OK, I’m finally going to say something about the Hurricane Katrina blame game. I picked up the weekly copy of Willamette Week and a regular columnist, who goes by the name of The Nose, just couldn’t let it be either.
Here's what surprised the Nose: the visible competence of the American media. The national press (not to mention such local all-stars as the New Orleans Times-Picayune) has done such a good job chronicling the hurricane buffoonery of George W. Bush's crew, it makes you wonder where these guys were in, say, March 2003, when we went hunting for mirage weapons of mass destruction.
Oh, puh-lease! You mean that the national media finally got around to attacking Bush effectively enough for you? They finally were able to work up a good story against Bush that doesn’t involve the occupation of Iraq or Homeland Security? Does that mean that they are doing a good job?
You think they let Bush off on the WMD issue?
The Nose acts like he sits around waiting for the national media to find reasons to attack the President, just for being, say, George Bush. Expand your reading materials, boys.
There was an article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette last week, where a Florida national guardsman was interviewed and he said:
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
The federal response time for hurricane Andrew was 5 days, as opposed to the 3 that it took to get significant federal presence in the Katrina affected region. This is the federal government folks. If you expect that the feds can move untold amounts of supplies and equipment and personnel into an area ravaged by a hurricane, in less than 3 days, you don’t know a thing about emergency management. The first two to three days of ANY emergency is usually covered by local fire and police departments, and then the state guard troops.
The first 100 miles from the coast in the south are covered with pine trees. After the hurricane, the pine trees were covering the roads. You think it was easy driving emergency vehicles into the coastal areas?
It’s like people are looking for any excuse to bad mouth Bush.
However, the person most responsible for the state that Louisiana is in right now isn’t Bush, and it probably isn’t even their Governor or the hapless Mayor of New Orleans. The Governor, despite showing the backbone of a slug, can’t really be expected to know the ins and outs of the states emergency plan or the procedures for getting federal help and aid.
But the head of Louisiana’s Department of Homeland Security, Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, would be that guy. You think that the media would eventually be able to figure all this out. But I don’t expect them too, as they aren’t really wanting to get to the bottom of this, they just want a good story, and the good and popular thing to do in the media right now is find a way to make Bush responsible for the bad stuff. And the Nose doesn’t seem to be waiting around for them to, either. He seems to be satisfied that they’ve dug enough.
Update: In the comments: link to an interview with Michael Brown, and what he experienced when he got to Louisiana. Revealing.