Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bush, Katrina and revisionist history

Yesterday in the current occupants final presser he said something in defense of the federal response in the aftermath of Katrina that set me off. Getting defensive, he said "Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed."

What. The. Fuck?

Never mind the warnings before the storm that were ignored. Never mind that hurricanes don't materialize out of nowhere like earthquakes, or even tornadoes and an evacuation could have and should have been mounted before the storm made landfall.

I am trained in mass casualty response. I sat in Kansas City watching that storm move toward New Orleans and got more and more apprehensive about what was about to happen. I remember looking at my husband and saying "Holy shit. That storm has latched onto the loop current and it isn't going to track away. NOLA is fucked. It's below sea level, and I'm afraid the levies won't hold. They haven't been properly maintained for years."

I watched. I waited. Nothing happened. The storm bore down. The storm made landfall. Still...nothing. Then my worst fears came to pass. The levies failed.

And still there was no response.

That stuff, I have been in a slow boil over since late August 2005. No new outrages there.

What pisses me off is the revisionist nature of the quote I cited.

Does he really think that we didn't read the Conyers report? Does he think we won't remember that the Coast Guard never got the orders to mount the rescue efforts? Those people were rescued because one man, Vice Admiral Thad Allen, commander of the Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, put his ass and his career - and potentially his liberty - on the line and sent his people in without orders.

Those people were not rescued because of anything Chertoff or Bush or Brownie did. They were rescued in spite of those useless fools because one honorable man lived up to his oath of service, even though doing so put him in personal jeopardy. He committed an act of insubordination and could have been busted out of service and lost everything - but he did the right thing anyway.

Remember his name.

Remember what he did.

And when they trot out their revisionist crap, remind them what really happened.