Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Passing the Buck...
- It looks at Federal cover-up claims that the breaching of the levees was never anticipated. "officials have warned for years that a Category 4 [hurricane] could cause the levees to fail."
- "... two news articles falsely reported that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco had failed to declare a state of emergency, which had supposedly hampered the federal response..." (She declared a state of emergency on August 26)
- "Gingrich falsely claimed that Nagin could "have kept water pumped out" of city had he ensured that pumps worked."( The New York Times also noted that "[e]fforts to add backup power generators to keep [the pumps] all running during blackouts have been delayed by a lack of federal money.")
We also read that
- Michael Brown, in a Sept. 2 broadcast of NBC's Today, claimed "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day" whereas NBC News photojournalist Tony Zumbado reported on MSNBC Live "...I can't put it into words the amount of destruction that is in this city and how these people are coping. They are just left behind. There is nothing offered to them. No water, no ice, no C-rations, nothing....They just want food and support. And what I saw there I've never seen in this country. ..."
In fact, many people, far from going to the Superdome voluntarily were, according to the Associated Press, Aug. 31 "herded" there :
- "After several hours, a small fleet of rented moving trucks showed up to take the people to the downtown convention center ...... Police herded people up metal ramps like cattle into the unrefrigerated boxes."
It considers the Federal Government's attempts to deflect blame onto state and local officials in Louisiana :
The history of Katrina and the drowning of New Orleans is already being rewritten. The UK foot and mouth disaster, while it resulted in unnecessary and distressing slaughter, did not cause the loss of human life - except the suicides (and the number 60 has been quoted) of those who were in despair - but there are similarities.
When the authorities chose not to heed warnings, to disregard and criticise local expertise, and subsequently threw their weight about with arrogance, cruelty, ignorance and complacency, the cover-up that followed was almost wholly successful - to the extent that in April 2004, the Government voted to congratulate itself on "eradicating a major outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in seven months and on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Royal Society Inquiries so that Government is better prepared to tackle a future outbreak of a major livestock disease"
.. Words fail.
This is not a frivolous analogy. A government that puts central power and its own importance before proper, ethical, informed and common sense planning is a disgrace to the name of democracy. One that takes an unwilling country into a miserably futile and filthy war, in spite of the many informed voices of warning, is criminally wrong. Faced with a catastrophe, it then tries to shift the blame away and stridently to proclaim its "triumph" - safe in the knowledge that there is no viable opposition left to hustle it into a straitjacket and consign it, as it deserves, to the padded cells.