Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

New Orleans Speaks: We Have Been Abandoned


from the Information Clearing House
"news you won't find on CNN"

"But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government."
(U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La. - Source)



Survivors From New Orleans Speak Out About Week of Horror

"As residents continue to be evacuated from the city, thousands were brought to the airport which was serving as a giant triage center. Inside the terminal building, the scope of the disaster revealed itself in grim detail."

"George Bush doesn't care about black people" remark by Grammy Award producer-turned-rapper Kanya West.


Audio interview with Ray Nagin
Mayor of New Orleans
The mayor recounts the story as it is, tells what he has told President Bush and what he really needs to make things around (recorded last Thursday night).

Malik Rahim
Organizer of Public Housing Tenants
"We got our test run last year. But we still got caught with our pants down"


"Too little, too late"
Watch, listen, understand.

John Hamilton and Sharif Abdel Kouddos
DemocracyNow TV Producers


They report from Baton Rouge about their experience while in New Orleans.

Here is the video.

Thanks to for making this video available (40 mins. total coverage - includes multiple clips).

(video requires Real Player video)

Information Clearinghouse -
Reference: DemocracyNow [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2005-09-21 21:06:53

Alessandro Azzurro

To the previous commenter: I do think that the response was insufficient and not appropriate (and I do think it is related to the low social status of the majority of the New Orleans population), but I also do think that this "Democracy Clearinghouse" does not seek democracy at all. It's a mere anti-Bush and anti-Republican propaganda engine (and be sure, I am not a big fan of the American President). I do not know how such a mode of thinking has penetrated into the masses' mind - to associate being in favor of democracy with being a savage leftist - but I know that such organizations help to reinforce this phenomenon. Also pay attention who runs it.

2005-09-13 16:05:57
JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

Jack Kelly: No shame
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 (, 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.

I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:

More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.

The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.

Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.

Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:

"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.

Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can't be on the scene immediately.

Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.

And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.

Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.

The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, September 6 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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