So disappointing

The finger pointing and blame game is well underway.

And certainly, some of it is quite well deserved.

The over-the-top critics are to be dismissed as worthless critics and the fair-minded public will know who they are and tune them out.

Nonetheless, there were obvious problems and this item in the NYTimes highlights it. HT: to Instapundit.

Excerpts from NYT item:

Mr. Judkins is one of the officials in charge of evacuating the Hampton Roads region around Newport News, Va. These coastal communities, unlike New Orleans, are not below sea level, but they're much better prepared for a hurricane. Officials have plans to run school buses and borrow other buses to evacuate those without cars, and they keep registries of the people who need special help.

Instead of relying on a "Good Samaritan" policy - the fantasy in New Orleans that everyone would take care of the neighbors - the Virginia rescue workers go door to door. If people resist the plea to leave, Mr. Judkins told The Daily Press in Newport News, rescue workers give them Magic Markers and ask them to write their Social Security numbers on their body parts so they can be identified.

"It's cold, but it's effective," Mr. Judkins explained.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, often criticized for ineptitude, became even less efficient after it was swallowed by a bureaucracy consumed with terrorism. The department has spent billions on new federal airport screeners - with no discernible public benefit - while giving short shrift to natural disasters.

The federal officials who had been laboring on a one-size-fits-all strategy were unprepared for the peculiarities of New Orleans, like the high percentage of people without cars. The local officials who knew about that problem didn't do anything about it - and then were furious when Mr. Bush didn't solve it for them. Why didn't the man on the mound come through for them?

It's a fair question as they go door to door looking for bodies. But so is this: Why didn't they go door to door last week with Magic Markers?

As I talked with friends about the recent events, some who work in government organizations, there was a sense of resignation as they felt that when it comes to dealing with something really big like this disaster, the bungling and slow-footedness was almost inevitable.

On the glass is half-full side of the equation, now that things are underway, the US does have the resources and will through a generous people to make recovery possible.


Louis said…
One advantage of Hampton Roads, the comparison would be to a close in suburb, with Norfolk being the big city. It is not hard to have municipal employees actually go from door to door in 24 hours. Having 1,500 cops cover 500,000 households in 24 hours would be infeasible, especially if some of them are doing things like traffic control (and some have to sleep for part of that time)