Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Looking for holes in this thesis on the so-called lack of federal response in New Orleans

This is a working thesis and readers are invited to find the holes in the logic/arguments presented here:

1. As per this analysis The Federal/State of Louisiana emergency response agreement New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is responsible for first responders and initial security in a disaster. (Update: More on this from this Wall Street Journal Editorial)

2. The New Orleans Police and the Louisiana State Police/National Guard had search and recovery as their number 1 priority. The local authorities were overwhelmed as a result of their ineptitude in executing their evacuation plan. It got so bad, that many in the New Orleans Police walked away from their jobs.

3. Disaster relief workers and supplies were prepositioned by the federal government. But due to the security situation in New Orleans, National Guard authorites didn't want to risk the lives of federal and state aid workers until security had been established. (From this Department of Defense briefing conducted on Saturday, September 3, 2005:
The most contentious issues were lawlessness in the streets, and particularly a potentially very dangerous volatile situation in the convention center where tens of thousands of people literally occupied that on their own. We had people that were evacuated from hotels, and tourists that were lumped together with some street thugs and some gang members that -- it was a potentially very dangerous situation.

We waited until we had enough force in place to do an overwhelming force. Went in with police powers, 1,000 National Guard military policemen under the command and control of the adjutant general of the State of Louisiana, Major General Landreneau, yesterday shortly after noon stormed the convention center, for lack of a better term, and there was absolutely no opposition, complete cooperation, and we attribute that to an excellent plan, superbly executed with great military precision...

Q: One quick follow-up. Is it fair to say, using the convention center as an example, that one reason it took until Friday to get aid in is the National Guard needed time to build up a response team with military police to ensure law and order because the New Orleans Police Department had degraded so much?

GEN. BLUM: That is not only fair, it is accurate. You've concisely stated exactly what was needed, and I told you why. We took the time to build the right force. The outcome was superb. No lives hurt, nobody injured. It was done almost invisibly.
If federal (FEMA/Red Cross) and state aid workers had been brought into the situation before security had been established, it would have made things worse . Dead aid workers are of no use to anyone.

4. The National Guard accurately assessed the situation, made a plan and then executed it. They eventually took control of the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome.

5. The liberal MSM is hyperventilating (also here) over the federal response, but when one considers the above, the federal government, through the direction of Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, actually did a tremendous job and saved the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans from their self-inflicted wounds.

Lt. General Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the National Guard under his command are not getting enough credit for their planning and heroics. Also worthy of praise are Major General Landreneau and Lt. Gen Honore, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina; the men on the front lines of the effort.

Update: Richard Baehr's 'New Orleans myths: The numbers tell a different story' complements this post's theme that the media is promoting myths about the disaster. His angle is more on an analysis of the number associated with the disaster. An excellent piece and highly recommended.

Update 2: A rapid response:

Diana West has an excellent column about the fatuousness of what many politicians from both parties are saying in the aftermath of Katrina (but before the immediate response has been completed). Her main point is that much of the discussion is premature, and willfully ignores the reality of what the governments had to contend with. Diana also points out that federal responders were on the ground in force within 48 hours after the flooding began, which is a rapid response by historical standards.

It's also true that federal responders were involved even earlier than that. At a press conference yesterday, the Louisiana National Guard noted that FEMA was supporting its efforts at the Superdome before the storm arrived. And, as John pointed out in his devastating
take down of Paul Krugman, men and women form the U.S.S. Bataan were in action within 24 hours of the flooding, providing food and water to victims and providing sandbags to reinforce the levees. Moreover, as
the
Washington Times demonstrates today, the Coast Guard had already rescued 1,200 people by Tuesday, the day after Katrina hit land and shortly after the flooding began.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rae Ann said...

thank you for this post!

September 7, 2005 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Chimp's numbers are in the toilet due to his mismanagement of the situation, lower than Nixon's were during the watergate scandal. Hey, did you appreciate his mother's comments?

September 10, 2005 at 8:05 PM  

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