Sunday, September 11, 2005

So, yeah, now we've got frickin' mercenaries patrolling the streets of New Orleans?

I can't even encapsulate in words how fucked up this all is.

Oh yeah, and here's why FEMA, and thus, the President has full responsibility in this situation: In the Stafford Act, the act which created FEMA, is this passage:

"(c) Utilization of DOD Resources -

(1) General Rule. During the immediate aftermath of an incident which may ultimately qualify for assistance under this title or title V of this Act, the Governor of the State in which the incident occurred may request the President to direct the Secretary of Defense to utilize resources of the Department of Defense for the purpose of performing on public and private lands any emergency work which is made necessary by such incident and which is essential for the preservation of life and property. If the President determines that such work is essential for the preservation of life and property, the President shall grant such request to the extent the President determines practical. Such emergency work may only be carried out for a period not to exceed 10 days."

Governor Blanco, on the 27th of August, before the hurricane hit, asked for federal assistance. Then both the state and the Federal government declared States of Emergency. The President was legally obligated to render assistance, and the fact that DOD resources weren't sent into the city in force until 5 Days Later, means that he was derelict in his duties. Hell, he didn't even stop his vacation until 2 days later.

And when Blanco called to demand to talk to the President, he "couldn't be found." Same with Andrew Card.

Say whatever you want about local responsibility or state responsibility for the aftermath. I don't give a fuck. It is the President's ultimate responsibility to provide for the welfare and safety of the citizens of the United States in disaster situations. (If he can't or won't do the job, someone else should.) The fact that he didn't do everything in his power to do this means that he is morally if not legally responsible for the deaths of all those that died waiting for help. There should have been a plan in place to have boots on the ground, a lot of boots, less than 24 hours after the hurricane. The sad truth is that there was no one really in charge down there, and by not placing someone capable into the situation, the President allowed the situation to snowball into a full blown crisis. And people died because of inaction. People died because of bureaucratic bungling. People died because help was too fucking late in coming.

Oh yeah, and FEMA is still keeping Red Cross relief out of the area.

Of course, there are those who think that the way that FEMA has fucked this all up is part of some nefarious plot or plan. I used to think that was kind of crazy. I really don't anymore.

4 Comments:

Blogger Michael "VendorX" Heaney said...

I'll refind and post the link to FEMA's official evacuation plan later, suffice to say that FEMA's OFFICIAL approach to evacuation is to assume, from the start, that local authorities will be unable to deal with the task themselves. I'm not kidding, dig up FEMA's website and look at their general declaration on evacuations. They're supposed to start out concluding that local authorities CANNOT deal with the crisis. That's their official stance.

Pete, seriously, we need you over at the fun party commenting. If and when I can figure out how to add you, you're part of our official blogger contingent.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Natalia said...

I am having a freak-out in Ick Major ... this crap is unbelievable. Firneds outside of the US keep telling me about how the images look like they are coming from a thrird world country.

-N

11:07 AM  
Blogger Inilweyr said...

It appears that the fall guy is going to be Mike Brown. At least it is appropriate that he should resign.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Well, I can't say I'm sad.

Can't say I'm really satisfied, either, though.

6:03 PM  

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