Kevin Drum - Drums on with FEMA's Failures


Kevin Drum, has taken it on himself to list the FEMA failures in Hurrican Katrina.

He writes...

"Among our conservative friends, there still appears to be a considerable amount of denial over the question of whether (and how) FEMA failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In fact, many Bush administration apologists seem not to even understand FEMA's role, suggesting that the bulk of the failures belong at the state and local levels."

Well, this is quite a statement. Yet aside from the MSM and pundits insistance, the fact is that the bulk of the screw ups DID occur at the local level and the State level on a scale hitherto unheard of anywhere in this Country's history. That is simply without dispute.

Yet that doesn't mean I think that FEMA did "perfect work", but it was a hell of a lot better than than people are being told.

Here is a another one. I submit, and I think on good grounds, that if the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisianna were Republican, and the President a Democrat, Brown would have been given a medal.

But I digress for now. Before I start, I'm a conservative with a working knowledge of FEMA, Emergency Management and I've lived in Florida for fourty-years. Again, I am not going to entirely let them "off the hook", but if we are going to keep score, the City and State are running away wiht the game at this point.

Moving along.... For now I'm going to only address the one's I know are outright wrong, or should be corrected. Therefore, I'm just lumping some of the one's I can address all together.

(KD)"The agency dispatched only 7 of its 28 urban search and rescue teams to the area before the storm hit and sent no workers at all into New Orleans until after the hurricane passed on Monday, Aug. 29."

This is true but misleading. New Orleans wasn't the only "target' on the board. Let's not forget Mississippi and Alabama (just in case you haven't heard they got it worse) were also affected, in fact Biloxi is no more.

(KD) "Rather than initiate relief efforts — buses, food, troops, diesel fuel, rescue boats — the agency waited for specific requests from state and local officials."

Well, that's what the State Plan calls for. The reason you have a disaster plan is just in case you have a disaster you follow the plan. Why is that so damn hard for liberals and the MSM to figure out? The Governor was so confused and incompetent she thought "Send everything" covered it. It doesn't work that way and she knows it.

Also, that help was not there at the Dome isn't true. As this story tells us of FEMA teams INSIDE the Dome "Hesch -- one of 35 people in a self-contained, federally funded team from New Mexico -- arrived in New Orleans at 3 a.m. Aug. 30 with 20 tons of supplies. Without a wink of sleep, the group set up treatment tents in the Louisiana Superdome, which was packed with tens of thousands of refugees".

Amazing that despite being contacted by this emergency agency as well as others involved, many MSM news outlets have refused to report it. Why? Simply because it blows the "no one was there" story out of the water.

(KD) "Hundreds of firefighters, who responded to a nationwide call for help in the disaster, were held by the federal agency in Atlanta for days of training on community relations and sexual harassment before being sent on to the devastated area."

Hey, blame those years of liberal PC rantings that produced 'emotional legislation'. Those classes are the standard classes Clinton signed off on "During those wonderful FEMA years of Whitt"! Had to attend a bunch of them myself. Actually, I believe it's a HIPAA requirement - again, Clinton era.

(KD) "FEMA would not let the trucks unload," Mr. Vines said in an interview. "The drivers were stuck for several days on the side of the road about 10 miles from Camp Beauregard. FEMA said we had to have a 'tasker number.' What in the world is a tasker number? I have no idea. It's just paperwork, and it's ridiculous."

What about those Red Cross and Salvation Army relief workers (in mass) but denied access to sick, hungry and dying individuals by State of Louisianna officials?

Again, a story the MSM will not report even though the Red Cross and Salvation Army have verified it.

(KD)"Despite pre-positioning of some manpower and supplies, FEMA had failed to provide sufficient emergency aircraft, boats and vehicles to get residents out of New Orleans and to deliver enough food, water and medical supplies to those who were stranded."

And the Buses? The Trains? Wouldn't have needed FEMA IF the Mayor had followed that "pesky plan"?

(KD)"On the day the levees failed, the FEMA chief issued a news release urging fire and emergency services departments outside the area 'not to respond' to calls for help from counties and states affected by the hurricane 'without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements.'"

(Sorry, Standard Operating Proceedure even in Florida. You can thank litigation for this one, after Andrew agencies throughout South Florida got sued left and right for their response "out of jurisdiction", thus the creation of "mutual aide".)

(KD) "Last Thursday, as the Red Cross began distributing its own debit cards, thousands stood for hours in the 93 (degree) heat outside the Astrodome in Houston for FEMA cards that never came."

Actually, thank the MSM that "Jumped the Shark" and reported the story before they should have, causing a "stampeed" for cards "Oh, so you lived in New Orleans too?"

A little bit of responsibility and restraint would have been nice. Or just using their freaking heads for something beside a "headset holder".

I'll update with a few more of Kevin's point later on as I check them out. Again, tis was a disaster, but putting the weight of the blame on the Federal Government, is simply ignorance of the role that FEMA actually plays and let's an criminally incompetent political apparatus in Louisiana off the hook. Ain't gonna happen.

More comments and links and a hat tip for the story to Tom Mcguire.

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