Friday, September 09, 2005

On with the finger pointing

Today's "Day-by-Day" speaks volumes for me...

I've really tried to stay out of this mix of finger pointing and blame game silliness. IMHO, there will be a time after the relief efforts are complete to assess what went right and what went wrong. But it appears that the libs and the media don't see it that way. They have built this perception that the evil racist Bush cut funding for levy building in an evil plot to fund the war, ordered the army to blow the levy, and then held out federal troops and FEMA for several days and is solely and completely responsible for the conditions, the looting, the deaths, and the damage of Hurricane Katrina. He may even control the weather. It's gotten to a point of silliness.

I started debating the points on my former universities newspages (here and here). Debating simple things with the columnists (and sadly, a university professor in one case) about the proper chain of command in these efforts. Here's from the actual first-responder's Emergency Preparedness webpage:

Multiple sites shall be identified and geographically positioned to serve the impacted populations without placing burdens upon those who may have lost their private transportation resources as a result of the disaster. Regional Transit Authority may be called upon to provide free transit to recovery centers located along existing bus routes.

Hmmm... the NOLA government is responsible for bussing people out? Every criticism I'm reading says Bush should have personally coordinated that... Funny how the NOLA government thought differently, yet they left all of those busses to flood...

How about this...

Following a disaster of such magnitude that far exceeds the City's and State's ability to meet the needs of the community and results in the requesting and granting of a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the Office of Emergency Preparedness shall, as previously described, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, establish Disaster Relief Centers for individuals seeking recovery assistance.

Wait... you mean that the city and/or state has to request the federal government's assistance? I thought the feds were supposed to just swoop in and take over the moment the hurricane hit?!?

Let's see what the Red Cross has to say...

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

  • Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.
  • The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

Well... the Guard (under the governor's command) and the local authorities. Buuuttt.... I thought that the evil Bush held everyone out?!? How can this be?!?

On to the funding issue. There are many sources for data related to this, but I think the Washington Post sums it up nicely...

  • "Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large."
  • "the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years."
  • "Louisiana not only leads the nation in overall Corps funding, it places second in new construction"
  • "Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects."
  • "The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years."
  • "hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending"
  • For example, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to dredge waterways and building a new canal lock (instead of fixing the existing one) for barge traffic that has rapidly diminished over the years.
  • "more than any other federal agency, the Corps is controlled by Congress; its $4.7 billion civil works budget consists almost entirely of "earmarks" inserted by individual legislators."

But, silly wabbit, it's all W's fault. Forget that the local government didn't follow their evacuation plan and left those infamous busses sitting, the state government didn't request aid in an appropriate and/or timely manner, the Congress over the years has wasted $$ on pork instead of important projects in the area, the Army Corps chief says that they were fully funded on the levy projects and that the projects were complete, etc., George didn't give an eloquent enough speech and he was on vacation (ignoring the fact that it was a working vacation at the ranch that the Congress made it back to Washington after Bush did, yet they criticize him...). Sure, there's probably things that didn't go right on the federal level, but everything that went wrong was by no means at the federal level, no matter what the political spinmeisters want you to think.

Be sure to read great commentaries on this topic from Tony Snow and Michelle Malkin, among many others.

I won't even get into comments by Kayne, Dean, Jackson, Brosnan, Celine, etc. I'm done with this for now.

Back to the stuff that's really important. I'm off to give some blood at the Red Cross. You should too. Then I'm leaving for Biloxi mid-next week with a relief group, so I'll be offline next weekend. I may post before then (I may find some different topics altogether -- maybe some football or something -- since I'm a little frustrated with this topic), and I will certainly post after then and try to put some photos up.


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