I can't believe this! Where are the military?

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Rob_Davis

Originally posted by B Doss
He has a clue, moreso than a single fleeting encounter. He doesn't share your opinion, Rob Davis. Neither do I.
Fleeting encounter = ASSumption

GOTta get tHIs darn CAPS KEy fixeD.
 

Anonymous

Originally posted by Anonymous
CNN just reported that National Guard troops arriving into New Orleans (they mentioned the ones from Arkansas, I have no idea if the order is now general to Nat. Guard troops or not) have orders to \"shoot to kill.\" That's a quote from Aaron Brown.
http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/in..._09.html#075996

Scroll down to "Blanco demands Apology"



At a press conference Thursday night, she said that 300 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard arrived in New Orleans fresh from Iraq and are under orders to restore order from the “hoodlums.’’

She said of the soldiers: “They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot to kill . . . and I expect they will.’’
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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"On the political side of things, how come no one is asking where in the hell congress is?"

How about Washington DC? The Senate passed an emergency relief bill tonight, the House will do it at noon tomorrow.
 

Rob_Davis

Not to be political, but just as a point of procedure, it should be noted that unlike the President -- who can carry out his duties from anywhere, including his home -- the congress and senate must actually come to the office to work. Apparently they have had other priorities (read: vacation) up until now.

Not that there is really anything that they can do besides what they do best, which is to spend money.
 
The president can also declare a war and deploy thousands of troops to be on the ground of any country at any time and they would be there within a couple hours.....it seems tackling a federal disaster is much more than he can handle. SAD!
Off-topic and a technicality....but the President cannot declare war. Only Congress can do that. However, he can and does issue Executive Orders as Commander-in-Chief to deploy the military in a combat zone.

Back to the topic...
 

Anonymous

Within the last hour we are finally seeing troops and supplies get into New Orleans, 5 days too late.........How many peole were healthy on Monday that are dead today? This is unbelieveable. I hope someone is held accountable, and it's not the Mayor of New Orleans!
 

Rob_Davis

I hope someone is held accountable, and it's not the Mayor of New Orleans!
So, now that we have established that you have an agenda to have a specific person held accountable, regardless of culpability, why don't you just tell us who it is and why?
 

B Doss

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Aug 17, 2005
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Not to be political....
:roll:

Your posts have become erratic and cold. I can't help but think you're putting a political spin on things. So in the interest of growing up, lets just ignore each other? I'll start.
 
Jun 22, 2005
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I also am quite heart-broken. To think in this day and age, they we can't put any MORE effort into helping our own people, is just terrible, in our own county....they just sort of TALK about it, and never do it..
 

B Doss

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Aug 17, 2005
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they just sort of TALK about it, and never do it..
AP: Bush began the day at the White House where he expressed unhappiness with the efforts so far to provide food and water to hurricane victims and to stop looting and lawlessness in New Orleans. "The results are not acceptable," said Bush, who rarely admits failure.
 
Jun 22, 2005
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they just sort of TALK about it, and never do it..
AP: Bush began the day at the White House where he expressed unhappiness with the efforts so far to provide food and water to hurricane victims and to stop looting and lawlessness in New Orleans. "The results are not acceptable," said Bush, who rarely admits failure.
And if they are not acceptable then he can do something about it!
 
Dec 11, 2003
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I've been very critical of the federal government response, but I'll say this morning that for the sake of the people waiting (and dying) all around the Gulf Coast area, I'm grateful that the US Army made an extreme show of force in New Orleans today with a convoy of combat troops and helicopter gunships.

I'll probably regret posting this later, but the commanding officer of this theater would have my total support if he goes out to find and kill the armed gangs in New Orleans in exactly the same manner that he hunted insurgents in Iraq. People who attack victims of disaster, weakened survivors clinging to life, or who shoot at personnel evacuating hospital patients deserve to die without a second thought for their due process.

I will agree with others that there is plenty of blame to go around, probably in equal portions. And believe me, that will happen. It will be the primary topic of our national conversation for a long time. It will change everything.

Right now, however, I'm grateful that combat troops have surrounded the Convention Center to begin dispersing food and water. I'm grateful that soldiers have poured into the Superdome to organize and co-ordinate the evacuation. I hope they can stay safe, well-supplied, and with the knowledge that ALL the people of the United States support their mission and wish them Godspeed.
 

Will Tinder

I'll probably regret posting this later, but the commanding officer of this theater would have my total support if he goes out to find and kill the armed gangs in New Orleans in exactly the same manner that he hunted insurgents in Iraq. People who attack victims of disaster, weakened survivors clinging to life, or who shoot at personnel evacuating hospital patients deserve to die without a second thought for their due process.
Something tells me that might happen only once or twice, before the word will spread around, and you see most of these armed bands 'mysteriously disappear' whilemany 'bands of young men' start arriving at the evac locations. Then again, I'm assuming that even the dumbest of looters knows when they face the business end of a helicopter gunship, they're outgunned.

Though I also suppose this doesn't take into account one of the problems brought up by the mayor in his now famous (or infamous, depending on your take) speech... drug addicts who are in agonizing withdrawl, looking for a fix. If its as he's guessing, that many of these armed bands are made of ex-drug addicts/dealers, they might be too hopped up and/or in agony to use much reason (hence the pot-shots at helicopters and attempted storming of hospitals).
 

Jay McCoy

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Dec 6, 2003
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Wow Amos very good statement. There are times that thugs only under stand one thing and that is power and I think as darkenss descends in NO tonight they will see it first hand.
 

Rob_Davis

Amos, I am absolutely with you on that point. But in reality, I think when the numbers are finally in, we will see very few or NO looters shot by military or police. They just don't have it in them. And no military commander is going to put his career on the line to give the order, only to have CBS do an expose on how innocent unarmed youths were gunned down in cold blood. Consequently, it's all about deterrence, not action.

Your posts have become erratic and cold. I can't help but think you're putting a political spin on things.
There was nothing even slightly political about that post. It merely pointed out procedural fact. If you can't deal with it, get lost.
 
Dec 26, 2004
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Let me provide another angle here, if I may.

I am a volunteer firefighter and EMT. When we get an emergency call, we all leave our homes or places of work and immediately head to the station, fire up the appropriate apparatus and respond, driving as fast as we safely can based on the highway conditions and with due regard for other motorists.

Yet often when we arrive on the scene, even if we make good time, the first thing we hear is "what took you so long?"

And you know what? The answer at that point makes little difference. The person in the emergency situation feels it took too long, so regardless of what the situation, you were slow in getting to them. That's understandable. People in desperate situations don't have patience. Nor do I expect them to be. But the real answer to why it took so long? It just did. Unfortunately, any activity takes time to complete. You can't change that, no matter how much you wish you could.

Some of the areas within the local EMS coverage area here takes 20 minutes to respond to, at the very best you can do as an emergency responder. If you get a call that a person is in cardiac arrest in one of these areas, despite your best efforts and as fast as you can drive, if they are down 20 minutes in full cardiac arrest, there's going to be little you can do to save them. So despite your best efforts, there's just simply situations in which you can't save everyone. That's reality. I don't like that. I have often been very emotional that a person's home was lost because it took us too long to reach the scene of the fire. I could scream, cry, pull my hair out and jump up and down. But that doesn't change the reality of the situation. Yet, in this situation, would the EMS director be to blame for this? Sometimes despite your best efforts, you still fail, due to reasons that are beyond your control or ability to control.

Now, where am I going with this? Let me try to explain in a manner that avoids politics but instead deals with reality.

I hear people asking questions like:

"Why isn't there enough troops there?"

"Why isn't there enough supplies there to feed everyone"?

"Why isn't there enough water"?

"Why is all of this taking so long"?

I'll tell you why. Because this type of effort is not, never has been and never will be instant coffee. It simply takes time. While we all would have loved to seen multiple convoys carrying 50,000 troops and supplies into this area within 24 hrs of the hurricane making landfall, that type of response simply isn't possible.

Units are first alerted. It takes them 2-3 days to bring in all of their people, get their equipment and supplies, plan for logistical issues, then move into an area. Some of these national guard units had to come from other states. These people weren't sitting in their HMMWV's and 5 ton trucks with pre-loaded supplies ready to head out the second this happened. No, it takes time to put everything into place. And the larger the response that's needed, the longer it takes. All of those trucks and helcopters need fuel and maintenance. The troops need food and water too. It's not just a simple matter of quickly moving men into place. That isn't the problem. The problem is moving them into place and then being able to sustain them and keep them in place. We could have probably had 10,000 troops on the ground by the end of Day 2 if we had wanted them. But the reason we couldn't do that is simple. All they would have had coming in so rapidly is what they could carry on them and in their HMMWV's. But then what happens when those personal supplies are exhausted and the truck's fuel spent in the first day? If the logistics system isn't in place, those guardsmen would essentially become victims themselves because they would have no means to supply and support themselves. There has been a long history in the military that for every guy who are actively engaged in carrying out missions, it takes 10 others to support him. That still holds true today. So the simple, truthful answer? It simply takes much more time to move 25,000 men and lots of supplies into an area than it does to move 2,000 men with minimal equipment into an area.

Some ask why we weren't air-dropping food and supplies in the first two days? Well, in a catastrophe, you have this thing called "triage". In triage, you develop a priority list of tasks to accomplish from most important to least important. You start with the priority and only move to the next step when the first priority is completed. The first priority set by the government in this effort was saving lives. That meant getting to and performing the rescue of the people most in danger of dying. That's why we weren't air-dropping food and water in the first two days. No. When the mission is to save lives immediately in danger, you rescue people trapped on roofs of houses being swallowed by flood waters. That is a more urgent task that feeding people. You can survive a few days without food. But you can't survive a few minutes if your lungs are filled with water. That's why all of the available air assets were used in these rescues. And they were highly successful. I have read figures that those helicopters and rescue boats were able to pluck 5,000-7,000 people from the flood waters.

Now, after the rescue part of the mission started to wind down, then we saw the helicopters start into the next phase, which was sustainment of survivors. That's where the food and water came into play. That's why we saw helicopters begin dropping these items to people on Thursday. We didn't have the resources to do both at once. So we prioritized based on need.

But we still needed a bigger effort. That's why today we saw a 50 truck convoy of large amphibious trucks move into downtown New Orleans sloshing through flood waters. They were sufficient to bring in a huge quantity of supplies that an ordinary helicopter or HMMWV couln't dream of hauling. And these vehicles were capable of foarding the flood water whereas other types of vehicles were not well suited to this task. But those type of vehicles can't just be found anywhere. No. They are specialized vehicles that likely came in from who knows where. Maybe California. Or maybe North Carolina. But you simply couldn't have gotten those in there immediately. It does take some amount of time to drive halfway across the country. And it takes time to get such a massive amount of supplies ready. And it takes time to get fuel tankers in place to support such a massive effort where there is no other source of fuel available.

Folks, as much as we would all like to do so, some situations are very difficult and they prevent us from doing things as quickly as we'd like. I would have given anything to have been able to snap my fingers and had all of those supplies in New Orleans on Tuesday. But that's simply not possible. Just as in the EMS crew responding to a cardiac arrest 20 minutes away example, there are times that despite our best efforts, we can't do everything we wish we could. This disaster is such an example. It will get better with each passing day as more suitable and more numerous equipment and supplies continue rolling in. But the sheer size, scope and number of people involved in this situation simply meant that it took this long to get everything into place to be able to provide such massive amounts of supplies that we need to sustain and care for an entire city that's 80% underwater.

Has the effort been perfect? No. Has the effort been good enough and quick enough to save everyone? No. Guess what? There is no way it could have ever been good enough. As I said, some situations mean that your best efforts come up a bit short. It's just reality. And it's really not anyone's fault. That's why I can't look at the mayor of New Orleans, the governor of Louisiana, the director of FEMA or the president and say...."this is your fault". Because I have been in situations before where all the planning and all the effort in the world still isn't good enough. But under some circumstances, it's all you can do.

It's frustrating to sit helpless watching something like this unfold. It makes us emotional to see elderly people sleeping on sidewalks. It makes me furious to hear that gang members are shooting at rescuers or raping children in shelters. But believe it or not, there is a plan here. And it's being put into action. Because we aren't there seeing it or involved in it, it's hard to see exactly how and why some things are happening. But we are working toward a goal and we will reach it. Sure, some people are no doubt going to die and have died because of the wait involved. But in a bad situation, sometimes you have to choose the least bad option and go with it. Due to the rescue efforts, I'm sure some with medical conditions died. But would we have been better off if we had abandoned those 7,000 people we pulled from the water and let them die so we could have saved the 100 people with medical problems? Folks, these are tough calls. But there is purpose and there is meaning to them. All I can say is thank God I'm not the one having to make some of these calls. I just hope everyone can realize the scope and size of this tragedy and how enormous the scale of this operation is. And I hope everyone can use logic and reason and not just base everything on the emotional aspect of this tragedy. If they do, I think they will see our leaders at all levels are doing everything they can to make this recovery effort work and save the most people possible.

-George
 

Jay McCoy

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Dec 6, 2003
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Extremely well put George. Couldnt have said it better. As a fellow Emergency Services member I too am sometimes frustrated at my own response time or been on scene waiting for the ambulance and wondering what was taking them but we dont have Star Trek transporters and it takes time to get the big machine rolling but once its going there isnt any stopping it as we have now started seeing. I just with some of the media would think before they spout off about slow response unless they have had experience in EM and distaster response.
 
Dec 26, 2004
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Thanks Jay. I'm glad we have several emergency services people here. Much of this stuff that goes on is difficult to understand if you don't have the training to recognize what's taking place. You and I understand how these sorts of things are organized and carried out because we've trained and rehearsed in various disaster scenarios hundreds of times. Hopefully folks like you, Chris Sokol, myself and others here can be helpful in explaining this stuff to non-emergency responders without appearing to be overly political, uncaringor arrogant. I care greatly and I sympathize with people in such situations. If I didn't, I wouldn't involve myself in this business.

I realize to the average person, it doesn't appear we are doing all we can. But there is a very detailed and thorough response plan in place and it's being followed to the T. Some may see situations and wonder why one group of people is being helped while another is waiting and not understand it. But when you see that happening, it's because the situation among one group is overall the most dire and they are being dealt with first just as the plan calls for. I had someone ask me the other day how on earth they could just leave all those dead bodies floating in the streets. The answer is simple. While it's not a nice thing to do, we need those limited resources to be rescuing the living so as to make sure there's not more dead bodies flaoting in the water.

-George
 

Jay McCoy

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Dec 6, 2003
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Agreed George. One of the biggest gripes I have heard was why wasnt the guard brought in immediately. even by air. The 1st rule in EM is to have support. do not rush in and become a victim yourself. If we had dropped troops in there without enough food, water, equipment to last for days until the support could get there they too would have become victims and only compounded the situation. That is why the 1st fire truck on the scene wont go running into a burning house until at least 1 unit is there as backup.

Anybody in a hurricane prone area has been told many times to stock up and be prepared to be able to survive for days without help. it seems most of these people were ill prepared as are most people along the coast. A few gallons of water and a few jars of peanut butter will sustain them for days. MRE's are now available to the public and are great for emergency kits. I carry a couple in my truck just in case.
 

Rob_Davis

Word. I am certainly not wealthy. I live paycheck to paycheck... if I am lucky. And I don't live anywhere near the coast, or even a flood plane. But I darn sure have a week's worth of food, water, batteries, candles, communications, and medicines stored and ready for use. You don't have to be rich to be smart.
 

Anonymous

I think the bigger, more important, and more relevant question than "Where was the military?" are "Why were things in the city itself so badly coordinated?"

Why were 25,000 people told to evacuate to the Convention Center, yet no provisions were left to accept such a crowd?

Why did the FEMA director only learn of this crowd several days later from watching the news services? Why didn't the state or local government inform FEMA those people were there?

Why were the choppers supposed to stop the levee breach mistakenly sent elsewhere on Tuesday?

Clearly there are massive issues with communication and command and control. Mobilizing the military takes time, I think that point has been made well and clear... but in the meantime, the resources that were already present could have been coordinated in a far better manner until the military arrived.
 

Jay McCoy

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Dec 6, 2003
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All that goes right back to Emergency planning on the local and state level which was obviously lacking. Supplies should have been prepositioned at the shelters before the people even arrived.
 
Dec 26, 2004
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I again agree with Jay. Local shelters that are set up are staffed and supplied locally. If there was not enough supplies there, then there was an issue locally. Since I wasn't there, I can't say what other problems might have been a factor. Perhaps far more people showed up than they were equipped to deal with at each shelter, so the supplies ran out sooner. But the4se shelters should have had at least had a minimum amount of supplies stocked to handle their anticipated capacity for a minimum of several days. If that was not the case, then someone on the local level dropped the ball.

As far as the communication issues, that's likely attributed to all the damage that knocked out the normal communications system. So messages that would normally be easy to deliver noiw became complicated. I recall one NG commander saying he was using civil war era means of communications, by having "runners" deliver messages from one area to another. It seems that there was quite a bit of confusion by too many people locally giving too many orders. A better centralized command center in which all the major players were located could have helped.

In regards to the helcopters fixing the levvy, I am not sure. But I seem to recall those helicopters were diverted for some other reason. I'm not sure if they were needed as a result of search and rescue or to counter the looting or what. Again, I can't comment on what I do not know. I am not aware of the operational decisions that diverted the helicopter's missions. It may have been a more urgent and pressing need. Or it could have been a result of a miscommunication. Again, I hate to speculate without having all the facts.

As for the convention center, I'm not sure that FEMA wasn't aware of it's existence. They probably knew it was there, they just had more pressing issues to deal with the first few days. There was suppose to have been enough food at these shelters to care for the evacuees a few days, therefore the first few days were spent concentrating on search and rescue. Once it became apparent they didn't have food, an air-drop was made by UH-60 Blackhawk loaded with food and water. It attempted to land Thursday, but was swarmed by the crowd. So they lifted up to an altitude of 10 feet and dropped the packages out one by one. The following day a massive convoy reached them bringing more substantial supplies. Whether or not the conditions there were the result of poor mismanagement on the local level or not, I cannot say for sure without having all the facts. But that's possible.

I must say what I've seen of the Federal response has been pretty good and is typical of what's to be expected. While the response hasn't been perfect and without it's share of problems, they have done and are doing what's expected of them. If there were failures on the local level, we'll know about it someday. But I don't want to cast blame on anyone or any entity including the mayor of New Orleans or the Louisiana Governor or the local EMA offices without having all the details. We simply don't yet know what failures happened or why. So we should hold off on the blame game until we do.
 
Apr 21, 2005
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Word. I am certainly not wealthy. I live paycheck to paycheck... if I am lucky. And I don't live anywhere near the coast, or even a flood plane. But I darn sure have a week's worth of food, water, batteries, candles, communications, and medicines stored and ready for use. You don't have to be rich to be smart.
i just bought 60 (the small ones, not the gallons) bottles of water from a local grocery store for 8 dollars and 54 cents. im sure these people could spare that much seeing they are wearing Nike basketball shoes.
 
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