September 3, 2005


Evacuations Increasing With Guard on Patrol and Offering Aid (ROBERT D. McFADDEN, 9/03/05, NY Times)

Amid signs of progress in the struggle against the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush said today that he had ordered 7,000 additional troops to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states to crack down on lawlessness and evacuate thousands of refugees.

Hours after signing a $10.5 billion package of assistance for the stricken region, calling it a down payment on aid to come, the president acknowledged again today that his administration had failed to help many of the hurricane's most desperate victims promptly and promised to resurrect New Orleans and devastated coastal areas of several states.

"I know that those of you who have been hit hard by Katrina are suffering," the president declared. "Many are angry and desperate for help. The tasks before us are enormous, but so is the heart of America. In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in our hour of need. And the federal government will do its part." [...]

The deployment of the troops, the arrival of major convoys of desperately needed supplies, the speeded evacuation of tens of thousands of people from refugee centers and hospitals and progress in closing some of the breached levees brought glimmers of hope for the flooded and ravaged city.

The Corps of Engineers said crews had closed a 300-foot gap in the 17th Street Canal levee, where the heaviest floodwaters had entered the city and said they expected to close a second gap in another canal over the weekend. But Brig. Gen. Robert Crear said it might take months to remove all the floodwaters from the swamped city. "We're looking at anywhere from 36 to 80 days to being done," he said. Thousands of refugees remained in crowded conditions at the city's convention center, chaos continued at the airport, thousands of people were still trapped in homes and hotels, fires raged virtually unchecked in parts of the city, the power was out, and vast sections were still under water. Officials cautioned that New Orleans faced a long, difficult climb out of the crisis.

It was unclear how many guardsmen were in the city. But on streets where gun battles, fistfights, holdups, carjackings and marauding mobs of looters had held sway through the week, the mere sight of troops in camouflage battle gear and with assault rifles gave a sense of relief to many of the thousands of stranded survivors who had endured days of appalling terror and suffering.

"They brought a sense of order and peace, and it was a beautiful sight to see that we're ramping up," Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana said. "We are seeing a show of force. It's putting confidence back in our hearts and in the minds of our people. We're going to make it through."

Somehow, people always do.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2005 5:58 PM

I read one account that the National Guard contingent had to be reconfigured at the last moment to include considerably more Military Police than are normally provided. And that special authorization from Washington was required to allow out-of-state National Guard members to shoot looters.

They had not expected the New Orleans police force to totally collapse in the first 24 hours.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 3, 2005 8:14 PM

Another "Only in America" moment.

Citizens bouyed by seeing troops in combat gear driving through the streets knowing full well that they're there to protect us from the bad guys. God bless and keep them well and safe.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 3, 2005 8:28 PM

The commander of the LNG told the Army Times that they are facing an "insurgency" and will soon be initiating "combat operations" to "take back the city". He also said the city "will look like Somalia".

Posted by: ghostcat at September 3, 2005 8:37 PM

The question being why the Left thinks we should bog down in a quagmire on behalf of people who obviously have no interest in our way of life....

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2005 12:21 AM

Well, I guess that's what happens when you release all the thugs from jail.....

Posted by: Sandy P at September 4, 2005 12:34 AM

If I understand a poorly-written WaPo story correctly, Bush offered ... three days before landfall ... to assume overall responsibility for emergency management in LA, including evacuation of those w/o their own transportation. Governor Blanco refused.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 4, 2005 12:51 AM

Well, nothing to do with this thread, but Chief Justice Rehnquist has passed away.
May God rest his soul.

Posted by: Buttercup at September 4, 2005 1:01 AM


Shhhh...don't tell Perlstein.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 4, 2005 3:06 PM