Monday, December 05, 2005

"Tnx" For Nothing

Shortly after the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, accusations began to fly as to who dropped the ball. Was it the Feds who neglected to recognize the danger, or was it the local officials who failed to properly convey their needs? The White House defended itself by saying that it did not know how bad the situation was (apparently they don't have access to CNN at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), and that no one from Louisiana had formally requested federal aid.


Well, as part of the investigation into what went wrong, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's office has turned over thousands of pages of documents to Congress. Included among them was one she sent to Bush the day BEFORE Katrina hit:

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance will be necessary,"

Three days after the storm hit, Blanco again wrote the White House to ask that the 256th Louisiana National Guard Brigade be sent home from Iraq. She also asked for more generators, medicine, and health care workers.

Five days after that a Bush aid emailed the Blanco's office to say they had not received the letter. They were, however, aware of the request:

"We found it on the governor's Web site but we need 'an original,' for our staff secretary to formally process the requests she is making. We are on the job but appreciate your help with a technical request. Tnx!"

So there you have it: While thousands of people were still trapped on their roofs, or dying in their attics, or reduced to savagery at the Superdome, or pushing dead bodies out of the way as they waded through chest-high floodwaters, or baking for days straight on highway overpasses with no shelter; and while the world was marveling at images coming out of the world's most powerful nation that looked like scenes from some poverty-stricken third world country, there were bureaucrats arguing about fucking paperwork.

And people wonder why I'm in favor of capital punishment.

0 thoughtful ramblings: