"I started making calls and trying to impress upon the White House and others that something needed to be done. The state resources were being overwhelmed, and we needed direct federal assistance, command and control, and security -- all three of which are lacking."
On September 3rd, he spent hours on the phone pleading with the Pentagon to send more C-30 helicopters to help evacuate people from New Orleans. The Pentagon failed to respond to his request in a prompt manner.
Now, however, Boustany blames his own state...
"Most of the red tape and problems have been at the state level. I have to say that the federal response has been focused on New Orleans with search and rescue operations which is going very, very well at this stage. But we've had a completely ineffectual state response and this is being borne by the local communities to help now. and I have asked the president to take this into consideration, consider that the state response is completely ineffectual and the full range of social and health care needs needs to be met."
Video available here.
Boustany is right about the Chinook helicopters. Not enough were sent. Infact, the Pentagon were aware of these requests, but intentionally held off sending additional support to help with the crisis.
As I was told by a Marine friend of mine on Sept. 1st:
"As far as we are concerned, right now we're sitting and waiting. Some of our logistics guys were going to head down, but that's not happening. The proverbial "they" has put out a request for generator mechanics and some other utility types, and there are four CH-53E helicopters down there now. Those are capable of holding 80 people and/or lifting 15 tons, so who knows what they'll be doing. I reckon if the situation continues to worsen maybe things will change, but for now, we sit and wait."
(See update #23 of my New Orleans Stories post for this quote.)
There were, of course, many more resources, many more helicopters, many more boats, etc. which could've been sent to help save people's lives, but hell... that would've cost the Federal government some money.
If the Feds could rapidly respond in a half-assed way, why couldn't they respond in a manner befitting the level of the crisis, by sending in more helicopters, more mechanics, and more military personnel earlier? Are we to assume that sending in only a few helicopters and requisitioning only a few people from the military to help requires no red tape and no delay, but that endless requests for additional help from the Feds somehow were stymied by delays at the *state* level? That's like saying that the military has the legal right to fire one bullet at an enemy, but requests for the second bullet must be filled out in triplicate and go through proper channels!