Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why October's News Is Still Important

I suppose it would have been naive to believe that Marty Bahamonde's testimony put an end to the Katrina "Blame Game." We can probably expect more efforts by the administration and its backers to blame almost everything on the state and city, at least until the Katrina Committee issues its report. Today's online edition of Commentary may have given us a glimpse of what's to come:

In fairness, one has to grant that Bush did poorly in the first test of symbolic leadership: the need to appear before the public quickly and decisively and reassuringly. But none of the other accusations was deserved, and in sum they amount to one of the most breathtaking bum raps in memory

Whatever else you may say about them, you certainly have to admit that those writers over at Commentary sure are fair. Being the fair person that he is, the author (a former Tulane professor) goes on to add:

If villains are to be sought, then, they have to be sought among officials like Kathleen Blanco, the hapless Louisiana governor who was late in ordering an evacuation, late in requesting federal troops, and late in getting the Louisiana National Guard onto the street, who declined to permit President Bush to federalize rescue and relief efforts, and whose own Louisiana Department of Homeland Security inexplicably barred the Red Cross from bringing water, food, and health supplies to the stricken New Orleanians camped out on bridge overpasses and in the two megashelters. Or Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, who also waited too long to evacuate and failed to implement the city's own evacuation plan—which, as officials knew, was the only real defense the city had against catastrophic storms—allowing hundreds of municipal school buses under his direct control to sit idly in a parking lot.

I think that excerpt should explain why my next few posts may seem devoted to old news. Before going over why each point is either false or exaggerated, I suppose it would only be fair to write the editors of Commentary and ask them a few simple questions. "Did the author (Dr. Wilfred McClay) check to see when the forecast path for the hurricane shifted to include New Orleans?" and "Did he then stop to consider how long it would have taken to evacuate more than 100,000 people by bus?" are only two that come to mind.

In all fairness, I should point out that Dr. McClay also wrote that:

Bush, for his part, seems determined to thwart this by doing whatever it takes, and spending whatever it takes, to maintain a huge federal role in the post-Katrina reconstruction

This can only lead me to believe that the piece was written at some time before today's publication date, so perhaps the professor has had time to rethink his position.

However, I don't believe it's the least bit unfair to point out that on Sept. 5th (when the blame was all attached to the Bush administration) Dr. McClay seemed to think that it was childish to seek to blame anyone at all.

This is a great find. It's the sort of thing that has been said almost from day one. First, it's always an ad hominem argrument, and second, it always ends up blaming the victim. Anything to keep the responsibility off of Bush's faltering shoulders.
Yikes. I think I overdid my response to the professor. But he made me mad!
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