T Nation

Refusing Red Cross Aid: Not the Feds


#1

"A Red Cross official, Carol Miller, said on NPR's Diane Rehm show this morning that the Red Cross was told not to provide aid at the Superdome by the Louisiana, not U.S., Department of Homeland Security.

Audio here: http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/ (click link on left side of page) the comment is about 35:40 into the show."

Read more on http://powerlineblog.com/

If true, this certainly is an interesting twist to some of he blame-game that is still currently going on. This refusal of aid was a primary complaint of the feds' ineffectiveness.

I haven't listened to the audio personally - I will try to listen to it when I have time..


#2

I heard this on Fox news also. And on Rush's show today.
Once again, when the democrats try to point the finger at Bush, they have three more pointing back at them. Democrats are miserable failures at everything they do.


#3

I heard it. She blamed the local branch of Home Land Security. The Home Land Security supposedly told the Red Cross not to come in before the storm struck because it would encourage the residents not to evacuate.


#4

I posted this on the "Blame Bush" thread earlier, but I thought I'd cross post here just in case people were inclined to disbelieve it since the sources are Fox News and talk radio...

http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

Disaster FAQs

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

* Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

* The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

* The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

* The Red Cross shares the nation?s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.

* The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.

* The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

* As the remaining people are evacuated from New Orleans, the most appropriate role for the Red Cross is to provide a safe place for people to stay and to see that their emergency needs are met. We are fully staffed and equipped to handle these individuals once they are evacuated.

#5

It seems to me that all levels of government, democrats and republicans, were miserable failures when it comes to the disaster in Louisiana.

I can see where you think that democrats are failures... can you show how republicans are any better? For everything a republican has done right, you can find something a democrat has done right. For everything a democrat has done wrong, you can find something a republican has done wrong.

Blanket statements tend to piss me off.


#6

Agreed!

And as I've tried to state on other threads concerning aid--why has it become a repub./dem finger pointing. The gov't at all layers and all parties shares the blame for this. They also can share any credit that is due for things done correctly.

And now you have that shrill wench Pelosi saying that the dems won't get involved in any commission that examines the relief efforts/failures if the white house has anything to do with it. Does that even make any fucking sense! This is not a time for partisan bullshit, yet most have done just that.

Let's help those we can. Find out where the mistakes were made. Move forward to assure this doesn't happen again.

Though--given the situation and circumstances here--barring the big one in Cal., I can't see much to equal the magnitude and scope of this destruction.


#7

Yes, they are all miserable failures. Why don't they all do the world a favor and just die.


#8

I have a question, because I honestly don't know...

Who does the state Homeland Security Department answer to? Is it truly a state operation or does it integrate into the federal framework in some way?


#9

I'm going to say the state dept of homeland security answers to the state government and the federal answers to the feds. It's sort of like every state has a bureau of investigation as well as the feds have the FBI. Much like the national gaurd answers to the state as opposed to the feds.


#10

They said on the news today it does not integrate with the Feds.

Looks like it is purely state.


#11

Check out this link for some info on this:

http://wuzzadem.typepad.com/wuz/2005/09/another_katrina_1.html

It's state-level.


#12

I'm waiting for the commission report... :wink:


#13

Along the same lines, for those wondering why the Feds didn't take over:

State Rebuffed Security Overture
Bid to Put Louisiana Troops
Under U.S. Command Came
Amid New Orleans Chaos

By JOHN D. MCKINNON
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
September 9, 2005; Page A13

Parts of New Orleans became so dangerous last week that the Bush administration briefly sought to take control of local law enforcement to quell the violence and get help to victims.

The administration sent Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco a proposed memorandum of understanding last Friday, raising the possibility that the federal government would take command of the Louisiana National Guard to strengthen law-enforcement efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, according to officials in the Bush administration and the governor's office. In a series of telephone conversations with the White House on Saturday morning, the governor's office refused.

The memorandum amounted to a White House request for a federal takeover of local law enforcement, said Denise Bottcher, the governor's spokeswoman.

Gov. Blanco, in a letter to the White House on Saturday morning, said she would retain control of her state's National Guard troops, and requested the creation a federal joint task force that combined regular military and National Guard units. "Our response was 'no' to federalization, and let's have this instead," said Ms. Bottcher.

As the White House and state officials were discussing alternatives Friday -- the day President Bush first visited the storm-devastated Gulf Coast -- the violence in New Orleans began to subside amid a show of force by National Guard soldiers. That helped speed the evacuations of the Louisiana Superdome and the city's convention center, two sites where violence had erupted in the crowds of evacuees.

The Bush administration ultimately dropped the idea of a federal takeover of law enforcement.

By invoking the Insurrection Act, a president can use the military -- including federalized National Guard troops -- to quell civil disturbances. Under normal circumstances, regular military forces aren't allowed to engage in such law-enforcement activities. As the situation deteriorated in New Orleans last week, the White House weighed whether to use the military for law enforcement, an administration official said.

On Sept. 1, Gov. Blanco said that she needed 40,000 more troops, regardless of whether they were regular Army or National Guard troops. "I've actually asked for uniformed troops of any sort," she said. She added that she preferred to have more National Guard troops, according Ms. Bottcher.

In a letter to the president last Friday, she repeated the request. "Mr. President, only your personal involvement will ensure the immediate delivery of federal assets needed to save lives that are in jeopardy hour by hour," she wrote.

In a tense meeting with Mr. Bush at the New Orleans airport the same day, Gov. Blanco resisted the idea of federalizing the National Guard. When the president emerged from the meeting, Mr. Bush told New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that the governor "needed 24 hours to decide," Mr. Nagin said at a later news conference. Ms. Bottcher agreed that Mr. Bush and Ms. Blanco discussed the federalization of the National Guard.

Later on Friday, the White House formalized the offer in a memo to the governor's office, suggesting the possibility of a military takeover of the security effort.

The tense and ultimately fruitless negotiations last week apparently contributed to chilly relations between the White House and the governor's office. When Mr. Bush returned to Louisiana for a second visit on Monday, Gov. Blanco's staff learned of the visit from a newspaper reporter; the White House said it had trouble reaching the governor on Sunday to let her know.

When the two leaders toured an evacuee center in Baton Rouge, they worked different parts of the room. Some Republicans say privately that continuing cool relations between Mr. Bush and Gov. Blanco have contributed to discussions of setting up a public corporation to administer long-term relief and reconstruction funds for the region.

--Doug Blackmon contributed to this article.

Write to John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com