The Post Chronicle™
By Lee Ellis
Sept 3, 2005

Watching both Fox and NBC after President Bush had been inspecting the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, I was shocked at how the nets, and even some newspapers, were trying to blame the Bush Administration for the slowness in which help was reaching the damaged cities.

Obviously, Brian Williams and his news team do not know the law, nor do they know the past history of New Orleans--a city built in a bathtub of a swamp. This is a city where the dead, for centuries, have had to be buried in above-ground structures because the water is so close to the surface of this sinking city. If coffins are put in the ground, they will rise to the surface as the underground water pushes them up. I have been to these cemeteries personally to witness this.

For decades, New Orleans has been told that the city is sinking, and that the old levees have to be rebuilt and modernized in order to keep the city from being flooded. Local officials never finished the work, nor have pleas to Congress for additional federal help been heeded. Congress has simply never seen fit to fully complete this effort, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans.

"Why did it take five days for Bush to help?" is the mantra constantly voiced by all the "Talking Heads" on TV. Here are the reasons:

(1) It is against the law for any President to order troops into a city or across state lines without a request and permission from the Governor of that state.

John Armor, a First Amendment lawyer and one of my favorite writers, told me, "Federal law prevents the President from sending in the National Guard until the Governor gives the order. It is little known, but the Commanding General of the National Guard in every state reports to the Governor, not the President, until the Governor says otherwise. U.S. military units (regular Army, not the Guard) cannot be used because of the Posse Comitatus law, until the Guard has been authorized."

According to some news sources, the Governor of Louisiana, who knew the levees were weak, who knew that the city had been slowly sinking, and who knew that a major # 5 hurricane was approaching her city, did not call Washington for help.

(2) The Mayor of New Orleans did call for evacuation over a loud-speaker, but did nothing to be sure that the police went door-to-door, followed by transportation, to pick up all those who did not have cars or any ability to leave.

There was no other leadership practiced by the mayor there, as had been in New York City during 9/11 by Mayor Giuliani.

(3) The hurricane veered east and saved New Orleans, Brian Williams announced a week ago, and all breathed a sigh of relief...until the levees broke a day or two later allowing the surrounding waters to pour into the city.

(4) It was this predicted levee failure which had been ignored for so long that doomed the local people to be held hostage in their attics or on rooftops, not the storm. It was also the failure of the local bureaucrats and local elected leaders to maintain law and order, and to have pre-arranged for complete evacuations of the city.

It was only after a request went out to the President that troops could be sent in. Can you imagine the anti-Bush media screaming that Bush had invaded Louisiana as he had done in Iraq if he had gone in before being asked? I can just imagine The New York Times headlining, "A Repeat of Shock and Awe by Bush!"

Bill O'Reilly, on Fox News, was the only commentator I heard who explained this. All the other network commentators seemed too willing to allow the implication inferred by the viewers, that this was all the fault of the Bush Administration.