Three weeks ago at just about this time everyone was breathing a sigh of relief. Katrina had narrowly missed New Orleans and serious damage seemed confined to the southern parishes and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Conditions within the Superdome had not grown intolerable at that point - at least there weren't any reports of violence on Sunday night.
Then two canal walls gave out, New Orleans flooded and what was at that point a "regular" hurricane disaster, albeit a very harsh one, became the political football of 2005. It is indisputable that Federal resources were being used beginning Tuesday morning to effectuate harrowing rescues on a continuous basis. The USCG performed magnificently all day Tuesday and was joined by other Federal resources on Wednesday. Never in history had more people been plucked to safety by helicopter than were so saved between Tuesday and Friday. LANG units were involved in rescue operations continuously beginning Tuesday morning all over southern Lousiana - except for New Orleans. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were hard at work accross the Gulf Coast providing emergency services on a vast scale and performing heroically - except in New Orleans, where Gov. Blanco refused entry to them and to the supplies which they had on hand and could have provided to the people in the Superdome and Convention Center.
As yet there has been little reportage as to the scope and success of the rescue efforts mounted Tuesday and continuing until just a few days ago. The fact that it appears at this point that the total death toll will be less than 1,000 has received little notice, even though the emergency exercise conducted by FEMA in 2004 predicted a death toll of between 10,000 and 50,000 should New Orleans be struck as it was by Katrina. Instead there has been a tireless effort on the part of the MSM to portray what was an outstanding success by any objective measure as an abject failure on the part of the Federal government and in particular upon the part of President Bush. A story of high human interest with many heroes has been spun into a sordid political tale - including a silly attempt on the part of the usual suspects to exonerate an incompetent mayor and a criminally negligent governor who may well have been acting on advice received from other Democratic politicians.
It is my contention that the only venue for a complete exploration of Katrina is a House investigatory committee. The Democrats have rejected a joint House-Senate panel and I do not believe that a commission would be anything but laughable at this point. I further believe that it would be an act of negligence on the part of the House if they do not to convene such an investigation.
I would be interested in hearing the opinions of others on this matter.
*Edited for clarification 9/20
Thanks, Flenser & Knucklehead.