Who IS to blame for New Orleans' Shame?
While listening to a local AM radio talk show, while on my way home from work today, I followed with interest an interview with Bob Williams about his article on the "blame game" over Katrina and the resulting debacle in New Orleans. I found that Williams made some excellent points, so have decided to speak to that suddenly ubiquitous subject. Ron Smith, with whom I often debate via my cell phone (while fighting the insidious Baltimore afternoon rush-hour), hosted Mr. Williams on WBAL radio and has posted his article Blame Amid the Tragedy on his website.
For what it's worth, this is my admittedly amateurish (and early) take on the situation: President Bush is GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY of one thing....he could not read the future! If he could have, then he might have invoked the INSURRECTION ACT as soon as Governor Blanco turned down his help on FRIDAY and asked for 24 hours to make a decision. As many of you know, this would be the only way for the president to override the POSSE COMITATUS ACT.
In other words, the federal government may not legally comandeer a state or city without extreme circumstances or the express invitation of the state or local government. This, in the face of a media sigh of ill-deserved relief on Saturday and Sunday. By the way, it is rumored that Bush did just that on Saturday morning - we will know shortly. Read Barbara Stock's excellent article for more on this.
FEMA is not a first responder, but could have been better organized. The Governor and Mayor were both COMPLETELY without the skill or gravitas to handle this situation - but both were more than willing to engage in the blaming of others.