September 5, 2005

"Like a Dog Watching Television"

Tim Russert ripped Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff a new one on Meet the Press, and in a later segment, Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana disolved into sobs while recounting his frustration with the government and the gut-wrenching story of how the mother of one of his colleagues was left to die in a nursing home after waiting days for rescue which never came. Thanks to American Politics Journal's "Pundit Pap" (for which The Dope used to be a regular contributor) for this transcript.

Russert mentioned how Republicans were attempting to shift blame to local officials (with their usual "blame the victim" tactic) to which Broussard replied :

Sir, they were told like me. Every single day. The cavalry is coming. On the federal level. The cavalry is coming. The cavalry is coming. The cavalry is coming. I have just begun to hear the hooves of the cavalry. The cavalry is still not here yet, but I have begun to hear the hooves and were almost a week out.
Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. Trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back, said we didn't need them. This was a week go. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a coast guard vessel docked in my parish. The coast guard said come get the fuel right way. When we got there with our trucks, they got a word, FEMA says don't give you the fuel. Yesterday, yesterday, FEMA comes in and cuts all our emergency communications lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in. he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards said no one is getting near these lines.
>>> ...
The guy who runs this building I'm in - emergency management - he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said. Are you coming. Son? Is somebody coming? And he said yeah. Mama. Somebody's coming to get you.. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday. And she drowned Friday night. [Crying] And she drowned Friday night. Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For god's sakes, just shut up and send us somebody.

Even Bob Sheiffer on CBS's Face the Nation gave a blistering personal editorial on the botched response.
SCHIEFFER: Finally, a personal thought. We have come through what may have been one of the worst weeks in America's history, a week in which government at every level failed the people it was created to serve. There is no purpose for government except to improve the lives of its citizens. Yet as scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality.

As the floodwaters rose, local officials in New Orleans ordered the city evacuated. They might as well have told their citizens to fly to the moon. How do you evacuate when you don't have a car? No hint of intelligent design in any of this. This was just survival of the richest." Video-WMP
And on ABC's This Week, Sen. Mary Landreau was also unable to hold back tears as she said: "If one person criticizes them or says one more thing including the President of the US, he will be hearing from me. One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely punch him, literally." Video-WMP

These videos are hosted at Crooks & Liars. Watching them are much more powerful than reading transcripts. Crooks & Liars have been doing amazing work in chronically the coverage of this disaster. It takes a LOT of server space to host all this video, and it's not cheap. If you could, please donate a little to their site.


At 9/05/2005 5:51 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

"...Survival of the richest..."

Bob Shieffer

Well spoken Bob and so tragically, criminally true. This is, in fact, the direction George Bush is leading our Country. It's time for the voters to change the course of history quickly.


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