I agree that there was a definite racist element to the Bush administration's lack of or slow response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
But there is mounting evidence that the Republicans deliberately did what they did to punish Democratic Party leaders in Louisiana. To score political points against Democrats in an attempt to get more Republicans elected.
For instance, on the day that New Orleans flooded, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D-LA) said last year that the FEMA command center in Baton Rouge was inundated with phone calls by people responding to the right-wing smear campaign launched against her (and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, also a Democrat). This flood of calls into the command center, she said, made it difficult to call out and coordinate rescue efforts. Remember the fallacious claim (rumor, smear) that Governor Blanco didn't ask the federal government (Bush administration, DHS, FEMA) for federal emergency disaster help before Katrina hit? Official documents posted on the White House website proved that she had, and besides, what was a FEMA disaster coordinator doing at a FEMA command center in Baton Rouge if she hadn't requested federal disaster assistance before Katrina hit?
But, you see, this was a White House-coordinated (Karl Rove?) smear campaign against Louisiana Democrats. And the last thing a "smearer" would want to do during a smear campaign would be to help, in anyway, the person (or group) they were smearing, right?
So, the FEMA disaster coordinator was reported to have said in the presence of a reporter the day New Orleans flooded that he felt frustrated, because his efforts to rush rescue personnel and equipment into New Orleans was being thwarted, with personnel and equipment either being stopped or redirected elsewhere.
Then, earlier this year, there was the report that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during Katrina ordered the standing down of US Navy search-and-rescue helicopter units in Pensacola Florida, even as pilots and crew reportedly wanted to go help in New Orleans, a short distance west along the Gulf Coast. Combine this information with David S. Cloud's NY Times articles the weekend after Katrina's landfall and the flooding of New Orleans, and one gets the idea that the Bush administration's non-response to people dying in New Orleans was deliberate. Mr. Cloud reported that two US military helicopter pilots were reprimanded on their return to their Pensacola airbase following a resupply mission to a base near New Orleans. Once they dropped off their supplies they responded to a distress call from New Orleans and rescued over a hundred people stranded on rooftops, or elsewhere, in New Orleans.
But what struck me in Mr. Cloud's articles was a paragraph reporting what these pilots saw as they passed along the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast, heading westward from Pensacola to near New Orleans. They saw a flurry of federal and state rescue activity on the ground and in the air while passing over Alabama and Mississippi, but once they crossed over into Louisiana and into the New Orleans area, practically nothing on the ground or in the air was happening. Why?
Oh! Alabama and Mississippi had Republican governors, while Louisiana had a Democratic governor, whom the Bush White House was actively trying to smear, casting her as incompetent. This is what happened in Louisiana and New Orleans. This is why all those residents of New Orleans were left to die. This was premeditated murder on the part of the Bush administration and Karl "Politics All The Time" Rove. Katrina was bad enough, but the Bush administration compounded the tragedy by deliberately withholding officially requested federal emergency disaster assistance from New Orleans and Louisiana during those first critical days. Hell isn't deep enough for these Republicans.
Aug 27 2009 - 10:05pm