Home > Political Ranting > FEMA Still Screwing Up, Bush Still Yanking Rescue Units for Photo Ops

FEMA Still Screwing Up, Bush Still Yanking Rescue Units for Photo Ops

September 7th, 2005

This is criminally insane. Criminally.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has had his own firefighters working round the clock, putting out the raging fires burning in the city, many new ones breaking out every day. They’ve been at it for a week now, and are exhausted. Nagin has been crying out for experienced firefighters to be brought in to give them assistance and relief.

One thousand highly-trained, experienced firefighters volunteered to help out, ready to join the fire-fighting and rescue operations–helping the people in the path of Katrina, saving their lives and fighting the fires. At the direction of FEMA, they converged on Atlanta.

So what did the Bush administration’s FEMA put them to work doing? Did they send them to New Orleans to help put out the fires? Did they set them out on rescue work in the devastated areas to save lives? Hell, no. They’re doing much more important work: PR and community-relations work. Answering phones. Handing out fliers.

Are these people completely batshit insane?

“They’ve got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified,” said a Texas firefighter.

“We’re sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven’t been contacted yet.”

But at least the good people at FEMA have their politics and damage control in full gear:

The firefighter, who has encouraged his superiors back home not to send any more volunteers for now, declined to give his name because FEMA has warned them not to talk to reporters.

Gee, I wonder why the hell not? The firefighter called it for what it is: “It’s a misallocation of resources. Completely.”

But not to worry. At least some got out into the field. Fifty experienced firefighters were sent straight out to Louisiana on a high-priority mission: to appear in another fucking photo-op with President Bush, similar to the September 2nd photo-op below when Bush also allowed people to die so he could play dress-up with rescue teams. Pardon my French, but this is so goddamned sickening, it’s criminal.


People are still in harm’s way, a profusion of fires are still burning, and good, generous Americans are standing up to sacrifice their time, comfort, money and safety to take on the hard tasks. And the Bush administration puts them to work answering phones and acting as window dressing for Bush, so he can be photographed by a fawning press corps, looking as if he’s concerned, rolling his sleeves up as if he’s helping instead of getting people killed.

So I await the first Bush apologist who tries to say this is somehow Bush not being a fuck-up. Go ahead. Please. I can’t wait.

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  1. September 8th, 2005 at 01:43 | #1

    I almost feel like throwing up reading about the insanity. By the way, http://www.presidentmoron.com is a great site if you don’t know about it already.

  2. ykw
    September 8th, 2005 at 02:49 | #2

    They interveiwed one fellow yesterday on tv that said his helicopters were ready to go in 6hrs after the storm passed, yet did not move for another 28hrs, due to red tape (i.e. needed permission to move).

    I think beaurocratic red tape may have been the cause of many of these delays. Much of the “permission” issues should be dealt with before the storm. For example, if NO floods, then choppers go in after the storm passes, asap, and chopper X is assigned to region X’, copper Y to region Y’, etc.

    My guess is there will be an investigation, with recommendations, and the changes will involved a better pre-approval processor for moving things forward.

  3. ReyLynda
    September 8th, 2005 at 16:21 | #3

    It seems our president and his Nero Complex are rubbing off on other agencies as well. Two Pensacola Naval H3 helicopter pilots were reprimanded by superiors for rescuing more than 100 victims and bringing them to safety in the earliest hours of the storm’s aftermath. After dropping off supplies they responded to a Coast Guard call for assistance, and found over 100 people marooned on rooftops and in danger.

    They were reprimanded upon return, and an order was issued to halt civilian relief which was so unpopular with the unit that many members have stopped wearing their search and rescue patches “So Others May Live.” Lt. Matt Udkow, one of the pilots, is now in charge of the Navy Kennel. Superiors have insisted that this is not a step down, but we can all do the math on this one.

    Was interesting reading the NY Times version vs. the Pensacola News Journal version. The “tone” is different but the guy still ends up in the doghouse in both versions, so no good deed goes unpunished apparently.

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