Thursday, September 01, 2005

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE!!!

In yesterday's post, I characterized as "criminal incompetence" the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare the levee system for anything more than a fast-moving category 3 hurricane. I am now revising that characterization, because "incompetence" suggests that the accused actually tried to do something to prevent the current disaster from unfolding.

Even worse than a failure of leadership, what is happening in New Orleans now can only be characterized as CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE!

While appreciating the fact that B. and I were able to get out of New Orleans before Katrina struck, the total chaos of armed thugs running the streets of New Orleans, on top of the levee disaster, and the utter failure to grasp the rescue and relief effort is a total fiasco.

Police being shot at? Rescuers being held at gunpoint? Looters breaking into homes up and down St. Charles Avenue?

Where are the troops? Why wasn't any planning done to have boots on the ground immediately after the hurricane passed. I'm talking about the need for tens of thousands of troops to handle the multiple needs of rescue, relief, and security.

I am in a complete rage over this fiasco. To have survived the hurricane, and to see the situation deteriorate into a total cesspool "soggy version of the wild west" (as one friend called it) after Katrina passed, is putting me into a fit of absolute distress and anger.

I want my leaders to reflect that anger when they get in front of the cameras.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said in a cool interview yesterday that people needed to remain calm. She said that this is not the time to find fault, that there would be plenty of time in the future to assign blame. I haven't heard a single peep out of Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).

I called both of their offices today, and I want to ask everyone who visits this blog to do the same. What I told the person who answered was to write down the following things:

"criminal negligence"
"heads should roll"

I then explained that I don't want to see either senator in front of a camera asking for deferred judgment. I said I want to see them screaming at the top of their lungs, amplifying the extreme frustration and growing rage of New Orleanians that the official response has been a worse disaster than the actual hurricane.

Homeland Security? All I have to say is, if the United States is hit with another attack, all the billions spent thus far will appear to have been flushed down the toilet. Those billions were apparently spent for things like the "National Preparedness Month" observance for the month of September, announced by Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff this morning. If anyone needs to be doing any preparing, it's the Department of Homeland Security.

The reason this whole fiasco is unfolding is because our leaders at all levels of government - but especially at the federal level - have failed over and over again to heed the warnings, and when disaster finally struck, to respond quickly and effectively.

This crisis is being caused precisely because there has been a total void of leadership. People died, homes were lost, because President Bush, in particular, and the rest of his administration, have been slow to realize, and slow to respond - as he was with 9/11 and with the Tsunami disaster last year.

I can't continue this post any longer, since I'm now getting kicked out of the only wireless cafe I can find in Pensacola.

Please people - speak up so the world hears our voices. We are taking it day by day, trying to figure out what tomorrow will bring, but nobody making the decisions that are impacting our lives in very serious ways seems to get it.

8 Comments:

At 9/02/2005 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Mixter said...

I am with you, and phone calls and e-mails to the appropriate people are forthcoming.

Had this been a terrorist attack instead of a natural disaster, would there have been a different reaction? You bet your booty.

Remain safe, try to remain level-headed, and remember that the blogosphere is asking the same questions and demanding answers, and more importantly, ACTION.

Take care,
Mixter

 
At 9/02/2005 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Mixter, it means a lot to all of us to know that people are shouting as loud as they can. That Bush thinks a day of briefings and photo ops is going to fix anything is absolutely insane. He didn't even look interested. He looked like he was pissed because his mommy or paw paw told him to get his ass in gear and start acting like he cared. People will die today without clean water. Drop it from pallets like they do in Sudan. Do something. Issue shoot to kill orders to restore order. What does Bush think is doing? He should have had briefings before and immediately after the hurricane. He should have been in response mode a week ago. This is so freaking surreal. Do we live in the United States? Is this the most powerful country in the world? What is going on?!

 
At 9/02/2005 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Ignatious said...

I agree with much of what you have to say, but I would like to correct you on one point. The Army Corps of Engineers did want to make the levy system able to withstand a cat five. It was the Bush administration who cut their funding for that project year after year. Lousisanans have been trying to get national attenion for projects like costal conservation. We wanted to prepare, but I guess the Federal government just didn't give a shit.. maybe now they will.. way too late.

 
At 9/02/2005 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Ignatious - I know you are right that the Corps wanted more money for levee improvements. I have friends who worked there and sincerely cared about those improvements. And you are right that Bush should accept considerable blame for not funding those improvements, along with the billions in coastal restoration - all of which looks like a bargain price now. Nevertheless, the Corps has become a political organization run as a rubber-stamping operation for the interests of developers - and especially the New Orleans office. Notwithstanding the concerns of many individuals at the Corps, the mission of the Corps is at odds with itself. It can't simultaneously allow destructive development and then come behind to fix things.

 
At 9/02/2005 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I think criminal negligence is almost too diplomatic. Nagin isn't my favorite politician by a long shot, but this morning he finally did something right.

With all the talk about "security," you'd think that the government would also understand basic necessities, particularly when this disaster was...well, a disaster waiting to happen. It's almost as if a person went to profound lengths to build a fence around their house, while ignoring termites eating at the foundation.

I hope the public, after seeing the horrors of the Convention Center, I-10, the Superdome, and all the other scenes, will finally WAKE UP and DEMAND that the government be of, by and FOR the people, and not just the corporate donors.

 
At 9/04/2005 10:29:00 PM, Blogger FCSuper said...

I concur and have now ranted similarly.

 
At 10/05/2005 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

Thought I should mention here that the reports of rampant lawlessness by New Orleans citizens proved to be untrue. I never believed that blaming the victims was accurate.

Spitting in a Wishing Well

 
At 4/18/2006 08:44:00 AM, Blogger Dangle 24-7 said...

Not sure if you will see this. I got here because of another blog I was reading. It is gripping to go back to the earliest days of this catastrophe and to our rage and anger.

No doubt that "W" and his folks botched the entire rescue effort.

But some time has passed. Bush isn't any brighter but we should be. Let us not change history.

Plese see: http://soulofneworleans.blogspot.com/2006/04/whos-bad.html

 

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