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Comments by YACCS
Monday, September 05, 2005

No leadership

No, you do it

A failure of command from top to bottom

Washington, too, was slow to react to the crisis. The Pentagon, under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was reluctant for the military to take a lead role in disaster relief, a job traditionally performed by FEMA and by the National Guard, which is commanded by state governors. President Bush could have "federalized" the National Guard in an instant. That's what his father, President George H.W. Bush, did after the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Back then, the Justice Department sent Robert Mueller, a jut-jawed ex-Marine (who is now FBI director), to take charge, showing, in effect, that the cavalry had arrived. FEMA's current head, Michael Brown, has appeared over his head and even a little clueless in news interviews. He is far from the sort of take-charge presence New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani conveyed after 9/11.

Up to now, the Bush administration has not hesitated to sweep aside the opinions of lawyers on such matters as prisoners' rights. But after Katrina, a strange paralysis set in. For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge, according to three White House officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Beginning early in the week, Justice Department lawyers presented arguments for federalizing the Guard, but Defense Department lawyers fretted about untrained 19-year-olds trying to enforce local laws, according to a senior law-enforcement official who requested anonymity citing the delicate nature of the discussions.

While Washington debated, the situation in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast deteriorated. Bush traveled to the region in part to work out a deal with local officials to establish a clearer chain of command. By the weekend, federal officials said there could be tens of thousands of troops in New Orleans in short order. Saturday, Bush pledged to return to the region on Monday—and to deploy 7,000 additional active-duty troops under the Pentagon's control. But for many, the help was arriving too late. Officials worked through the weekend trying to hammer out the jurisdictional issues


The skies in New Orleans gradually filled with search-and-rescue helicopters, but there was no central command to coordinate them. A NEWSWEEK reporter on a helo flown by the Arizona Air Reserve heard this conversation as the crew readied to leave New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport after dropping off two evacuees. FIRST CREWMAN: "F---, is he hearing us?" (referring to the air-traffic controller). LIEUTENANT: "I don't know, we should just take off." ENGINEER: "We just got back from Afghanistan. Organization's a lot better there."

Overwhelmed local officials struggled to bring order to chaos. The cloverleaf where Interstate 10 meets the causeway in Jefferson Parish became a kind of crude sorting place. As helicopters landed, disgorging hundreds of dazed and often filthy refugees, Dr. Joel Eldridge, the medical director for Louisiana, set up a makeshift hospital and medical triage. On Thursday, he wearily lamented that he had medicines—but not water or toilets. "It is difficult to see a child ask you for water and you don't have anything to give him," said Eldridge

a Kos diary lists the aid awaiting the US, if someone accepts it

The Feds are STILL refusing assistance!!!!!!
by Ptolemy [Subscribe]
Sun Sep 4th, 2005 at 21:34:13 PDT

NGOs are still being held at the borders of NOLA and other affected areas. Refugees are often being bused directly past these staging zones to the processing centers in TX.

Physicians are going by the thousands to the Gulf of Mexico, but they are being turned away in many cases or told to wait at the periphery.

And International Aid? The inmates are still running the State Department.

CNN is reporting that the White House and the State Dept. refuse to say whether they've refused or accepted most of the aid pledged.

International aid listed below the fold ... appreciate the enormity of the Federal callousness. And the good will of the world to Americans.

The US has only officially accepted first aid kits, blankets, water trucks and 500,000 MREs from the EU and another set of MREs from NATO. That's it. The EU and NATO want to give more, but that's all that's been taken in so far.

All help from the UN still awaits the green light from the White House. They have offered medical teams, cash grants, and tents. None of it has been accepted.

The UN has also offered to take the burden off of the US State Department and organize the aid effort, but State has refused that offer.

The OAS stands ready to offer anything we ask for. We've asked for nothing.

WHO has offered the same. Our response has been the same.

The UN Commission for Refugees ... same offer, same response.

Nigeria wants to give 1 million dollars.

China has offered 5 million, divisions of its armed forces, and physicians.

Japan has offered 200,000 dollars, tents, blankets, and power generators.

India is offering 5 million, as well as any requested medicines.

Singapore offered helicopters. The Feds said no, and TX took them. TX National Guard is deploying the helicopters directly to NOLA.

South Korea will give us whatever we ask for. We've asked for nothing.

Afghanistan wants to give us 100,000.

Sri Lanka wants to give us 25,000

Taiwan wants to give us 3 million.

Canada's Navy is still on hold. That's rescue workers and supplies just being held at bay by mild threats of being attacked if they go against the Federal level refusal.

Cuba has offered 26 tons of medicine and 1,100 physicians. He has offered to send it to NOLA. Then he offered to send it to Houston. No acceptance.

Mexico is taking the "Canada route." They have 15 truckloads of water waiting at the border, with food and medical supplies. The Mexican navy has offered to send two ships, two helicopters and 15 amphibious vehicles. All waiting. No answer. 1 million dollars as well.

Venezuela is offering as much cheap fuel as we ask for. AS MUCH AS WE NEED TO FIX THIS MESS. No answer. Chavez also wants to send relief workers with supplies.

Australia's 10 million hasn't been accepted either.

The French are offering rescue teams, civil defense forces, tents, camp beds, generators, motor pumps, water treatment units and emergency kits, two CASA cargo aircraft, a ship (Batral Francis Garnier), the frigate Ventose with its Panther helicopter, and a hurricane disaster unit. France also has offered several aircraft. In addition, the NGO Telecoms Sans Frontieres, which specializes in restoring phone lines and Internet service in disasters, is ready to send a team of experts and equipment. Veolia Environment, which has facilities in Louisiana, has offered to make its local water management resources available. Nothing. Not a one of these has been given the green light.

Germany has offered a range of assistance, including medical and transportation services, water treatment capabilities and aid in searching for victims and supplies. Germany also has said it is ready and willing to "dip into its own emergency oil reserves" to release some 2 million barrels a day for 30 days. Someone try to convince me that Bush isn't trying to drive up the price of oil.

Italy has offered to send aid and evacuation specialists immediately, Italy's civil protection unit said. Authorities have prepared two military transport planes to fly amphibious vessels, pumps, generators, tents and personnel to New Orleans, Louisiana, and other areas. They were awaiting word from U.S. officials, the unit said.

The Netherlands will provide teams for inspecting dikes and for identifying victims if there is a formal request from the United States. It also will send a frigate from Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles to New Orleans shortly to provide emergency assistance, the Dutch government said.

Russia has offered to help with rescue efforts but is awaiting a reply from Washington.

Spain expects to receive a formal request to release gasoline stocks to the United States and is prepared to grant it, an Industry Ministry spokesman said.

Sweden's Rescue Authority said it was on standby to supply water purifying equipment, health care supplies and emergency shelters if needed.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said his country stands ready to help the United States in whatever way it can.

Qatar has offered the United States $100 million to assist in the humanitarian crisis triggered by Hurricane Katrina.

Saudi Refining, a Houston-based subsidiary of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, will donate $5 million to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for hurricane victims.

Iran has offered to send humanitarian aid to hurricane victims.

posted by Steve @ 1:49:00 AM

1:49:00 AM

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