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HURRICANE KATRINA: Indexed Quotations etc. | September 5, 2005

Scope | FEMA | Security | Flood Prevention | Political/Economic Fallout



Researched by Douglas Drenkow, "Progressive Thinking"

"America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels, and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America." -- Maureen Dowd

"Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs. Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports. Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl." -- Maureen Dowd

"The Superdome resembled a scene from the Apocalypse on Wednesday morning, with thousands of refugees trapped in a hellish environment of short tempers, unbearable heat, and the overwhelming stench of human waste." -- The Times-Picayune

"They're treating us like crap. They have us living like not even pigs." -- Tina Wilson, survivor of the Superdome

"It's worse than being in prison in there. They don't have nothing for me." -- Cleo Wilson, 86, heart-patient, survivor of the Superdome

"'They're treating people like prisoners in there,' said Shelton Alexander as he left the Dome for the thigh-high waters of Poydras Street. 'It's so hot in there, and people are s--ting on the floors.'" -- The Times-Picayune

"Degenerates roamed the city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world didn't seem to notice." -- Bob Herbert


"The historic jazz city has fallen prey to armed looters since Katrina tore through and it now more closely resembles Haiti or another Third World trouble spot in a refugee crisis than one of America's most popular vacation centres...

"Police units, rescue teams and even hospital workers came under gunfire today...

"Bush said looters should be treated with 'zero tolerance'..."

-- Reuters, as reported in "The Age" (Melbourne, Australia)


"Four days after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the northern Gulf Coast, tired and angry people stranded at the convention center in New Orleans welcomed a supply convoy carrying food, water, and medicine with cheers and tears of joy...

"The president said he is 'satisfied' with the federal government's response to the Katrina disaster, although there is not 'enough security in New Orleans, yet.'"

-- CNN (Friday, Sept. 2, 2005)


"The Coast Guard has rescued more than 17,000 people from the flooded areas of New Orleans. These rescues were performed by Coast Guard helicopters, boats, and cutters, as well as ferries organized by the Coast Guard." -- US Coast Guard official website, as of 8 am local time, Sunday, Sept. 4


"Overnight, police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from gunmen roaming through the city...

"One New Orleans police sergeant compared the situation to Somalia and said officers were outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks.

"'It's a war zone, and they're not treating it like one,' he said, referring to the federal government...

"...after working 60 hours straight in the flooded city. He has not decided whether he will return.

"He broke down in tears when he described the deaths of his fellow officers, saying many had drowned doing their jobs. Other officers have turned in their badges as the situation continues to deteriorate.

"In one incident, the sergeant said gunmen fired rifles and AK-47s at the helicopters flying overhead.

"He said he saw bodies riddled with bullet holes, and the top of one man's head completely shot off."

-- Chris Lawrence, CNN (Thursday)


"I actually think the security is pretty darn good. There's some really bad people out there that are causing some problems, and it seems to me that every time a bad person wants to scream of cause a problem, there's somebody there with a camera to stick it in their face." -- FEMA Director, Michael Brown (Thursday)

"I've had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they're banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I've had no reports of that." -- FEMA Director, Michael Brown (Thursday)

"Who are we if we can't take care of our own?" -- Maureen Dowd

"Some people there [in the convention center] have not eaten or drunk water for three or four days, which is inexcusable. We need additional troops, food, water; and we need personnel, law enforcement. This has turned into a situation where the city is being run by thugs." -- Joseph W. Matthews, the director of the city's Office of Emergency Preparedness

"I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" -- Newt Gingrich

"This plan was no plan." -- A New Orleans cop

"...things are going relatively well." -- Michael Brown, Head of FEMA, Thursday night, the same day as...

"This is a desperate SOS." -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin


"Three out of every four dollars the agency provides in local preparedness and first-responder grants go to terrorism-related activities, even though a recent Government Accountability Office report quotes local officials as saying what they really need is money to prepare for natural disasters and accidents.

"'They've taken emergency management away from the emergency managers,' complained Morrie Goodman, who was FEMA's chief spokesman during the Clinton administration. 'These operations are being run by people who are amateurs at what they are doing.'"

-- Los Angeles Times


"They [the National Guard] are invisible. We have no idea where they are. We hear bits and pieces that the National Guard is around, but where? We have not seen them. We have not seen FEMA officials. We have seen no one." -- Phyllis Petrich, tourist stranded at the Ritz-Carlton (Thursday)

"Now, of course, a critical element of what we're doing is the process of evacuation and securing New Orleans and other areas that are afflicted. And here the Department of Defense has performed magnificently, as has the National Guard, in bringing enormous resources and capabilities to bear in the areas that are suffering." -- Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (Thursday)

"In addition to local law enforcement, we have 2,800 National Guard in New Orleans as we speak today." -- Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (Thursday)

"I continue to hear that troops are on the way, but we are still protecting the city with only 1,500 New Orleans police officers, an additional 300 law enforcement personnel, 250 National Guard troops, and other military personnel who are primarily focused on evacuation." -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (Thursday)

"We're going to have to ask if troops and materiel of all kinds could have arrived faster without the drain of national resources into a quagmire...thanks to Mr. Bush's variously incompetent, diffident, and hubristic mismanagement of the attack by Katrina, he has sent the entire world a simple and unambiguous message: whatever the explanation, the United States is unable to fight its current war and protect homeland security at the same time." -- Frank Rich

"...almost one-third of the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard, and an even higher percentage of the Mississippi National Guard, were 7,000 miles away, fighting in Iraq. That's an even bigger loss than the raw numbers suggest because many of these part-time soldiers had to leave behind their full-time jobs in police and fire departments or their jobs as paramedics." -- New York Times Editorial

"Louisiana National Guard soldiers and equipment, such as high-water Humvees for example, are sitting today in Iraq while hundreds or even thousands die because there are not enough hands to reach out and pull them from the water." -- William Rivers Pitt

"It is not a function of more people, but how many people can you move on the road system that exists now in Louisiana and in Mississippi. How many people can you put through that funnel that a storm has taken four lane highways and turned them into goat trails?" -- Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, the head of the National Guard Bureau

"Did they not have a contingency for a disaster of this magnitude?" -- John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org

"FEMA has known this for 20 years. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent, in studies, training and contingency plans, scenarios, all of that." -- Martha Madden, Louisiana secretary of environmental quality from 1987-1988

"Americans who had been humbled by failures in Iraq saw that the authorities could not quickly cope with a natural disaster at home." -- New York Times Editorial

"More than 950 people were killed and hundreds more injured Wednesday morning when rumors of a suicide bomber provoked a frenzied stampede in a procession of Shiite pilgrims as they crossed a bridge in northern Baghdad...Most of the dead were crushed or suffocated...but many drowned after falling or jumping into the Tigris River after the panicking crowd broke through the bridge's railings. The disaster was by far the greatest one-day loss of life since the American-led invasion in March 2003." -- New York Times

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us." -- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, June 2004

"'The corps,'" an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, 'never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain.' In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending." -- Paul Krugman

Scope | FEMA | Security | Flood Prevention | Political/Economic Fallout

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