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. ---
How does he do that, and where does that authority come from? It isn't in the constitution. Does some act of Congress give him this authority. Which one. Please cite US Code section ... so that it is unambiguous.
"And of course, had President Bush stepped in and legally usurped Blanco- the Democrats would have gone ballistic. "
That sums it up right there.
With hindsight, they would have deeply regreted that (I strongly doubt that would have happened; they would be relieved to be able to blame someone else if things went wrong). In any event, they would have waited to see which way the wind was blowing as it were. If the hurricane had just decided to turn around and go back to Cuba, well maybe then they would have howled. So what? Let them howl. The buck stops you know where. One is there to just take the heat.
A problem that will need to be remedied by the individual states.
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.
If enough citizens of these states agree with you, then they'll work through their elected leaders to effect the necessary changes.
I suspect the law will change.
It certainly should.
Well, that's where we differ, and where you'll differ with virtually all conservatives. It's a fundamental truth that localized disasters can best be prepared for and handled by local authorities. They know and understand the geography/people, and can plan and react accordingly. Federal decision makers simply do not have the benefit of this local knowledge.
Certainly there are exceptions such as this one, but by and large your proposed policy will cause more disasters than it will avert.
The entire Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast from Maryland south is vulnerable, but that does not absolve the individuals and their state and local authorities from the responsibility to 1) make preparations; 2) evacuate if necessary; and 3) deal with the aftermath if a hurricane strikes, regardless of the category.
I agree that it should not be about politics but it is, because there have been a number of prominent Democrats publicly blaming President Bush and very little focus on what really went wrong.
Everyone can learn from the mistakes of New Orleans. Pointing out that the Governor and Mayor were inept is not political. They'd be as worthy of blame if they were Republican. Unfortunately, the media and loud mouthed Democrats don't understand that.
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.
The law works just fine in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and here in North Carolina. What needs to change is the government in Louisiana.
Not all that well. There was mass looting in Miss too, and the national guard is now there too. Now was any public transportation offered in Miss to my knowledge. Miss does have the advantage of being above sea level.
LOL, I done been banned at DU.
They deleted all of my posts.
What a bunch of p*ssys, can't stand the truth and rational thought.
FWIW, they left the posts of the DUmmies who agreed with me.
I doubt it. Hopefully, we will get a poll. Of course, with a tight enough definition of "conservative" to fit your purposes, the result is self defining.
I'd be interested to see the results.
Of course, with a tight enough definition of "conservative" to fit your purposes, the result is self defining.
I'm not looking to claim I'm more conservative than this person or that, so it's really a moot point either way. Suffice to say, we differ on whether the state v. federal government is best equipped to handle disasters/emergencies. I understand and respect your position, just don't agree with it.
Fair enough. I respect those who hold differing opinions, and keep it civil, and are honest and articulate in expousing their views. It is what does the public square good, and honors it.
All things considered, New Orleans was not in such bad shape until that levee was breached..... Of course, the levee was protected by 19th century equipment put in place after Betsy and everyone has said for years that it would not withstand anything greater than a category 3 hurricane. FOR YEARS every Mayor of New Orleans, in one democratic administration after another, including Mary Landrieu's father, has said the city would not be able to survive the "Big One" yet NONE of them EVER put a new plan in place or upgraded the system. BUT to a person they're all now whining and pointing fingers and trying to cover their behinds.
Your paper also ties itself in knots regarding the powers of the National Guard, again giving short shrift to the differnece between acting as Army Reserve Forces in Federal Service and acting as an arm of state governments under the authority of state governors.
Were you really?
I didn't see one thing you wrote that would have called for that; do you have them in your cache? That would be swell to have when the next DUer comes over here and tells us WE don't allow free speech!
The AP thinks that mobilizing the Guard and the SPECIFIC specialties NEEDED within the Guard are just a MOUSE CLICK away. These media types are not only stupid BUT DANGEROUSE.
It gives the prez the authority to tranport folks out, which is my focus. In any event, if Bush had offered to send in the federal guns, with whatever paper work was necessary to circumvent this archaic and ludicrous law, the suggestion that Blanco or Nagin would have refused is ludicrous.
And in South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Virginia.
See post 207.
I like how they buried this deep into the article.