Hey you folks on the “right” – time for you to write your retraction. In your zeal to absolve this President, his administration, and the folks he appointed to lead the country in times of disaster from any responsibility for the massive failure to act, you made one little mistake.
You bought the administration lie that the Governor of Louisiana didn’t declare a state ofemergency in time, that somehow the whole federal government was just poised to rush in and offer assistance if that lady had just done her job right. If she had just taken up Bush on his offer of aid instead of asking for 24 hours, then the cavalry would have been right to the rescue.
It’s like you guys are battered wives, hoping the next time an “unnamed White House official” (read Karl Rove) says something to defend the President, it will be honest – even as you sit nursing the wounds of the last lie. And the lie before that, and the lie before that, and the lie before that.
Lets look at the reality of the situation, shall we?
The Governor signed the papers declaring a state of emergency on August 26th. Tell me if you can, what day did the storm hit? What day did the levees break? Was it the 26th? No. Was it an almost surety by the 26th that New Orleans and other coastal areas were going to take a huge hit from the storm. Without a doubt.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, Bush’s team was on the clock.
And they waited until five hours AFTER the storm to request that “Homeland Security” personnel be dispatched to the area – within 48 hours. Forty-eight hours (53 really) of waiting when every hour can be the difference between life and death.
Forty-eight hours to watch American citizens suffer. Forty-eight hours to watch in horror as the waters swept away civilization. Forty-eight hours to watch people die before our eyes.
Forty-eight hours after the storm to get the right people in the area, when the request by the Governor was put in three days before.
Where is the excuse? Where is the justification? What lie will they spin now to cover their incompetence?
Will they say FEMA didn’t know the area around New Orleans was at risk? Or that FEMA didn’t know the storm was heading there with a righteous fury? How about that they were waiting on, as some people have implied, the proper piece of paperwork to be filled out in triplicate and sealed with wax from the Pope himself?
Perhaps they will blame the city and the state and say they didn’t have a good plan to evacuate people. OK fine, the local and state officials deserve some blame, but they were begging for help. Begging.
They were begging for help because there was no effective way for them to evacuate the city fast enough. That’s what happens when you have a city that is filled to the brim with the poor. When you tell them to leave, where do you expect them to go? How are they supposed to get there? Did it ever occur to you that it might be hard to leave when you’re to poor to own a car? Too poor to get a hotel room? Too poor to buy food for your family?
Of course being poor won’t give the victims any leeway. It’s their fault they didn’t have a better plan. Instead of owning up to the fact that the number of people living at or below the poverty levels has gone up 17% in the last five years, and admitting that maybe, just maybe, that increase contributed to the disaster – we have people like Senator Rick Santorum blaming the victims because “they didn’t heed the warnings” and “put people at risk” and therefore perhaps should face tougher penalties.
Punishing the victims instead of the criminals, wow, how familiar does that sound from this party?
This presidency was saved by one disaster nearly four years ago. His nonexistent domestic policy was forgotten for the comfort of safety and security. Now we know how illusionary that safety and security is. To bad it took another disaster to drive that point home.