My brother Bryan lived in New Orleans for a while back in the 1990's. Here is his heated commentary on the current state of affairs.
I really can't blame Bush any more than I can blame the Governor and Mayor of Louisianna and New Orleans respectively. As I was just telling John, this is like the fable of the ants and the grasshopper. If ever a city was the grasshopper it was N.O.LA. Now you can't really blame them, cause the hurricane was about as strong as any ever to hit the area, but the city was really unprepared. "Let the good times roll" was their motto and they never really planned on the good times ending.
To start from the top:
Bush cut the budget, but so did Clinton. The state of Louisiana should have done everything in their power, including a special New Orleans only sales tax to pay for the leevie improvements. Bush reorganized FEMA under the Homeland Security dept. well, that seemed like a good idea at the time. No one has yet to show me any actual evidence that the war took away resources that would have been used in this case to save lives.
The Governor could have gotten more state troopers and national guardsmen to N.O.LA before the huricane hit to help with the evacuation. Afterward she could have taken charge and been a strong leader delegating jobs to various state organizations and getting things moving before FEMA or the Red Cross could have.
The Mayor could have moved more people out of the danger zones with all those city school busses that were sitting under water the next day. He could have made the message to evacuated much stronger, with hellocopter and trucks with loudspeakers telling people how serious this was going to be, based on predictions from LSU meteorologists. Afterward he could have taken charge, like Guliani did on 9/11, and kept the city from going to pieces.
The Police in N.O.LA could have done a much better job, but knowing them they did better than could be expected.
The people could have heeded the warnings. They could have prepared and had extra food and water on hand. They could have behaved like human beings and not looted all the guns out of the city and started shooting at rescue workers.
Here's another anology that will become even truer as time goes by and we learn more about who screwed up where: Its like the sinking of the Titanic, only much bigger and slower. The warning weren't heeded, and once the disaster had happened it was made even worse by screw ups at every level fromteh captain and crew on down to the passengers.
Remember New Years in Las Vegas? Remember how stupid and dangerous the whole street scene seemed and how it was made worse by the very crowd control efforts of the police and the casinos? Just imagine if there was some sort of natural disaster on Vegas and those guys were in charge of your well being. New Orleans is the same thing. It's like a lawless wild west town with a thin veneer of modern civilization spread over the top.
Here's a good article by Ben Stein about the whole thing. For people to be pointing fingers when there were still people trapped on rooftops, and without food and water in the city was just sick. Its not as if there is a prize for pinning the blame on the President first, a week later it will still mean the same thing.
I am really sickened by the whole mess.