The Internets are rife with conspiracy theories about the Katrina aftermath in New Orleans. Conspiracy theorists talk about levees being blown up by explosives, the evacuees from New Orleans being transported to concentration camps, the dead bodies being "disappeared" by the Bush administration and its cronies in order to hide the final death toll, and other seemingly-bizarre stuff of that nature.
My first inclination is to dismiss all of that out of hand under the "never attribute to malice what can be reliably attributed to incompetence" maxim. I mean, we're talking about the *BUSH ADMINISTRATION*. A bunch of dimwit numbskulls whose only core competency is the ability to scare the American people into voting for them. Yet... yet... that said, something funny has been going on here, and even though I can't put my finger on it, it stinks to high heaven.
There's the mystery of the slow response. Bloggers note that FEMA was far more responsive in earlier hurricanes, delivering food and water to the affected areas within 48 hours -- rather than 5 days. FEMA did not even deploy its search-and-rescue teams to the hurricane area until the Saturday after the hurricane, i.e., 5 days too late. Why could FEMA respond effectively last year in Florida, and then this year apparently was caught with its pants down?
Then there's the befuddling lack of leadership. The National Response Plan assigns responsibility for responding to a national disaster to the Director of Homeland Security, and an order by the President gives him full authority to deploy any and all Federal resources necessary in order to respond to a disaster of national significance (which the drowning of the highest-volume port in America most certainly is). In other words, Secretary Chertoff, not FEMA head "Drownie Brownie" (who we should now re-nickname "Sacrificial Duck"), was officially in charge until Chertoff formally appointed Drownie as "principle federal official" 36 hours after the hurricane hit, and had full authority to deploy any and all federal resources to the hurricane area irregardless of what the governors of said area requested or desired. Yet Chertoff appeared to not understand a plan that he himself had participated in writing, and continues to insist that he could do nothing until a formal request from the local leadership arrived in his office asking him to provide specific resources. Is it plausible that Chertoff could utterly forget a plan that he himself participated in writing?
Then there's the puzzling case of the emergency assistance turned away by FEMA. Food, water, generators, firemen, policemen, boaters, and rescue teams from around the globe were ready to swarm into the New Orleans area to help save lives and rescue those in need. Yet FEMA turned them away, time after time, sometimes at gunpoint.
Okay, so the above can be possibly explained by the fact that the Bushies are friggin' morons, more devoted to ass covering than saving lives, but... what about the case of FEMA cutting Jefferson Parish's emergency communications lines? We are now in active malice territory here -- lack of bureaucratic paperwork can't explain this one. The stench is starting to get unreal...
Computer simulations show that the canal levees should not have been overtopped. While it's possible that the simulations are wrong, they correctly predict what happened to the 9th Ward and St. Bernard levees. What happened to the canal levees?
Then, there is literally the question of the bodies. Where are the bodies? News reporters aren't allowed to photograph them. Volunteer funeral directors are told they're not FEMA certified and thus can't help with preparing the bodies. Meanwhile, bodies are hauled off to D-MORT in refrigerated trucks, where they're stacked like cordwood and hidden from view until handled by a company with connections to the Bush Administration that has a history of "losing" bodies.
Finally: What happens to the government and people of New Orleans? Without people, you can't hold elections, and it appears that, when the City of New Orleans runs out of money at the end of this month (stores and restaurants that are underwater don't pay taxes), it will become a de-facto Federal protectorate run under military law... not to mention the now-seemingly-permenant displacement of most of its population, to be replaced, presumably, by fine upstanding Republicans... could we be, in fact, seeing the future of America? Is New Orleans our Jeruseleum circa the Jewish Diaspora (Roman times), to be cleansed of the pesky rebellious native population so that we can replace them with fine upstanding
RomansRepublicans loyal to the Emperor?
I don't hold much truck with all the stuff about bombs and such -- anybody who knew New Orleans knew that a Category 4 storm surge hitting levees intended to stop a Category 3 storm surge meant the city was going underwater -- but there's a stench here, one that I can't ferret out, but man it stinks to high heaven...
- Badtux the "What's that smell?" Penguin