September 04, 2005

Chertoff: Katrina scenario didn't exist (UPDATE - More blame to go around)

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff tried to defend his department's initial response to the disaster in New Orleans by saying that a scenario like that presented by Hurricane Katrina didn't exist on government drawing boards.

"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," Chertoff said.

He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

He's full of used food.

Hell, I've known about a potential disaster in the making with New Orleans for years -- anyone who watches The Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel or even The Weather Channel has known about that potential. All three networks, along with programs like PBS' Nova have shown the possibility of a catastrophe like this happening in New Orleans.

Not only that, but Chertoff's Department of Homeland Security has been charged with preparing for disaster; what if this had been a nuclear or chemical attack from Al Qaeda?

As far as I'm concerned, this was Chertoff's first test as Homeland Security chief. He failed. Miserably.

The bad guys could not have orchestrated this any better.

They now know that the United States is not prepared for another massive terrorist attack on this nation.

Chertoff really ought to start looking for another job.

UPDATE: Chertoff clearly is not the only person who dropped the ball. FEMA Director Michael Brown admitted that he was not more proactive as early as last Sunday, referring to Katrina as a garden-variety hurricane when the National Weather Service talked about "water shortages (that) will make human suffering incredible by modern standards." Michelle Malkin agrees and has further details.

And before you think that only the feds are at fault, let's look at New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

The National Hurricane Center's forecast track pointed toward New Orleans as early as 11P ET Friday the 26th. Nagin was informed, but did nothing. Local residents who escaped were shocked by the fact that Nagin and other Louisiana officials weren't on television or radio sooner.

The director of the National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield, telephoned Nagin at home Saturday night, imploring him to get people out of New Orleans. The New Orleans disaster plan points toward the use of school buses and other municipally owned vehicles to get people out of Orleans Parish. Those vehicles are underwater today, thanks to Nagin's incompetence.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was asked by the Bush Administration to declare a state of emergency and to help evacuate people early on Sunday. Blanco likewise did not do so.

Yet Blanco and Nagin have joined the chorus of finger-pointing.

There is plenty of blame to go around. But one side cannot claim to be blameless, as officials on both sides are trying to do today.

Posted by mhking at September 4, 2005 09:06 AM | TrackBack

We have seen how the governments respond and how people respond.

We have a good idea of how to prepare. For example, "many" NOLA police have been reported to quit and walk off the job. I've always assumed that many, if not most, 1st responders would quit once they realize it's really a bad situation.

Posted by: DarkStar at September 4, 2005 09:40 AM

Sure looks like this scenario was on the drawing board last summer:

Posted by: david at September 4, 2005 05:04 PM

Certainly sounds like a pre-911 mindset to me

Posted by: Russell Tupper at September 4, 2005 11:23 PM

It is the mayor's fault. NO one wants to say it and the media covers for him becaue he is black and not a republican. There is a yard of school busses in his city that he should have used to get people out of that city. why didnt he do it. rudy and jeb were both mayors who were leaders in a time of crisis. the no mayor was eating dinner on the night of the storm and bush had to call him and the woman gov to declare mandatory evaucation. but he is black and shes a woman so its not their fault. the gov commands her national guard. not bush. i didnt vote for him but he is not to blame for everything.

Posted by: shari at September 5, 2005 02:59 AM
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