Everything I know is wrong.
It’s amazing. This weekend I was hanging out with a seemingly enlightened number of characters (of which I considered my self to be a part), and we, collectively, came to the conclusion that something went wrong and it was the government. The mayor was praised for his emotional appeal to the public. The levees were plugged too late. Nobody noticed anything. The federal government was condemned. etc.
However. That was yesterday. Today I had dinner with parents, who kept a watch (albeit not too close, but still) over what has been happening and either I am easily influenced or… well, judge for yourself. Here is some information I found out:
– the state of emergency was established 2 days before the disaster. Hospitals, the elderly, etc. were NOT evacuated. O’Reilley (Fox) was one of the organizations that ended up engaging in saving these people
– the mayor and the governor did not coordinate their actions
– during the evacuations the people were told to use their own means of transport (no public transport for a city?!?)
– during the evacuation the flow of traffic was not adjusted (i.e. highway had bumper-to-bumper traffic in one direction and FREE LANES in the other)
– the request for troops did not come in until Wednesday (by Friday they were fully deployed – kudos to the military?)
– rescue operations had to be suspended when military and rescue units came under fire from the local population
– with the superdome, people were told to bring their own means of sustenance, no support/safety/etc. was provided on the spot.
– once the superdome was cleared, there were bodies of people stabbed and raped
This is just for starters. Now whose responsibility is all this? What broke down? Everything. Though, while before I thought that the fault was primarily with the federal government, now I feel that it was the local and the state governments that failed. After all, who is responsible for implementing the plans for evacuation? The local government, then the state, then Federal if, pardon me, the shit really, and I mean REALLY hits the fan.
What makes me angry:
– claims that Iraq had something to do with it. Federal government should be the last resort and such a claim should be substantiated (although I can’t prove otherwise at the moment)
– claims of racial discrimination on part of the Federal government
– claims that Bush = evil once again
Right now I do not feel like I know enough to choose a position and stick by it. However, I feel that I’ve been armed with questions that must be answered once any claim is made. The primary question is:
“What did the local government do wrong?”
And the second question is:
“Why didn’t the Federal government just go into the state?” Though the second is easier answered than the first. They go in, the state screams “this is illegal” the Federal government gets blamed for all the things that go wrong because they are more poorly prepared from the informational point of view [than the local government] to handle such an operation. Then, the local government gets off, the federal gets the blame, but people live. As for now, the Federal government reacted late, people died, the local government is pointing its fingers at everyone but itself, and we, the compassionate populace is eating this shit up in spoonfuls.