Sunday, September 04, 2005

“Ah, how beautiful....let's all turn this disaster into a partisan issue.”

My Response.

Please look at all the information around you. Do not automatically assume that your party and your political leaders always do the right thing as quickly and efficiently as possible. Do not be so quick to dismiss criticisms and different views simply as a political move.

Republicans won the elections. Republican leaders control the presidency, congress, and have appointed most of the leaders involved in this matter (FEMA, homeland security, etc.). If the response for this tragedy was good, they would have taken the credit, as well they should if they did a good job.

For example, think about the response to 9/11. I believed they did do a good job, and no one said anything but praises for Rudy and the administration for their quick response.

How in 4 years’ time, with the restructure of FEMA and other organizational changes did we come to see what we did in New Orleans? This is what we are asking. FEMA went from a fast powerful responsive agency that can take over situations like this, to a slow bureaucratic impotent agency after the administration restructure and gutted the agency.

Not only have the administration have 4 years time to plan, but they’ve used billions of dollars, and have appoint all major leadership in these agency to plan for a disaster response. This response to the hurricane is what the last 4 years of planning has gotten us?

It is not the far left or the crazy liberals that are saying the reaction to this disaster is an embarrassment. If you would like, I can get you quotes from all the republicans coming out saying that the response so far has been unacceptable. I believe even the president has said that the response has been unacceptable.

What I don’t understand is how ANYONE can say that the response was acceptable or say that the administration is doing what they can. Good God it took 4 days!! The media and red cross was there within hours and days at the most. How can you tell me the government couldn’t have gotten in there within the same time frame? Now they are in there with the thousands of troops and we're supposed to be impressed by that?

Too little too late.

Please don’t use the ‘I don’t think Kerry could’ve done any better’ response. That doesn’t matter because we will never know. Bush is the president and for better or worst, he is the leader for all that’s happening and all responsibilities ultimately go back to him. I’m sure if the response had been at all successful he would’ve taken all the credit.

Good leaders take responsibilities for their action or lack of actions. They don’t blame others for mistakes. Since this administration is not filled with good leaders, here they go with blaming the state and local authorities for the lack of response.

That’s real classy.

It may sound like I’m attacking the administration on a political level, but I’m angry for the people in New Orleans. Their government was not there at a time when they needed them the most. You should know by now that my concern is for the well being of the people. I could care less what type of political affiliation one is with or whoever the hell you are. Just find someone that can fix problems, and fix them now.

In this case, the leadership of the country has failed its people, and speaking out to ensure that something is changed so this doesn't happen again is the only thing I have the power to do, so that's just what I'll do.

I can't be down there helping anyone. I've contributed money, and done what I can to help. Trying to vent some of the anger and frustration for those in New Orleans and Mississippi that other wise don't have a voice is what the blogging community can do for them.

I would like you to send me a response, I will gladly post it on my site. We are opened to differing opinions here, and I would like to hear what your views of what's going on. It doesn't help to disagree if I don't know what the other points are.


Perhaps we can agree that the newspaper of New Orleans would know best about the situation in New Orleans. The following is a letter they published to the President.


We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we’re going to make it right."

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.

Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It’s accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.

Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don’t know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city’s death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.

It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren’t they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn’t suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?

State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn’t have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.

"Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You’re doing a heck of a job.

"That’s unbelievable.

There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.

We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We’re no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.

No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn’t be reached.

Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.

When you do, we will be the first to applaud.

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