The above picture, as Duckman noted below, and Kos noted late yesterday, was taken of Bush after 10:00 AM yesterday morning in California, which would have been hours after word got out that the levee had broken in New Orleans. Another levee gave way last night. After this picture was taken, the White House decided it was time for the president to shorten his vacation and come back to Crawford to “monitor” the Katrina crisis. Yet Bush isn’t visiting New Orleans and the region until Friday.
The wingers and their sycophants in the MSM will knock back any attempt to “politicize” this tragedy, by attacking anyone who starts asking questions about the monies redirected by the Bush Administration and GOP congress away from the already-planned shoring up of these levees, whether or not the federal government acted quickly enough to issue an evacuation order when it became clear Katrina was heading towards New Orleans, and whether the federal response through FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been quick enough to date. I note that just this morning FEMA has announced that ice, water, and food is being trucked down to the area, an area that is inaccessible by road, and that the massive effort with the Pentagon is now swinging into action late Tuesday night, but I also ask the following:
-As Mary herself noted over at Pacific Views this morning, it was FEMA on Bush's watch (hello August 6, 2001 PDB) that identified the New Orleans levees as one of the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing the country. Yet the White House and the GOP congress have actually moved monies away from fixing the problem since they have been in power.
-If the President declared Louisiana a disaster area back on Monday, why was this major effort only kicking off late Tuesday, especially since the streets of New Orleans went underwater Tuesday morning?
-Why four years after 9/11 and billions of dollars for DHS, are FEMA and state/local officials unable to communicate on radios because of different equipment and frequencies?
-If the deployments to Iraq aren’t hurting Louisiana’s ability to respond with National Guard forces, why did the state have to ask other states yesterday for help with backfilling specialists, rescue equipment and police forces?
-Why weren’t sufficient Blackhawk copters provided yesterday to simultaneously work on the levee breach work and ferry victims to safety? How many of our bases in the country still have copters sitting at them now?
-What exactly are FEMA and DHS doing at this minute to arrange for emergency housing? It seems like that this burden is falling onto the shoulders of the Red Cross.
-What exactly are FEMA and DHS doing at this minute to patch the levees and arrange for emergency pumping to come in behind the pumps that failed last night?
-Aside from trucking food, water, and ice by road down to the area, what exactly are FEMA and DHS doing at this time to arrange for more helicopter rescue and evacuation capability in the area?
These are the questions I have, besides the ones that we will dig into over the coming days about the funds diverted from levee repair and emergency preparedness work over the last three years by the Bush Administration towards Iraq, Halliburton, and the associated graft and corruption there.