Bush Admin & FEMA start shifting blame to locals - Crass ass covering or justified?

White House shifts blame for Katrina response - Administration, embattled FEMA chief point to state, local officials

…or is never too early to start this?

I forget the preiscient poster who said the look on President Bush’s and FEMA director was overwhelmingly one of “I’m not getting blamed for this” but they were right.

IMHO, it is 10% justified, and 90% ass covering.

And IMHO, this is a pitting in disguise.

Moving thread from IMHO to The BBQ Pit.

This is very justified. Bush declared LA to be in a state of emergency last Saturday. That’s two days before Katrina hit. That’s when Blanco and Nagin snapped into action and did…absolutely nothing. Blanco did not mobilize the National Guard, she did not order Nagin to commandeer every school bus available and begin enforcing the mandatory evacuation order. They did not implement any of the evacuation plans already in place.

A picture speaks a thousand words and this photo may very well become the defining image of this tragedy: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050901/480/flpc21109012015

Let’s also remember that New Orleans residents have known for decades that that levee was built to withstand a hurricane up to a Cat. 3. Did it ever occur to any of the LA governors over the past years that maybe something should be done about that? I realize that Louisiana politicians are as corrupt as they come, but please…it’s not like this scenario wasn’t anticipated by anyone.

When all this settles, I believe the finger of blame will point directly at Blanco and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Mayor Nagin.

Are the Bushatarians wailing about “politicizing the disaster” and how it’s “too soon to place blame” going to attack Bush and his agencies for doing just that?

Summed up beautifully.

There will be plenty of blame to go around, but IMO the local authorities have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

No one blames Bush or anyone else for an inability to control the weather. The direct damage from the storm and, to some extent, the fact that people could not get out of New Orleans is indeed the fault of local officials if it’s anyone’s fault. The problem is that over the last five days, every secondary problem has been caused by Bush, Blanco, and their subsidiary agencies:

-The Army Corps of Engineers says it’s going to drop sandbags on the levee breach, so everyone else stops trying to fix that. No sandbags ever get dropped.

-Bush says on Tuesday that 20,000 soldiers will be in New Orleans by Thursday, they don’t show up.

-Blanco’s Louisiana National Guard and those of nearby states (which Bush could take immediate control of at any time, by the way) take over rescue efforts and refuse to let individual volunteers and charity organizations into the city. The Guard completely abandons its orders and essentially prevents any help from coming in for three days.

-The Guard is readily available to keep people waiting four or more hours in the heat to get into the Superdome because they have to search everyone for beer, but when the rapes and murders start inside, the Guard is nowhere to be found.

-Trained SOLDIERS run away from a rescue mission at the sound of one shot. Bush and Blanco, their commanders in chief, refuse to keep their subordinates in line.

-Bush has relief flights grounded for hours while he tours the state.

-Bush’s “Homeland Security” Secretary becomes his PR Secretary, issuing total bullshit quotes like “no one expected the levee to breach” instead of actually doing anything. This matters because the creation of the “Homeland Security” department consolidated many emergency response agencies, so their inaction is preventing much of the government’s resources from being used.

-The Louisiana State Patrol reports on Saturday that there are NO confirmed instances of violence in the whole state of Louisiana on Friday. That’s right, according to the state of Louisiana, not only is there no looting, raping, murdering, or any other crime related to the storm, but Louisiana has gone 24 hours with NO CRIME WHATSOEVER, surely a first for any state. Posterity will use these “official” numbers to make the governor look good, even though there are hundreds of crimes documented in the media for that and every other day.

-Over and over again, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and pretty much everyone else besides the government find out about events before the officials who get paid to deal with the relevant events find out.

Now, as always, the people pointing out how Bush’s government made the situation infinitely worse by citing specific incidents will be brushed off by the generic “don’t politicize” “you and your irrational hatred,” “Bush doesn’t control the weather,” etc. Just remember that I’m not interested in “converting” Bush supporters. Obviously, being a Bush supporter at this point is such an act of blind faith and rejection of reality that there is no reasoning with you people. I just hope some of those who weren’t aware of what’s going on will read this.

Probably, but since the levees are Corps of Engineers (Federal) jurisdiction, they can’t just show up and start fixing it w/o CoE approval. It’s their Congressmen and Senators who would have had to give the battle, so we’d have to ask if the governor/mayor leaned on their DC delegation enough.

You make some good points here, but my main point was that most of your complaints would be moot had local and state officals mobilized and began enforcing the mandatory evacuation order immediately. Bush’s state of emergency on Saturday gave Blanco et al every power they had to ensure the safety of LA residents. They did absolutely nothing. Did they understand that their state’s evacuation plans were drawn up for a reason? Why did Blanco do absolutely nothing? Why even have a governor if he or she is simply going to run from problems and figure the federal government will take care of everything?

Given the (pretty much legitimate) bashing of Bush’s FEMA handling and Corps of Engineers funding over the last few days, there is no reason to give the governor and mayor a pass. It was Bush that had to ask them to make the evacuation mandatory, to begin with, and then they did nothing to provide busses (either RTA or Board of Education) available to get people out of town.

I see no reason to cut the locals who screwed up any slack.

Of course, blaming the locals for their errors hardly mitigates against the horrendous idiocy of the Feds. I think making the whole bunch of them live the next six months at the Convention Center (or, better, the holed roof Superdome) would be appropriate.

Of course, we can also reserve some contempt for any U.S. citizen who is so ignorant of the laws regarding waterways that he could make this incredibly stupid comment:

When someone is forbidden, by law, from touching anything that resembles a dam or levee, it is the height of crass dumbness to blame them for following the law.

The mayor and governor have to take some of the blame, but they are not required to be disaster management specialists. That’s why we have FEMA. Or, I thought that’s why we did. Right now, I have no idea why tax money was wasted on this agency. They knew that a Cat. 4 or 5 storm was going to hit somewhere in the Gulf region, and were totally unprepared. Where it actually hit doesn’t matter, they should have been packed and ready to go. They weren’t.

I’m not sure that’s true, exactly.

Says she directed the execution of the plan. Not sure what that means, and obviously not enough got done. The letter pretty plainly states that the disaster is beyond the capacity of the state to deal with though, and it references something that seems to be in direct contrast to what the administration is claiming:

For instance, this:
sort of stands in direct contrast to the administration’s claims that Blanco did not declare a state of emergency as of last Saturday.

By the way, it appears that Bush wanted to assume full control of the local and state authorities as early as Friday night before the hurricane, but Blanco rejected this. She was actually worried that she might be blamed for the disaster if the feds were in control! Holy crap! The most destructive hurricane in US history is bearing down on her state and her first worry is that she might be considered responsible for the safety of her citizens?!?! This woman is far, far worse than I thought. From this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301680.html

*Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. “Quite frankly, if they’d been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,” said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.*

It looks like Bush *wanted * to be in charge of getting people out…but Governor Blanco, in her infinite wisdom, declined federal help three days before the hurricane hit. Is it possible I’m reading this wrong?

And another line in that above article just hit me. They rejected Bush’s proposal after “talks throughout the night”! Jesus Christ!!! How much fucking time did Blanco et al waste talking all night about who should be in control!?!?!

An analogy has occurred to me in the last few days - imagine NO was hit by an atomic bomb, rather than Katrina. The effects would presumably be similar, who would you expect to step up and make evacuations happen, and ensure aid got to victims?

My answer: The Department of Homeland Security, who is supposed to have plans in place for tragedies like these. In fact, the DoHS is supposed to direct FEMA in the case of hurricane disasters like Katrina, too.

In our post 9/11 world, I had taken some comfort in the fact that we had formed this agency, and had contingency plans in place in case of disasterous circumstance. With the DoHS utter failure to respond effectively in the face of this disaster, Katrina has revealed that all the DoHS has ever been is a sham, a marketing ploy to make the administration look like they were doing something.

We reap what we sow.

Establishing who is in control is not necessarily a waste of time, but it indeed looks pretty bad to spend too much on a fight over politics. Then again, this same article is the one that is flatly contradicted by the facts: she DID declare a state of emergency. And this anonymous source also seems to be odd in the sense that her letter basically authorizes FEMA to take over already. Not to mention that the President and FEMA have the power to seize and use resources without her permission anyway. It’s not like she has the power to refuse them if they want to grab some equipment and start saving lives. If she screwed up and blocked efforts to be useful, the buck of ultimate authority on what should or shouldn’t have been done still goes to the feds.

Read the article I posted above. Blanco was refusing federal help three days before the hurricane hit.

Jesus Christ, you people. Bush is already criticized for destroying our civil rights on a daily basis as it is. Now you think he should’ve told the governor to “shove it, we’re taking over here?” I can just imagine how that would’ve played!

Read the letters requesting federal help as well. Something about these stories isn’t clicking in full. Again, I suspect that both sides will pretty soon to be revealed to be at fault.

I love it. No matter how much a Democrat screws up her own state it’s still somehow Bush’s fault.

You know, it might be a lot easier and we’d probably save a lot of time if we just ask you loons a simple question: What isn’t Bush’s fault?