Tuesday, September 06, 2005
(Those two pictures were taken the day after Katrina. It should be noted that Nero did not actually fiddle while Rome burned...He played a stringed instrument. Afterward, he blamed the fires on the Terrorists of the day...Christians)
In the aftermath of the hurricane, it is estimated that around 1600 New Orleans police officers turned in their badges and went off to salvage what they could of their life's possessions and try to save their own families. At least two took their own lives.
They were underprepared and overwhelmed.
They weren't the only ones!
At the end of the Clinton administration, FEMA was staffed by proffessionals. They had a plan. James Lee Witt, Director of FEMA under Clinton, developed a plan for exactly this disaster in New Orleans. As soon as a hurricane path was known to include New Orleans, Hospital ships and ships carrying pumps would be "pre-deployed" to deal with victims and pump water from the city. They knew that the critical time in any disaster is the first 72 hours. They were ready.
The first ship that was prepared to go to New Orleans under the Bush FEMA was not ready to leave its port in Baltimore until four days after the hurricane struck.
FEMA was a great agency until George W. Bush got to town. He appointed his former chief of staff in Texas, Joe Allbaugh to head FEMA and the process of destroying it began. It was partly intentional but mostly the result of a disgusting and deeply corrupt incompetence. Allbaugh decided he could steal more money somewhere else and left FEMA to form a company that would help funnel money from the Iraq war into private corporations. FEMA did the same thing with its funds with all too familiar results... Thousands of dead Americans.
In 2003, FEMA became part of the Homeland Security Department, famous for its own color coded incompetency. FEMA was systematically downgraded and nearly dismantled. The Bush Administration announced that FEMA would officially lose its disaster preparedness function. Agency employees were directed NOT to be involved with disaster readiness! A new agency was to have that mission. What happened was that Bush appointed a man whose previous experience with disaster preparedness was running horse shows...He was incompetent enough at this to get himself fired. Bush therefore thought he wouldbe perfect for what should have been the most crucial domestic job in America. He outsourced his own duties and failed to manage or follow up on the result.
In June 2004, FEMA gave the contract of planning for the New Orleans disaster to a firm called IEM, Innovative Emergency Management. One of their managers a New Orleans magazine that IEM would create a plan that,
"meets the challenges associated with integrating multi-jurisdictional needs and capabilities into an effective plan for addressing catastrophic hurricane strikes, as well as man-made catastrophic events.”
In the aftermath, China Mieville, of the blog Lenin's Tomb, notes:
“So, the IEM team’s approach isn’t to siphon off tax money, spout management shit, provide a demonstrably catastrophically inadequate plan, then f--- off like craven f---ing caveworms and hide the evidence when the f---ing corpses start piling up?”
Bush's mentor in government is one Grover Norquist. Grover is the man who made the famous satement that he wanted to make the Federal Government so small that he could drown it in the bathtub. Washington pundits have taken to calling New Orleans "Lake George" in honor of the President being the only person in the country who didn't know the levees could break, even as he diverted the budget money from repairing them.
The entire Bush administration should drown, not in a bathtub...
In Lake George.
Perhaps there will be justice after all. Perhaps this is the final crush of evidence that will finally demonstrate to folks that the Bush administration in very very bad for America.
I pieced this together from several sources. Here are a few: