So once again, the Republican talking points are such: The bungled relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are not the fault of Bush or the rest of the Federal Government. Who is responsible? The Democratic Governor of Louisiana and the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans. Each were totally incompetent in calling for aid.
Let’s just put that to rest, shall we? Check out this White House Release from August 31st. I direct you to the portion that says, “The President Is Directing Federal Agencies Throughout The Government To Do All In Their Power To Assist The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina.” What does that mean to the Governor and Mayor? Well, if I were them, I’d be led to believe that I had the full support of Federal agencies — Federal meaning the US Government bigwigs.
OK, you might say, but that still does not mean that the Governor and Mayor can just sit back, right? Well, another part of the brief says, “The President Has Given The Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) Authority To Coordinate The Response.” That means a Federal agency was in charge of going down there and straightening shit out — telling people what to do, where to go, how to negotiate the logistics of such a massive response. Is it up to the Mayor to be trained in federal team management? Is it up to the Governor? Isn’t this EXACTLY the sort of thing that the Federal Government and particularly the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to be ready for? Four years after 9/11, this massive government agency (DHS) is supposed to be totally prepared and at the ready, standing by for just this sort of thing. And people are BLAMING the Governor and Mayor??
Let’s not forget the Mayor went on radio screaming for the authority to mobilize the resources that were supposedly under the Federal Government’s control. So why wasn’t the call made to give him this authority?
One last sentence from the release: “The National Response Plan (NRP) fully mobilizes the resources of the entire federal government to support response and recovery efforts for state and local authorities – particularly in the event of a catastrophic incident.”
Please. Let’s stop blaming the local officials. It is the responsibility of federal agencies whose very existence stems from threats both natural and man-made to take charge in these situations and work with local officials in relief efforts. Blaming the local officials is just passing the buck, and America knows it.