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September 01, 2005

Yer damn tootin I blame Bush for the flood

Will Bunch at Editor and Publisher: Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues

The Bush Tax Cut already had a body count. But now it's on the evening news.

(via Michael Bérubé.)

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 1, 2005 01:50 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.faultline.org/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1288

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Comments

Attempts to sidestep federal accountability for needless deaths of American citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by calling it "the blame game" and pretending it's politics as usual totally miss the point. Roughly 50 percent of Americans did not vote; however, nearly 100 percent of Americans have seen the photos and crying reporters describing the scores of dead elderly and children on the street. They are outraged, and their outrage grows daily at an administration whose only expeditious action takes place when it's for political reasons, not to save citizens' lives.

Take a look at the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan
(NRP). Then you will understand why accountability is necessary - particularly when lack of same will mean lack of preparation for a terrorist attack without warning.

The NRP, signed by President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Porter Goss, dictates the following:

"ALL PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES UNDER THE STAFFORD ACT ARE CONSIDERED INCIDENTS OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE."
(NRP, 7)


At such point a disaster or emergency is declared, according to the NRP, the federal government can and has a duty to supercede protocol when it means
preservation of life and assets: "Federal departments and agencies are EXPECTED to provide initial and/or ongoing response, when warranted, under their own authority and funding; alert, notification, pre-positioning and timely delivery of resources; proactive support for catastrophic or potentially catastrophic incidents using protocols for expedited delivery of resources. (NRP, 6)

Further:
Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources."

None of this was followed. Not a bit of it. As of Monday September 6, Mississippi mayors were calling CNN to state that they'd still received no help from FEMA because FEMA alleged paperwork wasn't turned it. Ludicrous!

Furthermore, the NRP covers responsibility for troop deployment, stating "The Secretary of Defense authorizes Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) for domestic incidents as directed by the President or when consistent with military readiness operations and appropriate under the circumstances and the law."

And authorizes immediate action: " Imminently serious conditions resulting from any civil emergency may require immediate action to save lives, prevent human suffering, or to mitigate property damage."

Finally, the NRP gives the President a fiduciary duty during said times of
crisis:"The President leads the Nation in responding efficiently and ensuring the necessary resources are applied quickly and effectively to all Incidents of
National Significance."(NRP, 15)

This is not some archaic law, or theory. This was their written and signed Plan. What exactly do people not understand about the federal government's Constitutional obligation to promote the general welfare and provide for the common defense?

Posted by: Anne at September 8, 2005 04:08 PM
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you're right, anne. the "blame game" nastiness is really sticking in my craw at the moment.

there were surely screwups on many levels. but this was declared a federal emergency before it happened. once that happens, the feds have primary responsibility. they knew about the hurricane and what it was predicted to do. they knew the levees weren't designed to stand that force. and we are in a hell of a place when the people in charge are more interested in saying they're doing great than shutting up and fixing the mess.

Posted by: Kathy A at September 8, 2005 07:43 PM
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