Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kathleen Blanco's Bumbleheadedness

An earlier post of mine provoked a number of comments, one of which smeared the US military for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina. The ironically misnamed commenter, who calls himself "Truth," claimed that the first military units to assist in New Orleans were Canadian.
It was nonsense of course. By the time Katrina's winds died down the Coast Guard was on the scene followed shortly by the Navy which had ships essentially in Katrina's wake. The National Guard was quickly on the scene as well.
But Truth persisted saying that the US Army was slow to respond. The fact is that the Army response was slowed by Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, who was reluctant to yield authority. What follows is the CNN video that nails the governor and a New York Times story detailing the legal hurdles involved in domestic deployment of combat troops.

And here are the key paragraphs from the New York Times story.

"To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.

While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges."

In other words, to comply with the law, there would have had to be an insurrection in progress or, a specifically worded request from the governor. Kathleen Blanco made Ray "Schoolbus" Nagin look like a genius.


April E. Coggins said...

I remember the days immediately following the hurricane. My perception at the time was that Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin were withholding help from their own citizens so that the national Democratic party could capitalize on the disaster. I have heard and seen nothing since that has changed my mind. It was a disgusting display of arrogance and manipulation for no other reason than the hope of personal political gain. Blanco is now done, Nagin has been re-elected, as was "the freezer man," William Jefferson. I have a very difficult time believing that New Orleans residents chose Nagin again. Supposedly, the election was "helped" with a generous projection of how the election would have gone if all residents would have been back in N.O.

Mattwi said...

While what happened was tragic, it is disturbing to see how many people rely solely on .gov for help in that situation... Pathetic really...

The entire debacle proves that WTSHTF it's best to be well prepared to fend for yourself.

Man the French knew they were getting an awesome deal when they sold that place...