Column: Misplaced blame

By John Bambenek

As Hurricane Katrina starting bearing down on New Orleans and the Gulf coast, the Left’s blame game began. They were almost giddy with excitement at the prospect of dead Americans that they can blame on President Bush. You could see the Left going through the usual talking points about what was to blame. “It’s Kyoto!” “It’s the environment!” “It’s Iraq!” “It’s the Bush tax cut!” These wild claims were disproved by the alternative media – like my blog – as fast as they came out.

Even the campus commies got in on blaming Bush. “I wonder if this is part of a national strategy, to allow (and help along either directly or through negligence) horrible things to happen to the main anti-Bush areas?” C. G. Estabrook of the University’s sociology department wrote in an e-mail. At a University meeting Tuesday, history Professor Mark Leff was brought out to talk about the disaster, but he apparently doesn’t even know what FEMA stands for. Louisiana wrote their disaster plans knowing they had to evacuate if a strong level three hurricane was coming. They simply didn’t follow their own plan.

Like gibbering yard apes, the Left went fishing in the sewage-infested floodwaters to throw human corpses at the Bush administration. Then it became apparent that a crisis had developed. Almost 100,000 people were trapped in New Orleans without food or water. The rescue operations were halted because of armed pirates boatjacking rescuers. The Left began to blame FEMA and Bush for the response.

Louisiana’s emergency plan called for a complete evacuation upon the risk of a strong category three hurricane. They waited 36 hours after a declared state of emergency to order an evacuation. Bush had to personally call the Governor to beg for a mandatory evacuation, and they still waited 12 more hours.

At the Mayor Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool (no pun intended), there were 255 buses parked neatly in rows, according to The Associated Press, and about 500 buses city-wide that were left to be flooded out. The disaster plan called specifically for the use of those buses. One trip using those buses filled to “regulatory” capacity could have taken about 30,000 people. With the 36 extra hours they would have had if they ordered the evacuation earlier, they could have gotten 120,000 people out. Instead, they left those people in New Orleans with no plan whatsoever about bringing in supplies after the roads and causeway were destroyed. Even if they didn’t use the buses before Katrina struck, they could’ve taken them to higher ground and used them after Katrina had passed. Mayor Nagin, a black Democrat, let the buses get destroyed instead.

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FEMA is set up to assist states and cities with disaster response, not to do it for them. When Sept. 11 hit New York, Rudy Giuliani was in charge, not FEMA. There’s a reason why people bought NYPD and FDNY hats after Sept. 11 and not FEMA hats. After the hurricane hit, New Orleans Mayor Nagin indicated things were under control, and when they fell apart, he started to blame Bush. Two-thirds of the New Orleans police abandoned their jobs, according to a CNN interview with General Blum of the National Guard. As a reward, New Orleans is sending the police on taxpayer-funded trips to Las Vegas while bodies are still lying in the streets. After meeting on Air Force One, Gov. Blanco, a Democrat, wouldn’t authorize the federal response plan – she needed 24 hours to think about it. Meanwhile, more people died.

President Bush perhaps should have called a special session of Congress to demote Louisiana to federal territory status, thereby relieving the inept Democrats in charge – that would be a fair criticism.

The plan was to get everyone out of New Orleans and the Democrat mayor left those people to die instead of using the hundreds of buses he had. The hurricane hit Mississippi too. Hear much press about that? No. That’s because those local officials did their jobs and saved lives, while the locals in New Orleans were whining to the press and blaming everyone but themselves while their people died. Mayor Nagin and Gov. Blanco have no one to blame but themselves.

John Bambenek is a graduate student and a University employee. His column appears every Friday. He can be reached at [email protected].