Saturday, February 25, 2006

How much more help could they have asked for?

December 03 8:17 PM

For all of those who blamed the people in Louisiana, including the Governor:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco and others blamed the federal government for a slow response. The White House said that the governor was slow to ask for troops and that state and local officials were unorganized and indecisive.

The 100,000 pages of documents that Blanco sent to Congress on Friday include a series of letters starting with one Blanco sent President Bush a day before the hurricane hit.

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance will be necessary," Blanco wrote.

Three days after the storm, Blanco wrote Bush asking that the 256th Louisiana National Guard Brigade be sent home from Iraq to help. The governor also asked for more generators, medicine, health care workers and mortuaries.

Five days later, Bush assistant Maggie Grant e-mailed Blanco aide Paine Gowen to say that the White House did not receive the letter.

"We found it on the governor's Web site but we need 'an original,' for our staff secretary to formally process the requests she is making," Grant wrote. "We are on the job but appreciate your help with a technical request. Tnx!"

The stack of documents also includes a timeline put together by Blanco's staff detailing the state response; notes expressing frustration about missing items such as a communications center for police and rescuers promised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and e-mails working out logistics for New Orleans visits from Bush and cabinet members.

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