Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Haunting Response from New Orleans and LA

Fire of Liberty
Chris Regan and Bryan Preston, freelance journalists and creators of JunkYardBlog, have a long but wonderful piece over at National Review Online that provides an overview of how the local and state governments failed to react and implement a evacuation plan. The writers note that instead of getting on the ball and facing the problems head on, the city and state governments kept on saying that they had a plan on the books following Georges in 1998 and Ivan of 2004 but in reality it was a mere chimera or what Regan and Preston deem as "ghost plans." These prolific journalists and bloggers pretty much summed the whole problem when they noted:
New Orleans is a major port of entry and exit for commerce. It's sinking into a bowl and is threatened by a gulf, a lake, and a river. It needed leadership, but what New Orleans had was an old political machine, a corrupt police force, and no real disaster leadership. Since the state knew of the problems with that police force though, the Louisiana National Guard could have had a dedicated special force with a plan to secure the city after the big one. A whole team of fast boats and such could have been training for years and deployed immediately to not just rescue but to keep order. That's the governor's job to think up something creative like that, not the feds. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. And here come the ghosts.

When you're clearly vulnerable to a nuke-sized catastrophe every summer, and you fake your emergency preparation like you've got it all under control, and then you still pretend that you have things under control even after it's perfectly obvious that everything has spun out of control, then you shouldn't blame others for being angry at the negligence. Who would want to have that many dead on their watch? You have to assume they had done everything humanly possible to save lives. But Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin did not even come close. Neither did others before them. Local leaders kept pulling the disaster trigger, but got empty chambers. Blanco and Nagin were just the unlucky pair who got the bullet.
It might be blunt but someone had to make the point, let's hope the people of New Orleans and LA become aware of how the state and local government failed in securing the lives and safety of its citizens. I'd hate to be the mayor and Governor come the next election. Could Bobby Jindal make a better run as Gov. of LA? We'll see.

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