Skip to comments.Congress Likely to Probe Guard Delay
Posted on 09/03/2005 7:19:37 AM PDT by Truthsayer20
Congress Likely to Probe Guard Delay By SHARON THEIMER Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck - a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.
California troops just began arriving in Louisiana on Friday, three days after flood waters devastated New Orleans and chaos broke out. In fact, when New Orleans' levees gave way to deadly flooding on Tuesday, Louisiana's National Guard had received help from troops in only three other states: Ohio, which had nine people in Louisiana then; Oklahoma, 89; and Texas, 625, figures provided by the National Guard show.
Maj. Gen. Thomas Cutler, who leads the Michigan National Guard, said he anticipated a call for police units and started preparing them, but couldn't go until states in the hurricane zone asked them to come.
"We could have had people on the road Tuesday," Cutler said. "We have to wait and respond to their need."
The Michigan National Guard was asked for military police by Mississippi late Tuesday and by Louisiana officials late Wednesday. The state sent 182 MPs to Mississippi on Friday and had 242 headed to Louisiana on Saturday.
With many states' Guard units depleted by deployments to Iraq, Katrina's aftermath was almost certain from the beginning to require help from faraway states.
Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress are just beginning to ask why one of the National Guard's most trusted roles - disaster relief - was so uneven, delayed and chaotic this time around.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the situation has shown major breakdowns in the nation's emergency response capabilities. "There must be some accountability in this process after the crisis is addressed," he said.
Democrat Ben Nelson, Nebraska's other senator, said he now questions National Guard leaders' earlier assertions that they had enough resources to respond to natural disasters even with the Iraq war. "I'm going to ask that question again," Nelson said. "Do we have enough (troops), and if we do, why were they not deployed sooner?" President Bush was asked that question Friday as he toured the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast area and said he disagrees with criticism the military is stretched too thin.
"We've got a job to defend this country in the war on terror, and we've got a job to bring aid and comfort to the people of the Gulf Coast, and we'll do both," he said.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., plans to make oversight of the Defense Department, the National Guard and their assistance his top priority when he returns to Washington next week from an overseas trips, spokesman John Ullyot said Friday.
Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself, as he did after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks . But the troops four years ago were deployed for national security protection, and presidents of both parties traditionally defer to governors to deploy their own National Guardsmen and request help from other states when it comes to natural disasters.
Though slow at the beginning, out-of-state Guard help was markedly increasing by the start of the weekend. As of Friday, nearly half the states had Guard members in Louisiana, boosting the total to at least 5,600 from out of state. Hundreds more were on the way.
Michigan, which was ready to help before the storm began, was sending 500 National Guard troops Friday and Saturday to help with water purification in Mississippi and police duty in New Orleans.
Arizona didn't get a request for military police until Thursday, when it received an urgent message sent to all state National Guards by the National Guard Bureau at the request of Louisiana, said Capt. Paul Aguirre. He said the unit cannot leave Phoenix until Sunday because arriving units must arrive at a pace the receiving end can handle. Among those headed in were several hundred from Wisconsin, where the governor took the unusual step of declaring a disaster outside his state to activate his Guard.
"This was the first time a governor ever declared a natural disaster in another state and activated to that other state," said Gov. Jim Doyle, who issued his order Wednesday. "We were ready to be deployed within 24 hours of that order."
In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service. The CRAF provision has been activated twice, once for the Persian Gulf War and again for the Iraq war. ---
So, what we have here is a number of ignorant and inept governors. My, my, my. It's Bush's fault. /sard
Well. it seems that Blanco accepted New Mexico's offer of NG assistance already on sunday, but federal red tape was not finished until thursday. This makes no sense at all.
I got hammered on another thread for saying this very thing.
When this is investigated we will find this investigation similar to the 911 commission. Democrats will be appointed to the commission to whitewash any Demorat involvement . The bulk of the blame must fall on the Governments of New Orleans and Lousianna and that simply will not fly in washington.
This is my question.
We know (filed docs.) that the Gov. declared SOE on the 28th and requested Fed. assistance.
Did she not request the proper help? If she didn't why didn't someone on the Fed. level help her?
It says that ultimately Bush had the power to step in and manage the relief efforts. He could have had a plan at the ready to force upon NO/Louisiana once it was clear that Blanco and Nagin weren't up to the task, as well as use the CRAF provision.
Federals have nothing to do with sending in the gaurd. The guard is under control of the state governors and they have the power to call them out. The governor of LA failed to do so. She had plenty of guardsmen in LA to handle the initial stages but failed to call them out. The other states couldn't do anything until LA actually asked them to come in. The feds couldn't do anything until actually asked to come into LA and help unless they made special declarations and overrode the local government, which is very seldom done, and if Bush had done so he would have been ripped for that also.
The governor of LA standing in front of cameras pitching a fit and crying does not qualify as asking the feds for help.
The sole blame for inaction rests with the governor of LA and the mayor of NO.
The President commands the NG. Period. This wasn't a case of some neighborhood riot needing NG assistance to manage. This is the largest natural disaster in US history-- a Cat 5 hitting one of the most important cities in the US. And Bush's authority to use these troops however he wants is legal. SCOTUS would not do anything about Bush mobilizing NG troops to go to NOLA. It's very much a national security issue because of the importance of NO to our way of life and because of the scope of the damage that would occur with a Cat 5 strike.
If what you are saying is true, there's a s*itstrom headed Bush's way...
Did I miss the story about all the men and material that we had staged, but could move due to lack of airlift?
I didn't think so. No need to activate the CRAF.
We don't know if it was red tape in Washington or a delay by the governor in letting Washington know she wanted the help. I suspect it was the latter, but don't know the answer.
My preliminary conclusions are that the governor was conflicted between her political aspirations and the need to help her people. By trying to retain control - and get the credit - rather than pursue the resources needed, she guaranteed her political future. It seems to me that she demonstrated her amateur status of "I have to do it myself" rather than seeking help when it was/is needed.
That is what I am questioning. I plead ignorance of the particulars but I have heard of something called the posse comitatus Act which limits the use of Federal troops within the U.S. ( a wise restriction most would agree).
Plus the NG is ordinarily on State status (either drilling or on what is called State Active Duty" and are "federalized" only when that status changes to Federal Active Duty.
I will be researching and will hopefully return with information.
Luckily, what he is saying is false.
It's so nice to be in "arm-chair first responder " heaven with all of you heros.
Lord help us with all the dingbats running around.
It is seldom done, but the specifics of this event make it worthy of a seldom used plan. Bush just needed to have a plan to use the full resources of the federal government once it was clear a Cat 5 was about to strike the Gulf, with the obvious consequences of such an event, call Nagin, Blanco and Barbour and tell them of his intention to take this problem off their plate, and give a speech to the nation once it hit declaring that the elected officials have been notified of the plan and are on board and that the federal government would be mobilizing its available resources to fight this national security crisis. The National Weather Service issued a release Sunday morning detailing in perfect detail what was about to happen to NOLA in what was probably seen by many Average Joes as hysterical Hollywood-esque hype, so the feds were certainly aware of what that area would look like after the strike by Katrina.
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