Friday, September 02, 2005

Losing Pumpkinhead

Even Tim is stunned:

think liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, are just absolutely outraged and confused at the scenes we’re watching on TV. And the world is watching.

Why are we apparently incapable of rescuing people and in the process of witnessing an American city being lost?

MSNBC: This seems especially troubling to some, when America was able to offer aid to victims of the tsunami, a half a world away, but seemingly can’t do it in one of its own cities.

Russert: And it’s not as if we didn’t know this was coming. There were studies after studies. There were tests after tests. As recently as a year ago there was a tabletop disaster scenario played out as to what would happen to New Orleans in a major hurricane. And the results of those studies have now been proven to be true.

So the questions that have to be asked are:

Why weren’t the poor people evacuated? They don’t have SUVs. They travel by public bus. Could they have been evacuated?

Secondly, in terms of pre-positioning, where were the troops, where were the National Guard? If people were to be sent to the Superdome, why weren’t there cots and water and food there?

Second-guessing is easy, but it is also, I think, a requirement of those in a free society to challenge their government, when the primary function of the government is to protect its citizens and they haven’t been protected.


Russert: By Sunday they say there’ll be 30,000 National Guard and troops on the street, which gives you an indication of just how perilous it is.

But the fact is that, when there was now evacuation and no pre-positioning of supplies within the city, that led to the current situation.

President George W. Bush said the other day that no one expected the levees to break.

Well, with all respect, study after study, including FEMA's own tabletop exercises last year, all included the breaking or the giving of the levees. Everyone who had studied the issue knew that with a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm, that was a very strong likelihood.

So, again, it’s very difficult in the midst of a crisis for people to be critical, but I have not talked to anybody, underscore anybody, in official Washington who believes the government at any level has done a good job.