Friday, September 02, 2005

Preparing(?) for disaster in the Big Easy

The horrific situation in New Orleans has spawned the usual accusations: Bush's fault, the city government is to blame, and what about the state--why didn't it do more? In this case, I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around. But the blame game is, to a certain extent, an ex-post-facto no-brainer that anyone can play, and the old truth is that hindsight is always 20/20.

That said, this particular horror does seem to feature an entire host of spectacularly bad decisions all coming together to create the nightmare that is now New Orleans. There were apparent errors of planning, particularly on the local and state level (or, seemingly, an almost total lack thereof), errors of evacuation timing, errors of rescue effort timing, inadequate funding for repairs (some of this on the federal level and some more local), rampant city corruption, city and state bureaucracy of an unusually Byzantine nature, poorly-controlled crime (even preceding the hurricane)--but even better planning would only have gone so far.

There is no doubt that evacuation planning could, and should, have been much more extensive. But there are limits to what can be done. Can a city of this size be evacuated in two days, even with planning beforehand and the absolute knowledge that a disaster will happen? I used to live near a nuclear power plant in New Hampshire, an area far less populated than New Orleans, and I remember reading that, were an accident to happen and the area evacuated, bottlenecks would almost immediately occur and the roads would become impassable, trapping us all (this problem is, strangely enough, somewhat in line with certain facts about crowd flow in my stampede article of yesterday).

Nowadays we imagine we can plan for everything and that we should be protected against everything, even though we don't (and really can't) spend the money to do everything that would actually be needed. And then, when something happens, we say "Oh, of course, that's the very thing that should have been funded above all the others that compete for our attention.". But all of this involves cost-benefit ratios and predictions that are partly based on science and partly, quite frankly, a crapshoot.

Another truth seems to be that people never prepare on that enormous and costly scale for something that is merely theoretical--it always seems to take a great disaster to make them realize what should have been done. Such a huge output of funds and energy doesn't ordinarily seem justified for something that's only a projection and prediction--we can't prepare for all exigencies that might happen, and the billion-dollar question is: how to pick and choose among all the competing doomsday scenarios?

And then there's the issue, not of governmental and community preparedness, but of individual and aggregate human response. Scientists are so fond of predicting disaster that people have learned, for the most part, to tune them out. After all, so many predicted disasters never happen, or are far less disastrous than expected. Remember the Millienium Bug? The Jupiter Effect? Comet Kohoutek? The Swine Flu? Not to mention all the predicted storms and blizzards and hurricanes that ultimately fizzled out, after the big predictions made everyone rush to the grocery to stock up?

So it's no surprise that, although New Orleans has been described for a number of years as uniquely and catastrophically vulnerable to a category 4 or 5 hurricane, many people stayed put, either through inability to leave, or because they thought the threat was overhyped. But tragically, this is one of those times that the scientists' predictions have come eerily true, even in some of the smallest details.

Going back in time and reading old articles that talk about what could happen if a large hurricane ever hit New Orleans is a strange experience. While reading pieces that are a few years old, I kept checking the tenses and the dates--surely these weren't written in the future tense; surely they are describing the events of the last few days, written after the fact? But no, they were predictions that came almost exactly true.

This one, for example, is three years old (via Michael Totten), but it describes what happened in New Orleans a few days ago almost as though reading from a script. This series of articles is similar in its haunting prescience.

In addition to this human predilection to discount dire predictions, there are other reasons New Orleans was ill-prepared: to have protected the city against a Category 5 hurricane would undoubtedly have cost many billions of dollars (estimates differ, but that it would have been in the billions is not in dispute), and the best ways to go about doing so were unclear--as the aforementioned articles, as well as this one and this one, attest. I've already alluded briefly to these facts, but New Orleans--the Big Easy--is famous for graft and corruption in city government. The comments in this thread from Chicagoboyz discuss this at some length. This City Journal article (via Ed Driscoll), as well, talks about the sad state of civic affairs in New Orleans even prior to Katrina, and why it will make it doubly hard to rebuild and recover. And this comment on LGF makes some excellent points about "levee boards" and why it may not have mattered even if more federal funds had been given in advance.

This lethal stew of prohibitive cost, corruption, competing ideas about what was necessary, and denial that something so dreadful was likely enough to justify all that expense, proved to be a deadly mixture that led to the shocking lack of preparedness. As blogger "Laurel," who fled the New Orleans area with her family just before the hurricane hit writes, it was "The day I thought would never come." And if a day will never come, why spend billions of dollars in a very poor state to prepare against that day?

Laurel describes her own skepticism at the early storm reports, based on prior experience with false alarms:

There are storms in the Gulf all the time and they always get everyone excited around here, especially the media. You'd think the fricking sky was falling every other week. People have pretty much gotten used to their hysteria and don't pay too much attention to it...

I went to bed that night mad that our fun camping trip had been cut short, and upset that we had to listen to hysterical media sensationalists again. It just seems like they are always crying wolf and it gets a little old.


This is a very understandable mindset. But, fortunately, this time something cut into Laurel's skepticism, and she got going. As she writes:

But, I guess they were finally right this time. By morning the storm was a category 5 storm and we got a phone call from the St. Tammany Parish president that had a recorded message telling us to evacuate immediately.

"They were finally right this time." So at least "they" get to say, "I told you so." But that won't help the people of New Orleans right now. Maybe later--maybe, if and when the city is rebuilt--but not now.

[NOTE: My post focuses on preparedness. But for an excellent discussion of what may have gone wrong, and why, in the response, see this post by Aziz Poonawalla along with its comments. Found at Dean Esmay's. And the Anchoress sums it all up with her usual combination of eloquence and strength, and says what needs to be said about the Bush-blamers.]

[NOTE II: Just found another post that goes into helpful and informative detail on why building an adequate system of physical protection against a hurricane of such magnitude would take so very long and be such a complex task. See this by Tigerhawk, who also links to this excellent post from Belmont Club, on the same topic.]

27 Comments:

At 12:33 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A truth that nobody wants to hear might as well be a lie, for all the good it does.

 
At 1:35 PM, September 02, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

- flood, fire, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, mudslides,volcanoes,
war, disease,tornadoes, riots, stampedes, drought - we've got it all right here on earth. As I said in another blog, I've fought flood, fire, thugs, the north Vietnamese army and been through two bad tornadoes and I'll be damned if I will focus on any negative aspect of this disaster when so much positive is occuring. God forbid the media of any bent should show farmers in rural Mississippi for instance coming in with tractors and trucks and loaders cleaning up debris there, or the Indian tribe in central La. that has taken in 500 people and will care for them as long as needed, or the elderly woman about to be rescued who told the men to get the woman next door first because she had a baby. That is what it is all about, that is what truly defines us. So all we can do is focus on the positive, donate and donate some more by cutting back on treats and other expenses not necessary for our survival and help other people in our intact communities when we can.

 
At 7:56 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you Bush/neocon apologists really don't get it do you? imagine if instead of a huricane, the break in the levees that cause the flooding in NO were caused by terrorist bombs planted at each of the levy sites. Four years after 9/11 this is the best we could do? Doesn't that tell you anything about how competent the current republican led gov't is at securing the homeland?

 
At 8:21 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous urthshu said...

Hey, neo-neo
Don't know if you want to do it, but what about something on traumatic impact for both survivors & disaster workers? I've been shooting my name out to various agencies to get there ever since it happened, but I've never worked a disaster area before, only regular crises. Hopefully I'll be doing refugee work for the coasties soonish.

 
At 11:38 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

You leftist anonymouses don't get it do you? You never even have half the information needed to make your accusations but will push them as utter truth and base your entire philosophy around those fallacies.

Considering that the levee's were designed to withstand a category 3 hurricane I doubt the terrorist have any bombs that big. We are not talking a house sized hole, or even a few hundred feet for this type of damage. This is a pretty safe bet, considering that even we do not have the resources to do such a thing even with multiple bomb blasts.

It took a sustained force that carried many times the energy than if all the worlds unclear stock combined were detonated to break them.

Not only that but it took the destruction of most of the states infrastructure to cripple the response. If it had just been broken on a normal day (rainy or sunny) there is a good chance it could have been repaired. A category 4 hurricane impedes quite a few things.

Now, if we buried a few atomic bombs and detonated them then it would flood New Orleans, but otherwise there is just a short blast of intense energy. Most in the way of heat which will not hurt the levees. The shockwave generated doesn't have the necessary energy to destroy them, it doesn't come close. I suspect that the construction needed to do bury one would be noticed before any terrorist could pull it off.

It would be easier to break a dam than it would be these levies - and a simple bomb (even a fairly large one) wouldn't destroy them either.

Then you wonder why many of us consider your type to be knee jerk reactionalist who care only for thier cause, not facts or reality. Next time try and actually read something other than other lefties with no clue.

 
At 12:26 AM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"imagine if instead of a huricane, the break in the levees that cause the flooding in NO were caused by terrorist bombs planted at each of the levy sites. Four years after 9/11 this is the best we could do? Doesn't that tell you anything about how competent the current republican led gov't is at securing the homeland?"

So what you're saying is, that if John Kerry had been elected, New Orleans would now be terror-proofed and beyond risk? The man couldn't even decide what he thought about most issues and even when he did he couldn't tell you in less than 2 million words. What makes you think he had the laser focus necessary to get a job like that done?

Both the flood potential in New Orleans due to weather, and the terrorist threat everywhere else, are multi-generational problems. The first step is to recognize the problem. The next step is to do something about it. I don't see much evidence of the Democrats having a plan to do something about it beyond criticizing President Bush.

 
At 10:39 AM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

strcpy & the other anon:

Still clueless I see. THE POINT IS ABOUT DISASTER RESPONSE, whether it be natural or manmade. Imagine if Katrina had been a complete and utter suprise, as would be with a terror attack.

 
At 10:59 AM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Considering that the levee's were designed to withstand a category 3 hurricane I doubt the terrorist have any bombs that big."

Have you forgotten the oklahoma bombing? I would imagine something like that would do serious damge to the levees, no?

But this is not the point. And it seem you folks are too dense to recognize it. This is about DISASTER RESPONSE, whether it be natural or manmade. Imagine if Katrina had been a complete and utter surpise, as would be with a terror attack. Think outside the box for a change folks. couldn't you imagine a scenerio in which terrorists can cripple an entire city, whether it be by shutting down electricity, contaminating the food/water supply, etc...
Would this type of response be acceptable.

 
At 11:37 AM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

Anonymous above, I think you may be missing the point of my post. My post, of course, focused on the preparation, not the response--but the preparation is part of the response, because there needs to be a comprehensive plan ahead of time that is then implemented.

In the case of Katrina, it's fairly clear that, on the local and state levels (where the first responders always are), planning was extremely poor or even nonexistent. Then, the federal government's reaction was slow, in my opinion. But what we are seeing now indicates that the military (the Guard and others) are doing a good job now that they are there.

If you follow the links in the post, you'll read some good discussions of why the response was slow, and what the special problems were in this case with responding rapidly.

Speaking of special problems--one of the main points I tried to make in my post is that New Orleans is not typical of anything except New Orleans. It's a very "special" city, to say the least. The picturesque and seedy Old Quarter is a unique tourist attraction, but the city is also unique in the extent of corruption and graft there. These things have held it back from any effective planning.
And make no mistake about it, such planning and preparation must exist on the local level in a case like this, whether it be a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.

 
At 12:11 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But this is not the point...couldn't you imagine a scenerio in which terrorists can cripple an entire city, whether it be by shutting down electricity, contaminating the food/water supply, etc...
Would this type of response be acceptable."

No, it wouldn't be acceptable. But it would be pretty much inevitable. It's impossible to anticipate every single type of attack on every single city and devise an appropriate response for every scenario. One size does not fit all. It simply isn't feasible. And even if it was intellectually feasible it wouldn't be affordable. Do you want an Army division camped around every city 24 hours a day seven days a week waiting for something to happen? How far away do they need to be to not be involved in the intial problem? What kind of equipment should they store and how much of it? There's just no way every contingency can be planned for. We cannot live a risk free existence. It's simply impossible.

People will always suffer from unexpected events and we'll never prevent that. Can we improve? Yes. Will this event spur improvements? Surely. When people die it always does. Why does it take people dying? I have no idea. But it does. Will it ever be perfect? No.

If you're arguing for improvements, I'm with you all the way. If you're arguing that there's some kind of gooey hazy future where no matter what happens to any city anywhere in the US there will be the perfect response and everybody will be rescued within 24 hours and life will be back to normal in 48 then I think you're wasting your breath.

Just remember, as you said, it's called "disaster response". It's not called "hiccup response". No matter how good the response is it's still going to be a disaster and people are going to suffer in one way or another.

 
At 1:44 PM, September 03, 2005, Blogger TmjUtah said...

The best way to recover from a disaster is individual preparedness to suvive the initial event and its immediate aftermath.

This means a personal SHTF bag and action plan at the individual and family level and a workable contingency plan/logistical prep at the community level.

It helps a lot if the community in question is primarily law-abiding to begin with, of course.

Just looking from the outside in at New Orleans it is crystal clear that the local and state entities failed miserably - and over a decades-long interval - to do their job as well as they could have. Planning and execution both suffered at the hands of political expediency and political correctness. That failure ultimately lays at the feet of the communities themselves, though - you get what you vote for.

If you discount brainless rants attempting to score political points at the expense of the hurricane victims (thanks for contributing, Anon) and just take a few moments to look at the timeline of events beginning with the federal disaster area declaration and then study a map (preferrably a good topographic map) you can get begin to understand the logistical challenge involved in simply moving people in the area - much less moving tons of equipment and supplies.

The level of response that might be judged acceptable by folks like Anon doesn't exist; there won't ever be a terrorist attack that FEMA responds to while debris is ascending into the air from the intitial explosion. Not only that, whatever level of the emergency response, there isn't anything like a Wand, Magic, Mk1ModB, For The Waving Away Of Troubles, issued to rescuers.

Bad things happen. The more that individuals do to prepare themselves, and the subsequent actions they take to ensure they are part of a solution and not a problem the better the recovery will progress for everyone involved.

Martial law should have been declared concurrent with the mandatory evacuation order. Publicizing photographs via leaflet drops of a few dozen dead looters amid piles of jewelry, laptops, and cases of booze would have been a smart move.

Too late for that now; we have to listen to apologists blame Bush for hating black people while LA politicians attempt to cover their butts by indicting FEMA for their own glaring mistakes.

We've contributed to relief. My employer is considering tendering job offers to any qualified refugees who end up out here. Who knows, maybe a swamp surveyor might enjoy winter work for a change...

 
At 3:28 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to say that the response, particularly at the federal level needs "improvement" is really not doing justice to a grossly pathetic situation -- that borders on criminal negligence and incompetence. One would think that after 9/11 we'd have a national plan for a major disaster such as this. Again, imagine if we'd had a chemical/biological attack and needed to evacuate a portion of the city, let alone the entire city. Don't you folks ever wonder whether our 'great protectors' are really up to the job of actually protecting us? Truly another episode of 'amateur hour'.

 
At 6:32 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"Have you forgotten the oklahoma bombing? I would imagine something like that would do serious damge to the levees, no? "

Again, you have absolutely no understanding of explosives and how they damage. The Oklahoma City bomb was detonated such that the blast forces entered the bottom floor and were contained. This in turn creates a massive amount of pressure that cracked the supports holding the second floor up causing it to collapse - of course when it did the floors above it did. Since the explosion only had enough force to crack the first support, only the front of the building fell.

Explosions need to be contained and have something to push against to do destruction. You can take prima cord - a fairly good explosive material - and wrap a tree from top to bottom with it - many many feet of it. This is enough prima cord to flatten a large house. Detonate it and you will not even scratch the bark - I've personally seen this done. You can then take a 5 inch section and hold it onto the tree with a blob of packed mud, detonate it, and the tree will be shredded and blown apart.

The only way to destroy the levies would be to bury the explosive beneath them and detonate it. That could be done either by a construction crew or specially designed large missles (not shoulder launched or non-specialised vehicle launched - you truck doesn't have the neccesary mass wieght). There was, and is, no terrorist threat to the levies. Bush's failure to plan for one isn't a failure, your lack of understanding and knee jerk reactionalism is.

You are totally missing my point - I know that you are complaining about Bush and his lack of planning. I'm pointing out that the scenarios you are giving to demonstrate why they were bad are bogus - you are basing your entire decision and discussion on incorrect ideas.

I bet Bush hasn't planned on every hamburger in the US being poisoned by terrorist either, planned on a virus that causes every infected comptuer to emit poisionous gas on a specific day either, hasn't planned on many many scenarios because they can not happen.

While I would have liked to have seen the federal govt do better you just can not mobilise people much faster. This is has been the speediest response by *any* govt in the history of mankind - and you are angry? The ones that were slow and horrid were the local and state govts, much of what people think Bush should have done, Bush can not do due to laws (we have those pesky things in the US). It is local and state govts that are responsible.

And, as other posters have pointed out, this is a multi-generational problem and was known (since the 60'). It was always deemed to low a probability of occurance to spend too much time one. Every president since the 60's has made the same choice.

So, lets ask a question and try and be honest. If Bush had, two years ago, said "We need to spend 20 billion", that's was about the estimate to upgrade them, "to strengthen New Orleans to resist a category five hurricane. While models show this not to be likely for decades away the destruction would be immense. Further we will need to spend another billion annually to set into place evacuation routes, evacuation supplies, and education on the proper response." would you have supported it? Or complained that it was a waste of money (as everyone else had, including the residents of New Orleans). I bet you would have even complained he was doing it for his oil cronies because of the amount of oil that goes through there. Not to mention that Bush can't force the project, only supply funding and LA wasn't in a hurry to fix it either.

 
At 12:49 PM, September 04, 2005, Blogger kcom said...

"One would think that after 9/11 we'd have a national plan for a major disaster such as this. Again, imagine if we'd had a chemical/biological attack and needed to evacuate a portion of the city, let alone the entire city."

What city are you talking about? Every one is different. Every situation is different. Good luck coming up with "a" national plan to handle any contingency from Miami to Seattle.

And you're also assuming in your note that an evacuation as a result of a hurricane is the same situation as an evacuation as a result of a chemical attack. In fact, they are hugely different problems with hugely different necessities. Do you want to have "one" plan for that, too? You'll get a bunch of people killed doing something stupid but at least you'll be doing something, I guess.

"Don't you folks ever wonder whether our 'great protectors' are really up to the job of actually protecting us?"

I think that's where you're making your biggest mistake. They are not our 'great protectors' and never have been. The sooner you grow up and disabuse yourself of that foolish notion, the better off we'll all be. We don't live in a monarchy, we live in a republic where responsibility rests at all levels, including with the individual citizen.

The federal government is made up of people just like you and me, it's not some all-powerful, omnisicient super being. It has a role to play, but it's only one role among many. If someone, somewhere taught you that the federal government was some sort of sugar daddy that would solve all your problems then you bought a bill of goods.

Responbility for the response to hurricane Katrina rests at all levels, from the individual up through the federal government. They city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana as the local authorities have the key pointman role in that process, by law, and should be directing the relief effort, including the assistance provided by the federal government. But, from all appearances, they took a bad situation and made it infinitely worse through their incompetence and lack of any reasonable foresight or planning. Dumping 25,000 people into the Superdome while making no provision as to how they would eat, relieve themselves, get medical care, or be physically protected, even though there were days of warning about this hurricane and years of warning that a hurricane was coming, speaks volumes. Throwing up their hands and dumping their responsibilities into the lap of the federal authorities was not what they were elected to do and not something they should be remotely proud of. They should be ashamed. Do you have any doubt that if the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans had had their act together that we would be seeing a different picture developing? Cast blame around if you want, but make sure you shine a light in all the corners that have earned it.

And to close with the main point again. If you think that you have a 'great protector' then you need to open your eyes and look around. It's less comfortable that way but a lot more real.

 
At 1:00 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One would think that after 9/11 we'd have a national plan for a major disaster such as this."

One would think that a city living below sea level for decades would have a plan for a major disaster such as this. It doesn't appear that New Orleans had a plan for anything. It was all made up at the last minute. Wow, who would have thunk something bad might result? Planning starts locally and moves out from there.

 
At 1:07 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous Telesonic said...

"Only a fool fights in a burning house."
--Kang

 
At 3:05 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

strcpy...

"Again, you have absolutely no understanding of explosives and how they damage. The Oklahoma City bomb..."

good gawd, are you really insisting on arguing with me on this score??! Let's keep our eye on the ball ok -- DISASTER RESPONSE.

"This is has been the speediest response by *any* govt in the history of mankind - and you are angry?"

Really???! And I suppose the war in Iraq is going swimmingly well and it's the best planned and executed war in the history of mankind too, huh? Okie. Do be careful if and when you snap out of your psychosis (perhaps neo-neocon can help out here), because reality is going to be a bitch.


To everyone else here, you can blame the local & state gov'ts all you want (and yes, they're not without blame), but the main fault lies at the federal level. Here is a mission statement from the DHS website on primary responsibilty for a disaster of this magnitude:

"In the event of a terrorist attack, NATURAL DISASTER or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation." (emphasis mine)

I do urge you all to tune away from FOX NEWS and Rush Limbaugh for a moment and read this very informative piece in the WaPost entitled "Storm exposed disarray at the top."

 
At 3:44 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous Telesonic said...

"Only a fool fights in a burning house."
--Kang

 
At 4:10 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

telesonic,

Your quote really doesn't apply here, for obvious reasons. But let's think about its implications. So if we're stuck in a "burning house" and you're charged to lead us out but haven't a clue on how to do so. So are we all to just STFU and accept our fate?

you see? the world is not so black and white is it?

 
At 8:56 PM, September 04, 2005, Anonymous telesonic said...

Political carrion-feeder. Except calling you that is an insult to the buzzards and the maggots.

Please think about what is happening right now in the South. Then ask yourself whether your behavior is making it easier or harder for those who actually have to do something about it. Can you stop obsessing about your own political opinions long enough to...hmm, let's see...help?

So yeah, I guess I'd say "we" should just STFU - at least for a moment, in the name of decency - and do something USEFUL.

 
At 10:33 PM, September 04, 2005, Blogger Simon Kenton said...

N-N:

"Can a city of this size be evacuated in two days, even with planning beforehand and the absolute knowledge that a disaster will happen?"

We used to be able to empty Los Alamos in 15 minutes. The lab and the town. It was about 10 miles from the most farflung laboratories to the remotest neighborhoods, there were no freeways and no mass transportation. I can go into the details, but think it would be pointless; as is missed by everyone insisting on a federal response to everything, the center of a response has to be local.

It can be done, but you have to think about it, get the details out to everyone, and practice it. In other words, it has to matter, and you have to care about it.

 
At 4:38 AM, September 05, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

""Again, you have absolutely no understanding of explosives and how they damage. The Oklahoma City bomb..."

good gawd, are you really insisting on arguing with me on this score??! Let's keep our eye on the ball ok -- DISASTER RESPONSE."

Pretty much - is this the best you can do? That isn't much of a response. Either my description is correct or incorrect. You presented a scenario in which you think they could have been damaged, and I called a bullshit. You have based a large part of your ideas on bogus, easily refutable "facts" and then want others to follow you on trust. The best you can come up with is "good gawd".

""This is has been the speediest response by *any* govt in the history of mankind - and you are angry?"

Really???! And I suppose the war in Iraq is going swimmingly well and it's the best planned and executed war in the history of mankind too, huh? Okie. Do be careful if and when you snap out of your psychosis (perhaps neo-neocon can help out here), because reality is going to be a bitch."

Simple - name one that has been faster or better. Since you are so fully knowledgable it should be simple - right? Or have you, once more, made a decalaration without the knowledge to back it up and simpyl want us to belive you? It would have been simple, if you knew what you re talking about, to refute me.

"To everyone else here, you can blame the local & state gov'ts all you want (and yes, they're not without blame), but the main fault lies at the federal level. Here is a mission statement from the DHS website on primary responsibilty for a disaster of this magnitude:

"In the event of a terrorist attack, NATURAL DISASTER or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation." (emphasis mine)"

Ah yes, but have you failed to quote the rest? Say the parts that talk about the *state* parts of that plan? Say the parts that outline that the federal govt *can not* do as you want them too unless they ursurp state control (that is they need them to request it)? Do you want them to legally be able to do so? I highly suspect that you do not want the federal govt to unilaterally declare martial law and move the military in to take control and are only using this case as a political attack.

"I do urge you all to tune away from FOX NEWS and Rush Limbaugh for a moment and read this very informative piece in the WaPost entitled "Storm exposed disarray at the top.""

I've read it, and similar. Would you please then read the plans outlined by the authorities as to each responsibilties? You will note that in almost every case the local authorities failed, even in the face of federal advising against thier actions.

 
At 8:45 AM, September 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You will note that in almost every case the local authorities failed, even in the face of federal advising against thier actions."

That makes no difference, though. The Feds are there to save us from ourselves no matter what we do, no matter how stupid we are. We can't possibly be responsible for ourselves. We need our 'great protectors' to look after us at all times. If anything goes wrong it's their fault, no matter how lame we've been in our own preparations. We love Big Brother.

 
At 11:21 AM, September 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Telesonic, I guess Bush was trying to help when playing his guitar on Thursday.

 
At 12:30 PM, September 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Telesonic,

Do you know how idiotic you sound? And who are you to presume that I or anyone critical of our "leaders" for that matter, have not done anything "useful" to help???

Strcpy,

I'm not going to play your game of diversion/deflection from the real issue that you folks are so accustomed to. That only works with you koolaid types. Consider katrina a test of the disaster preparedness of DHS, and they failed period. They failed miserably, and many have died unneccesarily as a consequence. It's pathetic and it's shameful.

anon,

"The Feds are there to save us from ourselves no matter what we do, no matter how stupid we are. We can't possibly be responsible for ourselves. We need our 'great protectors' to look after us at all times..."

I suppose the dozens (probably hundreds) of folks in nursing homes who have drowned waiting for help deserved their wretched fate... because it's their fault for being so old and decrepit.

You'll have to forgive me, but I find that tenet of compassionate conservative credo to be vomit inducing.

And btw, I didn't really think I'd had to spell it out, but the term "great protector" was used in jest, you know to make a mockery of the self portrayal of fearless leader. It's rather ironic to see someone who uses sarcasm to make a point, utterly fails to recognize it.

 
At 1:00 PM, September 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Telesonic, I guess Bush was trying to help when playing his guitar on Thursday."

shush, we shouldn't be critical of Bush, it's not "helping." And tell Cindy Sheehan to STFU too, it's demoralizing the troops.

God Bless America!

 
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