, or even after 9/11, to TAKE OVER and be ultimately RESPONSIBLE FOR disaster relief. Throughout our short history, it's been the first responders that have been expected to provide the initial relief people need in disasters, such as the relief in the first few days of Katrina's aftermath that everyone is complaining about. Well guess where the first responder's are situated? In the middle of the city and outlying areas where the disaster occurs. So you see, the first responders were surrounded by water, without communications, having lost even their own homes and families. This is perhaps the ultimate reason that people are looking for, the place where the rubber meets the road.

Unfortunately, this was one of those disasters so large that even those who knew what COULD happen, couldn't do anything to prevent it. Just like if people knew that those planes would be hijacked and flown into the Towers and the Pentagon, there's nothing anyone really could have done. Or if someone knew that Oswald was sitting in that 6th floor window, or if someone knew an actor was going to shoot Lincoln in the balcony, and so on and so forth...

Knowing what COULD happen, the best we could have done was to evacuate, and the order was given, and 80% did. And even now, many of the rest still refuse to leave a city in ruins...


UPDATE:

I just read that the Red Cross had food and water to drop at the Superdome right after Katrina hit, but they were prevented from doing so by state/local officials so as not to encourage people to hang around. This is a big deal if it's true, and at least the meat of it is. As soon as I read this I remembered actually seeing mention of that as it happened. It seemed logical to me at the time, but only days after I thought back to it and realized what a mistake that was. But the report didn't mentioned who ordered to hold back the food/water drop. That's the key here, but I remember that now and it DID happen. How bittersweet hindsight is...




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