Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina recovery thoughts

The U.S. government response, from local to federal, has been weak in trying to help victims in New Orleans of Hurricane Katrina. When results are inadequate, as clearly noted by President Bush today, then the execution is inadequate – pure and simple.
Part of the problem is also clear. FEMA, the agency created during the Carter Administration, to deal with natural disasters, is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is NOT a natural fit. The same cabinet-level agency that coordinate intelligence on terrorists should not be the one to respond to hurricane.
And the proof is on TV for all to see.
No one could have picked out Michael Cherthoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, if he were standing alone. He has been THAT invisible.
And where has the dear old Vice President been? We’ve seen the President, First Lady, all appropriate senators and governors. But Dick Cheney has been strangely incognito. Again, one of the problems has been the lack of a spokesperson for this crisis. When Al Haig yelled, “I’m in charge here” during Reagan’s assassination attempt in 1981, he MEANT it (although he technically should not have been in charge). Yet, he WAS the one stepping up and out front. No one did that in Washington or on the Gulf Coast.
They should have put the Superdome evacuees on large tankers and navy ships. and moved them up the Mississippi River and through the Gulf of Mexico to Houston or wherever. How many buses are needed to move 30,000 people at 100 people per bus? A convoy of 300 buses? From where and with what fuel???? How would they get to the Dome? At least the people could have walked to the riverfront and board those large ships.
If you want to make movie analogies, it could be "28 Days" crossed with "Mad Max." No one from Hollywood could make this stuff up. But New Orleans quickly became the vision from a different movie - "Escape from New York."
And to quote Clint Eastwood from "Heartbreak Ridge," "it's been one giant cluster fuck."
Sadly, amen to that.

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