I always thought that our government, especially in the post-9/11 world, would be ready to deal with epic disasters in an expedient and appropriate manner... but New Orleans has proved me wrong.
I always thought that, at the least, the Bush administration would be capable of handling another crisis like 9/11... but New Orleans has proved me wrong.
Our federal government is responsible for stepping in to situations like this immediately. Bush declared disaster areas before the storm hit and then went back to vacationing for TWO WHOLE DAYS, while the Mississippi and Alabama gulf coasts were leveled. While Slidell was blown off the map. While New Orleans was levelled. While the looting began. What was that man doing? Reading "My Pet Goat"?
Whither the Homeland Security funding? Wasn't much of the money we POURED into homeland security supposed to go to shoring up our ability to respond and provide relief in the wake of such disasters? It seems to me that most of the aid currently pouring in is coming from private companies, state governments, and municipal governments.
Whither the National Guard? Aren't they our primary force of disaster response? Why can we more easily respond to IRAQ's needs than New Orleans'?
Whither the levies? Weren't there strong resolutions proposed for the current fiscal year to shore up and restructure the levy system in the New Orleans area to prevent a crisis like this? Who made the decision to re-route that funding into Iraq?
Whither the President? Does he have a plan? Or, as it appears, are Mayor Nagin, Senator Landrieu, and Governor Blanco the only people with power and influence that have an actual grasp on the ground situation in New Orleans?
One thing is perfectly clear. The crisis in New Orleans shows plainly the sociological problems within the United States. The hurricane effected everyone in the area regardless of race and class, however, the people stuck in the anarchy of New Orleans are largely black and below middle class status. They are the true victims. They did not have access to the infrastructure needed to evacuate or prepare themselves for this storm, and they are having to bear the brunt of the majority of the suffering.
Another thing that this disaster shows is that the money we haved poured into Homeland Security is for naught. What if someone set off a nuclear device in Chicago, or perpetrated a chemical attack in Los Angeles, or a biological attack in Atlanta today, as I am typing this? Would our government be able to respond in any capacity? This scares the living shiat out of me, and it should you too.
I am angered at the Bush administration for dragging its heels. I am angered at relief agencies for their unequitable proportions of efforts. I am angered at the party currently in power for scrapping efforts that could have prevented much of the suffering and death continuing today, and for wasting our resources on a pointless quagmire in Iraq. It appears that the federal government currently is incompetent to provide the leadership needed to coordinate the relief efforts.
I pray for the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and all the others who are currently living in suffering because of this crisis. Now we all understand just how naked and vulnerable we are, and how the war on terror is not a solution to that essential problem.
Now that I have seen and heard Scott McClellan's answers to some of these questions, I am even more angry. It is clear that he wasn't giving a news conference to reassure us that the situation in New Orleans is being dealt with competently and with the proper amount of immediacy and accountablity. He was doing damage control for the image of his President.
He also tried to quell any and all questions and critiques of how our government has prepared and responded to this problem by pleading for us not to turn this into a political issue. He is too late. Any time a government, through its incompetence, sentences that many innocent people to die in squallid, violent, and PREVENTABLE conditions within their own borders, who are we supposed to turn to? Where are our fingers supposed to point?
I agree that everyone in the US should be united in efforts to help the people of the Gulf coast. I disagree that those who are accountable for these issues should be held blameless. These are discussions that we must have NOW, before something like this happens again, because as the White House tries to cover their own asses, more people die and more people are put at risk. New Orleans looks like a dramatization of "Lord of the Flies" done by the joint theatre departments of the Crips and the Bloods.
The complete lack of leadership and control in this situation is at the root of the problems in the New Orleans area. The White House had 20-50 hours to mobilize APPROPRIATE support, response, and relief personnel to the Gulf coast area. Why didn't they? The White House is supposed to fill that void in leadership. Why haven't they?
Panic and fingerpointing seem to be going on most in the gulf coast region. The government's incompetence to deal with this situation is alarming, at the least. I am surprised that you aren't outraged.
Where is the national guard? What happened to all that Homeland Security funding that was supposed to assist us in mass-disaster and mass-casualty relief? What would happen if a major terrorist attack happened right now?
Some answers are clear: we need to bring the national guard troops back to domestic soil, they are not meant to be an expeditionary force or a foreign peacekeeping force. We need competent leadership in the White House and in Congress. We need BETTER funding for infrastructure, instead of slashing needed budgetary measures in lieu of pork-barrel projects and superfluous military operations in the Middle East.
Someone dropped the ball here, and this discussion needs to happen NOW, in the midst of this chaos, rather than later, otherwise our questions and concerns will never be addressed by those currently in power. "Now isn't the time" is a wussified, inappropriate response. I want answers, and the President and his party don't seem to have any to offer.