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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Thursday, September 01, 2005

mike brown of FEMA on newshour

Director of FEMA, Mike Brown, is the point person. We learned that today. (For myself, I learned it about twenty minutes ago.)

Having watched his interview on NewsHour I came away unimpressed with Mike Brown in the extreme, and at the same time hopeful that starting soon, regardless of Mr. Brown's abject lack of leadership and foresight here, a much more thoroughgoing level of government intervention will take hold in New Orleans. That's something we all can hope for right now, even if there's not been evidence of that concerted effort on the ground in New Orleans itself yet...at all.

Quite frankly, much of the interview ran like a series of excuses. Brown seemed mystified that folks stayed in the city (which seemed odd coming from an emergency coordinator...shouldn't he have thought of that?) and he further seemed to characterize the "initial storm" as a kind of garden variety hurricane that they were planning on dealing with the "normal way." (I was left wondering if he was even mindful of the abject destruction in Biloxi and Gulfport and the Mississippi Coast as he said that, thousands may have died there.)

Mike Brown talked about holding back on the initial FEMA intervention in New Orleans out of fear for the safety and coordination of the rescue teams in the flooded city, and yet acknowledged that tens of thousands of citizens of New Orleans have played by the rules and are simply honest people caught in a horrible situation at the places they were told to go to....and here he mentioned "women and children" and the "elderly." I guess what he was saying was the FEMA folks weren't ready to provide an 'on the ground' presence in New Orleans before...well....yet. Why?

Click to continue, come back to comment.


  • Update: This diary by brighton on dailykos confirms it. Mike Brown IS blaming the victims here. Raw transcript from CNN:

    Well, I think the death toll MAY go into the thousands and, unfortunately, that's going
    to be attributable to people who didn't heed the evacuation warnings.  And I don't make judgements about why people choose not to evacuate, but you know, there was a mandatory evacuation in NO and to find people there was just heartrenching to me because the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.  And so, we've got to find some way to convince people that when the evacuation warnings get out it's for their own good.  

    Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that, but my job now is to get relief to them.  Ah, the
    one thing that I wish that I could do, is that I wish I could literally have the army on hand at the
    very beginning.  I wish that I could have had thousands on hand at the very beginning.  But what we were faced with, under the normal circumstances of a hurricane, ends after the hurricane makes landfall and moves on and becomes a tropical storm.  But what we have in NO is a growing disaster. The hurricane hit -- that was one disaster.  Then the levees broke -- that became another disaster. And then the floods came -- that became a third disaster. And so the second and third day after Katrina left this area,the disaster continued to occurr.  And so I had to be very careful about getting rescue teams out there otherwise we would have faced a higher death toll.

    Michael Brown, director of FEMA on CNN

    It's not playing politics to say that this guy is unfit for the job he's been given. That's being charitable.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 4:38 PM  

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