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September 8, 2005 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Three days after Katrina hit, on September 1st, Red Cross national president Marsha Evans 'first made the request to undertake the operation' ... 'to enter New Orleans with relief supplies', but the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness 'rebuffed' the request. As events unfolded, 'the Red Cross never launched its relief effort in the city' -- as reported by CNN. Fox News (transcription) broke this story with a slightly different perspective. Somewhere in between, I am sure, lies the truth.
posted by mischief (38 comments total)

 
Wading through a page full of sentances like "These people will have not have their own vehicles" while being distracted by ribbons, flags, and librul-media paranoia makes my head hurt. Can you sum up Fox's "perspective" in a dozen words, thanks.
posted by Jimbob at 9:10 PM on September 8, 2005


Fox News, Major Garrett: The Red Cross was ready. I got off the phone with one of their officials. They had a vanguard, Brit, of trucks with water, food, hygiene equipment, all sorts of things ready to go where? To the Superdome and convention center. Why weren't they there? The Louisiana Department of Homeland Security told them they could not go.

Brit Hume: This is isn't the Louisiana branch of the federal Homeland Security? This is --

Garrett: The state's own agency devoted to the state's homeland security. They told them you cannot go there. Why? The Red Cross tells me that state agency in Louisiana said, look, we do not want to create a magnet for more people to come to the Superdome or convention center, we want to get them out. So at the same time local officials were screaming where is the food, where is the water? The Red Cross was standing by ready, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said you can't go.
posted by mischief at 9:10 PM on September 8, 2005


Somewhere in between? When did CNN become an over-zealous, non-factual far-left spin machine?
posted by nonmerci at 9:12 PM on September 8, 2005


Jimbob: Sorry to hear about your ADD. The preceding should assist you.
posted by mischief at 9:12 PM on September 8, 2005


Major Garrett doesn't quote any specific sources.
posted by raysmj at 9:16 PM on September 8, 2005


Major Garrett FEMA does not have jurisdictional control over any state's National Guard, only the governor does. The governor in this case, Kathleen Blanco, A Democrat, did use the Louisiana National Guard for some purposes, did not deploy them in . . .


He can be justifiably ignored
posted by raysmj at 9:18 PM on September 8, 2005


Oooh, keeping the Red Cross out doesn't look good at all in retrospect, now does it?
posted by fenriq at 9:20 PM on September 8, 2005


Thanks mischief, I actually understand the premise now that you've filtered out the crap.

Seriously, what the hell kind of interview technique do they use on Fox? The shocking english in the raw word-for-word transcript makes it clear that every question and answer was rapid-fire - no time to think about grammar, let alone content, at that speed. Makes you wonder.
posted by Jimbob at 9:20 PM on September 8, 2005


Actually, the first link is partially an account of a joint press conference of an official of the Louisiana chapter of the Red Cross and a Louisiana Homeland Security official. Where's the gigantic controversy here?
posted by raysmj at 9:28 PM on September 8, 2005


Learn to spell 'seamless', reprobates.

That's all I have to say.
posted by snarfodox at 9:42 PM on September 8, 2005


"Somewhere in between, I am sure, lies the truth."

You know, of all the means available for determining "the truth", this has got to be the stupidest.
posted by pnh at 9:51 PM on September 8, 2005


The truth is that the Dems in charge of Louisiana - state and local - screwed up. Before and after the disaster. The media machine of the left (aka CNN/NY Times) are willfully covering their arses.

Glad I could help clear things up.
posted by dsquid at 9:56 PM on September 8, 2005


This was definitely a "starve them out" situation, no way around it. Shameful.
posted by lorrer at 10:10 PM on September 8, 2005


raysmj, i think the controversy lies in people in the superdome and at the convention center going for far too long without water, food, and medical care, and that this now appears to have been ordered by LHS (i've seen both the national guard and FEMA blamed for it before). today even scott mclellan admitted it, probably because it can now be safely laid at the feet of state officials (but we won't play the blame game, no).
posted by piranha at 10:17 PM on September 8, 2005


that first link goes against everything i've heard...the national guard was bringing in food and supplies two days after the storm?? to where?
posted by centrs at 10:18 PM on September 8, 2005


The truth is that the Dems in charge of Louisiana - state and local - screwed up. Before and after the disaster. The media machine of the left (aka CNN/NY Times) are willfully covering their arses.

Doesn't that mind control chip chafe at all?
posted by JHarris at 10:19 PM on September 8, 2005


Ignoring Fox News for a moment, if the CNN article is the best spin that the Blanco administration could manufacture, they're fucked.
posted by mischief at 10:20 PM on September 8, 2005


piranha: Again, this was a joint press conference. The two sides don't sound pissed at each other, at all. Who says, "I'm mad at this motherf*****r. I think I'll hold a joint press conference with him to let people know what's up." The delay was one of 24 hours, apparently, but supplies were said to be in transit already. And the men agreed there were logistical problems.

The article gives the impression at first that the Red Cross was "rebuffed" but goes on to say, "'To set up a feeding station to feed a large number of people, you need space. You need to escort the personnel into position. ... And we asked Mr. Howell, and he concurred, to wait 24 hours to go to set that in,' Mayeaux said." With the head of the Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross apparently sitting right beside him.

Asking and getting agreement does not suggest a snub, but some sort of cooperation.
posted by raysmj at 10:26 PM on September 8, 2005


Since when is CNN a media outlet of the left, dsquid? Are you out of your fucking mind, or do you just consider moderate conservatism "the left"?
posted by nonmerci at 10:57 PM on September 8, 2005


"Mayeaux said that state officials did "push" supplies into the distribution pipeline before requests were made and did not wait for local officials to request them."

I'm confused how did this explain the 5+ day delay in Fed Action??

That explains 24 hrs of delay from local not the *day delay in some cases by Feds, again shifting a national crisis ALL on the state? come on guys... LA don't run FEMA nor DHS, the feds do, they run the military and other states resources in a disaster. The State Didn't wait days (A WEEK) to move..

This is like saying, "Sure I ran over the old lady, but YOU jaywalked just before that, BAD YOU!"

I don't care if LA and NO panicked, AT least they ACTED!

As the general said, "DO Something, even if you do the wrong thing do SOMETHING!"
posted by Elim at 11:01 PM on September 8, 2005


*day = 8 day sorry
posted by Elim at 11:02 PM on September 8, 2005


The Red Cross was standing by ready, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said you can't go.

One thing to point out: the National Guard, when it brings food, also brings some number of troops, presumably.

Red Cross: no troops.

Starving folks out of the Superdome is a lame frickin' idea. But being afraid of food riots is not so lame. So which is being done? Do we just let our partisanship decide?

While it is quite obvious that Hume thinks that this is supposed to be the thing to prove the federal government absolved of any blame, it's also worth pointing out the sad fact: the Red Cross arrived with relief before FEMA or the National Guard. Methinks that is the story here.

The media machine of the left (aka CNN/NY Times) are willfully covering their arses.

Man, that is one of the silliest things I have seen uttered on a non-Freeper/LGF site. Was that meant as a joke?
posted by teece at 11:10 PM on September 8, 2005


raysmj, oh, sorry, i misunderstood what you were asking. yeah, the red cross doesn't officially appear angry at the LHS at all, but then the american red cross isn't exactly known for calling a spade a spade; they tend to make nice, a little too nicey-nice for my taste. but then i don't have to play politics with a myriad of political agencies; it's easy for me to get impatient with red tape.
posted by piranha at 11:43 PM on September 8, 2005


I'm confused how did this explain the 5+ day delay in Fed Action??

i'm confused too. i keep hearing that the Feds were also not allowed in by the Governor.

is there a clarifying article somewhere that explains what the hell happened and who the hell was in charge and who the f dropped the ball?

seems to me that once the Governor declared a state of emergency the Feds should have been allowed to come in to help. True?

all i keep hearing is rules against the National Guard working as police. i dont care about the enforcement. what was up with the National Guard HELPING people?

do you need permission to get people water or get them off a roof?
posted by tsarfan at 12:32 AM on September 9, 2005


The truth is that the Dems in charge of Louisiana - state and local - [and the Repubs in charge of the US - federal] screwed up.

There is more than enough blame to go around, and anyone who doesn't realize this is either a liar, a shill, or a fool.
posted by moonbiter at 1:10 AM on September 9, 2005


Can't they be a lying shill?
posted by pompomtom at 1:28 AM on September 9, 2005


You know, of all the means available for determining "the truth", this has got to be the stupidest.

Wow, when I first read the post I was thinking "Patrick would kick your ass if he heard you say that." Prompt service!
posted by Justinian at 1:37 AM on September 9, 2005


Can't they be a lying shill?

They could, in fact, be a foolish lying shill.
posted by moonbiter at 1:41 AM on September 9, 2005


the american red cross isn't exactly known for calling a spade a spade; they tend to make nice, a little too nicey-nice for my taste

You are aware that the American National Red Cross is a federally chartered non-profit, no? They're practically a government agency, except they're not. They are certainly not an activist organization.

In fact, civilian relief is only the third of their listed missions. The first is taking care of the wounded in war zones.

Think of them as a USO with bandages.

is there a clarifying article somewhere that explains what the hell happened and who the hell was in charge and who the f dropped the ball?

Not yet, Tony, although it's pretty clear that many balls were dropped. But try this one for the operational command issues. There was also this one, which I found for the AskMe thread.

seems to me that once the Governor declared a state of emergency the Feds should have been allowed to come in to help. True?

By law, they had every responsibility and authority to do so.

all i keep hearing is rules against the National Guard working as police. i dont care about the enforcement. what was up with the National Guard HELPING people?

Actually, it's active-duty military who can't work as police. The National Guard can do law enforcement as long as they remain a state militia; federalization takes away that power, unless the President declares martial law. Active-duty Navy, Army, and Marine personnel have been assisting with rescues, and it was only this week that the 82nd Airborne got into town with the role of providing perimeter security at selected facilities. They still have to defer to the LANG or NOLA police for arrest authority.

Just as the Red Cross isn't complaining about the situation, the LANG and active-duty general Honoré seem to have gotten along like -- well, like fellow soldiers. They're not gonna talk smack about each other at a time like this, anyway. It's clear that some of the Louisiana Homeland Security policies were cued or directed by US Homeland Security. There was probably much more behind-the-scenes cooperation than it looked like, given the paltry response. It simply seems like the entire operation, start to finish, was treated as a foray into a war zone. The military doesn't put people on the ground in combat unless they can be supported, so the idea of sending in an advance team to begin the relief as soon as possible just runs counter to their training. No, they're gonna wait until they have every truck ready and every soldier locked and loaded.

I'm not sure how much of that is potential racism (Fear of a Black Planet style) or just hidebound proceduralism. Either way, it killed people.
posted by dhartung at 2:45 AM on September 9, 2005


'It simply seems like the entire operation, start to finish, was treated as a foray into a war zone"

my take too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:17 AM on September 9, 2005


Tell me what you find in between the words:
As New Orleans descended into chaos last week and Louisiana's governor asked for 40,000 soldiers, President Bush's senior advisers debated whether the president should speed the arrival of active-duty troops by seizing control of the hurricane relief mission from the governor.

For reasons of practicality and politics, officials at the Justice Department and the Pentagon, and then at the White House, decided not to urge Mr. Bush to take command of the effort. Instead, the Washington officials decided to rely on the growing number of National Guard personnel flowing into Louisiana, who were under Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's control.

(later down article:)

The issue of federalizing the response was one of a number of legal issues considered in a flurry of meetings at the Justice Department, the White House and other agencies, administration officials said. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales urged Justice lawyers to interpret the federal law creatively to assist local authorities. For example, federal prosecutors prepared to expand their enforcement of some criminal statutes like anti-carjacking laws that can be prosecuted by either state or federal authorities.

On the issue of whether the military could be deployed without the invitation of state officials, the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit within the Justice Department that provides legal advice to federal agencies, concluded that the federal government did possess authority to move in even over the objection of local officials.

Th[e Insurrection Act] was last invoked in 1992 for the Los Angeles riots, but at the request of Gov. Pete Wilson of California, and has not been invoked over a governor's objections since the civil rights era - and before that, to the time of the Civil War, according to administration officials. Bush administration, Pentagon and senior military officials warned that such an extreme measure would have serious legal and political implications.
I mean, it's not like New Orleans was on a feeding tube or anything.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:43 AM on September 9, 2005


Maybe it's just me, but all of this spin from Washington to Louisiana and back again is really missing the point. I don't care who fucked up. It started at the top and worked its way down. That's a given.
But consider this. How safe do any of you feel now, knowing what you know about the fuck ups at FEMA, the screwballs at State, the pal-ly boys that the POTUS and his cronies put in place all up and down the chain of command?
What happens when terrorists actually try something big and bad on another American city? How ready are we? Duh, not very.
Do you really feel safe? Now that you've seen this complete clusterfuck in NOLA?
If Bush doesn't get the ultimate blame, how will this ever change?
posted by mooncrow at 7:26 AM on September 9, 2005


The truth is that the Dems in charge of Louisiana - state and local - [and the Repubs in charge of the US - federal] screwed up.

There is more than enough blame to go around, and anyone who doesn't realize this is either a liar, a shill, or a fool.

Right. But when someone is being blamed for something not their fault, and the story for that is transparent bullshit, it is in not lying, shilling, or foolish to point out that certain elements in the White House are lying, constantly and without remorse, about what happened in NOLA.

America is NOT well served by just buying into the bullshit you hear without thinking. And right now, I'm hearing an unbelievable amount of bullshit flooding out of Washington. So what many seem to be construing as a way to avoid blaming local Democrats, I see as an effort to stem the tide of the bullshit deluge from Washington.
posted by teece at 9:22 AM on September 9, 2005


"It started at the top and worked its way down. That's a given."

No, that's not a given, only one possibility, a highly likely possibility but by no means proven. The left's faith in this mantra is as misguided as the right's faith in the opposite.
posted by mischief at 9:30 AM on September 9, 2005


No, that's not a given, only one possibility, a highly likely possibility but by no means proven.

Depends on what you mean by 'proven.' It's a pretty solid statement already. There is a lot of evidence for massive, unmitigated fuck ups on the part of FEMA and DHS. Bush is their boss, he's ultimately responsible for that.
posted by teece at 10:26 AM on September 9, 2005


There is also "a lot of evidence for massive, unmitigated fuck ups on the part of" the city and parishes of New Orleans.

The thing about 'top-down' versus 'bottom-up', the compromise is somewhere in the middle.

As for FEMA, how many, do you think, of them there desk-jockeys know how to drive a truck? Or even stick?
posted by mischief at 10:40 AM on September 9, 2005


Actually, the old-line FEMA guys probably know how to drive stick and fly a helicopter in a 170mph headwind. Maybe. (Truthfully, FEMA has been through prior periods of massive bureaucratic incompetence, which nevertheless got them through their primary job of handing out rebuilding money. It was Andrew '92 when this became intolerable.) It's the cap of the pyramid that's become top-heavy with horse lawyers, the type of person who thinks it's responsible pecuniary management to take a highly trained hazmat first responder and use him to distribute literature. I have no doubt whatsoever that the allocation of resources was mismanaged at the highest level, and that within their spheres of assigned responsibility, most of FEMA actually responded close to the best of their ability, even if some of what they were directed to do made little sense (block water, fuel, and communications?). I eagerly await the testimony on such actions.
posted by dhartung at 11:49 AM on September 9, 2005


There is also "a lot of evidence for massive, unmitigated fuck ups on the part of" the city and parishes of New Orleans.

Every time I hear some one say this, it's just words. When they do point out the supposed, monumental fuck-ups of the locals, what you find are understandable errors and minor mistakes, that were drastically magnified by an unimaginably bad federal response. Usually coupled with a healthy dose of outright lies and misdirection fed from the White House PR machine. (Blanco never declared a state of emergency, FEMA was powerless to act, no one anticipated this, all people should have been evacuated, etc. : all fucking bullshit).

So I'm still waiting for any of this mythical evidence that compromise is somewhere in the middle. What we have is run-of-the-mill human nature at the local level (ie, the usual human inability to fully take seriously a small possibility of terrible calamity), and criminal dereliction of duty at the federal level, making local errors seem horrible catastrophic in hindsight. Gee, if the locals didn't have a federal response in mind, then they would be really negligent. As it turns out, in this reality we actually occupy, there was an expected federal response.

So I'm having a hard time believing that your actually being un-biased in trying to find the middle. As it turns out, in reality, there is no guarantee that "everybody fucked up" is the answer. Indeed, that's just a crafty way of holding no one responsible. In America, when you hear someone say that many must share the blame for a political error, what it actually translates as is this: the side I favor (or at least hate least) in the political battle fucked up; let's make sure it doesn't really hurt them.
posted by teece at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2005


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