Forget the Rovian spin-attempts to swift-boat the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans. Maybe Karl, too, was vacationing so hard he failed to note that TV viewers and blogtopians heard their pleas for help in real-time, and heard their frustration at not receiving any aid.
Number one: Bush.
There were nine million MREs all ready to be delivered by thousands of troops to New Orleans--delivery was held up by Bush himself. Bush failed to authorize NorthCom, the Northern Command located in Colorado, to act at once.
Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly, as interviewed on the BBC last night, stated that their emergency planning for the hurricane began well before Katrina hit. NorthCom rightly anticipated that there would be a major disaster, and had millions of meals-ready-to-eat available and thousands of troops ready to deliver help to survivors. He had ships such as the USS Bataan following the storm into the port, ready to act at once to provide medical care and with the capability of delivering 100,000 gallons of water per day.
When asked by the BBC interviewer why there had been such a long delay in receiving and distributing aid to survivors, Lt. Cmdr. Kelly said that NorthCom was unable to act on its own, without authorization from the President.
Bush failed to authorize the military to go in in a timely fashion.Northcom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready when it hit Florida, because, as you remember, it hit the bottom part of Florida, and then we were planning once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast.That lack of authorization is what held up emergency intervention.
"So, what we did, we activated what we call 'defense coordinating officers' to work with the states to say, 'OK, what do you think you will need?' And we set up staging bases that could be started.
"We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately. So, we had things ready.
"The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion; we have to wait for the president to give us permission."
Number two: feckless FEMA.
Headed by noted Arabian horse-fancier Michael Brown, handpicked by Bush, Bush's charming FEMA, instead of helping aid to reach victims, actually prevented aid from coming in, and sent other aid back.
Wal-Mart sent aid--food and water-- and FEMA stopped it, saying it wasn't needed.
Oh, gee. Can you say "criminal negligence"?
Others sent diesel fuel, FEMA stopped it, and sent it back.
FEMA cut lines of emergency communication with Jefferson Parish. The Sheriff had to repair the lines FEMA cut, and had to send armed guards to keep FEMA from cutting them again.
Trucks bringing in water? FEMA made them wait for two days, while people died from dehydration.
And it happened again and again: check out the video at crooks and liars of Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, in a heart-rending, shocking speech that deserves watching and re-watching and passing on: "Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us."
It's all on Bubble Boy.
How many deaths were there due to the long delay? Tens, hundreds? How many are still happening? The USS Bataan remains in the New Orleans harbor, still able to provide water, food, and medical care for victims. As of this writing, it still hasn't received orders to do so.
I'd call this a high crime. How about you?