Don't Blame Bush For Katrina

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Robin1

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Don't Blame Bush for Katrina

Christopher Ruddy

Monday, Sept. 5, 2005

George Bush and the federal government are not to blame for the disaster we have witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, the primary responsibility for the disaster response lies with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and other local officials.

Yet leading Democrats and their allies in the major media are clearly using this disaster for political purposes and ignoring one obvious fact.

This fact ? which needs to be repeated and remembered ? is that in our country, state and local governments have primary responsibility in dealing with local disasters.

The founding fathers devised a federal system of government ? one that has served us remarkably well through great disasters that have befallen America over more than two centuries.

But if we believe the major TV networks, George Bush, FEMA and the Republicans in Congress are all to blame for the current nightmare.

Let's remember that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was created only in 1979. It was formed to coordinate and focus federal response to major disasters ? to "assist" local and state governments.

Common sense suggests that local and state governments are best able to prepare and plan for local disasters.

Is a Washington bureaucrat better suited to prepare for an earthquake in San Francisco, a hurricane in Florida, or a terrorist act in New York?

After the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center, no one suggested that the Bush administration should have been responsible for New York's disaster response or that federal agents should have been involved in the rescue of those trapped in the buildings.

Last year, four major hurricanes slammed into Florida. Governor Jeb Bush led the disaster response and did a remarkable job, with nothing happening like what we have seen in New Orleans.

The primary response in disasters has always come from local communities and state governments.

First responders and the manpower to deal with emergencies come from local communities: police, fire and medical. Under our federal system, these local departments answer to local authorities, not those in Washington. These first responders are not even under federal control, nor do they have to follow federal orders.

In addition to local responders, every state in the Union has a National Guard.

State National Guards answer first to the governor of each state, not to the president. The National Guard exists not to defend one state from an invasion by another state, but primarily for emergencies like the one we have witnessed in New Orleans and in other areas impacted by Katrina. (See: http://www.arng.army.mil/about_us/organiza..._structure.asp)

Tim Russert and the Blame Game

The media would have you believe that this disaster was worsened by a slow response from President Bush and his administration, though the primary responsibility for disaster response has always been with local and state governments.

It is true that federal response was not as fast as it could have been. The president himself has acknowledged that fact.

But the press has focused on the first 48 hours of federal response, not uttering a word about the fact that New Orleans had 48 hours of warning that a major Category 4 or 5 would make landfall near the city, yet local officials apparently did little to prepare.

Obviously, Gov. Blanco did not effectively deploy her state's National Guard.

And New Orleans' city leaders did almost nothing to evacuate the portion of the population with no transportation. In failing to follow their own evacuation plan, these officials did little to pre-position food, water and personnel to deal with the aftermath.

I was surprised Sunday to watch Tim Russert, on his show "Meet the Press," tear into Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff. During his encounter with Chertoff, Russert did not suggest once that local government had any role in dealing with the disaster. Russert also asked for Chertoff's resignation.

It wasn't until after the first 29 minutes of his show ? 29 minutes ? that Russert raised the question of local responsibility. And when he did so with Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, he did so in a passing way. Broussard brushed off his question with a non-answer.

Broussard began his interview claiming that the nation had "abandoned" New Orleans.

That is nonsense and a lie.

Broussard, who was never identified by "Meet the Press" as a Democrat, spent much of his time attacking the Bush administration, as has Democratic New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Broussard then ended his performance as he collapsed in tears with a demand: "For God's sake, just shut up and send us somebody!"

His tears didn't wash with me. My sympathies lie with the tens of thousands of people who have suffered or died because local officials like Broussard, Mayor Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco, also a Democrat, failed monumentally at their jobs.

As former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial told Russert, the disaster in New Orleans was "foreseeable."

In fact, New Orleans has long known that such a disaster could take place if a major hurricane hit the city.

The municipality even prepared its own "City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan."

The plan makes it evident that New Orleans knew that evacuation of the civilian population was the primary responsibility of the city ? not the federal government.

The city plan acknowledges its responsibility in the document:

As established by the City of New Orleans Charter, the government has jurisdiction and responsibility in disaster response. City government shall coordinate its efforts through the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

The city document also makes clear that decisions involving a proper and orderly evacuation lie with the governor, mayor and local authorities. Nowhere is the president or federal government even mentioned:

The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.

It is clear the city also recognized that it would need to move large portions of its population, and it would need to prepare for such an eventuality:

The City of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Those evacuated will be directed to temporary sheltering and feeding facilities as needed. When specific routes of progress are required, evacuees will be directed to those routes. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed. ...

Evacuation procedures for small scale and localized evacuations are conducted per the SOPs of the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department. However, due to the sheer size and number of persons to be evacuated, should a major tropical weather system or other catastrophic event threaten or impact the area, specifically directed long range planning and coordination of resources and responsibilities efforts must be undertaken. [You can read New Orleans' Emergency Plan for hurricanes at its Web site: http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26]

The city's plan also specifically called for the use of city-owned buses and school buses to evacuate the population. These were apparently never deployed, though the Parish of Plaquemines just south of the city evacuated its population using school buses.

The plan, written well before Katrina was even a teardrop in God's eye, was obviously never heeded or implemented by local leaders.

But why should the New Orleans mayor and Governor Blanco take responsibility when they can blame George Bush and the Republicans in Washington?

With congressional elections fast approaching, Democrats who are out of power in every branch of the federal government know they need to change the tide quickly.

They have apparently seized on the Katrina disaster to harm the president politically.

Criticism of the federal government's response is fair and warranted. But putting full responsibility for this disaster on the Bush administration is way over the top.

Primary responsibility for this disaster remains with local officials like Nagin and Blanco, not President Bush.
 

Robin1

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This is also from NewsMax.

Robin
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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I know everyone wants to use this to justify there own political beliefs but personally no one no how can convince me that it is acceptable that we can mobilze in other countries with tents, food, water and medical supplies in 36 hours sometimes less and yet here in our own country it took days

again i am not going to get into a political debate cause it simply doesnt matter what matters is that any way you slice it.. it is unacceptable.
 

Pepipony

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It is entirely too early to lay blame. We do not know all the facts to even think about making that judgement. Suffice to say that blame does lay with everyone involved, those for not leaving, those for not geting people out, those for not having a plan for the levees failing and on and on.

Both sides twist any fact for their own gain. Yes BOTH sides, white lies are equal opportunity. It is the people that pick up the pieces, not the politicians.

I hate when anyone plays the party thing, wish we could do away with that system as it is WAY broke. Wish we could just vote for people on what they do. But oh well.
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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i am not a micheal more fan in fact i normally cant stand the guy but.. is there a slice of truth in this? Perhaps?

.not sure if this is a true letter from him or not but...

again i am not into politics or parties think the whole system has gone abit haywire but thought I would post this for those who havent seen it yet

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.

Yours,

Michael Moore

MMFlint@aol.com

www.MichaelMoore.com
 
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Triggy&Blue&Daisy Too

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Oh Lisa now you need to get disinfected, Michael Moore ptooey yuk my eyes are burning
 

Robin1

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Lisa,

I agree, I don't like that in this letter the author was talking republicans vs. democrats. I really don't give a rats @ss what party they belong too. I just know how things have been set up in each state for a disaster.

My brother is a paramedic up in Olympia and has been extrememly upset watching what has been happening. He is NOT a Bush fan but does realize that the main people involved are on the local level. They (officials in WA) are always training on what to do and how to get people out as they know someday they will need to.

My brother volunteered and today is in MS helping out where he can.

You may also notice that the other states hit by the hurricane haven't had the same problems as Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular. That is because they used there disaster plans and got people out.

Sadly, the same can not be said for those in New Orleans.

Robin
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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Triggy

I know i know i prefaced it i normally cant stand the guy and think he is a waste of good oxygen..

I hear what everyone is saying but one state or area cant always be compared to another there are many things that make it different from economic, to simply the amount of cars. places to actually go so many different things bottom line is all the way around no matter whose fault it is everyone from local to federal made mistakes and instead of saying ya we screwed up lets learn and do it different they are to busy pointing fingers and using it to further there careers
 

crponies

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That letter has a bunch on inaccuracies in it. #1 Bush had met with that grieving mother already. #2 Did you really want our president to be in New Orleans when there were people shooting at those trying to help them? #3 The president visited ID before the hurricane while on his "vacation." It was great to have him here and it was a big encouragement to our military personel (at least it seemed that way to me). #4 The president cannot personally keep track of every little part/person in our military/country. Could you? Delegation is a necessity! #5 Even Condaleeza Rice (not sure I spelled that right) who is an African American woman said yesterday that this response has nothing to do with race. #6 The people in charge of maintaining that levy have been using money to buy other things, like was mentioned on another thread, instead of making sure the levy was in tip-top condition.

I for one am sick of hearing about who is to blame. Yes, mistakes were made, but everyone involved are imperfect people! At least the president has been big enough to admit that things were not done how they should be. Who on the local/state level have you heard say that?
 

Robin1

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CRPONIES


Lisa, as I said on the other thread. I am a firm believer in the old saying,"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

This is why I like to know why things happened the way they did. I have to disagree with you in part.

but one state or area cant always be compared to another there are many things that make it different from economic, to simply the amount of cars. places to actually go so many different things
If you look at the similarities you can compare. The other states, with towns that were going to be hit, got the buses out and got the people who couldn't get out on their own out. New Orleans had buses sitting there and didn't use them because the local government didn't get off their butts to make sure as many people got out as they could have. Thats one of the first things in their own disaster plan.
Robin
 

Pepipony

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Do we even have a Vice President anymore? Is he AWOL? Is he lost? Anyone hear anything about/from him?

We have to take anything we hear, make sure we hear it, then wait and see what comes of it. People will put their own spin on things ( and Bush/Rove are THE masters of this) to suit their points. I think Moore made a few good points. I think time will be the best judge of this, I just hope that those who were actually responsisble get justice and we dont have any scapegoats.
 

rabbitsfizz

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I have absolutely NO axe to grind here. I thought, only a short while ago , there was, on the Presidents desk, a sign that said " The buck stops HERE"?? Or has that along with so many good intentions, gone out the window or in the trash, too??? He was elected to govern the country. He has not done so. This is NOT the view of an American, this is the view of someone who, with no vested interest whatsoever, has watched the whole sorry mess unfold. What, did he not KNOW there was a Hurricane of devastating proportioned coming?? I could have phoned him up and let him know, then, coz I did!! What, did he not know the full effects of the devastation?? Well, again, if he'd phoned me, I could have told him coz I had it there in colour on the screen the day after. BBC reporters were there when the waters were still rising- you mean foreign reporters can get to places the US Army cannot reach?? There is a point at which I think the Government of the Country should have realised the Government of the State was obviously away for the weekend- and should have put their foot down. That point passed George by. I say again, I have no interest in pointing or laying blame whilst people are still on balconies and on rooftops, but I think you need a reality check here. You have been let down by your Government- welcome to the real world, America!!
 

OhHorsePee

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Where were the helicopters on day 5? I saw them rescuing people (Fox News) with the helicopters the very next morning. They rescued the people that were in more imminent danger first as I believe would be the brighter thing to do. And I heard the mayor of New Orleans blaiming the administration for everything and even swearing to boot. I guess the foul language made more of a show for him.

When I was in New Orleans I watched a man take his leg prostesis off and hide it under a blanket he was sitting on. He had a begging cup in front of him. I keep wandering about that man in the last week. Or the voodoo (not that I am into voodoo or even believe in it but that was someones livelyhood) shop down by the french quarters. Is it still there? Ugh, and the gambling boat! And the number one thing I wander is how many people that I passed on the street lost their lives. What a shame!

Fran
 

shminifancier

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The Federal Government Can't do anything Until they are Asked by the State and their State Officials.. that is part of what is called States Rights... Government 101...Or in other words I can put it this way... The individual states have to make their own emergency disaster plans first. Then the Federal Government comes into play

And if this Governor Did refuse help at first, well use your own imagination I guess.. But this is Not Bush's fault or the Fault of the Administration how it was handled in the first few days. The Buck has to stop someplace and it looks like it will fall into the Governors lap...Opps..She may have made the biggest boo boo of her now shorten life in office...
 

Pepipony

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crponies in reference to your points.

#1 ok, but that isnt what Moore stated. You took what he said and twisted it for your point, but everyone does that anyhow.

#2 Why not, wasnt he a war vet? Oh wait, he really wasnt, never mind. What about having him ANYWHERE in that area? N.O. wasnt the only place hit.

#3 ok, but that isnt what Moore stated. You took what he said and twisted it for your point, but everyone does that anyhow.

#4 That was sarcasm on Moores part. He was pretty much saying that our military is spread so thin that we didnt have the resources to help ourselves. And we DONT, there is no way anyone with a brain can even remotely argue that we do.

They stated that troops were coming home ( to the hurricane area) kinda true, kinda not. They are coming home but they are still doing their jobs, they arent with their families.

#5, Ohhhh Paahhhhleeeeeze!!!!!!! She is so far up his butt that I dont trust anything she says. Can you? Really? What is she gonna say , ahh yup, its because they were black. I am not saying that is was racial, I am saying that she

will not admit it one way or the other.

#6 proof? Where is the actuall proof to back this up? Not saying it may not be true, just asking for the proof. There is far too much hearsay running around.
 

justaboutgeese

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Michael More ---Just how many helicopters did you think were needed ??? Only so many can fly safely in the limited air space over a city. Compound that by the fact that all fly towards a central location. The other areas are being well serviced with their current assets so it can only be expected that this is another opportunity to make a stupid asinine statement to grab another headline. Rev Jessy Jackson and Mikey should get together then it would be easier to ignore the ludicrous statements from both of them.
 

OhHorsePee

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Rabbitfizz, if you were the president and the mayor told you he had everything arranged for evacuation procedures. Should you have to stand behind him and watch over his shoulder? Or should you be able to trust in that person?

The news reporters were planted in the cities prior to Katrina hitting. They covered lived footage that I am sure a lot of people have seen. That is how they were there to report so soon. There was on reporter (Shepard) that gave blow by blow accounts as the hurricaine was starting to come in. He even showed people drinking in the streets still as it was approaching.

If they would have sent the Army or any extra help in prior to the hurricain then there would have been more lives lost or those people themselves would have needed rescuing. Nothing could have stopped the hurricaine. I for one would not want to see my president placed in harms way which he does to himself time and time again.

Did BBC cover the president walking the streets afterwards and hugging, reassuring and checking on the rescue mission? Our president is a very brave and caring. He is in his second term so why would he even put up a show? I for one am very proud of our president and how he has lead our country.

Fran
 

crponies

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pepipony- President Bush did get out and walk around in several areas, Biloxi, MS for one which was hit really hard. I didn't pay attention to know every place he was, but he was there. There is a huge difference between a troop being put in harm's way and our Commander in Chief. Not that both aren't equally precious; it's just different. No one is expendable. It's hard to explain I guess.
 

Jacquee'

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I can see that a NUMBER of people are posting as I post this -
- hope it won't seem outdated by the time it finally goes up!

Part of being in charge is accepting responsibility. We have some VERY anti-democratic neighbors here in NM, and they are _STILL_ blaming everything that happens on Clinton. (I will have to check with them on who's fault it is the hurricane even HAPPENED.) So how come Bush is not responsible for anything? I don't get that. (And I would just like to say here, I hate all politicians with an Equal Opportunity fervor. So don't try to pin a tail, or a nose, on me. It won't fit.)

Bush may not want to accept responsibility, but it is part of being a leader. He needs to show us what he is made of - he needs to step up to the plate, be the big person, accept whatever responsiblity and GET THE JOB DONE. Now, THAT is something that would impress anyone, no matter what they may think politically. Is he having a hard time with some individual? FINE! He needs to pull out the old diplomacy and GET THE JOB DONE. It can get done by working WITH people, and he gets all the credit! This is what I want to see. I think it is what the whole world wants to see.
 

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