NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Conventional wisdom is wrong in Katrina responce

Check out his Op-Ed in the Pittsburgh, PA Post-Gazette

Jack Kelly: No shame [Jack Kelly is Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio security writer]
The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed
Sunday, September 11, 2005
It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.
You can get the truth by clicking here.

Click here for a private e-mail comment. For public comment select comments below.

5 Comments:

Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Russ: Large numbers like "More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters." don't mean anything out of context, ignoring the military and Administration's operational capabilities. One could do a comparative analysis: Say, with Cuba, which acted in time to evacuate 1.3 million people with NO dead.

As William Cook points out on www.counterpunch.org, "By contrast with the thousands left behind as Katrina and the broken levees pulled New Orleans into the mud hole of the lake that once made possible its existence, thousands left behind because they had no means of evacuation ­ no cars, no buses, no trains, no military transport, no helicopters ­ the Israeli squatters were provided free transportation, new housing within the state of Israel, grants of $30,000.00 each and, additionally for seniority, NIS 4,800 for each year they lived in Gaza for each family member, in addition to reimbursement of moving expenses to the tune of NIS 14,000-21,000.00 to the Negev, Galilee and Nitzanin. In short, Sharon made sure the settlers he had encouraged to settle on his illegally obtained land were well compensated for as he demanded that they leave."

And as Gary Leupp points out: "Gov. Kathleen Blanco perhaps understands the potential for rebellion. Referring to hundreds of battle-hardened National Guard troops deployed in what's left of New Orleans, she warns looters, "They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so, and I expect they will." On Wednesday night Mayor Ray Nagin "ordered the city's 1,500 police officers to leave their search-and-rescue mission and focus on stopping the looting" (MSNBC). Since Nagin has stated, "We're not even dealing with dead bodies [but] just pushing them on the side," the officials have made their priorities quite clear:

1. Prevent looting.

2. Search and rescue (save lives).

3. Deal with the dead bodies." http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05254/568876.stm

Even Laura Bush admits, ""This response is not an adequate response. This is not the kind of response that the federal government wants. We know that we can do it better." http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/12548023.htm . This article also details Republican Senators critiquing Bush's handling.

Not to mention the turning away of vital aid during critical hours and the hands-off approach during which nothing was done.

Even you have admitted Bush's FEMA is looking confused, and http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-09-07-katrina-responsibilities_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA indicates that "The Army Corps of Engineers, which built most of the flood-protection levees in the region, pulled its personnel to a safe distance, expecting rising water from the storm would top the levees. That meant no one was checking the levees, and "that's the reason why we had a tough time understanding" the developing crisis, said Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, corps commander.

Even BUSH is collapsing to the pressure: http://www.boston.com/news/weather/articles/2005/09/07/bush_vows_probe_of_what_went_wrong/. Here's a surprising admission: "One of the most discussed questions, however, is Brown's admission that he didn't know that some 20,000 evacuees were huddled for days at the convention center in unsanitary conditions, without provisions, police protection from armed thugs, or crews to remove bodies of people who died waiting for help. Brown told CNN last week that he was ''surprised" to learn about those evacuees on Thursday, and ''we didn't know that the city had used that as a staging area." And Rumsfeld also admitted that there was legitimate ground for criticism.

Amazing that the President's running dogs are so quick to defend his most inept actions that they do so when he remains silent.

Mon Sep 12, 05:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

And here's another good article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/national/nationalspecial/11response.html

Mon Sep 12, 05:05:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...

Fredric:

According to the stats, it took five days for FEMA to respond to past hurricanes, it too three for Katrina. Go figure, this was the largest area ever covered by responding agencies. Bigger problem, faster response. What more do you want? Yes, we can always do better.

One third of the NO policed abandoned their posts. Military is not allowed by law to police civilians, without activation of the insurrection law, or permission of the Gov. She never gave the permission, until consulting her hired gun political consultants, which took 24 hours. Maybe we need to change the laws, let the military take immediate control of all disasters.

In 2004 NO and LA emergency response agencies practiced this very scenario. Yet, they abandoned the plan and acted like deer in the headlights. They knew the communication center would flood, they abandoned the busses to the flood, and waiting for the military to show up, assess the situation and take action. The Coast Guard started saving people, the Navy steamed into port and started saving people.

Get real. If its written by the NYT Syndicate news papers, we never know if it was made up, or key data was left out. They twist the news, why waste time reading NYT papers, when you can get better news from blog eyewhitness reports.

Mon Sep 12, 01:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"According to the stats, it took five days for FEMA to respond to past hurricanes, it too three for Katrina. Go figure, this was the largest area ever covered by responding agencies. Bigger problem, faster response. What more do you want? Yes, we can always do better."

Does this include the time agencies did NOTHING because they were told not to, or simply their mobilization time? After all, as I cited to no rebuttal, CUBA did better.

Critique the LA police and Bianco and everyone else that you want, it does not get you a WHIT closer to proving that Bush's handling was acceptable. It simply proves other people screwed up. The stats of the 50% of police is something I actually think helps my arguments re: racism, because it disproves the notion of courageous cops in dangerous inner cities (not that silly myth needed much more disproving).

But Russ, you have to remember that state and local governments simply don't have the resources to handle crises of this magnitude. The federal government does. It also now has the legitimate authority, pending some kind of attack in the courts, to do so. If Bush didn't exercise that authority when it was obvious to you, apparently, that the NO and LA authorities couldn't handle it, that is HIS FAULT.

"Get real. If its written by the NYT Syndicate news papers, we never know if it was made up, or key data was left out. They twist the news, why waste time reading NYT papers, when you can get better news from blog eyewhitness reports."

What the hell? You will seriously allege that bloggers with no responsibility to be truthful and no way to validate their presence at the scene will be better and more reliable news than, say, a newspaper with legal responsibilities, editorial standards, and stockholders who rely upon the perception of their holding as fair and balanced? I seriously await you plausibly making this argument.

But of course I blog and I think blogging is a great type of news source. However, eyewitness accounts are NOT mutually exclusive with a overview done by the NYT, which you did not rebut on point, relying on me agreeing with you on the NYT (which, in fact, I do.)

Further, I've cited you blogs, and there are blogs out there that are incredibly critical of Bush, including my own. So what you actually mean is "Read blogs that I like". This immediately undercuts your critique of the NYT.

I think the NYT is a horrible newspaper. The WSJ's editorial slant is awful, but their news is far better, and they cover vital things the NYT can't. But this is not because the NYT is liberal, but (as Chomsky/Herman cover in Manufacturing Consent and Necessary Illusions) the NYT is the propaganda herald of the elites that, because it is the Newspaper of Record for the US and likely the globe, must tell the story that is needed. In this case, elites are angered at Bush's handling and are afraid that such ineptitude might translate to serious terror problems... which, of course, Rumsfeld CONCEDED, as you ignored.

Mon Sep 12, 02:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Speaking of eyewitness accounts, here's a fantastic one, describing the racism, classism, and general cruelty and ineptitude of the relief operation as opposed to the success of private citizens acting together, a real inspiration for left communalists: http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/556/556_04_RealHeroes.shtml

Fri Sep 16, 12:15:00 PM PDT  

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