The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed
Sunday, September 11, 2005
It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.
Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476).
"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert
in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.
But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.
Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The
federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002.
But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area
the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are
covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.
So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
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