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  1. #1
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    Could Bush Have Done More

    Could Bush have done more?

    We know, I believe that there were failures at all three levels of government. Well, the highest elected official is the president. I read over and over that he couldn’t have stepped in and done more, about how hamstrung he was by the governor. How he deferred to her regarding federal aid. But is that true? Could he have done more?

    I think there are many ways he could have done more. Could he have appointed a more qualified FEMA head, one who might have been the first to know about people dying in the convention center, not the last? That’s just one issue. Could he have not gutted FEMA and then left it in charge of disasters? We’re still hearing about major glitches in rescue efforts. Today. So, is he coordinating this? Is Brown? Chertoff? Blanco? What role is Bush playing, besides photo ops and platitudes? I definitely want to discuss all of that. This discussion started in the “angry” thread and maybe that’s why it got ugly. Maybe keeping it all in once place will let us have the actual, focused, civil discussion we’re capable of. But this is something we should want to know. What can and can Bush do? What did he do wrong? If we want to know that about Blanco and Nagin (and we apparently do, because we’re discussing it extensively), we should want to know it about him. If we don’t, why don’t we? But I’m going to start with one of the key questions. Could Bush have gone over the governor’s head and federalize the National Guard?



    When there is civil unrest, as in the LA riots, the president apparently can federalize the troops. So how is the shooting in the streets, rapes and roving gangs in the Convention Center not civil unrest? We’ve seen that a natural disaster has different rules, but what about when the natural disaster brings about the civil unrest? Can he use the Insurrection Act then? Newsweek thinks so:

    Washington, too, was slow to react to the crisis. The Pentagon, under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was reluctant for the military to take a lead role in disaster relief, a job traditionally performed by FEMA and by the National Guard, which is commanded by state governors. President Bush could have "federalized" the National Guard in an instant.
    Up to now, the Bush administration has not hesitated to sweep aside the opinions of lawyers on such matters as prisoners' rights. But after Katrina, a strange paralysis set in. For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge, according to three White House officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Beginning early in the week, Justice Department lawyers presented arguments for federalizing the Guard, but Defense Department lawyers fretted about untrained 19-year-olds trying to enforce local laws, according to a senior law-enforcement official who requested anonymity citing the delicate nature of the discussions.
    (I hope that in the coming days and weeks, those unnamed sources tell their stories to the various investigative entities.)

    That seems to suggest Bush could have but chose not to federalize the Guard. So does this:

    A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.
    This suggests that Bush at least considered using the Insurrection Act:


    The Pentagon also authorized Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the Northern Command, to lay plans for possibly deploying active-duty troops — a move that can be ordered only by the president under the rarely used Insurrection Act.
    If plans were made to deploy active-duty troops, and that could be done only under the Insurrection Act, doesn't that mean the Insurrection Act could have been used?


    The article is date September 1.


    I understand that the governor wouldn’t turn over control, but can’t Bush take it? This all seems to suggest he could and chose not to. If she did the abysmal job she’s being blamed for, why wouldn’t he? The worst she did, the more it seems Bush would have been obligated to take over. How could he not, if he could?


    Barbara Stock, "a regular contributor to AmericanDaily, ReNewAmerica, Bushcountry, RepublicanDailyNews, The Judson Cox Newsletter, and Prudent Politics," says he reportedly did] use it.


    There is reason to believe that President Bush, running out of patience with Blanco by Saturday morning, used the only option that remained to him. It is being reported that Bush went around Blanco and utilized the Insurrection Act to federalize the National Guard and send in active military troops to take over the rescue and put down the lawlessness that had taken over New Orleans. The forces that Bush had poised to move into the city, swung into action. It was no accident that the major, organized rescues began when the sun came up Saturday morning. At 6:30 AM, when the sky over New Orleans was suddenly filled with military helicopters and military convoys poured into the streets, they were there because of President Bush, not Governor Blanco.


    Now, realize that's a conservative talking, so take it with the same grain of salt you'd use for a liberal. I also reserve judgment because there is no named source. But since it's a GOP reporter, I thought if I gave a disclaimer, some of you would prefer to read the information and judge it for yourself.

    If true, if he had this as an option, even his only option, why did he wait so long? Did he have to? Was he, as some posters suggested, thinking politically, unwilling to destroy his and /or Blanco's career?

    I just want the truth.

  2. #2
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    I think everyone could have done more. I think FEMA needs to look seriously at it's leadership and make the necessary changes across the board.

    But as I have consistently posted, how can we expect the highest rung on the ladder to be able to support evrything when the lower rungs have all given way?

    Sure, with hindsight it's easy to say what should have happened with regards to FEMA, but it just isn;t structured as a first repsonder. No matter how much we would like it to be, it isn't. The idea is to aid and assist a city/ state that is already helping itself.
    If the lower levels are not holdng up their end of the deal it is virtually impossible for the President or anyone else to save the day. We just watched it happen.
    I'll challenge individuals to do their homework on election day.The governor was elected. Do the candidates in your area have your safety as a priority? I can honestly say I have never even looked into it.

    Lowest level to highest level had to do their part and it did not happen.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean
    I think everyone could have done more. I think FEMA needs to look seriously at it's leadership and make the necessary changes across the board.

    But as I have consistently posted, how can we expect the highest rung on the ladder to be able to support evrything when the lower rungs have all given way?
    Because that's what we expect. We expect the best he could do, and if that wasn't done, it's a problem. He couldn't fix everything but what didn't he do that he could have? If Bush could have federalized the guard and chose not to, or chose not to until Saturday, aren't you concerned?

    Do you not care if his policies and procedures and decisions made this worse?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dara
    Because that's what we expect. We expect the best he could do, and if that wasn't done, it's a problem. He couldn't fix everything but what didn't he do that he could have? If Bush could have federalized the guard and chose not to, or chose not to until Saturday, aren't you concerned?

    Do you not care if his policies and procedures and decisions made this worse?
    I clearly have different expectations than you. I expect my locality to have my backside and the feds to have their backside within a reasonable amount of time. I'm not counting on FEMA as my first respnder. It's just common sense.
    Bush's decision's on federal intervention are based on imformation he gets from the Governor. garbage in garbage out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean
    I clearly have different expectations than you. I expect my locality to have my backside and the feds to have their backside within a reasonable amount of time. I'm not counting on FEMA as my first respnder. It's just common sense.
    Clearly. Obviously.

    And you clearly don't understand my post if you refer to "first responder."

    Bush's decision's on federal intervention are based on imformation he gets from the Governor. garbage in garbage out.
    So, he was as uninformed as Chertoff and Brown. These guys are the holy trinity of oblivion! The rest of us knew how dire the situation was. And he possibly had the power to take steps that could have save lives. If he didn't do so, it's because he didn't know what was going on? That's reassuring.

  6. #6
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    less0305 is offline The face is familiar, but I can't quite remember my name!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dara
    The rest of us knew how dire the situation was. And he possibly had the power to take steps that could have save lives. If he didn't do so, it's because he didn't know what was going on? That's reassuring.

    I sure hope my President, Governor OR Mayor isn't sitting around making decisions on what WE see on Fox, MSNBC, and et al. If they're sitting before the TV watching Geraldo and getting their intelligence there - we're all doomed.
    It's my own two cents. You don't have to read or like it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by less0305
    I sure hope my President, Governor OR Mayor isn't sitting around making decisions on what WE see on Fox, MSNBC, and et al. If they're sitting before the TV watching Geraldo and getting their intelligence there - we're all doomed.
    I sure hope my president knows the situation and doesn't need TV. But it appears we are doomed, because his chosen leaders didn't know what was widely reported. And I guess according to some of you, neither did Bush.

    People were dying. People were being raped. Rescue efforts were halted because of snipers. Did the president know that? If he did and he saw that the situation wasn't improving, he couldn't figure out more help was needed? He is really that passive?

    Oh, and if you don't want those in charge relying on the media, you must have a problem with Chertoff using imaginary headlines to justify decisions.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dara
    Clearly. Obviously.

    And you clearly don't understand my post if you refer to "first responder."

    So, he was as uninformed as Chertoff and Brown. These guys are the holy trinity of oblivion! The rest of us knew how dire the situation was. And he possibly had the power to take steps that could have save lives. If he didn't do so, it's because he didn't know what was going on? That's reassuring.
    Sorry if I misunderstood you.
    We have hindsight now Dara. It's easy to say what the President should have done because we know the outcome. WE now know that the city/ste blew it. Big time.
    Armed with that information, I agree with you, the President should have done more to overpower the inept leaders the voters in LA put in office.

    If you exepct the Presdient to act on News reports?! That is positively frightening.

  9. #9
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    Have any of you ever heard of the Posse Comitatus Act?

    Do you understand what 'First Responder' means?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkit
    Have any of you ever heard of the Posse Comitatus Act?

    Do you understand what 'First Responder' means?
    Yep, been there, done that in a wildfire evacuation.


  11. #11
    less0305's Avatar
    less0305 is offline The face is familiar, but I can't quite remember my name!
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    I knew I shouldn't have come to this thread!!!!
    It's my own two cents. You don't have to read or like it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean
    Sorry if I misunderstood you.
    We have hindsight now Dara. It's easy to say what the President should have done because we know the outcome. WE now know that the city/ste blew it. Big time.
    Armed with that information, I agree with you, the President should have done more to overpower the inept leaders the voters in LA put in office.
    Such as what?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEPUTYDAWG
    Yep, been there, done that in a wildfire evacuation.
    Good. You're one, at least.

    How about Posse Comitatus? Ever read the Act?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dara
    Clearly. Obviously.

    And you clearly don't understand my post if you refer to "first responder."

    So, he was as uninformed as Chertoff and Brown. These guys are the holy trinity of oblivion! The rest of us knew how dire the situation was. And he possibly had the power to take steps that could have save lives. If he didn't do so, it's because he didn't know what was going on? That's reassuring.
    Dara, do you know what the Posse Comitatus Act says? Do you understand what federalizing troops and operation means, in terms of the constitution?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean
    Sorry if I misunderstood you.
    We have hindsight now Dara. It's easy to say what the President should have done because we know the outcome. WE now know that the city/ste blew it. Big time.
    As I've said all along, that's more reason for him to take action. I understand state and local government are first responders. But how long should it take if the first responders fail before the president exercises his powers and saves them? What do you think is reasonable?

    Armed with that information, I agree with you, the President should have done more to overpower the inept leaders the voters in LA put in office.
    I can't really see why that's so hard to see. If the leaders were inept, and he could have acted, he should have. It just seems kind of obvious, and I want to know that if we get inept state and local leaders at the next disaster, the president will do what is in his power to help in a reasonable time period. Reasonable. Not as a first responder. Not as the first course of action. But when it is reasonable.

    and
    If you exepct the Presdient to act on News reports?! That is positively frightening.
    When I do say that, be frightened. But that's a twisting of my words, and just the kind of thing I see every time I bring up criticism of Bush. LOL. I'm sorry, but it's so predictable.

    However, if news is so widely reported and was conflicting with information he was getting from the governor, shouldn't he maybe think he better find out. Except his two appointees, who are also his eyes and ears, didn't know the basics either. Do you really think if the governor is so inept as most of Bush's defenders are claiming, she could fool him into thinking all was well on the streets of NO and that she had everything under control? If we all heard all those reports of aid being turned away and violence, and it's all her fault and all her decisions, I don't expect him to ignore news reports. There's a discrepancy. Find out what's going on. I'd hope he didn't need the news to keep him involved, since HS told us they were going to be coordinating the effort ( see the White House site) but since his own appointees apparently couldn't keep him informed maybe he should at least monitor the news next time. Or appoint, you know, competent people.

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