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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Plenty of blame to go around

From Steve Kelley.
Last night I saw the little clip from Meet the Press on the Daily Show, showing Tim Russert asking Nagin about the hundreds of school buses that remained in New Orleans to get flooded:
RUSSERT: And we've all see this photograph of these submerged school buses. Why did you not declare, order, a mandatory evacuation on Friday, when the president declared an emergency, and have utilized those buses to get people out?

MAYOR NAGIN: You know, Tim, that's one of the things that will be debated.
Nagin goes on:
There has never been a catastrophe in the history of New Orleans like this. There has never been any Category 5 storm of this magnitude that has hit New Orleans directly. We did the things that we thought were best based upon the information that we had. Sure, here was lots of buses out there. But guess what? You can't find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that. So sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren't available.
The whole interview reeks of lame excuses like that. Russert had plenty of ammunition, and Nagin's responses were all lame. I'll bet we'll find out that plenty of bus drivers were available, but they weren't asked--or offered double time wages. Five hundred buses could have evacuated nearly 25,000 people in a single trip, and possibly come back for more. They could have ridden out the storm far away, and then headed back in loaded with food and water. Maybe FEMA would have blocked them, although that would have made the current PR disaster for the administration seem mild in comparison.

The Bushies didn't come close to doing a good job of protecting the people of this country, but neither did Nagin do a good job of protecting the people of his city. Play the blame game--they're all to blame.