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. ---
Townsend making Blanco look like a genius.. says it all right there.
I second that, thankfully she lost.
And there ends the story: that was the END of the hurricane; the rest was flooding; and that is NOT the fault of George W. Bush.
My source was Col. David Hunt on Friday's "The O'Reilly Factor". O'Reilly stated that Col. Hunt and "his team" (well-connected military, former-military and intelligence personnel) undertook the investigation for Fox News. For any "paper trail" you'll have to call them.
Re-read my comment and the one I was replying to. Bush is the "he" I was talking about. He has the formal authority to command the NG under war or national emergency.
Ya, the flooding was not Bush's fault. The hurricane in fact wasn't either. Good point.
Let me put it to you this way:
What you are saying in effect is that the Corporate CEO should come down to the fax room to make sure the intern can do their job.
AS WELL AS doing their OWN job.
See anything wrong with the above?
Like, it isn't up to the Corporate CEO to ensure the intern can do their job?
During Floyd there was a huge quantity in Rocky Mount!
I want to hear more from Honore (the general commanding the relief effort). My husband served on the same where he was commander in Korea. Apparently he has an extremely "colorful" vocabulary. Hubby was surprised to hear him speaking on Fox today without a single use of the "f" word. ;-)
He had been in contact with them and apparently they didn't ask for the Feds to take over till things were totally out of control
Do note .. the once the Feds & Military took control .. things started to get done
Bottom line is that the local and state officials were in over their heads with dealing with this
You're assuming they'd be upset over Bush taking this out of their hands. I don't know if that's the case. Maybe you're right and they would. But, if they wouldn't mind, a lot of problems could have been solved before they even developed. I'm curious if Bush asked them.
Yes, but it was a Cat 5 just before it hit land, which is when the National Weather Service issued their release. I'm suggesting that we should have been ready for a Cat 5 to hit from when it first landed, just in case. Better to err on the side of caution and be able to say that everything's fine, no need to implement the Cat 5 plan, than be caught flat-footed.
I re-read your post, and as follows:
"When not activated for war, the governor acts as the commander of troops in his or her state. " -Me
NOTE, I said GOVERNOR.
"He could have formally declared one." -you.
NOTE, subject is GOVERNOR.
Governor is a 'she'.
What is unclear to you?
Right you are. In fact, it appears that ALL hurricane-prone states are far more prepared than LA. How in the heck is anyone supposed to know what is really going to happen until after the storm when needs are assessed? Do people really think the Guard should have been mobilized on Sunday, BEFORE the hurricane which could have taken a severe turn or weakened considerably? And where would they go? Into the eye of the storm!? Ridiculous!
ROFL! No doubt he hired a speech coach.
NO is the largest port in the US and the 3rd largest in the WORLD. That's just for starters. It's a very important city.
"When national security is involved like it was in NO, yes, that is a federal role."
The states local government calls the shots. It is up to the local state government to ASK for help.
Haven't you heard of the separation of federal and state?
THIS is an example of THAT and WHY you are dead WRONG.
Being "ready" for a cat 5 means nobody is there to greet it. And THAT is the point, I think. And it means having the infrastruture and plans in place on a national level, with a centralized and coordinated command and control, and authority to comandeer assets, to move huge numbers of folks within 72 hours. If that was not obvious before, it should be now.
Bush doesn't get to hire Blanco and Nagin, he only gets to clean up their messes when they affect everybody else in the country.
You are playing fast and loose with some very clear laws. Bush can mobilize the Naitonal Guard for war or national emergencies. The real problem, however, is the law and order issue and there he is powerless under Posse Comitatus. The Governor had to act. Period.
These are powers of the states, not the federal government. The Governor needed to act.
"Bush doesn't get to hire Blanco and Nagin"
So why are you saying he should make sure they can do their jobs?
So many lawyers, so little time. The law is NOT a suicide pact. In any event, the law needs to change, so we do not have to chat about that next time.
Let me re-try this...
"When not activated for war or national emergency, which he could have formally declared one, the governor acts as the commander of troops in his or her state. "
"When not activated for war, the governor acts as the commander of troops in his or her state. "
The above is correct.
And there is also the bully pulpit, to urge and offer. I urge that the school buses be used, I urge that folks be moved into the airport so military transport can pick them up, I urge the airlines to fly in their planes to pick folks up, I urge the railroads to empty their freight cars and fill them with folks, etc.
I actually said so in the second half of that sentence: he gets to clean up their messes when they affect everybody else in the country.
"I wasn't trying to attack you. I was just clearing up the confusion."
Where did I say you attacked me?
Care to quote me?
And IO left nothing out.
My statement was correct.
YOU missed that I WAS NATIONAL GUARD.
Well then probe the Numnut Nagin and the Bozo Blanco. There's your answer.
It isn't up to the President to ensure they can do their job.
Try as you might, blame cannot be affixed to the President.
Where action should have happened, once again, is at the STATE level.
Now, WHO is the one at STATE level who should have acted?
What I wrote is correct. War and national emergency are on equal footing according to the law. As Torie said, martial law could have been declared and none of this debate would even be happening.
Absolutely. Torie '08...
Agreed. Now have a look at how guick things got right once they got there yesterday (Friday) morning. Which, I might add, is a mere three days since the second catastrophe of the city flooding. When they got there, they got there in a very large way. Whether they were asked by LA Sunday or not, the response time is a logistical miracle. Pretty dang good in my book.
And, like I said, you left out national emergency.
You keep insisting that it was on teh President to act.
THAT is incorrect.
You keep trying to blame teh President for Blanco's inaction.
That is incorrect.
I was in the National Guard.
MY statement is correct.
"WHEN NOT ACTIVATED FOR WAR, the state GOVERNOR acts as the troops commander.."
National Guard troops belong to the state they serve in.
It is breach of protocol for the President to activate troops for local state emergencies.
TAHT is NOT his duty.
That is the duty of the STATE GOVERNOR.
Despite the refineries being bashed by hurricane damage, the situation there is still a local state emergency.
NOTICE that things started getting done once the President DID step in.
However, he shouldn't have to micromanage the situation.
The National Guard consists of citizen soldiers. Just what constitutes "too slow" when we're talking about deploying people that are not in the full-time military? In addition, there must of necessity be some selectivity as to which folks get on the scene first based on matching their training speciality with the prioritized needs.
As a matter of policy, these powers should be left with the states. Just because LA personnel failed to act does not mean other states are equally incompetent. In general, states can handle their own emergencies far more effectively than the federal government.
Actually, assets were mobilized well within the 72 hour window. Not landfall, because the hurricane winds and rain did not immediately affect NO in a significant way, but the flooding, which did not commence until Tuesday morning.
Anyone with a shred of experience with hurricanes knows that help will not even begin to arrive until three to five days after the storm. You have to be prepared. This is an individual and state matter.
We didn't have this whining and gnashing of teeth during any of the significant hurricanes of the last few years. The last time we had this controversy was during Andrew and there were several similarities in common with Katrina: a Republican president who should be blamed for everything; an inept Democratic governor; and a heavily public assistance reliant population.
I don't remember any plan in place to draw the National Guard and other forces in on an evacuation because the local people are there and any resources that can be lit up from far away take response time in accordance to their distance and mission.
Yet, post 911, it is reasonable to think that we might have to manage large, massive evacuations at the drop of a hat. Because the emergency could be natural or a terrorist act, and literally hours the separator between life and death for millions of Americans. Some thought needs to be given to how this can be accomplished.
I believe its not realistic at some level to expect any local authority to be able to manage a massive immediate evacuation without immediate assistance to fill in coordination, communications and compulsion roles.
I mean, imagine what it would really take to force a complete evacuation of New Orleans.
Do this honestly. Troops with guns, street to street and an endless supply of buses.
Now move out of New Orleans and pick any Major Metropolitan area. Evacuate all of Urban Los Angeles in 24 hours. How do you do that? And maintain order the the empty city remaining.
Yes, Law enforcement and Military straying behind in the catastrophe perhaps in Bomb Shelters.
Now imagine the economic impact of even attempting a drill to test this in say Atlanta.
But this is what its going to take. 911 changed our lives in ways we don't even want to think.
Good grief, why would anyone even THINK of landing a plane on a runway that could be seriously undermined by water damage. Television mentality is breathtakingly, mindnumbingly stupid.
It's like the armchair generals on Iraq.
For the gulf, the states even if competent, don't have the resources to move that many that fast. That narrow shelf along the gulf exacerbates storm surges. And in fact, none had any plans to move folks without their own autombiles. All they do is urge folks to leave, and do countraflow. I don't find that very impressive. I don't find that satisfactory. I find that inadequate. I suspect most now agree with me. I suspect the law will change. It certainly should.
it hit NO as a cat 3
IT WAS KATRINA "stupid",besides all these other things all coming together--couln't have happened withouth that CAT 4/5 cane
It is more than just a breach of protocol. It is unconstiutional.
As a matter of Constitution these powers are left to the states.
Well, you know, and I know, that NO has unique problems. But in fact, the entire north shore of the gulf has unique problems to a lessor degree. I think the continual tone of partisanship around here is misplaced. This should not be about politics. It should be about what went wrong and why, and what to do in the future.
Now the heavy legal guns are brought in to "legalize" inaction. How grand.
Here's a National Guard primer for the MSM and apparently, members of Congress :
" I've been a Guard member for the last 8 years in two different states.
I am well aware of my chain of command and when I fall under the authority of the President and when I fall under the authority of the Governor.
No President has ever taken away a Governor's authority to command his state's National Guard troops in the time of a natural disaster. "
" As a former National Guard soldier, I will tell you:
The president could not order troops into Louisiana over the heads of Blanco or any other states troops would be pulled from.
National Guard has both a state and federal mission.
When not activated for war,
the governor acts as the commander of troops in his or her state.
BLANCO had the impetus to call them out, and FAILED TO DO SO.
It was not on the President to do her job."
Col Hunt on O'R last night :
Gov Blanco had her Louisiana National Guard troops and assests prepositioned-but, did not pull the trigger.
President Bush should have realized the collapse of state govt ( my words ) and federalized troops.
Legal considerations here, but, that could have been overcome.
Louisiana National Guard were staged 30 miles north of NO- Governor had no eyes on the ground, no communication in NO to assess the situation-people not evacing, levees breaking,etc.
Everyone had 5 days notice storm was coming at state level and no prep was done.
Blame falls on Gov Blanco, Gov Blanco, Gov Blanco and secondarily -President Bush- for trusting that Democrat Governor Blanco had situation in hand and failing to step in earlier and federalize the entire military situation.
And of course, had President Bush stepped in and legally usurped Blanco- the Democrats would have gone ballistic.