Saturday, September 17, 2005

Jack Kelly admits errors, offers supuku

In this article last Sunday, Jack Kelly wrote that "The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed." He said,
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

So they (MSM journalists) libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
Today, Mr. Kelly gives out some grades on the Katrina response:
A's - for the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, the military, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the other private charitable groups that actually provide the help. I would also include the mayor of Houston, the governor of Texas, and the people of that great state and the American people, who have donated more than $700 million to help out their distressed neighbors.

I (incomplete) - FEMA, because we just don't know enough yet about the extent to which FEMA coordination aided, or impeded, or was irrelevant to the activities of the organizations mentioned above.

FEMA's role in disaster relief largely has been misrepresented in the media. FEMA has Urban Search and Rescue Teams and Disaster Assistance Medical Teams, many of which were pre-deployed to the region and went into action within hours of the hurricane abating.

But FEMA's primary role is to coordinate the activities of the local, state, and federal agencies and private charitable groups that provide the relief supplies and the bulk of the manpower.

There have been reports of FEMA bureaucrats impeding the provision of aid to distressed communities. A thorough investigation should be made of these complaints.

But pending that investigation, we should bear in mind that the tempers and time horizons of people in distressed areas are short; that they are in a poor position to see a larger picture (needs may be greater and more urgent elsewhere); and that some complainers have powerful reasons for directing anger away from themselves.

F (I am assuming, here) - Local and State of Louisiana officials - FEMA has been lambasted most for the plight of people who sought shelter in the Louisiana Superdome. But this was a local, not a federal, failure.

There would have been fewer people to care for in the Superdome had the city utilized its municipal and school buses to evacuate people who had no cars.

I have no objection to the use of the Superdome as a place of refuge, but it is hard to understand why local authorities made inadequate provision for food or water, or adequate security or for porta-johns.

Officials of both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army said they tried to bring provisions to the Superdome, but were turned away by Louisiana authorities. This has received little attention from the news media, perhaps because it would be hard to pin the blame for that decision on President Bush.
Now Mr. Kelly comes to us to beg forgiveness - aha! - for grievous errors on his part that will no doubt contribute to a no-Super Bowl season for the New Orleans Saints:
I wrote "The levee broke Tuesday morning," referring to the 17th Street Levee, which was what was being reported at the time I wrote the column. In fact, the break occurred mid-morning Monday. And the Industrial Canal was breached on Monday morning as well.

I took the figure 2,000 for the buses available to Mayor Ray Nagin from a column written by another journalist without checking it myself. The actual figure is closer to 600.

Finally, I knew Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, but inexplicably wrote 2002. I regret the errors.
Supuku! With a dull paring knife!

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