In Katrina’s aftermath, let the finger-pointing begin
September 8, 2005
My e-mails the other morning included the following interesting message, suggesting that responsibility for the post-hurricane debacle in New Orleans begins at home! I think it’s worth passing along:
“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
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5. The president
What did each do?
1. The mayor, with five-days advance, waited until two 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 TWO DAYS BEFORE the storm hit, failed to take advantage of the offer of federal troops and aid until TWO 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 government for every little thing.
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 five (where the president’s level of accountability is discussed), it is made more clear in a New Orleans Times-Picayune article dated Aug. 28:
“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 canceled 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.”
The ball was placed in Mayor Nagin’s court to carry out the evacuation order. With a five-day heads-up, he 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 screwed up.
Mayor Nagin and his emergency sidekick Terry Ebbert have displayed lethal, mind-boggling incompetence before, during and after Katrina.
As for Mayor Nagin, he and his profile-in-pathetic-leadership police chief should resign as well. That city’s government is incompetent from one end to the other. The people of New Orleans deserve better than this crowd of clowns is capable of giving them.
If you’re keeping track, these boobs let 569 buses that could have carried 33,350 people out of New Orleans in one trip get ruined in the floods. Whatever plan these guys had, it was a dud. Or it probably would have been if they’d bothered to follow it.
As for all the race-baiting rhetoric and Bush-bashing coming from prominents on the left, don’t expect Ray Nagin to be called out on the carpet for falling short. You want to know why? Here’s why:
It’s more convenient to blame a president for what went wrong than to hold a mayor and his administration accountable for gross negligence and failing to fully carry out an established emergency preparedness plan.
To hold Nagin and his administration accountable for dropping the ball amounts to letting loose the shouts and cries of “Racism!” It’s sad, it’s wrong, but it’s standard operating procedure for the media and left-wing leadership.
– Fred Kalhammer is a retired Foreign Service Officer and resident of Stateline.
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