Acts of "absolutely astounding incompetence"

Local Liberty, the Blog of the Center for Local Government, asks questions about the New Orleans disaster:

Did no one working for the city or state foresee the problems that would arise at the Superdome? Why and when were the people there abandoned by city officials? The same goes for the now infamous convention center. If city officials told people to go to the convention center for days, how did they just forget about all the people they walked away from? Did anyone from the city or state think about something so obvious as evacuating hospitals? Are all these reports about the breakdown of the city’s police force true? If so, why did so many officers desert the city or even take part in the looting?

How, exactly, were the city and the government co-ordinating things together? Was the city working with the state at all? We have seen frequent and justifiably emotional pleas for help from the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans, but it is hard to see how they have led or what they have organized over the last few hellish days. Everywhere one turns one sees shockingly ignoble acts of absolutely astounding incompetence.

State and local governments simply failed to maintain the rule of law. Of course, the mayor and governor are under severe stress, but the reason we have government at all—the reason we elect leaders is to lead, especially in times of crisis.

They make a good point:

Before anyone starts blaming Washington D.C., one has to wonder about the local and state officials co-ordinating the evacuation. Were thousands of people left in harms way because a bunch of “Lord Jims” abandoned their posts, shamefully leaving the poor and the sick in the midst of a disaster zone?

Maybe not—maybe circumstances were beyond their control—but this is the question that must be answered before we start blaming anyone in the District of Columbia. Given the sorry state of weakened local governments across the nation, one can guess what the answer will likely be.

Read the whole article. It is excellent.