Originally posted by mythatsabigprobe
...I know that you're a republican and uncovering this kind of deceit must effect your faith in the current leadership on some level.
First of all, thanks for the compliment and the vote. However, I'm not a Republican. I never have been and I never will be. I approach politics as
a consumer. I do my best to look at the issues and choose who I think will do the best job, which isn't always an easy choice to make. Sometimes I
am happy with my choices and sometimes I am not.
Posting this story was not that big a deal for me. It is a clarification of the scenario that preceded the storm that devastated southeastern
Louisiana and Southern Mississippi and created one of the biggest political scandals of our time.
I really don't know anything about Michael Brown, but I have refused to use him as a sacrificial lamb the way so many here and in the media have.
I've been around a long time now and, while I can be dead wrong about some things, I just didn't get the feeling that Brown was the demon he was
being played up to be.
When I posted an article about his moving on to the private sector and said that I thought that despite his errors, which even he admits he made, I
thought that he was a decent man, I took a lot of heat. Now, we know that he did his best in the face of what he now calls "the fog of
To your next question, no, I have not lost faith in the administration. Even though in the tapes that have been released, it appears that President
Bush was "detached," other reports have confirmed that the tape that was released was the second taped update the President had that day and that
he had been in telephone communication with FEMA and other agencies throughout the day and that he was highly engaged. Michael Brown, himself,
Emergency response in such matters works from the bottom up. There is plenty of blame to go around and everybody should own up to his share. That's
the only way things get fixed.
I lived in New Orleans for 22 years, so I spent an entire night watching the coverage and the same media that was heaping blame on FEMA and Brown
later was on the tube the day after the storm reporting that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet" because the French Quarter was not under water. At
that same time, I was seeing pictures on the internet telling a completely different story. I sent off a letter to Greta Van Susteren telling her
that the story was much worse, even though at the time, I didn't know that the levees had been breached. I just saw parts of the city under about
six feet of water.
Today, it is no different in terms of accuracy of reporting. Two levees broke, the London Avenue levee and the 17th Street Canal levee, and they are
on opposite side of the city. The London Avenue levee break flooded the lower ninth ward and the 17th Street Canal levee flooded the Lakeview area.
Both were equally devastated, although more was left standing in Lakeview than in the lower ninth ward because Lakeview had many brick homes, but even
if the damage was less spectacular in Lakeview, the damage was just as devastating in terms of lost property and loss of life, yet on the news, you
wouldn't even know that there is a Lakeview neighborhood in New Orleans. You also don't hear about other neighborhoods that were heavily damaged by
flooding, such as Broadmoor, where many died in what used to be Baptist Hospital.
The news that people get and base there opinions on in terms of Katrina is highly biased for the most part, in no small measure because the reporters
don't know the city, and only those who know what they are looking at can sort it out to some degree. It is true that the media has mentioned these
other neighborhoods, but there is never a story about New Orleans and Katrina that doesn't mention the lower ninth ward and the fullness of the
disaster, especially as it relates to race, gets lost in the mix.
Furthermore, the Bush administration and FEMA had to rely on information from the media and from the local governments before they could intervene and
I think that several factors played into that fiasco. One, is that the storm devastated the infrastructure. The people on the ground in New Orleans
were not aware of the extent of the damage and did not seek emergency help soon enough. There was also poor interaction between the Governor's
office and the Mayor's office and even some bad blood, perhaps. Moreover, Katrina devastated a much, much larger area than just New Orleans as
pictures from the Mississippi Gulf coast remind us. I have heard from those who have been to the Florida parishes of Louisiana north of Lake
Ponchartrain and they report damage that no one has heard of in the media. These kinds of conditions also make for logistical difficulties.
Now, I will address the administrations treatment of Michael Brown. Obviously, I don't know the inside story, but I haven't seen any evidence that
he was scapegoated by the administration. He was not fired. He was removed from the scene of the devastation, but this was more of a response to the
firestorm of controversy. He was still directing operations from Washington, where the administration argued he was needed most.
Brown quit because of the level of outrage from the public, the media, and the Congress. In another time, the members of congress would have drawn
and quartered him or burned him at the stake in the public square. He was treated atrociously by kibitzers and he responded in the only way an
honorable man could.
Katrina was a disaster of Biblical proportions, as has been said ad nauseum, but remains the truth. All levels of government got the word out to
leave the projected path of the storm, so in that regard the government did what it was supposed to do. In the aftermath, the fiasco was a case study
in Murphy's law and the reason why so much emphasis is placed each year in the Gulf coast areas to be prepared, to stock supplies, to get the car
filled up and serviced in advance, and to be prepared to get out. Hurricane maps are as popular with the public as lottery tickets.
As a veteran, I have dealt with federal bureaucracy for several decades. I know just how slow and out of touch the system can be, but even though I
do get frustrated, I always thank God that the VA is there, instead of ruminating on its many shortcomings. In all these years, I have learned that
there are plenty of jerks in the system, but overall the agency is filled with committed professionals dedicated to providing the best care they can
and the same bureaucracy that weighs heavily upon the veterans also weighs heavily upon the service providers. In the end, we are all just humans
doing our best in the face of the system, which, while composed of humans, is somehow always less than human.
[edit on 2006/3/3 by GradyPhilpott]