Like everyone else in America, I seem to be spending a lot of time reading news stories about Katrina. Foxnews.com has the best coverage; they were on top of it from the get go; CNN.com gave it minimal coverage at first.
Now, the political aspects have been made apparent. My initial gut response was, what the hell were the local planners, leaders, etc. doing over the past few years to develop a plan to deal with this hurricane. They've been predicting it and fearing it for several years. They breathe a sigh of relief after the passing of every hurricane season. It was just a matter of time.
Friends and colleagues I've expressed this to have responded with "but what could they have done?" the levee broke. How could they have reinforced the levees. Who could have done anything? So maybe my question isn't what was the city doing to prevent the flooding and damage, but what was the city doing to plan for a mandatory evacuation? And now it has been brought to my attention that the city had a plan and did not execute the plan. The plan was to use every available bus (school, municipal, etc.) to gather those who could not leave the city due to lack of money and/or transportation. Why didn't the city follow the plan?
I have heard complaints that the U.S. Government didn't respond fast enough and that Bush's response was rather light, lacking the sense of urgency and somber attitude the rest of the country was feeling about this horrible event. I do believe that he fumbled on that one but in all honesty, I've stopped having expectations of Bush. I've heard the arguments and I think that the Federal Government needs to improve it's response to emergencies of this magnitude; it's just that we don't have them that often.
I am going to have to say that Louisiana dropped the ball, big time here. And I believe, strongly, that the Federal Government needs to hold both the Mayor's and the Governor's feet to the fire on it. The buses were not deployed.
I understand that the administration's political enemies are going to want to hold the Bush administration responsible for how bad this got but what I am really hoping is that they also realize that the Lousiana government officials are the ones that were responsible for evacuating the city prior to the storm's arrival, that they had a plan in place and that they did not execute the plan. If their reasoning is that they did not have a place to take the refugees, then my question is why not? Louisiana always knew this was coming, why didn't they plan it through, and if they planned it through, why didn't they execute the plan?