Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans Mayor Angry At Slow Federal Response ... And Surprisingly, Bush Agrees

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin lashed out at federal officials, telling a local radio station "they don't have a clue what's going on down here."

Nagin's interview last night on WWL radio came as President Bush planned to visit Gulf Coast communities battered by Hurricane Katrina, a visit aimed at alleviating criticism that he engineered a too-little, too-late response.

"They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed," Nagin said.

Nagin said he told Bush in a recent conversation that "we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice ... I have been all around this city and that I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we are outmanned in just about every respect."

***

This morning, in a surprise, Bush agreed with the criticism.

Facing blistering criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, said this morning "the results are not acceptable" and pledged to bolster relief efforts with a personal trip to the Gulf Coast.

"We'll get on top of this situation," Bush said, "and we're going to help the people that need help."

He spoke on the White House grounds just boarding his presidential helicopter, Marine One, with Homeland Security Department secretary Michael Chertoff to tour the region.

***

Bush's comments sharply contrasted those of other federal officials, who defended the relief effort.

In an interview this morning on NBC's Today, Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown stood behind the massive federal relief effort that's under way.

"I understand the mayor's frustration. ... We have been having a continuous flow of commodities into the Superdome, there were five trucks arriving last night to feed well over 50,000 people.

***

Bush first viewed the damage while flying over the region Wednesday en route to Washington after cutting short his Texas vacation by two days. That lone personal reaction prompted some critics, who suggested the president should have treated the disaster as he did the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- when he arrived at Ground Zero as soon as the area was deemed safe to tread.

In Mobile, Ala., the president was to get a briefing on the damage, followed by a helicopter survey of areas along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coasts. He was to walk through hard-hit neighborhoods in Biloxi, Miss.

But Bush was avoiding an in-person visit to the worst areas of New Orleans, mostly drowned in rank floodwaters and descending in many areas into lawlessness as desperate residents await rescue or even just food and water.

5 Comments:

Blogger don dzikowski said...

The slow federal response is one issue that merits further study.
Here's another involving troubling allegations that I hope someone in authority has the gall to demand an investigation. See: www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_09/007023.php
What role did the Bush Administration play in causing the destruction of New Orleans through (a) dramatically cutting Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests (b) diminishing the power of FEMA through meshing the organization into the Department of Homeland Security (c´╝ëreversing an earlier policy protecting wetlands along the Louisiana coast in 2003 to allow rampart development in the area.
I have heard all the reports where some engineers question whether the FEMA funding requests and planned improvements to the levees would have done any good anyway.
Yet, there are still enough questions to warrant an investigation.
Here's a related troubling issue being downplayed in the MSM. FEMA warned of three major disasters: (a) a terrorist attack on New York City (b) a major hurricane devastating New Orleans and (c) a large-scale earthquake hitting San Francisco.
We have now seen two of the three prophecies come to pass. We have heard all the stories of the Bush Administration failing to take the Clinton administration's warnings of Al Quaeda seriously from Richard Clarke, etc. There appears to be enough evidence to suggest the Bush Administration may have adapted a similar laisse faire attitude about the DOCUMENTED warning of a catastrophic hurricane destroying New Orleans.
Under the authoritative warning of FEMA, why wasn't everything possible done to avert the disaster. It appears an exact opposite tact was taken.
A local newspaper in Louisiana wrote a series of investigative reports last year warning of the hurricane.
Where is our leadership? Who the hell is being held accountable? Will anyone be held accountable?
I also believe it should be thoroughly investigated allegations whether FEMA budget cuts, which may have helped save all or part of New Orleans, had been truly made in order to make more money available for Iraq.
Here's another issue demanding an investigation. Did Congress and the Bush Administration in throwing money at Iraq put aside adequate reserve financing to afford a catastrophy like Hurricane Katrina hitting us at home?
As the case of 9-11, the end of New Orleans will cause a major blow to the U.S. economy and cost U.S. taxpayers in an already strapped and depressed economy additional tens of billions of dollars.
Again, these questions demand answers and as the case with 9-11, a full congressional investigation is well in order. The American public demands nothing less.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Democratic Underground:

Just PR for Bush, what else is he going to say?
He's our promise you anything, deliver whatever he feels like President

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Democratic Underground:

Not surprising: everything is timing here: Rove's modus operandi:
put the chess pieces on the board, and time matters. Yes, of course now is a good time to agree w/ mayor. No other strategy> THINK PEOPLE: What's inside Rove's head?

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Democratic Underground:

That's because they can pin the lack of national guard directly
on the Governor. Ms. Blanco did screw up...governors order the amount of guard...not the feds or the pres. The people in the street when interviewed were screaming about the mayor, who incidentally fled town and the governor. Blanco initially blamed the situation on soldiers already in Iraq...but there are many more national guard available...she also could have asked neigboring states for their national guard assistance. By Sunday most of the human tragedy will have been moved to other states. Believe me...I don't think Bush will bear the blame..he will certainly pass it on as much as possible.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bush administration needs to take full responsibility for this latest gaffe.

This president seems to take more vacations than anyone I know.

10:50 PM  

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