Katrina used as a disproportionate response by critics

Regarding the evacuation of foreign and resident nationals from Lebanon, the following has been said about the (what should have been) obvious difficulty in the wide-scale evacuation of citizens (50,000 Canada, 25,000 US) from Lebanon:

CNN (Jack Cafferty): Remember Katrina? France has gotten more than 700 of their people out!

MSNBC (Chris Jansing): Sort of brought back, you know, the whole Katrina thing.

Democrats (Nancy Pelosi): Just another manifestation of the Katrina mentality.

Democrats (Harry Reid): It is too bad that this is being treated as a mini Katrina.

CNN (Miles O’Brien): “You know, what we’re hearing from everybody, just about everybody, that comes off that ship, is not a very pretty picture. And one of the people we talked to earlier today equated it to a Katrina-type scenario. Is there some endemic problem in the U.S. government that it can’t handle a decent, a large-scale evacuation?”

CNN (letters picked by Jack Cafferty): >“Katrina, immigration, evacuating Americans, gasoline prices, prescription prices, health care, minimum wage, border security, almost anything that affects the average middle class American is the last priority for this administration and this Congress.” “Yes! It’s shades of Katrina again.” “Compared to other countries’ evacuations, the U.S. acts like it was unprepared to deal with the situation. Lack of planning seems to be a recurrent theme for the government in recent years, i.e. Iraq and Katrina.”

Democrats (Steny Hoyer): “This administration is not good on evacuations, as people in Katrina found out.”

CAIR (Dawud Walid): “The current administration’s minimal effort in rescuing Arab Americans and American Muslims leaves the impression to many that their lives are not as valued as other Americans. This slow response seems like a flashback to the miserable evacuation logistics of Hurricane Katrina where thousands of Americans, primarily African Americans, were left in perilous conditions.”

Toronto Star (Sean Gordon): “Searing editorials in the province’s major papers suggested the evacuation could end up being Harper’s equivalent of Hurricane Katrina”

Arab American News: “Until early Wednesday, the U.S. still had not begun evacuating its citizens. Evacuees were then supposed to come up with the money to cover their emergency-transportation costs. In the face of criticism that the plan smacked of a post-Katrina-like response, the administration backed down from its financial demand on Tuesday”

Now that you’ve got a sample of the hysterical media and political comparisons of the slower than desired exodus from Lebanon to the Katrina disaster, is the use of Katrina as a sensationalist reference point for failed government planning and execution even that valid in the real world? According to Popular Mechanics’ read of the recently released Congressional Report on the US government’s response to the hurricane of that name:

“In reality, despite organizational shortcomings, the rescue spearheaded by the National Guard and the Coast Guard turned out to be the largest and fastest in U.S. history, mobilizing nearly 100,000 responders within three days of the hurricaneÂ’s landfall. While each of the 1072 deaths in Louisiana was a tragedy, the worst-case scenario death toll would have been 60,000.”