The legitimate complaints against Bush regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hapaboy, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 6, 2005 — In New Orleans, those in peril and those in power have pointed the finger squarely at the federal government for the delayed relief effort.

    But experts say when natural disasters strike, it is the primary responsibility of state and local governments — not the federal government — to respond.

    New Orleans' own comprehensive emergency plan raises the specter of "having large numbers of people … stranded" and promises "the city … will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas."

    "Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves," the plan states.

    When Hurricane Katrina hit, however, that plan was not followed completely.

    Instead of sending city buses to evacuate those who could not make it out on their own, people in New Orleans were told to go to the Superdome and the Convention Center, where no one provided sufficient sustenance or security.

    'Lives Would Have Been Saved'

    New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said "80 percent" of the city was evacuated before the storm hit, but Bob Williams says that's not good enough.

    Williams dealt with emergency response issues as a state representative in Washington when his district was forced to deal with the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

    "If the plan were implemented, lives would have been saved," Williams said.

    There's no question the federal government plays a major role in disaster relief. But federal officials say in order to get involved, they must first be asked to do so by state officials.

    As one FEMA official told ABC News, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco failed to submit a request for help in a timely manner.

    Shortly before Katrina hit, she sent President Bush a request, asking for shelter and provisions, but didn't specifically ask for help with evacuations. One aide to the governor told ABC News today Blanco thought city officials were taking care of the evacuation.

    Nonetheless, some experts argue that the federal government should have been more proactive.

    "If the city and the state are stumbling or in over their head, then it's FEMA's responsibility to show some leadership," said Jerry Hauer, director of public health preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Both the president and Congress have vowed to investigate questions of blame. It may already be safe to conclude that there will be plenty of it to go around.
    #121     Sep 7, 2005
  2. I think this is a pretty accurate article -- it's evidence of classic after-the-fact political apologetics and fingerpointing at every level. Probably worth emphasizing that the only person who you can depend on in an emergency to help you -- is yourself!
    #122     Sep 7, 2005
  3. The article is not completely accurate.

    Federal officials don't have to asked to be involved in a disaster like this, not since the edict that as of March 1st the Department of Homeland Security is responsible primarily.

    We do need to hold the government agencies accountable, don't we?

    #123     Sep 7, 2005
  4. Just so I don't leave a misleading impression, I was not implying that you had a grudge or were backstabbing, Babak. I was referring to the people from the horse association. I have no idea what went on there, but I know those kinds of people can be very hard to deal with.

    Certainly, we can all agree that none of our government entities at any level has covered themself in glory in this tragedy. Hopefully, local governments can learn from the horrifying ineptitude of the NO and LA authorities.
    #124     Sep 7, 2005
  5. Yes, we do need to hold government accountable. The article is 100% opinion, and because the opinions all point to each other as worthy of blame, it shows that no one at the Federal, State or Local level, is quite certain how the emergency laws apply.

    The Federal government has discretionary authority to take action "where it appears likely that State or Local resources will be overwhelmed." However, the law also states that the Federal regulations "are not intended to usurp or overrule" subordinate authorities. This conflicting language is typical of Federal agency rules -- it's designed to keep the regulation legal so as to avoid running afoul of State sovereignty, and simultaneously, it affords the federal government a means to avoid legal responsibility for damages in the event that it chooses to refrain from action.

    Now in this present case, I think it's safe to say that the fed's forbearance was not the result of some intentional desire to see New Orleans sink into the Gulf of Mexico. George Bush is just a reactive personality type, and routinely fails to act until after our nation's interests have been harmed -- then he usually overreacts.
    #125     Sep 7, 2005

  6. Interesting wikipedia article detailing Brown's background...

    In my experience wikipedia is very good about sticking to facts and keeping liberal/conservative bias to a minimum...

    Michael Brown

    One fact i didn't know:
    In January 2005, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler publicly urged President Bush to fire Brown, citing reports that FEMA disbursed $30 million in disaster relief funds for Hurricane Frances to residents of Miami, Florida, a city which was not affected by the hurricane. Brown admitted to $12 million in overpayments, but denied any serious mistakes, blaming a computer glitch. [9] Wexler repeated his call in April to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, citing new reports that FEMA sent inspectors with criminal records of robbery and embezzlement to do damage assessments. [10]
    #126     Sep 7, 2005
  7. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005 1:41 p.m. EDT

    1999 Hurricane Swamped Clinton's FEMA

    Democrats led by Sen. Hillary Clinton are blaming the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to respond adequately to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    But FEMA didn't do much better under much less taxing conditions, when the floods that followed Hurricane Floyd left tens of thousands stranded up and down the Eastern seaboard, wondering what happened to federal rescuers. New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida were hit hard when Floyd slammed the coast on Sept. 16, 1999. It was the worst storm to hit the U.S. in 25 years - yet it killed only 61 people. That death toll expected to be dwarfed by Katrina.

    Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt won high marks for hurricane preparation, but the flood that followed swamped his agency.

    A full three weeks after the storm had passed, Rev. Jesse Jackson interviewed Witt on his CNN show "Both Sides Now" - and complained that flood victims were still suffering from a "misery index."

    "It seemed there was preparation for Hurricane Floyd, but then came Flood Floyd," Jackson began. "Bridges are overwhelmed, levees are overwhelmed, whole town's under water . . . [it's] an awesome scene of tragedy. So there's a great misery index in North Carolina."

    Witt explained that the storm's devastation was unparalleled, prompting Jackson to ask what was being done for the thousands of families left homeless by Floyd.

    Though nearly a month had passed since the storm first hit, Witt said his agency was just beginning to address the problem.

    "We're starting to move the camper trailers in," he explained. "It's been so wet it's been difficult to get things in there, but now it's going to be moving very quickly. And I think you're going to see a -- I think the people there will see a big difference over within this next weekend."

    The Clinton FEMA Director came in for more criticism during another CNN interview - this time for failing to do a better job with Hurricane Floyd evacuation efforts.

    "I hate to do this to you so early in the morning," host Carol Lin began apologetically.

    "But I want to show you some video of Hurricane Floyd. This was the evacuation scene out of Florida last year. And you can recall, some three-million people in three different states were hitting the highways, jammed back-to-back trying to get away from the danger. And much of the local as well as the federal government was criticized for this backup. What is being done this year to prevent something like this from happening again, keeping people out of harm's way?"

    Witt explained that evacuation problems were to be expected under such dire conditions. "It was very unusual when you had multiple states all evacuating at the same time," he told CNN. "It was the first time that that has happened that way and it did clog the highways."

    While Witt's reputation remained largely intact after the Floyd fiasco, more than a few of the storm's thousands of flood victims complained that the agency had failed them.

    "I had heard FEMA was going to be downtown, so I got up early to get down there and get in line," one North Carolina woman told the Associated Press, recounting her ordeal months after Floyd had passed. "The time came and nobody was there, just all these people waiting in line."

    FEMA's sorry performance left her overwrought.

    "I had been let down so many times, I just lost it," the flood victim said. "A friend of mine came walking up, and I just started toward her. She said, 'Robin, what in the world is wrong?' I was just standing there in the middle of the street crying, totally disoriented, practically hysterical."

    Weeks after Floyd's floodwaters subsided, the suffering for many had yet to be addressed.

    "We passed hundreds of families sitting outside their now-uninhabitable homes, with their water-soaked possessions spread out on their lawns," the Raleigh's News & Observer noted on Oct. 3, 1999.

    "Desperately picking through the mess for anything to salvage, most people - particularly the elderly - seemed to be in a state of shock."

    And where was FEMA?

    "The larger towns had a visible FEMA and Red Cross presence," the paper said. "But in smaller towns it looked like utter confusion and despair - no one in charge, no one knowing what to do or where to go for help."
    #127     Sep 7, 2005
  8. That cheap bastard Clinton didn't hand out any government $2000 debit cards either.
    #128     Sep 7, 2005
  9. Babak


    :D :D

    Right on time, the Rove machine is kicking into high gear. Same strategy: blame those that bring up legitimate concerns and attack with innuendo, false reports and media manipulation. Good to see that atleast Rove can hit the ground running after a vacation.
    #129     Sep 7, 2005
  10. Look in the mirror.
    #130     Sep 7, 2005