My question is why wait?
Does discussing the failings that have occurred in any way delay the rescue efforts? Does it delay reconstruction? Does it prevent anyone doing their part to help out?
No, not in any way.
The Blog, It Affects You, considers this question. They look at past history and see what happens when you don't ask hard questions and just rally around in blind support, and they come to this conclusion:
So to any Conservative hacks out there who want me to stop "politicizing the hurricane,"I understand what you really mean is you want me to stop trying to prevent Bush and his cohorts from politicizing the hurricane. But it' not going to happen. Bush isn't going to be getting a free ride this time.
They are right, by not questioning the failures that have occurred, we are infact excusing them, and allowing them to be perceived as successful when the reality appears to be just the opposite.
So lets look at the Mess that New Orleans has become. We have to start in the past to get the bigger picture. Why did the city flood in the first place, and did me take the proper steps to prevent this.
It was well known that the hurricane defense in the city was built up to only protect from a category 3 or weaker storm. Since 2000 the efforts to build up this protection have been under-funded.
Since 2001, the Army Corps has requested $496 million for that project but the Bush administration only budgeted $166 million,
Another project designed to shore up defenses along Lake Pontchartrain was similarly underfunded, as the administration budgeted $22 million of the $99 million requested by the Corps between 2001 and 2005.
Of course, under funding of important projects is a normal state of affairs in all governmental business. What is tragic here is why these projects were under funded.
2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The [Army Corps of Engineeers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security; coming at the same time as federal tax cut; was the reason for the strain.
SO, these projects were not finished because Bush wanted to make sure Paris Hilton got millions in tax cuts and he could fight his illegal war.
Of course, the war in Iraq has added to the suffering in New Orleans in a manner that, while expected, is still tragic. Those who in normal times would be the first to respond in such a disaster, are stuck over 7,000 miles from home.
7,000 soldiers from the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard are stationed in Iraq. They include more than 3,000 members of the 256th Brigade Combat Team, a unit Some based in and around New Orleans.
Those soldiers, who represent 40% of Mississippi's and 35% ofLouisiana's regular Guard strength, were forced to watch helplessly from their barracks in Iraq the past few days as the hurricane swept through their neighborhoods and threatened their families.
Quite simply, the two states hardest hit by this storm were handicapped from the start by not having enough Guard units and military equipment like trucks, Humvees and helicopters on the ground to handle the crisis.
So, how is the Bush administration responding? With spin, and as Outside the Tent says, with a Carnival of Lies. This detachment from reality is best summed up by the current situation at the convention center. First our director of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, who when presented evidence of a body of people needing help, first refused to accept the news, and then we see the director of FEMA who was totally unaware that the convention center was a hurricane shelter with thousands in dire shape.
This is a fiasco, that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds if not more, that some are still refusing to admit they played a part in creating. There are a number of other questions that will have to be answered, and I hope people will look at.
How did the Police Department fall apart so quickly?
Why were so many of the poor not offered viable evacuation options prior to the storms arrivial?
Why did it take 3 days to get food and water to the collection points in the city?
These are the one that came to mind first, but I know that these will be followed by hundreds more. As noted in NSNBC, this is a Colossal Failure of Leadership. The Mayor has had it with the failures of those tasked to give support ( a audio file of the mayor can be found here) , members of the media have had it with those who have failed to provide support. Maybe now the support that should have been in place Wednesday will arrive by Saturday.