Monday, September 05, 2005

Plenty of Blame, Alright

Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present The Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. New Orleans owns about 205 school buses and 364 public transit buses.

Estimates indicate upwards of 30,000 people could have been evac'ed in one trip. That is, of course, assuming there had been sufficient planning and execution at the local level. Think about it. In a single trip, most of the folks at the Superdome and Convention Center could have been sent to Houston or other venues.

But, no, the buses sit unused in flooded parking lots, leaking a delightful concoction -- made up of diesel fuel and motor oil -- into the toxic soup soaking the city. But, hey, maybe the Left can figure out a way to blame that on President Bush, too. Along with the hurricane, global warming, Governor Blanco's deer-in-the-headlights performance, and runny catsup in the relief centers.

Thank God for the U.S. Military and for President Bush. I shudder to think what would have happened had the President not called the Governor and personally requested a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, an act called 'unprecedented':

...a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin... The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should... Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding...

And, yes, all pre-evacuation plans for New Orleans called for using buses and organized assistance to those who do not have private transportation. May I quote from the State of Louisiana's Emergency Operations Plan?

The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating...

Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool

The Washington Post, no friend of the administration, is also reporting that Governor Blanco resisted a centralized command-and-control structure requested by the President on Friday. That night, the administration had sent Blanco a legal memorandum requesting a federal takeover of the New Orleans evacuation.

In other words, the administration wanted centralized command-and-control over the police, state National Guard, and related local units that report to the governor. According to the Post's report, Louisiana officials rejected the request, apparently fearing a political backlash to any de facto declaration of martial law.

Furthermore, the Post reports that, "Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said."

From all appearances, Governor Blanco did everything in her power to resist asking anyone for help. And her motivations -- at this point -- appear politically motivated.

And what of the failed levee? Can federal authorities be blamed for that? AFF notes:

[One] eye-witness quoted on Fox News today... said that he saw floating grain barges hit the 17th St. canal and cause that breach, not just flood waters. This is pure conjecture, but regardless, the breaches of the 17th St. levee occurred at the newly reconstructed and restored part of the levee, not the old decrepit part.

Hmmm. Ben Stein also relates, in a brilliant, brief summary, his opinions:

Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?

...What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?

If able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen to them?

When the city government simply ignores its own sick and hospitalized and elderly people in its evacuation order, is Mr. Bush to blame for that?

Meanwhile, the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool percolates in a thick, soupy mush, awaiting deployment orders that will never come.

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