Friday, September 02, 2005

Some Points About the Response.

First off I issue the following disclaimer: every human effort can be improved upon.

With that in mind I want to offer some reminders before we go on a rampage of blame regarding the government reaction to the disaster in New Orleans.

The National Guard IS NOT a rapid reaction force.

It really isn't. We all know the schtick by now, don't we? A guard unit gets orders and the members in turn receive theirs. Those orders have to give the guardsmen and women some time to get their personal affairs in order! So, it does take some time to get them to a location.

Katrina's Point of Landfall Was Not Well Known Until Sometime Saturday.

Some comments I hear say there was a three day heads up. This is wrong. I was hanging with a relative (actually soon to be, he is marrying a cousin shortly) from the Western edge of the Florida panhandle with ambitions to be the director of the National Hurricane Center. I was sitting with him Friday evening looking at projected storm tracks. Landfall at that time was anywhere from Florida all the way to the West of Louisiana. There was not enough certainty for massive evacuations.

New Orleans is Not the Only Place With Problems.

New Orleans is not the only place with problems. Recall there are problems in Mississippi, Alabama, and the rest of Louisiana. The damage isn't restricted to the coast either. All those areas need help too.

Admittedly the greatest concentration of woe is in New Orleans but it is not the only place of woe.

The Lawlessness Requires Mogadishu Like Action.

There have been numerous reports of supply convoys being shot at, hospitals being besieged by looters, helicopters being shot at etc. There may be supplies but until security can be established most of those supplies are not going to get to the people. This means military convoys are going to be setup to guard vehicles going into deliver supplies and to extract evacuees. Those do not happen at the snap of a finger.

The Area IS Completely Devastated.

No electricity, no gas distribution, no ordinary communications (cellphones, regular phones, satellite phones & gear only like we seen the correspondents using in Afghanistan) no...

New York City on 9/11 was devastated in a local area, for the most part all the normal infrastructure was there and in working order to provide support.