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Saturday, September 10, 2005

It's official: Federal EMA stacked with Bush political hacks

Bush Bush Bush. The Washington Post has the details:
Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
He treated the FEMA as a home for political hacks? How can someone who appointed a person as capable as Condeleeza Rice have been this stupid?

However from what I've read the FEMA situation is but a footnote to disasters inflicted on civilians by local and State officials.

Off the top of my head, here's a list of the biggest screwups:
1) The Mayor of New Orleans not implementing the preprepared evacuation plan and sending the car-less and others to the Superdome, which wasn't stocked with supplies.
2) State officials turning away the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other people from entering New Orleans because 'it might encourage people to stay".
3) Rampant local corruption and pork-barrelism wasting federal funds intended for flood control engineering programmes.
4) State Governor waiting until 2 Sept to use powers available to her under the State of Emergency.
5) Power struggles between the State Governor and FEMA officials over who controls the Louisiana response.
6) The N.O. Police losing power to their radio transmitter and thus command and control over their officers, because they didn't ensure it had a proper backup power system and hadn't trained properly with their emergency fallback system.

And probably the biggest to my mind:
8) Not building a 2nd system of levees in case the first set failed. If the potential human and economic costs are high enough, engineers who work with floodwater alleviation systems always design them with some sort of fail-safe mechanism.

Oh and don't forget to read how the present policy of forcible disarming N.O. civilians is probably illegal.

At least the 82nd Airborne is making progress.

And FEMA has a history of slow responses to major disasters. The difference this time of course is a whole city was flooded and TV crews were there to show the results live to the world.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 9/10/2005 10:02:00 pm

6 Comments:

Anonymous andrei said...

Al;
I'm a bit surprised you bought into that BS.

After all Fema handled 4 hurricanes in Florida last year.

They got stick for that - apparently they didn't watch closely enough how the money was spent.

Did Fema screw up this time? I have no idea and until the dust has settled and everybody re-examines what really occurred neither has anybody else.

CNN is doing a special on this on Sunday nite.

But just ask yourself what exactly did Fema do wrong? Everybody is saying they messed up but where and how? What should have they done that they didn't?

I Haven't heard any answers to these questions

9/10/2005 10:51:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Oh no I agree with you Andrei. But sticking a bunch of inexperienced political appointees into the job was a bad idea. FEMA may not be any worse than during the Clinton years but thats hardly a compliment. Its sort of like saying "the US military is just as underfunded now as during the Clinton years" (I'm not suggesting it, just making an example).

As I said, its but a footnote. The locals don't blame Bush or FEMA for the incompetence of their own Mayor and Governor. Though of course CNN will put a special out on it, just like TV3 has been ranting on about the Exclusive Brethren. Most of them are committed Democrat voters after all.

9/10/2005 11:03:00 pm  
Anonymous andrei said...

Al;
The story you linked is a pure hit piece.

read this post from polipundit and the comments (including mine)

Major Garrett’s Factoid On Michael Brown’s Past Performance

9/10/2005 11:50:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Andrei: I believe firmly in ability over connections. There is no way I will ever condone stacking inexperienced people in such an agency.

However I do agree with your comments on Polipundit. In a couple of years most people will consider local and state incompetence and corruption as the cause of the problems. Except for Bush haters of course.

9/11/2005 12:27:00 am  
Blogger reid said...

FWIW and peripheral to your post AL, here's an analysis of Condi, since you mentioned her. It's an interesting interpretation.

The guts start about 1/3 down, and it's the second part in a series. The first part requires a paid sub.

9/11/2005 12:44:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm stunned to read this on SirHumphs.

FEMA is one of the most important Federal Bodies, if not the most, considering that their job is to protect people and save lives, and for the President to stack it with his chums as he has is totally reprehensible. I think it speaks to his character.

9/11/2005 10:09:00 am  

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