Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Thank You Cox And Forkum

  • Cox And Forkum
  • Thank you Cox and Forkum for shedding a little more light on the disgracing behavior of Louisiana Governor Blanco. And, as always, having a wonderful, well done drawing to bring that story to life. From a CNN interview between reporter Soledad O'Brien and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (via Little Green Footballs): S. O'BRIEN: You're telling me the president [Bush] told you the governor [Blanco] said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?

    NAGIN: Yes. S. O'BRIEN: Regarding what? Bringing troops in? NAGIN: Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the -- I was abdicating a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places. S. O'BRIEN: And the governor said no. NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn't happen, and more people died.

    More people died. Politicians in Louisiana were running for their lives (literally and politically) looking for someone to blame, or at least hoping the cup would pass from their hands. The most obvious choice for blame (as always it seems) would be President Bush. But, the polls are roundly disputing that thought. How sad that the finger pointing and indecision now continues with Blanco still erratic in her thought process, and still not communicating with Mayor Nagin. The two continually contradict each other's statements, even as late as late as today by not agreeing on forced evacuations of those who returned to their homes.

    Could this disaster have been prevented for those thousands in New Orleans if Bush had told Blanco to sit down, shut up, and listen to the big boys? Maybe. Maybe not. Blame can be found at the Fed level for a slow reaction, but not for initial inaction as many want to say. If you prefer, you can view the government as a tangible thing. Imagine a lumbering and sloth-like beast. Even on its best days, the beast is slow to react. It is inevitable there will be delays with massive amounts of bureaucratic red tape. Because of that, there's a very good reason the chain of command for disasters is like an upside down pyramid: Local at the point, Area, State, Region, and finally National (ie: the Federal Government). Local government should understand the populous it serves, and be prepared for, or at least have a standing plan for emergencies it may face. Unfortunately in this situation whatever plans they had were swept aside or delayed while local and state officials decided to wing it. Lack of communication on the smallest scale can be attributed to the local and state level. Failure to have a sane and safe evacuation plan, and failure to follow what plans they did have, led to thousands of lives lost.

    It is a tragedy like this that should wake all local governments out of their stupor so we never see this happen again.


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