Chicken Little on the Katrina Disaster

Jack Kelly notes The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed [post gazette opinion 05sp11].

It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

“The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.”

There are gleeful reports that views of the President’s competence are way down, that Britons think even less of the federal competency in the disaster, and that the FEMA head has been removed from direct Katrina disaster control.

The mayor’s anticipated death toll in the tens of thousands and the acquisition of 25,000 body bags is beginning to appear exagerated in the extreme as the death toll a week after things have started to settle down is still well under 500 with no evidence of thousands more to come.

The Sunday talking heads continue their repeated assertions of federal government “failures” without being able to specify any such failures other than out of context anomolies. Any attempt to describe actual events and decisions are repelled as the same as finger pointing or worse. Those who are doing finger pointing are bringing in President Reagan and castigating resumes when there is more recent direct experience to use in assessing qualifications.

People want red tape ripped away and then worry about the massive flow of funds into disaster relief. Some think that some of the FEMA director’s problems may have stemmed from lessons learned in past events about being a bit too loose

Meanwhile, the citizens of the South are getting back to business. The sky isn’t falling. Those that can are doing rescue and restoration. Those who take the Chicken Little approach are becoming more hysterical as it is revealed that the sky isn’t falling and that it remains where it has been.

Chicken Little is accusing “cover-up” and belittles ideas for investigation that do not meet his continually evolving standards. It is time to remember how Able Danger and other revelations are making a farce of the 9-11 commission. Perhaps it is time to turn the focus of attention on the damage being done by Chicken Little.

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