Thursday, March 02, 2006

MSM says Bush knew about hurricane Katrina and did nothing to stop it!

He knew that hurricane was coming! He got briefed it was coming! And he didn't do anything to stop it from hitting New Orleans; he didn't even ask a question during his briefing! Oh the humanity! He didn't send an envoy to negotiate, didn't consult the UN, didn't try to talk the hurricane out of it's warpath, didn't try to find a common ground with the hurricane.

Where was the preemption, cries the MSM. And again the MSM shows their true ignorance. It's really a non-story, yet the media sees the mere possibility of perhaps a slight mistake, and creates the story of the week out of thin air.

The newly released, exclusive video from the AP is clips from the pre-hurricane briefings. The first and most obvious distortion by the media is pointed out by Jason Coleman.

Now alot of people are trying to make political hay about the bit at the end. They're getting up in arms, again, about Bush's comment:

"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

They start frothing at the mouth because in the video Max Mayfield says:

"I don't think anyone will tell you with any confidence or not whether the levees will be topped."

Now critics of the administration are going to scream their heads off about these two comments. They'll try to say that Max Mayfield is there on tape warning of levee failure, when in TRUTH, he is doing no such thing.

Mayfield is talking about water coming over the top of the levees, that's TOPPING. He is speaking to the issue of the storm surge and how high it will be. Mayfield is NOT, I repeat NOT talking about a levee BREACH.

Exactly. But why would the MSM let a little something like facts get in the way. Jason goes on to point out that many expected water to flow over the levees which New Orleans is prepared for. They've got pumps in the city that handle that sort of thing. It's not like this is the first hurricane New Orleans has ever seen. No one expected the levees to break. It's one of those extreme possibilities that you just pray doesn't happen. Local radio guys John and Ken did many shows slamming all levels of government for falling asleep at the switch on this one, and interviewed a West Coast FEMA director who says the three possible disasters that will result in the most loss of life are 1) a terrorist attack in New York, 2) a major earthquake in Northern California, and 3) a category five hurricane that breaks New Orleans' levees.

So they knew this was an extreme possibility. So what? It's not Bush's fault that the levees were old and needed repair. What was he supposed to do 2 days before the hurricane? Send out the Corps of Egineers and start repairs right then? Who's job is it to maintain the levees? Certainly not the federal government's.

Sure Bush could have sent more manpower to the region before the hurricane, more National Gaurds, etc. That might have saved a few more lives. But the fact remains that New Orleans wasn't prepared for a levee breach, and there was nothing Bush could have done to prevent it.

The tape criticizes Bush for not asking any questions during the meeting. So what? Maybe he had all the info he needed in front of him, maybe the other people involved in the meeting did their jobs preparing their statements and opinions for the president that he didn't need to ask any questions. What is he supposed to ask? How do we repair levees in two days before a hurricane? How about if he'd asked, what happens if there's a breach? Who in the meeting is going to make the obvious reply, "That's a very unlikely situation Mr. President. They've held through dozens of hurricanes over the years. There's no reason to suggest that there will be a breach now."

All of a sudden, Bush is expected to be omniscient and omnipotent. Were there failures? Yes, there were. At all levels of government. This tape reveals nothing new.

UPDATE 1 @ 10:01am: PowerLine posts on the same AP story and comes to the same conclusions. He also links a Popular Mechanics story that exposes how adequately the response may have been.

In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Dozens of National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters flew rescue operations that first day--some just 2 hours after Katrina hit the coast. Hoistless Army helicopters improvised rescues, carefully hovering on rooftops to pick up survivors. On the ground, "guardsmen had to chop their way through, moving trees and recreating roadways," says Jack Harrison of the National Guard. By the end of the week, 50,000 National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast region had saved 17,000 people; 4000 Coast Guard personnel saved more than 33,000.

These units had help from local, state and national responders, including five helicopters from the Navy ship Bataan and choppers from the Air Force and police. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries dispatched 250 agents in boats. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state police and sheriffs' departments launched rescue flotillas. By Wednesday morning, volunteers and national teams joined the effort, including eight units from California's Swift Water Rescue. By Sept. 8, the waterborne operation had rescued 20,000.

While the press focused on FEMA's shortcomings, this broad array of local, state and national responders pulled off an extraordinary success--especially given the huge area devastated by the storm. Computer simulations of a Katrina-strength hurricane had estimated a worst-case-scenario death toll of more than 60,000 people in Louisiana. The actual number was 1077 in that state.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the AP story pointing out that maybe the aministration did something right.

UPDATE 2 @ 12:01pm: Captain Ed rips this as a media hack job

Again, the entire briefing that related to levees only focused on the effects of the wind on Lake Pontchartrain and its effect in pushing water over the top of the levees. Mayfield never even addressed the possibility of breaches in the levee walls. And in fact, the storm track shifted eastward in the final hours before Katrina hit, which eliminated much of the predicate for even the worries Mayfield expresses in this transcript.

The media got it wrong yet again on Katrina. The notion that the experts warned of levee breaches is nothing more than a hack job initiated by the AP and continued by the rest of the Exempt Media even after the source material has proven it false.


UPDATE 3 @3:20pm: SayAnything questions the editing of the AP's video:

The selectively edited video of the Aug. 28 briefing shows Brown at one end of a crowded conference table dotted with microphones, telling federal and state officials: "My gut tells me this is a bad one and a big one — this is, to put it mildly, the big one, I think."


The AP video does not include footage of Chertoff asking Brown whether he needs any other help or of Chertoff asking whether Brown wants him to approach the Department of Defense. Transcripts show that to both questions, Brown indicated that no additional assistance was needed.

And it's from the LATimes no less...