Saturday, September 03, 2005

Blah, Blah, Blah, Michael Brown; No One Is Listening

Josh Marshall excerpts Michael Brown's blame-the-victims response to Wolf Blitzer's question about what he would have done differently before Katrina struck, in order to save more lives:

BLITZER: Knowing what you know now, Michael Brown -- and obviously all of us are a lot smarter with hindsight -- what would FEMA -- what should FEMA have done differently in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina to save people's lives in New Orleans? Because as you know, we're getting reports from the governor, from the mayor, that perhaps the death toll will go into the thousands.

BROWN: Well, I think the death toll may go into the thousands. And unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the evacuation warnings. And I don't make judgments about why people choose not to evacuate.

But, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. And to find people still there is just heart wrenching to me because the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there. And so we've got to figure out some way to convince people that when evacuation warnings go out, it's for their own good. Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them.

I love that bit about "not making judgments about why people choose not to evacuate." Isn't that cute? Michael Brown, with his six-figure income allowing him to keep a raft of SUVs in the circular driveway of his lovely home in the most exclusive section of [pick your wealthy Virginia or Maryland suburb], is not going to judge a poor, unemployed or underemployed black person's choice not to evacuate New Orleans, with no car and no bus or train fare and no rich relatives. How broad-minded of him.

Here's another section of the transcript,where a reporter asks for Brown's response to numerous reports of bodies lying in the streets:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been reports of bodies laying (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: That's not been reported to me, so I'm not going to comment on -- again, that's what gets started is there have been reports of -- and so until I actually -- until I actually get a report from my teams that say, "We have bodies located here or there," I'm just not going to speculate.

This seems to be the classic Bush administration response. Nobody told him, so he can just dismiss the reports. Never mind that there have been eyewitness accounts of dead bodies on the streets for days now. Never mind that there are photographs of corpses. Michael Brown has not been briefed on the bodies by his lieutenants, so he's not going to worry about it.

Hey, Michael! How about getting up off your ass and investigating the reports?

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