Now that Nacho's chimed in, those of us who avoid talk radio and Fox "News" like the plague, can find out how this disaster is being 'spun' by the neocons.
Now that Jennifer has 'chimed' in with her own propaganda, let's lay some of the facts out on the table:
Here is an abbreviated timeline of the events this past week, mainly extracted from headlines in Drudge's archives.
August 27 - 28 (Saturday and Sunday) - Katrina approaches New Orleans. People are ordered to evacuate. The Super dome is designated as a shelter for those who cannot leave.
August 29 (Monday)- "NEW ORLEANS SPARED BRUNT OF STORM SURGE; PUMPS DOWN... *" Headlines tell a story of a near miss, and that New Orleans has been spared. Despite considerable destruction, a last minute veer to the east by Katrina is credited for saving New Orleans.
August 30 (Tuesday) The real extent of the damage begins to unfold as the flooded streets of New Orleans seem to get worse. Looting begins, and it is either ignored or abetted by the police. Breaks in the levee system are reported. Later in the day the mayor announces that 80% of the city is flooded. Pumping systems are down and electricity is off. Bush returns to DC to monitor conditions and efforts. Attempts are made to block the growing holes in the levees with 3000-pound sandbags in the evening. Initial reports of a few dead, climb to 100s. A suicide is reported at the superdome.
August 31 - (Wednesday) The real extent of the disaster begins to become apparent. The event is repeatedly called catastrophic in the press. Widespread looting and violence are reported. Evacuations are ordered for all of the shelters, including the Superdome. The Houston Astrodome agrees to accept 25,000 evacuees. Navy ships and maritime rescue teams are ordered to the area. A health emergecy is declared. Estimates of the dead are now in the thousands. Efforts to block levees appear to be futile. The evacuees may not be able to return for months. Bush flies over area and vows to rebuild New Orleans.
September 1 - (Thursday) Gunfire halts the ongoing evauation of the Superdome. Reports of shots aimed at fleeing residents and resuers are also reported. Criticism of Bush and the administration's response already begins. Troops are ordered to New Orleans to stop looting and restore order. Reports of violence in the Superdome are released. A medical convoy is targeted by gunmen. Congress reconvenes and Bush asks for $10 billion in initial relief aid. Many private relief efforts around the country are organized. Clinton and Bush Sr. are aksed to help raise funds. Evacuees from New Orleans begin to arrive at Astrodome. It quickly fills.
September 2 - (Friday) Evacuees originally destined for Astrodome are told to continue on to Dallas because the Astrodome is full. New Orleans mayor, continues his weeklong criticism of everyone from the Army Corps of Engineers to FEMA to the White House. Large caravans of relief arrive in the form of thousands of national guardsmen with food and water, along with emergency vehicles.
Consider the timeline and a few additional facts:
The tragedy in the Southeast is more catastrophic by far than anything FEMA , or any other aid agency for that matter, has had to handle in the United States.
Thousands, beyond those who could not leave, ignored warnings and refused to evacuate the city before the storm.
The governor of Louisana and the mayor of New Orleans appear not to have had a coherent plan for any of the eventualities.
A number of the "unfortunates" in the city looted stores, armed themselves and terrorized neighbors and rescuers, and slowed evauation and the distribution of aid.
The city's infrasturcture was heavily damaged, making rescue and support much more difficult.
Given all of those considerations, please explain to me how anything could have been done any faster or more effectively. I understand the impatience of those who have been suffering, and a little anger on their part is understandable. Also, how are doctors, nurses and rescue workers supposed to help people out when they feel like thier lives are being threated by roving gangs of thugs? The biggest failure occurred at the Local and then State level who should have had a 'worst case' scenario planned out way in advance. The mayor of New Orleans has been an absolute disgrace blaming just about everyone else but himself. Instead, he did nothing, even in the initial stages of looting when the city could have cracked down on the criminals and maintained control. (Maintaining control is always easier than trying to regain it after it has been totally lost.) And when their failure became evident, they started pointing the finger at the very people, (the Feds,) who insisted on the mandatory evacuation they failed to institute, (what part of "mandatory" didn't they understand as they issued the orders?,) as they let hundreds, if not thousands, of city and school busses sit in parking lots. Next in blame comes the State government, which controls the national guard and it's assets, including all it's vehicles, (both ground and air,) supplies, (such as military rations and water filtration equipment,) and if blame has to be passed farther on, then would come the Federal government, though they've done an admirable job given the conditions of the region. For all of you with hearts breaking about the folks who aren't getting help, have you considered that there are millions of other people all over the region that also need help and rescue? 100,000 square miles have been devestated by this storm.
For those with hearts breaking about the horrid living conditions, why was it impossible for the refugees in the Superdome and Convention Center to take the initiative and help keep the place livable in the first place? Why are these thousands of people unable to clean the bathrooms, pick up garbage, and yes, even move the dead out of the way until they can be removed by authorities? Suffering is inevitable in a disaster of this magnitude, but it was exacerbated severely by people who were unwilling prior to the storm to properly prepare for it, and unwilling after to do a damned thing for themselves afterwards as they wallowed in self pity and waited for others to take care of them. If you're looking for someone to blame for just how desperate their condition has become in just five days, look squarely at the people themselves.
I'm also noticing that the people volunteering to help these folks are coming from OUTSIDE the area. Seems a little odd when there are tens of thousands of able bodies right there that aren't doing much more than sitting around and waiting to begin with. Apparently, the label "victim" carries with it some disabling side effect that makes doing anything for anyone else an impossibility so that people need to come in from hundreds of miles away to shovel food onto a plate in a chow line. Of course I understand that there are many that really do need our help such as the elderly or dire poor, but I see more than plenty that look like they could be helping out with whatever needs to be done.