Monday, September 05, 2005

Blame game

If you've paid attention to coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the rescue (or lack of) efforts that followed, then you most likely noted how the blame game started almost immediately. Afterall, some members of Congress have started "to question why it took so long to get National Guard troops on the ground in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. Several states said they were willing to send troops to help in the Gulf-Coast relief, but didn't get a go ahead until days after the storm struck."

Not only do I blame Pres. Bush for the tragedy that ensued post-Katrina, but I blame many others.

Some, like Michael Moore, assign blame to the President and FEMA. They choose to ignore the fact that there are many people down the line who failed in their responsibilities.

In assigning blame, I believe it starts from the bottom with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who "charged that administration officials 'don't have a clue' about what's going on in the devastated city that long has been among the nation's premier tourist attractions."

However, I believe it's Nagin who doesn't have a clue. To the best of my knowledge, there was no coordination from Nagin or the state politicians (House of Represenatives and Senate) who represent Orleans Parish as well as federal representatives (U.S. Senate and House of Representatives) and are all responsible for (not) acquiring help for their people. You won't see Michael Moore blasting the lack of response from these people because most of them are Democrats. However, it's these people who are charged with protecting their constituency. Leading up to Katrina, where were they in helping get everyone out in response to the manadatory evacuation? Where were they after the storm hit and their constituency were dying by the handful? I doubt Nagin will be re-elected after an yet-to-be-determined number of his constituency have died due to his poor leadership and execution of rescue efforts.

Then the blame moves up from there to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco who was slow in her response and, when she did, showed very poor leadership. If efforts had been coordinated properly and efficiently, it's probably that more lives could have been saved and the rampant looting would have been minimized.

It wasn't until Bush, and I'm not saying he was the cavalry to the rescue, showed up and kicked everyone in the butt that things started happening. Now we have Lt. Gen. Russel Honore coordinating rescue and recovery efforts in New Orleans. "Honore is winning over even some of the government's harshest critics, including New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who blasted the Bush administration's initial response to his city's disaster."

There never was a command center established to coordinate rescue and relief efforts. While Blanco and Nagin were crying on camera and telling looters that troops were coming in to shoot them, Bush met with members of his Cabinet who are assessing the damage and directed "federal aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina." Instead, the state's leadership should have coordinated their efforts then followed the correct protocal to request assistance from FEMA and the President. The request from local government is necessary before any action by the federal government can begin.

Finally, I blame those who stayed BUT only those who had transportation and decided not to use it. Those who could have left and didn't are responsible for their fate. As well, I have a friend living in Metarie who doesn't own a car. The day Katrina hit and matters turned for the worse, he "acquired" an abandoned vehicle to escape the area. He took control of his own fate. The sick, the elderly, the infirmed; who was there to help them?

During all of this not all stranded in New Orleans turned to acts of crime or wait for the government to determine their fate. It's being reported that groups of people in the French Quarter created 'tribes' as they waited outside assistance. These "groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming 'tribes' and dividing up the labor. As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property."
"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
This, of course, is in my humble opinion.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jack Coffee said...

It's the governor's responsibility to call out the National Guard. As far as I've been able to determine Blanco never even put them on alert.

9/05/2005 9:23 AM  

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