Opinion on Hurricane Katrina - The Failure to Help
1 September 2005
I am shocked by
the horrific tragedy going on in the state of Louisiana and even more
so by the slow response by the United States government. They have demonstrated
a failure to respond properly. The US government remains distant and
not in communication with the people who are suffering and even dying.
I saw the images of people dead in their chairs, bodies piled up, a
baby that died because of lack of water and intense heat. This is not
India, this is not a country in Africa, this is the United States.
We have the capability
to drop cell phones and radios over Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq, so
we have the capability to do the same here. When the news media reports
there is a lack of communication with residents who are stranded on
their roofs or shouting for help, there is no excuse for the government
not to respond. If we can communicate with Islamic jihadists on the
ground in Asia through paper leaflets, then we can drop leaflets over
a major city to communicate with US citizens. The White House needs
to send someone over to Kinko's to make a few thousands photocopies
and I bet we can find over 100 private pilots that will jump at the
chance to help and drop them over the city. This is no exaggeration!
has U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces sitting in California ready for
missions on air, land and sea. Members of the Marines sit in uniform
on a daily basis, ready to respond anywhere when needed. These are warfighters,
dressed and with rifle in hand, ready to launch on a moment's notice.
Why could we not have deployed some of these Marines in the first 24
hours, before the rapes and shootings started? The Marines are experts
in water, they have thousands of amphibious floating tracked vehicles
that will protect them from small arms fire while they patrol in the
water. If they hit a submerged object, they could drive right over it.
The Army base in
Fort Hood, Texas is the largest armored base in the world! They have
339 square miles of pure manpower and equipment. This includes one of
the largest brigades of military police and medical support in the US.
Why has the president not sent soldiers and supplies the very next day
after the storm?
said they sent 40 federal medical teams as well as specialty teams.
I was a commander of one of these specialized medical teams that are
now part of Department of Homeland Security but in the past were of
the U.S. Public Health Service and FEMA. I can tell you first hand,
these teams are INSUFFICIENT for this type of cataclysmic disaster.
I participated in both field and tabletop exercises; I know their capabilities
and limitations. These teams are for disasters, but not on this scale.
We need the military! We need the U.S. Army to set up field hospitals
on the open fields in the fenced in areas of the airport, in the outlying
areas that are not submerged. We need a couple dozen Marine Corps helicopters,
CH-53's from Yuma, Arizona that can each carry 55 people. We need to
drop a small crew of air combat traffic controllers, and then bring
these choppers in one at a time to evacuate people. Run the people on
board, take off, and send another chopper in its place. Repeat.
Day one after the
storm, hundreds of thousands of individual meals-ready-to-eat, the standard
military ration should have been dropped by the military. We have tens
of millions of these floatable meals in the US, ready to be eaten but
sitting on pallets in military warehouses. If we can drop them out of
airplanes into Sudan and Afghanistan, we can drop them into New Orleans.
We can drop water,
we can drop disinfectant, we can drop radios, we can drop cell phones,
we can drop men, but we have dropped nothing as of day four. Political
correctness, racism, indifference, these are all variables that at different
levels have added to the continued and growing bowl of infected soup
that New Orleans has become. When the Mayor of New Orleans three days
after the hurricane is declaring they have a "desperate SOS"
to the world media, and the police are declaring that the police stations
are under attack by roving gunmen, we should respond. Minutes not hours,
hours not days. George Bush's dreadful speaking ability does not inspire
confidence, on the contrary, it promotes only weakness and insincerity.
Shame on the president, he is the man in charge with the power. He could
have done something.