Friday, September 02, 2005

Michael Brown shows that the federal government must take responsibility for slow relief effort

Though many right wing bloggers and posters are claiming that the governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans should have been in charge and "controlled disaster relief, FEMA head, Michael Brown takes full responsibility in this interview by Newshour.

LEHRERA:... the disaster director of New Orleans in fact called the federal effort that you are in charge of a national disgrace because it's moving so slowly, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. How do you respond to that?

MIKE BROWN: Well, I understand his frustration. You know, if I were in his shoes, I'd be very, very frustrated, too. But what the American public needs to know is that we have brought to bear the full resources of the federal government.

What we cannot do, and what we did not do immediately after the storm passed and as the levees were breaking, was to be able to bring in rescue workers and urban search-and-rescue teams and the medical teams because they themselves would have then become disaster victims.
Defending the government's efforts

Sorry, that FEMA didn't have any boats around about 50 miles from a city whose levees were known to only be able to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane and was faced with a Cat 4.

But this does put to rest the question of who was supposed to be in charge of disaster response. Michael Brown, in touting FEMA's acts, takes that mantle onto himself.

Brown also shows that the Mayor of New Orleans was without communication because cell phones towers were down.

But does he lie? Every victim at the the Superbowl talks about going days without food or water.

Michaels Brown says:

Another excerpt from NewsHour transcript
First, with regard to the evacuation of the Superdome and the convention center, we have had an ongoing supply food and water to there. They've had meals every day that they've been there. They had meals this morning.

We have five trailers moving into the Superdome this evening and to the convention center to provide both water and meals to those people, so they're getting regular amounts of food in the morning and evening in both of those places.

The second part of my answer, Jim, which, I think, again, the American people understand how fascinating and unusual this is -- is that we're seeing people that we didn't know exist that suddenly are showing up on bridges or showing up on overpasses or parts of the interstate that aren't inundated, and that now we're trying to get to them by Coast Guard helicopter to at least get them some immediate relief so we can start airlifting them out.

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