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Thursday, September 01, 2005

The magnitude of the devastation is hard to comprehend. As many have said already, it is hard to see these images and not think that this just doesn't look like it could be in the United States. It is telling as to the enormous size of our nation that so many of our countrymen over such a large area could be suffering such utter devastation, while the vast majority of us were completely unaffected in the most immediate and physical sense. My eight-year-old son has been watching the news coverage intently, and I try to watch and listen with him and answer his questions when he has them - and ask him questions when he doesn't. If this is difficult for me to grasp, it must be all the more so for him. There are so many aspects to this tragedy - mostly sad, but many hopeful as well - and I will do my best to help him understand them to the extent we can. Amongst the most important ideas that I will try and help him take away from this are resiliency and charity. The former I believe is a duty we have to ourselves, and the latter is a duty we have to each other. Nothing preachy or pious intended here, as I believe we all do what we can and what we feel is right. There are hundreds of charities that will help in this time of need, and each would be an excellent avenue for whatever we can all spare. We've chosen a few already, but I would like to point one that I think is fairly appropriate for this site:

Soldier's Angels has set up a special relief fund to benefit returning service people in the disaster areas. They can be found here:

Our thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to all those affected by this unimaginable tragedy.

Normally the first responders in this type of incident would be the National Guard. Historically one of the major duties of the guard has been to help in the aftermath of major natural disasters.

The majority of the damage to New Orleans was not done by the hurrican directly. If you remember in the hours right after the hurricane passed over New Orleans the city was not flooded. What happened was that about 12 hours after the hurricane passed one of the levees in the north of the city, weakened by the Hurricane collapsed, and Lake Ponchartrain flooded the city.

What should have happened is that immediately after the storm the Army Corps of Engineers should have been sent there to assess and repair critical infrastructure like the levees. This didn't happen because the majority of the Army Corps is in ---- Iraq.

Also there is a shortage of helicopters to rescue people - so five days later thousands of people remain stranded in their homes. And there is a shortage of troops to secure the city so now we have widespread looting.

Under responsible leadership the National Guard would have been around to do all three jobs simultaneously. Unfortunately this time they did not have the resources to plug up the burst levees, and stop the flooding. The disaster in New Orleans was entirely avoidable.

The National Guard is supposed to be here at home protecting the nation. Not fighting wars abroad - we have four branches of the military for that: the Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines. This week a big swath of the south has paid the price for this misguided policy.

Great job running the country Republicans! I'm glad we have the party of hard headed realists in charge! With chimpy in charge we can look forward to rioting in New Orleans for weeks.

It is screwups like this which will as usual put us Liberals back in charge of the nation for a good long time. Unfortunately not all of the damage you Conservatives do can be repaired.
Normally only a complete and utter ass would exploit a natural disaster - an act of God if you will - for political posturing. Glad to see you acting as normal.

As to the rest of your post - it's primarily bullshit. The main problem with the levee system is the corrupt boards them control them (and what party controls those boards?) - the Army corp has been screaming for years that those levees were in dire need of major overhauls - those screams fell upon deaf ears.

As to your helicopter claim, how many National Guard choppers from these areas do you suppose are in in Iraq right now? Do you know? Practically none is the answer - the Guard troops in Iraq (and elsewhere) use regular military equipment already in the theatre.

Again, it takes a coniving heartless jackass to try and pry political points out this horrific tragedy. Comments like "The disaster in New Orleans was entirely avoidable" are so inapproprite, that they could only be characterized as dangerously irresponsible if they were uttered by anyone that actually mattered. Fortunately that is not the case here. Still, keep it up - it's leftwing nut jobs like yourself, attempting to exploit any example of human suffering for their political gain, that will expose you all for what you really are in keep conservatives in charge of the White House - and the Senate - and the house of representatives - and the state capitals - and the state legislatures -for many years to come.
Was there a single political point in my initial post? Is concern for the suffering of other Americans and a simple request for charity a red state/blue state issue? They're still pulling bodies out of the water for heavens sake - show a little restraint. What a thoughtless bastard.
No they are not yet even pulling bodies out of the water. No right now they are scrambling just to be able to get clean water to the survivors - 4 days later.

And the reason they are so ineffective? Because they are depleted.

And in case you didn't know - as the National Guard has been rotating into Iraq - they bring their own gear with them - and then leave it there. That's right, each unit as it has gone in has brought its blackhawks and chinooks with them - and then left Iraq leaving the helicopters behind. Why? because the US has been unable to secure the ground routes and depends on helicopters for everything.

Meanwhile in the US a few Chinooks would have been able to block the breached levees by droppping a few shipping containers into the breach - but no Chinooks were available. Only much smaller Blackhawks.

People are dying in New Orleans today because of Republican mismanagement. The disaster was absolutely avoidable.

If you're so concerned about the people of New Orleans you bleeding heard conservative, why don't you demand that the National Guard which is supposed to be protecting them be brought back to do it?
Jerky, the parent in me says to stop arguing with the three-year-old, but frankly I'm pretty immature too and can't help myself.

Less than a third of all Lousiana guard and reservists are on active duty anywhere outside of Lousiana - and amongst the over 8000 Lousiana guard and reservists still there are the 225th Engineer Group and its four organic Engineer Battalions - those best suited for disaster relief.

The actual heavy equipment in Iraq (with the 256th Infantry Brigade) includes primarily M1 Abrams tanks, M1 Bradley assualt vehicles and M109 Paladin howitzers - all damn impressive equipment mind you, but hardly well suited for search and rescue or emergency repair operations.

AND IN THE END JERKY - in your blatant, hateful, leftist, Bush-is-to-blame for everything, opportunistic rant thinly disguised as a flawed theory, we would never be able to utilize our military to protect our people and interests abroad for fear that they might be needed at home. That's wrong. And dumb. And so are you.
Jason, your my boy, but braveheart is for the most part correct. He's wrong about a few things(and usingf the timing for politics) but for the most part correct in his points. The National Guard has failed who it is primarily responsible for protecting due to its tireless deployments to the middle east. 1/3 of Louisiana troops from the guard are not there, that is a huge amount of bodies. What equipment they are trained in(m1's, bradly's...) does not matter as situations like this requires lots of boots on the ground(that means people). The more boots, the quicker order is restored. My state of Michigan sent there MP's down to backfill today, the same MP's who recently returned from Iraq. The National Guard swears to obey the orders of the President, but also the Govenor of there state. They have been over tasked and misused, and now the states are paying the price. I support the war, but it needs to be better managed with situations like this in mind.
Mark, I hear ya brother, but I can not agree. First all of you agree with me that equipment is not the issue, and you agree with me that this clown is a scumbag utilizing human tragedy for political purposes. So we’re left with a disagreement over the utilization of State Guard and Reserve troops.

But if we follow your logic, that removing one third of Louisiana’s guard troops is too many because they might be susceptible to the devastation of a hurricane – then what guard troops could we send? Certainly all of the Gulf States are just as susceptible, so no guard troops from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas either. And really if we’re talking hurricanes, every state on the Eastern seaboard has been devastated by a hurricane at some point over the past century, so no guard troops from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Maine either. And really this type of devastation and potential for emergency isn’t limited to hurricanes; certainly an earthquake of magnitude 7 or more would qualify, right? So that takes California guard troops out, and really who knows where such an earthquake might take place – even off shore which could cause a Tsunami, so better not deploy guard troops from Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Hawaii either. And as I’m sure you’re aware, with the recent drought conditions around the country (along with the lack of logging and brush clearing due to the demands of environmentalist wackos) fire season is right around the corner - better leave home all the guard troops from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana – all of whom are susceptible to these massive fires. And of course a twister or two of sufficient magnitude can wreak devastation almost along the order often seen from hurricanes, so all the guard troops from Tornado alley states are out too – that’s most of the mid west; Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. And you know with the rapid onset of global warming (you know the US utilizes like 187% of all the world’s resources), summers and getting hotter and winters are getting much colder – most Northern sates have declared states of emergency at least once over the past fifty years due to blizzard, frigid and frozen conditions, so better not deploy troops from Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan or Vermont either. So there you go – I believe that leaves us with the ability to deploy guard troops only from New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC – cause there’s no chance of anything happening there, right?

A silly exercise? Perhaps, but what is it you are saying? We can’t not-deploy troops to defend the best interests of America just because something might happen at home.

Look, I’ve now responded to this political crap four times, which is about four more times than I would have preferred. My main point remains that “Braveheart” is very representative of the shrill left in his desire to politicize this (and every) tragedy for their own agenda – and it’s getting worse. At least with September 11th it took a few weeks for them to really rev up their political posturing, this time I don’t think it took 48 hours.
Luckily I'm not above politics. Braveheart-less just gets moved into the left-wing-crazy-critics corner along with RFK Jr. and the Germans.

It was reported the day after Katrina touched down that some German politicians blamed the US for this disaster for not staying in the Kyoto treaty. RFK Jr. posted on his website that Haley Barbour is partly responsible because he used to lobby for Energy companies. I guess all of these hurricanes this year are a result of our pollution to the environment? That makes sense, because we never saw devastating hurricanes in previous decades or centuries...Quite frankly, you've put yourself on a level with any right-wing nuts who may claim that God did this because of the gay section in the French Quarter.

Now, I’m not proud of the lack of preparation in New Orleans at any level of government especially federal. It’s embarrassing for the nation. Period.

As for partisanship, give it a rest. Jason's right, the Army Corps of Engineers have memos dating back DECADES begging for funding for improvements to the levee system. Multiple administrations can share any blame there is for not taking heed.

Also, I sign my name as Scott. I don't pretend that I'm a Scottish warrior fighting oppression. Or are you paying tribute to Mel Gibson?

P.S. You can start talking about elections when you can actually win one.
Blame SCG. They named me.
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