Washington Post - New Orleans Mayor Faces Tough Questions

"NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 9 -- Mayor C. Ray Nagin created many new friends and probably as many enemies for his decision to pointedly chastise both Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) and the Bush administration for talking too much and working too little. Now, however, difficult questions are being directed at the mayor.

In the Army we had a saying, "There is no such thing as a 'born leader'". In a previous post I speculated that the MSM was afraid to go after Mayor Nagin's incompetance before and during and even after Katrina, more or less because of 'PC' reasons. The fact is that up to now Nagin was getting a pass for incompetance that far outweighed anyone else up the food chain.

And for no other reason except that it is deemed unpopular to crticize a black Mayor of a predominately black populace after an incredible disaster.

Yet questions are coming. Today from the Washington Post, comes an article that is asking some hard questions of Nagin.

"Should there have been a better plan to evacuate those without cars? Was his police force up to the task? Why weren't there supplies for the legions of people directed to the Superdome? Why were all those city buses left in low-lying areas? Why did so many of his officers leave their posts as the city descended into a chaos that left many residents afraid that either thugs or the elements would kill them?

On conservative talk radio, especially, Nagin has been characterized as an irrational and incompetent local official who lost control of his city, his police force and, ultimately, his senses when he publicly dressed down the president. Even some of his underlings think the critics may be right.

"He should have evacuated the place earlier," said one city firefighter, echoing a mostly whispered sentiment here as the collection of dead bodies begins in earnest. The firefighter asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

.."Determining what could have been done better, and what mistakes were made, will take months and perhaps years. Bush is among those vowing to do some accounting. In one recent interview, the mayor said that everyone, including him, shares the blame for the untold numbers of dead lying under the fetid waters that now cover 60 percent of the city. Pressed on the criticisms, Nagin shot back at a news conference this week: "To those who would criticize, where the hell were you?" he said. "Where the hell were you?"

His officials said they did everything they could. Joseph R. Matthews, the city's director of emergency operations, said the city went on alert the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 26, even though a full evacuation was not ordered until Sunday. It became clear then that New Orleans would not be spared at least some of Katrina's wrath when the storm came ashore on Monday. The Superdome was opened as a shelter of last resort, though it was quickly overwhelmed and those who sought refuge there did not have food and water.

"Nothing prepared us for this," he said. "It was just too much."


In the Army we had a saying, "There is no such thing as a 'born leader'". Real leaders take the heat - they don't shift the blame, not when the crap hits in the fan on THEIR terroritory. New Orleans was Nagin's town, his reponsibility and to this date he hasn't claimed that his actions have been anything but stellar. That's a lack of leadership.

One of the mistakes the Bush Administration let happen was to allow the MSM and the Liberal Left to define this incident from the get go. Subequently the questions that need to be asked of Nagin and Governor Blanco may or may not get asked, although this article is encouraging, it doesn't go deep enough - but it's a start. Let's hope others have the guts to follow up.

UPDATE: More at Captain's Quarters and Strata-Sphere.

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