Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The News Blizzard...

President Bush has made an excellent choice, promoting Roberts to the Chief Justice slot.

Rick Moran has a careful timeline for the government response to Katrina, a cool refutation to some hot-headed rhetoric.

Mayor Nagin remains hot and angry...but positive about President Bush: "I want to see stuff done. And that’s why I’m so happy that the president came down here, because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. And they were telling him things weren’t as bad as it was.

He came down and saw it, and he put a general on the field. His name is General Honore. And when he hit the field, we started to see action."

Mayor Nagin has a different take on Governor Blanco:
"I was abdicating [s/b advocating] a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places.

S. O’BRIEN: And the governor said no.

NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn’t happen, and more people died." (HT: LGF)

The news on Governor Blanco is difficult to believe: as of 5 Sept 2005 at 5.46pm, "Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has refused to sign over National Guard control to the federal government and has turned to a Clinton administration official, former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief James Lee Witt, to help run relief efforts." This may help explain why the death toll is currently being projected at 10,000.

Rich Lowry gives the breakdown on what happened exactly:
Was just talking to someone who knows military matters and disaster relief, and has been following the situation on the Gulf Coast very closely. Several points (excuse the repetitions):

--“The mayor and the governor are negligent and incompetent. The administration has tried to smooth out the chain of command, but she won't do it. The constitution says that the governor is in charge of the Guard.” (The Washington Post wrote about this on Saturday--and KJL excerpted the relevant bit in here.)

--“None of those poor people were moved prior to the storm. They were told to go to the Superdome, but they had to walk there. Whose responsibility is that?”

-- “General Honore in one day got 20,000 people evacuated from the convention center with a ground and air evacuation. Have you heard about that in the media?”

--“The DoD has been tasked with 40-50 missions here. DoD is the go-to organization for DHS. DHS is trying to build the capacity, but doesn't have it yet. DHS is all brain power and no brawn.”

--“Michael Brown has not done a good job and is in over his head. But, in fairness, FEMA is not organized to handle a catastrophe of this size.”

--“There will be 50k troops there by mid-week, a combination of active duty and National Guard. Including elements of 82nd Airborne Division, First Cavalry Division, and two Marine brigades. That's in just over a week. That's amazing. But no one realizes it. They had to trot General Honore out this morning to try to explain to the media how you move troops. There were National Guard pre-positioned in the north part of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana two days the storm, watching the storm, seeing which way it was going to go, and once the storm hit, moving troops in immediately. There was a flow-plan that's been working since.”

--“The constitution says the governor is in charge of the Guard. The president would have to invoke the Insurrection Act to over-ride that. No president has done that since the Civil War. And he would have to do it over the head of the governor. Bush is not there yet.”

--“The military is there anyway on the principle: 'It's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.' Federal troops can't do law enforcement. So they are being creative. National Guard will embed in active military units and be there to make actual arrests. That's very similar to what has been done in past hurricanes and the Coast Guard has done the same thing with the Navy in the past.”

--“There are no law enforcement problems in Mississippi. They have been acting there with the cooperation of the governor. In New Orleans, they don't have the same kind of cooperation from the governor or the mayor. It's not as stream-lined or as effective as it could be.”

--“The New Orleans police disintegrated. The national response plan calls for state and local to be the first on the scene. But the catastrophe wiped out the whole local infrastructure and the emergency communications. 80% of the police disintegrated and they are just not beginning to re-constitute.”

Meanwhile, LGF has the evidence of how badly the NO police disintegrated: the astonishing video of NO police officers looting a WalMarts.

And also the tragic pictures of the buses left that could have evacuated thousands left unused in New Orleans.

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