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New Orleans Mayor Blast Governor's Delays, "More People Died"


CNN aired this incredible interview with the outspoken mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin yesterday morning. From the CNN transcript:

S. O'BRIEN: There are people who say your evacuation plan, obviously in hindsight, was disastrous.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: Which one?

S. O'BRIEN: Your evacuation plan before -- when you put people into the Superdome. It wasn't thought out. You got 20,000 people in there. And that you bear the brunt of the blame for some of this, a large chunk of it.

NAGIN: Look, I'll take whatever responsibility that I have to take. But let me ask you this question: When you have a city of 500,000 people, and you have a category 5 storm bearing down on you, and you have the best you've ever done is evacuate 60 percent of the people out of the city, and you have never issued a mandatory evacuation in the city's history, a city that is a couple of hundred years old, I did that. I elevated the level of distress to the citizens.

And I don't know what else I could do, other than to tell them that it's a mandatory evacuation. And if they stayed, make sure you have a frigging ax in your home, where you can bust out the roof just in case the water starts flowing.

And as a last resort, once this thing is above a category 3, there are no buildings in this city to withstand a category 3, a category 4 or a category 5 storm, other than the Superdome. That's where we sent people as a shelter of last resort. When that filled up, we sent them to the Convention Center. Now, you tell me what else we could have done.

S. O'BRIEN: What has Secretary Chertoff promised you? What has Donald Rumsfeld given you and promised you?

NAGIN: Look, I've gotten promises to -- I can't stand anymore promises. I don't want to hear anymore promises. I want to see stuff done. And that's why I'm so happy that the president came down here, because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. And they were telling him things weren't as bad as it was.

He came down and saw it, and he put a general on the field. His name is General Honore. And when he hit the field, we started to see action.

And what the state was doing, I don't frigging know. But I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate.

And then, the president and the governor sat down. We were in Air Force One. I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.'

S. O'BRIEN: What date was this? When did you say that? When did you say...

NAGIN: Whenever air Force One was here.

S. O'BRIEN: OK.

NAGIN: And this was after I called him on the telephone two days earlier. And I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two need to get together on the same page, because of the lack of coordination, people are dying in my city.'

S. O'BRIEN: That's two days ago.

NAGIN: They both shook -- I don't know the exact date. They both shook their head and said yes. I said, 'Great.' I said, 'Everybody in this room is getting ready to leave.' There was senators and his cabinet people, you name it, they were there. Generals. I said, 'Everybody right now, we're leaving. These two people need to sit in a room together and make a doggone decision right now.'

S. O'BRIEN: And was that done?

NAGIN: The president looked at me. I think he was a little surprised. He said, "No, you guys stay here. We're going to another section of the plane, and we're going to make a decision."

He called me in that office after that. And he said, "Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor." I said -- and I don't remember exactly what. There were two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision.

S. O'BRIEN: You're telling me the president told you the governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?

NAGIN: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Regarding what? Bringing troops in?

NAGIN: Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the -- I was abdicating a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places.

S. O'BRIEN: And the governor said no.

NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn't happen, and more people died.

Res ipsa loquitur...

(h/t - LGF and PunditGuy)


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» PoliPundit.com linked with Blanco's 24 Hour Delay

» The Violence Worker! linked with Governor Blanco's 24 Hour Delay?

» Sierra Faith linked with Blanco's 24 Hours

» Michelle Malkin linked with NAGIN VS. BLANCO

» Yippee-Ki-Yay! linked with I May Owe Ray Nagin Half an Apology

» LeatherPenguin: No Editors! linked with Katrina Aftermath: The Blame Game 3: Out Comes the Knives

» California Conservative linked with 24 Hour Wait?: What Was Going On in Baton Rouge PT II

» Mark in Mexico linked with Mayor Culpa

» morningsun.blog-city.com linked with Dem-mark

» Random Numbers linked with Katrina: If Kerry Had Won.

» In the Bullpen linked with Blanco’s 24-Hour Stall

» Blind Mind's Eye linked with New Orleans could have been handled a lot better

» ReidBlog linked with The blame warriors

» Can't See the Center linked with Doomsday +7

» The (not so) Daily Me linked with New Orleans Mayor and Bush to LA Gov: Let Feds Help!

» Mister Snitch! linked with Nagin bails...

» Jack Yoest linked with Tears and Leadership

Comments (62)

"That's where we sent peopl... (Below threshold)
cirby:

"That's where we sent people as a shelter of last resort. When that filled up, we sent them to the Convention Center. Now, you tell me what else we could have done."

Food and water would have been nice.

Some minor thought to having power?

Moving all of your transportation assets to a place they might not have been flooded out?

Calling for the evacuation a day earlier?

Having some communications and government continuity plans in place so you don't look like a clueless fool?

That sort of stuff. You know, the kind of thing that's *in your plan*.


<a href="http://aarons.cc/2... (Below threshold)
This is amazing. I'm glad ... (Below threshold)
writeaway:

This is amazing. I'm glad the mayor was so candid. It's obvious that the Governor has some serious questions to answer. I would love to know what the MSM would've done if this happened in Florida under Gov. Bush. I've been floored at the lack of media attention on the local and state governments culpability in all this. They knew for decades this was going to happen. It will be interesting to watch all of this unfold.

I said the mayor was candid... (Below threshold)
writeaway:

I said the mayor was candid, I forgot to add CLUELESS

cirby, you are an idiot!</p... (Below threshold)
coonrod23:

cirby, you are an idiot!

Try reading a history book and you will realize why your comments show complete ignorance.

True that some of the blame for this fiasco falls on the city level; but, your comments are those of a 3-year-old.

P.S. History is a school subject. You did go to school, didn't you?

I am fairly confident that ... (Below threshold)
Cobb:

I am fairly confident that the timeline will show that the evacuation was going fine and that the damage that the hurricane itself did, did not require a stepped up effort. However, that the buses in question were out of commission and the city flooded while people slept and in the early hours of the morning when the 17th St Canal dikes broke, the damage was too swift to move those buses - not that they had been needed up until that point.

In other words, the same thing that necessitated the use of the buses destroyed the buses before they could be used.

I'm linking more and more t... (Below threshold)

I'm linking more and more to you guys. Excellent post.

However, you need to change your transcript (not sure if this is your transcript, or one you obtained elsewhere).

Nagin does not say he was "abdicating" a chain of command (though that was surely what he was doing), but rather that he was "advocating" a clear chain of command - no doubt one that put someone else at the top.

But, truly powerful linkage.

Cobb, the buses should have... (Below threshold)
ATM:

Cobb, the buses should have been used before the hurricane landfall because there was significant chance that NOLA would take a direct hit from a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane, whose storm surge would have flooded NOLA and drowned a lot of people who stayed behind. People should have been evacuated before the hurricane hit.

coonrod23:Not that... (Below threshold)
fatman:

coonrod23:

Not that I'm defending cirby (I doubt if he/she needs my help), but just what history books are you referring to? Or are you just another mindless Bush-basher, come here to throw around empty insults with nothing to back them up?

Fatman, don't be stupid. Yo... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Fatman, don't be stupid. You KNOW the answer to your question. Of course he's "just another mindless Bush-basher, come here to throw around empty insults with nothing to back them up" -- how could you have any doubts?

Sheesh, fatman, I've come to expect better from you.

J.

Maybe this is not directly ... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Maybe this is not directly pertinant to the question, but I did a little experitmet this past year. I live in a tourist area where there are families from all over the US who visit. I asked about 50 high school graduates if they could recite the preamble to our US constitution. I havn't found one yet. What does that tell you about our school system?

Oh, noooes! Someone has cal... (Below threshold)
AnonymousCoward:

Oh, noooes! Someone has called someone a bush-basher! Game over, man! You are a mean, mean man, and your opinions are completely invalidated because they were against someone.
Forget that the person is the most powerful man in command of the most powerful nation, with the most powerful economy and most powerful military. Bush is responsible for nothing but taking it easy, baby. No, not the Big Easy. Let that hole die, I'm talking vacation time, golf and guitars.

The time has come for responsibility. People are dying and you bastards are still playing politics. Running interference for the one guy that had to say something to get anything done. The Mayor and Governor could only have helped things before. Everything after, lays on Bush's shoulders. America will not go for this pathetic whitewash.

Jay Tea:I crave yo... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Jay Tea:

I crave your pardon. I can only plead lack of sleep, throw my self on your mercy and plead for another chance.

As for you, AnonymousCoward...ahhh, the hell with it. I really do need the sleep and some things just aren't worth the effort.

Hmmmm."Forget that... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Forget that the person is the most powerful man in command of the most powerful nation, with the most powerful economy and most powerful military. Bush is responsible for nothing but taking it easy, baby. No, not the Big Easy. Let that hole die, I'm talking vacation time, golf and guitars."

Looks like someone is ignorant of the Posse Comitatus Act and the Stafford Act.

But then again I've come to expect that from liberals. God knows how many times I've written essay long posts trying to educate liberals.

I should get paid for this. :)

Well, ed, having tried to e... (Below threshold)
meep:

Well, ed, having tried to educate people, I know it's a thankless job. However, in Bush's America, there's accountability, and I don't think people get paid for no results.

As for Native American -- well, I can =sing= the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The problem with kids today is that they have too many entertainment outlets, and thus didn't get subjected to Schoolhouse Rock every week alongside crappy Saturday morning cartoons...(Also, I've got a pocket guide to the Constitution that a friend gave to me, which has some capsule bios and short descriptions of 20 important Supreme Court cases)

Ed, I was just going to bri... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Ed, I was just going to bring that subject up myself. It appears that the President has responded as expeditiously as he was able once posse comitatus had been waived by the governor. The military has the means more than anyone to perform the large scale rescue/relief operations warranted in New Orleans. I am anxiously awaiting AnonymousCoward's upcoming post where it will be spelled out exactly how he would have handled this situation if he were President.

Haven't you guys figured it... (Below threshold)

Haven't you guys figured it out by now? Bush is GOD to the left. He's in control of everything, up to and including the weather. I mean, for someone that can spawn the most destructive hurricane ever to hit the U.S., saving a few poor black folks should be child's play--if only he cared. Obviously, with that much power, any and everything bad that happens is his fault, through either action or inaction.

Attempts to counter that mindset with actual facts and logic are excercises in futility.

For pete's sake, the winds had hardly died down when the first accusations of Bush & Barbour's responsibility for the hurricane started flying. I personally didn't know that my governor had that much pull, but knowing that he does, there's a few favors I intend to call him about.

In their defense, however, the left actually does want an all-powerful federal government, and they have a long history of trashing the constitution for various purposes, so I suppose all of this drivel is actually perfectly aligned with their philosophy of government.

Bush bashers don't have a p... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Bush bashers don't have a plan for anything-they just like to wimper, kiss ass and say lets talk about it before you cut off my head.

What do you expect? This gu... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

What do you expect? This guy is an elected leader of a constituency that has been indoctrinated to see themselves as victims and sees the whole purpose of the world as to solve their problems for them. He used this knowledge to get elected as mayor of a little kleptocracy and now he's doing the only thing he knows how - blame other people. In about 6 months he'll be suing Walmart for not removing the guns that were looted.

Meep,"As for Native ... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Meep,
"As for Native American -- well, I can =sing= the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The problem with kids today is that they have too many entertainment outlets, and thus didn't get subjected to Schoolhouse Rock every week alongside crappy Saturday morning cartoons...(Also, I've got a pocket guide to the Constitution that a friend gave to me, which has some capsule bios and short descriptions of 20 important Supreme Court cases)"

I was not trying to point out that many of us who are beyond the age of graduation do or don't have a clue. I was pointing out the failure of our schools to educate our children. Please, when we are talking about a young person who just graduated from high school who cannot remember more than "We The People" to the preamble of our Constitution, I, for one, believe we have a failed school system. All of us can carry a pocket version of the Constitution, and I wish we all did, however, when you consider that I have asked 50 + high school graduates about our constitution and NONE of them could remember the preamble, I have to shamefully admit that we have failed in the education of our children.

Heh, I just graduated high ... (Below threshold)

Heh, I just graduated high school. I got "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..." but then the preamble to the Declaration of Independence kept getting mixed in, so I gave up and looked it up.

Bushes political avisory te... (Below threshold)

Bushes political avisory team is in full metal jacket CYA damage control. I'm not giving him a pass on this one. The latest limp-wristed excuse is "he couldn't dictate to the state and local officials. More BS. The "dictator" arguments for this massive cluster f'k is just desperate rhetoric. Any freshman Government studies student knows that the "State representatives, Congressmen and Senators, acting in congress can give the president the neccessary emergency powers to act in the event of any national tragedy, war, or natural disaster".

Bush had no constitutional blocks to taking those steps, via emergency congressional session, in the first 48 hours, let alone 5 or 6 days after the fact. No stepping on any constitutional toes was required.

Think about what would have happened in the South in Selma and Miss. if Johnson would have refused to kick that Governors ass out of the doorway of that highschool. You don't ask people who are litterily up to their asses in alligators to make rational life or death decisions.

I can tell you I absolutely hate, hate, hate that the left and self appointed race baiters like Jackson, will use this tragedy to the hilt to premote every manner of self serving BS. But as dumb assed and opportunist as all that may be, the fact remains, Bush jumped the shark.

The Governor and the Mayor were basically useless, and Bush, or at least His advisors, should have seen this very quickly once the levies broke, and taken charge. FEMA's reputation is spiraling down faster than a prom dress in the back seat of a Chevy. Stories coming out now of aid that was turned away, is making this huge Federal bueracracy look like some kind of massive clown car.

Now just to take it to OMG proportions, they're talking about taking it out from under the Office of Homeland defense, a virtual model of uselessness itself, and making FEMA autonymous, with a Cabinet position in the lead. Funneling all the Federal aid through there. We appear to be reacting to the disaster by throwing buckets of kerosene on the blaze.

The whole sorry tragedy is leaving a lot of Americans, including myself, who are staunch conservatives and have backed GW through every sort of babbling attack by the idiotarian left, wondering if theres anyone from either party in Washington that knows how to run a country.

The Mayor did not act as a ... (Below threshold)
CJ:

The Mayor did not act as a leader. He was way over his head. He did not enact any type of evacuation plan. Now he wants to place all the blame on the Governor and the President. Step aside Mr Mayor you wanted the Fereral to take the lead and now they have. If I were that General in charge of the LA National Guard, I would tell the Mayor to sit your cry baby a-- down and shut up and stopy crying.

Bush had no constitutio... (Below threshold)

Bush had no constitutional blocks to taking those steps, via emergency congressional session, in the first 48 hours

Perhaps, only logistical ones. Unless you know how to get 10,000 guard troops to mobilize and deploy with a supply train behind them, and all the food and water necessary for themselves as well as the victims? Because the Army can't figure that one out. But you must be smarter than all the army supply people, so you better go help!

People love to say "we bombed Iraq in 24 hours) no we didn't it took 6 months of build up. Even before Afghanistan we spend months building up. You would be hard pressed to mobilize a SEAL team in 48 hours, and they train for that. But to get the LANG in 24 hours? Yeah right.

As the LANG general told Geraldo, "if we came in Monday we'd be victims too"

- Show me where I said I ex... (Below threshold)

- Show me where I said I expected any actual ground action in 48 hours and I'll eat my words. Bush failed to act, even in getting the gears of a recovery operation under way. He waited 3 days and then made a speech. Just how is it a sign of leadership to wait 6 days to grab the initiative, when everyone whos ever had any experience in disaster relief, including yourself Plato's Dad, knows full well it takes time to ramp up any meaningful efforts. Bush didn't do his job, taking the lead, breaking the political deadlocks, and getting things moving as soon as possible, derelic precisely because it takes time. I'll ignore the personal attacks, since you very elequently made my point for me.

Collectively you and the en... (Below threshold)
judgement day cometh:

Collectively you and the entire republican party are the scourge of the modern world.

It's not enough for these fascist bastards to have allowed the suffering and death of 1,000s of poor people in NO but now as per Rove's spin the empty headed kool-aid drinkers start carrying the torch of "pin the blame on someone else".

"Republican" Mayor Ray Nagin just the other day was spitting fire at these bastards for doing nothing. Now in less than 24 hours from when Rove sent out talking points, Nagin gets on board to point fingers at a Democrat Governor. How convenient a time line.

You vile bastards will stop at nothing to gain political points. Understand, what you think you may be getting away with now you will indeed be answered for later.

Hell awaits you vile, fascist pieces of trash.

Now, on to the TRUTH and Rove's latest talking points spin!

http://tinyurl.com/bpqee

You can always tell the wel... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

You can always tell the well thought out points on the left by the amount of unsubstantiated name calling. It's what passes for progressive thought.

I blame all of this mess in... (Below threshold)
moseby:

I blame all of this mess in NO on that levee hillary clinton. If she had held up in the face of the rising water...oh wait...she's not a levee...she's a dike...nevermind....

JDC-your left wing talking ... (Below threshold)
lin:

JDC-your left wing talking points and buzzwords become more humerous by the day. You also show yourself becomming more divorced from reality every day.

Burning already, aren't you... (Below threshold)
leaddog2:

Burning already, aren't you, "Judgement Day"?

I am NOT SURPRISED. Satan loves Demons.

jdc, you ignorant slut. You... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

jdc, you ignorant slut. You call Bush and those aligned with him "fascists" and then demand that he seize absolute power in the same breath. Were you born retarded or were you bludgeoned until you became that way?

The finger pointing started... (Below threshold)

The finger pointing started with those who wished to turn it into a partisan or race issue and they were only pointing in one direction with no forethought or facts. Why in the world others would be expected to sit back and take it, I don't know. So this crap about "Stop pointing fingers" is moot. It's already been started and some are simply trying to set the record straight by looking for the truth.

Nothing wrong with that. Until we know who was lying to whom about having things under control, we can't just automatically blame the feds.

I think BigBangHunter answered his own argument without realizing it.

judgement day cometh... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

judgement day cometh

I don't know how you were raised, but I have traveled all over this country and worked in 2 countries in Europe. I have never met anyone who is as angry or who has a hatred such as you have displayed here. I feel sorry for you.

Well, well, well. Here we h... (Below threshold)
Ed:

Well, well, well. Here we have another black mayor of a large city who blames his incompetence on others. Remind anyone of Marion Berry of D.C.?? You get what you vote for. What's really hilarious is that the blacks that voted in this incompentent boob, are the ones that have lost everything or died. Too bad, but voting for a "brotha" doesn't mean getting the best mayor. Guess they had to learn that the hard way.

"I would love to know what ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

"I would love to know what the MSM would've done if this happened in Florida under Gov. Bush. "

Actually, Jeb learned from the mistakes of his predecessor, Lawton Chiles.

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/08/17/Weather/Unlike_Andrew__aid_s_.shtml

-One of the things I always... (Below threshold)

-One of the things I always prided my side, the conservative voices side with, was the abscence of blind sheep like behavior you see with the unhinged left, who use that as a group thing "get out of jail card", for evading every personal responsibility.

That lets them spew all manner of bigotry and vicious lies, justified because they are the minority, the underdog. I knew as a conservative I would take some flack for having the temerity to question the effectiveness and leadership of the great G_d Bush. Had no idea we had come to emulating the exact things we say we can't stand in others.

In the means time, beyond the covering noise of "all hail Ceasar", as things stand the projected recovery costs, not to mention the tragedy of the loss of human life and all the suffering, look to top 5 times what it would have cost to build the proper levie defenses in the first place. It appears we are forever doomed to make this sort of error in judgement as a people.

You know we're still in the shadow of the WOT and all the threats that the Islamists represent. If we get to the point where we're so polorized as a people we feel compelled to never question our leadership, even when it may fail us miserably, simply to save face politically, we're in deep deep trouble as an electorate.

Bush41 and Clinton showed what the arrogance of high public office can bring, when they bristled at being asked any questions about past failures to act responsibly concerning the neccessary funding for levy improvements. Is this the sort of response you want to accept from our elected officials?. If it is then we all get the government we deserve.

Maybe I'm wrong about all this. Still I sat here this morning and watched an obviously distressd Rumsfeld talk about the need for a "what went wrong" assesment. Coming from the master of cover your ass, it was simply amazing.

Amazing interview. One poin... (Below threshold)

Amazing interview. One point: The transcript has Nagin saying "I was abdicating a clear chain of command," which I found kinda strange.

He actually said "I was advocating a clear chain of command."

How about we point less fin... (Below threshold)
red:

How about we point less fingers at someone and exhaust more of our resources on saving peoples, because I don’t want more dead people on our hands while we take the time to find some one to blame for this shit.

I'm amazed at the continuin... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I'm amazed at the continuing mantra that Bush and the feds were slow to react. I would say that they actually reacted remarkably fast.

The media is focused solely on New Orleans as if all of the damage done occurred only in New Orleans. Katrina leveled HUNDREDS of square miles, across three states.

Any rescue effort has to take that into consideration. Or are the people trapped and dying in their collapsed houses in Mississippi less important than the people trapped and dying in their houses in New Orleans?

Any rescue mission is limted by the resources you have available within space and time. We have amazing resources in this country, but this isn't Star Trek where we can beam them in instantaneously. It takes time to transport equipment and supplies across hundreds of miles of hurricane ravaged territory.

If you've never been through a hurricane, try to imagine what the rescuers have to deal with to get to someplace like New Orleans.

For several hundred miles the roads are littered with debris, wrecked cars, downed trees, telephone poles, power lines, street lamps, glass, metal, etc. Every creek, river and stream will be overflowing and in many cases making the road impassable. Some bridges have been destroyed other damaged too severely for heavy vehicles to cross.

It takes time to overcome these obstacles. All of this assuming that the road itself hasn't been washed out.

With the amaount of rain dumped from a hurricane every river is a raging torrent of water and debris which makes for difficult transit by boat.

Every airport in the hurricane zone is closed at least until the runways can be cleared of FOD.

Consider all that is needed to be brought in, food, water, medical, transport vehicles, construction equipment, fire and rescue vehicles, electricians to bring the power online, etc. It simply takes time to evaluate, assemble and station the resources you need especially over an area several hundred square miles in size.

err I thought the Mayor WAS... (Below threshold)

err I thought the Mayor WAS a part of the government. New Orleans government to be sure, but government nonetheless.

that's a sign of old age, to forget what you are.

I am really, really impress... (Below threshold)
George:

I am really, really impressed with Karl Rove. He is actually the one that caused the hurricane, but was able to get everyone convinced that it was actually W that caused it --- wow!

Self-titled Anonymous Cowar... (Below threshold)
NuCal:

Self-titled Anonymous Coward wrote: "The Mayor and Governor could only have helped things before. Everything after, lays on Bush's shoulders. America will not go for this pathetic whitewash."

Actually, America is not going for the transparently political rants about Bush being responsible for all evil in the world including now of course, Katrina.

Read this from the first page of the Louisiana state disaster preparedness website (http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov):

"As much as we try to prepare for catastrophic disasters and to reduce our risk from their devastation, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other disasters still happen. When they do, local and state officials are the first to respond. If the loss of life and property overwhelms this response, the federal government ... including FEMA ... is called upon to help."

Primary responsiblity for the general public safety before, during, and after the disaster event lies squarely on the state and local authorities. Then, *if* the state and locals decide and formally request it, the feds come three to four days after they are requested. Unlike you, I am not making this up.

NuCal:Just adding ... (Below threshold)

NuCal:

Just adding a bit of help...the actual url is:

http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/disrecovery/disrecovindex.htm

And sure enought that is the very prominent statement on the Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness page.

Re: "abdicating" versus "ad... (Below threshold)

Re: "abdicating" versus "advocating":

Is that Freudian Slip or Ebonics?

To set the record straight,... (Below threshold)
Wildwillie:

To set the record straight, GW called the mayor of N.O. two days before Katrina hit to advise him he should evacuate the city. GW did well. He should not have gone to San Diego, though.

RE: Eric's post (September ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Eric's post (September 6, 2005 03:56 PM)

Excellent points, all. It can never be emphasized enough (though it is always minimized or overlooked by those not directly involved) the importance and practicality of logisitics. Hem and haw all we want about the decisions made, but whenever action is taken, moving personnel and resource take time and resources of their own. Heck, determining what any given site needs takes time of its own. The unreasonable expectations we put on government to respond are unbelievable! There is incompetence which is a trait for some fallible humans. There is corruption which is less easily overlooked. And there is failure despite sincere and actual constructive effort. Let us all remember at least these three demarcations when we look for scapegoats to our own failures. Now, more extrapolative in view of those expectations, consider some perhaps inevitable evolution.

When all is said and done, we should ask ourselves the fundamental question of how much of a nanny state we prefer. There will probably be Congressional hearings on this with heated partisanship gussied up to look like deep-seated concern. In view of this, be prepared to stake your ground because, no doubt, many will clamor for the expansion of Federal over local control. As we have witnessed in this crisis, some want the Federal response to steamroll local authority. Are you really prepared to cede that power? I recommend that none of us respond rashly despite the immediacy of events that might nudge us to enhancing Federal powers.

It might appear appropriate to invite the Feds to trump all and toss aside certain constraints to solve a problem. Such an invitation would also be a mistake given our nation's historical structure of sovereign states. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

But returning to your original points, Eric, there was a tragic event of vast scale and reach. Humans are responding. Things are not perfect. Such is life. Now let's make the best of a terrible event and start pre-planning for the next terrible event to the extent we are able. You seem to get this while too many don't. There is no magic wand. Scotty cannot beam things up (sorry about the plagiarism). Pixie dust won't work.

That means everyone reassess one's own culpability and responsibility in times of crisis. That means local authorities review their emergency plans in view of localized threats. That means states do the same and introduce timely legislation to fund those cracks and crevices so often painted over with cheap gloss. That means individuals be prepared to pony up the dough to see that these unfashionable but necessary civil projects don't get brushed aside for the next pretty convention center or stadium. Too often the public embraces fancy architecture and neon signs without the appropriate care to the foundation. Let's fix foundations for a change.

And let's not forget that no matter how hard we try, it won't be perfect either prior to or subsequent to the next catastrophe and that logistics will again be ignored or perceived as inadequate. Put a sock in it and do what work you can to the extent that you are able for this crisis and the next. The next one is always on the way.

"Amateurs talk tactics, Gen... (Below threshold)
Eric:

"Amateurs talk tactics, Generals talk logistics."

I talk from years of crisis management and living through 4 hurricanes especially, through the grace of God, Camille.

It should be noted that despite the "slow" response from the Fed there were military assets doing Search & Rescue, and recon operations a day behind Katrina.

Finally, we are a nation of laws. The laws, such as the Posse Commitatus law are there for a reason. To limit the powers of the federal government to use the military against its citizens.

It may sound harsh and legalistic that the President would delay rescue operations instead o bending or breaking that law for "the greater good" of saving the victims of Katrina. However, if he did then he would set a terrible precedent for the future and open the door for true abuse of that law.

BTW, if he had you can bet the Democrats would be screaming for his impeachment for violating the Posse Commitatus law.

I've developed the followin... (Below threshold)

I've developed the following thesis on the so-called lack of federal response in New Orleans and would welcome any thoughts for or against.

Text of post:

Looking for holes in this thesis on the so-called lack of federal response in New Orleans:

This is a working thesis and readers are invited to find the holes in the logic/arguments presented here:

1. As per this analysis The Federal/State of Louisiana emergency response agreement New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is responsible for first responders and initial security in a disaster.

2. The New Orleans Police and the Louisiana State Police/National Guard had search and recovery as their number 1 priority. The local authorities were overwhelmed as a result of their ineptitude in executing their evacuation plan. It got so bad, that many in the New Orleans Police walked away from their jobs.

3. Disaster relief workers and supplies were prepositioned by the federal government. But due to the security situation in New Orleans, National Guard authorites didn't want to risk the lives of federal and state aid workers until security had been established. (From this Department of Defense briefing conducted on Saturday, September 23, 2005:

The most contentious issues were lawlessness in the streets, and particularly a potentially very dangerous volatile situation in the convention center where tens of thousands of people literally occupied that on their own. We had people that were evacuated from hotels, and tourists that were lumped together with some street thugs and some gang members that -- it was a potentially very dangerous situation.

We waited until we had enough force in place to do an overwhelming force. Went in with police powers, 1,000 National Guard military policemen under the command and control of the adjutant general of the State of Louisiana, Major General Landreneau, yesterday shortly after noon stormed the convention center, for lack of a better term, and there was absolutely no opposition, complete cooperation, and we attribute that to an excellent plan, superbly executed with great military precision...

Q: One quick follow-up. Is it fair to say, using the convention center as an example, that one reason it took until Friday to get aid in is the National Guard needed time to build up a response team with military police to ensure law and order because the New Orleans Police Department had degraded so much?

GEN. BLUM: That is not only fair, it is accurate. You've concisely stated exactly what was needed, and I told you why. We took the time to build the right force. The outcome was superb. No lives hurt, nobody injured. It was done almost invisibly.If federal (FEMA/Red Cross) and state aid workers had been brought into the situation before security had been established, it would have made things worse . Dead aid workers are of no use to anyone.

4. The National Guard accurately assessed the situation, made a pland and then executed it. They eventually took control of the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome.

5. The liberal MSM is hyperventilating over the federal response, but when one considers the above, the federal government through the direction of Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, actually did a tremendous job and saved State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans from their self-inflicted wounds.

Lt. General Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the National Guard under his command are not getting enough credit for their planning and heroics.

Re "abdicating" v. "advocat... (Below threshold)

Re "abdicating" v. "advocating": Normally I'd love to play along, but cut the guy some slack, at least for his slurred speech. He looked like he hadn't slept in a week. BTW, I heard on Fox tonight -- not sure when, because I was watching TIVO'd Brit & Hannity at the same time, which is quite a feat if you've ever tried it -- that Blanco essentially confirmed this account, saying Bush's proposal was "too complicated."

Oh heck, we all know that w... (Below threshold)
epador:

Oh heck, we all know that what mean ol' W shulda done was freakin' invade NOLA and MS with Federal Troops the minute the winds shut down, repatriating all the remaining voters to states deficient in Blue voters, and removing the mayor and governor as incompetent fools. 'Course when the local insurgents started up with the flat boat bombs and IED's hooked up to 'gators, the surge in anti-Bush sentiment would have been one more problem he culda done without, so mebee his course of action was purty wize afteralls.

THING IS - THE MAYOR DIDN'T... (Below threshold)

THING IS - THE MAYOR DIDN'T DO HIS JOB EITHER SO BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR, CHAOS REINED AND IT TOOK PRESIDENT BUSH TO SAY THIS WAS UNACCEPTABLE BEFORE HE EVEN WENT DOWN THERE AND THAT'S WHEN THINGS STARTED COMING TOGETHER. NEITHER THE GOVERNOR NOR MAYOR FOLLOWED EVACUATION PLANS.

CINDY

Excellent thesis Pork. Goo... (Below threshold)
epador:

Excellent thesis Pork. Good to see someone still knows how to wizbang the MSM and moonbats correctly.

What's amazing to me is tha... (Below threshold)
SCS:

What's amazing to me is that the Dems seem to have no problem making arrangements for those poor citizens without means of transportation to get out to the polls on Election Day, but they didn't even attempt to do the same in advance of a Cat 4 hurricane.

There's so much good stuff ... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

There's so much good stuff in this thread, I'm going to have to steal it, especially from Porkopolis and SCS. Thanks! :)

From what I've read, Nagin'... (Below threshold)
andrew:

From what I've read, Nagin's an occasionally charismatic bullshitter who has trouble getting things done.

I don't know why the governor needed "24 hours" to make up her mind, but without more information about the decision with which she was presented, it's too soon to pass judgment.

Clearly the local authorities did not rise to the occasion. GIVEN THAT THEY DID NOT,

Have FEMA, DHS, and President Bush provided strong, competent leadership?

A fair point, maybe, about the need to secure an "overwhelming force" before providing aid to the convention center. Yet Michael Brown claims that FEMA didn't KNOW there were thousands of people stranded at the convention center until Thursday. So was there a delay because the National Guard needed to build up a sufficient force? Or was there a delay because FEMA knew less than Rita Cosby?


Now an excerpt from an editorial in today's Washington Times, which quotes the DHS "National Response Plan":

Guiding the nation's response to emergencies and disasters, the National Response Plan "establishes a comprehensive all-hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents," the Department of Homeland Security asserted. "The plan incorporates best practices and procedures from incident management disciplines," including emergency management, law enforcement and public health, "and integrates them into a unified structure. It forms the basis of how the federal government coordinates with state, local and tribal governments and the private sector during incidents." Contemplating a national catastrophe comparable to Katrina, a department fact sheet states that the response plan "ensures the seamless integration of the federal government when an incident exceeds local and state capabilities." Moreover, the plan "provided the means to swiftly deliver federal support in response to catastrophic incidents."
In the wake of the disastrous initial responses to the Katrina disaster, the self-congratulatory conclusion asserted in the preface of the response plan is particularly disturbing. "The end result is vastly improved coordination among federal, state, local and tribal organizations to help save lives and protect America's communities by increasing the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of incident management." By FEMA's own description of its mission, they failed.

Clearly no one agrees on exactly when and how the federal government was allowed to begin assisting the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. I'm no expert, but I assume one can invoke principles and precedents to support or condemn the federal government's response. That itself is a sign of failure at every level- in the aftermath of the worst disaster in our history, we are discussing legal principles.

The government could have done better. FEMA could have done better, DHS could have done better, our president could have done better. He might have cut short his vacation.

These are not partisan politics, it's disappointing to me how many of the responses to this tragedy have fractured along predictable party lines. Liberals find a way to blame the president for everything!! Conservatives find a way to blame the victims!!

It is dangerous and false to fall back on convenient dichotomies of principle, value, party allegiance. The state and local government failed. Many of their failures took place in the months and years before the hurricane. Then they were neck-deep in watersnakes (and scary black people!).

After the local government failed, the federal government failed. The president failed, and all the post-9/11 promises of security failed. FEMA failed, Michael Brown failed, Chertoff failed, Bush failed.

This is not partisan rancor. I would be equally upset if John Kerry were the president, and failed, or Al Gore, or Bill Clinton, or Jeb Bush, or John Mccain, or Ralph Nader, or Pat Robertson. It's not about which party failed, or which party is unfairly assigning blame. The government failed. Our elected representatives failed. Yet some of us persist in constructing explanations which excuse gross incompetence, which pin the blame on convenient scapegoats- the mayor of a city completely underwater, the poor people who refused to evacuate, the thugs in the streets!

Michael Chertoff and George Bush claimed no one could have anticipated the breaking of the levees. Michael Brown had less information than every major news network.

The government failed. There was a vacuum of leadership. The buck stops with Bush. The president of the United States wouldn't cut short his vacation. The president of the United States bantered about poor Trent Lott's ruined (insured?) mansion, while thousands of Americans were being bused to bunk at the Astrodome.

I would be disappointed and disgusted by the federal response no matter what political party were in charge, no matter who sat in the oval office.

The government failed to uphold its most basic responsibility to the people, and now a week later the administration is in Washington talking about how mean and unhelpful the "blame game" is, while subtly passing the blame onto everything but itself. While hiding behind bureacratic and procedural ambiguities.

Please don't talk about the "MSM" and ignorant liberals, the government failed. It has nothing to do with liberal principles or conservative principles, it has to do with incompetent, inexcusable administration. Watching New Orleans turn into a third-world disaster area, I believe that this president does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. No president would deserve it from anyone, no matter his political affiliation or yours.

Porkopolis,As to y... (Below threshold)
andrew:

Porkopolis,

As to your thesis-

were more lives lost because of the delay while the Guard built an "overwhelming force"

than would have been lost had the Guard come in to help with fewer numbers?

In Blum's briefing, he seems genuinely surprised that none of the poor, shitsoaked people in the convention center caused any trouble.

He attributes this to the size of the Guard's force.

Isn't it possible that, even if a handful of the people in the convention center were armed, raping & pillaging

that most of them were just poor, desperate people praying for relief, too tired and hopeless to put up much of a fight?

Isn't it POSSIBLE the military is spinning the situation after the fact to provide an apparent rationale for its late response?

I'm not saying it's a fact. But it's certainly possible.

Porkopolis,With re... (Below threshold)
andrew:

Porkopolis,

With regard to General Blum's concern about a "potentially very dangerous volatile situation" at the convention center, I'd direct you to this article from the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1563470,00.html

which suggests that much of the supposed violence may have been imaginary.

Here's how REASON calls it:

As Katrina wiped out New Orleans' communications infrastructure, and while key federal officials repeatedly expressed less knowledge than cable television reporters, panicky rumors quickly rushed in to fill the void. Many of them have shared the exact same theme—unspeakable urban ultra-violence, perpetuated by the overwhelmingly black population.

A few simple facts:<p... (Below threshold)
Jack:

A few simple facts:

1. A mayor has limited resources. The bus drivers EVACUATED the city. Do you think any mayor on earth is going to steal buses, give them uncertified drivers to drive....where? Where was he supposed to send them? He can't force other cities to take them. This is why the evacuation of a city requires the coordination of state AND federal officials, especially when the state is being faced with a Category 5 hurricane (not just in New Orleans.)

2. There are any number of military assets in Texas that could have driven to the Superdome within a 10 hour period. To say it took days to pull them together is just not believable.

On C-Span today the head of the tardy Superdome operation said he pulled it together within 5 hours of receiving the mission. That means he didn't receive his mission until Friday night/Saturday morning (after the Geraldo and Shep Smith meltdowns live on Fox News.)

In other words, there was no technical delay in the rescue, those American citizens were deliberately allowed to die of dehydration when they could have been saved.

Nagin is a bullsh*tting, in... (Below threshold)
A. Patriot:

Nagin is a bullsh*tting, incompetent punk [adjective: Slang: Of poor quality; inferior] whose only qualifications for the job is that he's as corrupt as the rest of the local government.

Blanco is a bullsh*tting, incompetent punkess [adjective: Slang: Of poor quality; inferior] whose only qualifications for the job was the (D) next to her name on the ballot.

I lived in the Gulfport/Biloxi area for four years from 2000-2004. I'm more then familiar with that whole area and New Orleans as well.

New Orleans is a turd bowl reeking of sh*t, piss, vomit and decay. Oh... did I mention this was before the hurricane.

The corruption of New Orleans local government and police force rivals the best (worst??) that Mexico has to offer (I lived on the Mexican border as well for 5 years).

I am all for spending federal funds (our tax dollars) to help in the aftermath, whatever it takes. However, I don't want one thin dime of my taxes going towards any rebuilding of that turd bowl city. Not one dime.

Common sense says don't build below sea level in hurricane prone areas. By the way, don't forget to thank the French for New Orleans (and also thank them for the couple of tents and cots their donating now).

I applaud House Speaker Dennis Hastert for having the gonads to say publicly what I and many others feel about rebuilding that turd bowl city.

It would take many Billions of dollars, possibly 100's of Billions to rebuild. It would surpass the Big Dig in Boston for the amount of corruption, scams, cost overruns, thievery and once again, incompetence.

And after all that waste of money the following week could bring another Cat 4 or Cat 5 hurricane.
I say NO!

Give the Big Easy the Big "Final" Rest.

When the focus of this thre... (Below threshold)
gatu:

When the focus of this thread is how the Democratic Governor of Louisiana is really responsible for this disaster, it's kind of hard to take any cries of "Bush bashing" seriously, don't you think?

But since you asked ... regardless of what was done AFTER the Hurricane, the loss of lives could have been greatly reduced if the Federal Government had done something BEFORE the Hurricane. The Bush administration was warned repeatedly that this would happen. The Governor and many other people repeatedly pleaded for federal aid to strenthen the levees protectin New Orleans and to provide better evacuation routes. The Bush Administration chose to spend it's money in Iraq. If anyone would like to try to contradict these facts, please do so. Please, just don't take the Fox News approach and start talking about the "blame game", Posse Comitatus, or Kanye West. I'm saying that there was no prevention, and there obviously could have been.

And I didn't vote for John Kerry, by the way.

THE MAIN STORY I HAVE YET T... (Below threshold)
KEVIN ALEXANDER:

THE MAIN STORY I HAVE YET TO HEAR IS THE TRUTH. THE COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF COMMAND, FIRST OF ALL MR. MAYOR YOU STOOD AROUND WITH YOU THUMB WHO KNOWS WHERE WHILE THE PRESIDENT HAD DECLARED A STSTE OF EMERGENCY FOR YOUR CITY. YET, YOU DID NOTHING WITH THIS INFORMATION THAT YOU HAD 5 DAYS IN ADVANCE (EXCEPT LET 569 BUSES THAT COULD HAVE MOVED 33,550 PEOPLE IN ONE TRIP FLOOD). FINALLY 2 DAYS AFTER THE STORM HIT YOU, WITH THE BRILLIANCE OF A TREE FROG CALLED FOR A "MANDATORY EVACUATION"
ALL YOU WERE GOOD FOR IN THE EMERGENCY WAS TO BLAME FEMA, THE GOVERNOR, THE PRESIDENT, EVERYONE BUT YOU! THE MAN WHO WAS FIRST IN CHARGE. THEN WE HAVE THE N.O. DIR. OF HOMELAND SECURITY, WE REALLY CAN'T KNOW IF HE WAS GIVING THE RIGHT ADVICE BECAUSE HE WAS APPOINTED BY AND REPORTS ONLY TO THE GOVERNOR.
SHE IS ANOTHER WEAK LINK BECAUSE SHE REFUSED THE PRESIDENT'S OFFER OF FEDERAL TROOPS AND AID UNTIL 2 DAYS AFTER THE STORM. NOW THAT THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING THINGS DONE AND THE DUST IS SETTLING IT IS PLAIN TO SEE THAT THE FUNDS WE (THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) OUR TAX DOLLARS, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF THEM OVER THE PAST4 OR 5 DECADES SENT TO NEW ORLEANS FOR DISASTER PROTECTION WERE NOT SPENT ON THAT. IT IS MY STRONG SUSPICION THAT THE CORRUPT STATE AND CITY GOV'T GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO HUEY LONG HAVE SKIMMED THAT MONEY.
AND BY THE WAY WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE LOCAL LEVEE BOARD INSPECTING AND ENFORCING THE ORDINANCES THAT REQUIRE THE LANDOWNERS AND NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAINTAIN THE LEVEES!!!
I DO BLAME THE FEDS FOR ONE THING IN THIS DISASTER AND THAT IS ALLOWING NEW ORLEANS BECOME A SOCIALIST GOV'T BY SUPPORTING THROUGH WLEFARE THE LARGEST PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION OF ANY OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTRY THIS HAS GONE ON FOR DECADES. YOUR POLICE OFFICERS EVEN CUT AND RUN WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH. I WAS SICKENED WHEN I SAW THE CHIEF OR DEPUTY CHIEF SAID HE HAD A DEPARTMENT OF HEROES THEN HAD THE GUAL TO COMPARE THEM TO THE TRUE HEROES IN NEW YORK. THERE IS NO COMPARISON THEY WERE HEROES FAR MORE CRIMINALS ARE IN N.O. THAN THERE ARE HEROES.
THE REST OF THE COUNTRY WILL HELP YOU AGAIN BUT NEW ORLEANS WILL HAVED TO BE WEENED SOON. WE ARE GETTING A BIT TIRED OF SUPPORTING YOU. AFTER THIS MESS IS CLEANED UP I WILL PUSH FOR A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INCLUDING THE IRS PROBE INTO N.O. CITY GOV'T AND ALL OF IT'S OFFICIALS.

KEVIN

Do you think any mayor o... (Below threshold)

Do you think any mayor on earth is going to steal buses, give them uncertified drivers to drive...

Why not? Is it better to just leave people in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane?




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