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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

9.05.2005

Katrina Aftermath Choke-the-LWM Moment # 749

As a former Air Force logistics officer, let me clarify the following for the idiots in the Left Wing Media:

1. Things can get destroyed far more swiftly than they can get fixed.
2. The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.
3. You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.
4. We do not yet have teleporter nor replicator technology like you saw on "Star Trek" in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grownups actually engaged in the recovery effort today were studying engineering.
5. Getting people out of the stricken areas is the most pressing concern, since we cannot get enough supplies into it to safely sustain them.
6. Getting the airport, bridges, and roads repaired is the next priority, since the supplies and people needed to fix levees, drain the city, and repair the infrastructure cannot be transported via aircraft. You need to truck them in.
7. Once the infrastructure is repaired, it is vital to get the ports in working order. Equipment and supplies can only be moved into the area in large quantities by sea.
8. Only then can recovery efforts begin in earnest.
9. The above will take weeks and months, not days or hours.
10. No amount of yelling, crying, and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above. Facts are facts. Opinion is cheap.
11. You could do more help actually keeping your damned satellite trucks out of the way of the folks doing the real work.
12. If you must vent your indignation, how about targeting the Louisiana officials who did absolutely nothing to protect their constituents? At least you can help ensure the populace doesn't elect these clowns again.

Update:

Welcome, Malkinauts! Have a look around.

And to be perfectly frank, FEMA's doing a lousy job of things in my opinion as well. Thank God for the U.S. military, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the various churches who are making things happen on the ground for the Americans in the disaster area.

Update II:

McCannta doesn't think hosting "Oprah" is a good way to coordinate relief efforts, although Mayor Nagin thinks so.

MoltenThinker Maria makes some excellent points via e-mail (comment spam has taken our comments down temporarily---please feel free to use the e-mail link and let me know if I can post your response):

I must applaud someone. Well done. So well said!

As far as point #12 goes I'd like to know how many people stuck in the convention center or the Superdome who demanded gov't help, have ever actually voted. Isn't it always the people who demand the most of gov't, are the ones who do the least to participate.

I mean, if I lived 8-feet below sea level--either by choice or fate--you can bet my tug-boat, I'd know 2 things in life: what our city plan for evacuation is, and what day of the month we rehearse it.

Instead I saw people who thought they lived on a mountain top; who spent a lifetime rehearsing helplessness.

The gov't can not drop manna from heaven anymore than it can put 50,000 troops in a flooded city overnight.

Glad someone has finally put this in perspective.


Part of the trouble may be that our armed forces and disaster relief agencies have proven so quick and so effective time and again that many Americans believe they can work magic. The sheer size of the disaster area is something the LWM isn't getting across very well---this is an enormous area we're talking about. It takes hours to traverse on well-maintained interstate highways; far longer with key roads and bridges out of commission.

Update III:

K-Lo comes through---can I be her Former Air Force Logistics Guy?

Update IV:

Greyhawk dubs us Greys in the Grey v. Pink tribal conflict. I'm okay with that.

Update V:

Cold Fury gives witness.

What's the Rumpus gives the LWM what-for.

Moonbattery wonders if the Mayor of NOLA's lost it.

Irish Pennants concurs with the above, and recommends an idea for reforming FEMA which makes too much sense to pass muster inside the Beltway:

That said, I think the head of FEMA should always be a National Guard general. Then we'd always have someone used to command who is familiar with disaster relief in charge.


I think the key word is "in charge"---it's vital in a time of crisis for someone to appear to be in charge. That's why Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco are taking big hits.

MoltenThinker David Emigh has more ideas for how to strengthen disaster response (via e-mail):

I agree with your post 92.5%. FEMA is doing the job it was designed to do and doing it reasonably well. As am sure you are aware the damaged area is larger then Great Britain. And resources are pretty thin. FEMA makes it perfectly clear to all the states EMA's that they are in charge and on their own for 72 hours. LEMA failed. MEMA and Mobile EMA seem to be doing a good job. It will be easy for FEMA to work with the latter. I guess we need to federalize the former completely.

Now if you want to use this disaster to begin a discussion of what FEMA's role should be (ie somewhat different than now) I'll travel that road with you. If you deliberately design a camel and find you really needed at first was a gazelle, well you are out of luck. I think we need both a camel AND a gazelle. Maybe even under a different agency like the Coast Guard (I kid you not when I think the CG should have an airmobile brigade of first responders and police).


Mark's Forum is on board.

Counter Column has much more. (HT: The View At Sunset)

Update VI:

John in Carolina (no permalink) thinks we lost our MSM readers at Item #4. That presumes we had any....

Kurt G. calls me a Grey tribesman too. What's that mean? Check out Bill Whittle's essay and find out.

Fortunately, WordGirl keeps this blog balanced and demonstrates that you can be a Pink and a MoltenThinker too.

Update VII:

ThirdWaveDave has additional analysis around who did their jobs and who didn't---probably a Grey, that one.

MoltenThinker Number One Pat C. from Brainster's Blog notes that you don't airlift a lot of supplies to areas you want people to leave. It's a common sense view which has thus far eluded the Hair Helmet Hamas.

And speaking of the Shellacheads, Blogger 1st Class Lance over at Red State Rant is doing what none of the well-coifed media types seem eager to do---he's heading to the disaster area to help move supplies. It's easy for us to talk about what needs to be done when so many fine Americans like Lance are actually on the ground doing it. Godspeed, my friend.

Update VIII:

Stimey doesn't truck with simpering, whiny idiots.

I bet Don Miguel de la Piedra would agree.

Bad Hair Blog shows how big the devastation area would be were it in Spain, no small country. Now imagine much of that area impassable due to storm damage and you'll see the challenge our relief convoys face, even before you hit the gas shortage problem.

The Horrors of an Easily Distracted Mind notes the flaw in comparisons between military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and relief efforts in the Gulf Coast area.

The amazing Arthur Chrenkoff has a great roundup of the Blame Game.

If Major K is with us, who can stand against us?

Large Bill Pontificates is with us too.

No Oil for Pacifists has done their homework---lots of Blame Game links.

The Glittering Eye has some great links too.

Update IX:

Charmaine Yoest has Star Trek logistics envy.

Southpaw Grammar wonders if the nanny state didn't lead NOLA residents to believe that the government would protect them, even in the middle of catastrophe.

John Palmer e-mails the following:

Simple answer to "Why Nagin did so little before, and wants so much now"
Money. It is now somebody else's money.
If somebody else ( other city, other county, or other state) provides services in response to a planned action to cover different area's constituents, it is expected that the spending agency will be reimbursed. Emergency actions taken after the fact almost always happen on the other guy's dime because of their humanity.
Not New Orleans' costs.


I think the explanation might be even simpler---if somebody else is on point to do something, Nagin can simply gripe about it without having to be accountable for what does or does not get done.

Art Dembinski e-mails that New Orleans actually had a working airport after Katrina passed:

You mentioned "no working ports or airports"
According to a press release dated 1 Sept 2005, "Armstrong International Airport did become operational on Tuesday, August 30 for humanitarian relief flights and civilian and military rescue efforts." See
http://www.flymsy.com/Press_Releases/Katrina%20recovery.pdf In a news
article on the net (I lost the source) Aviation Director Roy Williams said FEMA prematurely halted "mercy flights" by airlines that flew donated
supplies into Armstrong and flew refugees out on Thursday Sept. 1. He
severely criticized FEMA. He says that as of 9/6 FEMA is still not
consulting him about airport capacity.
My maps indicate the airport is very close to downtown New Orleans and
the Superdome. I don't know about roads in & out of the airport.
I estimate that after all the facts come to light, it will turn out that Armstrong Airport was operational for all but a few hours during the height
of Katrina. I'm pretty sure it is capable of landing the largest USAF
cargo planes there are. You would probably know more about this than I. I
am beginning to suspect that there will be many, many instances of governmental authorities on the ground obstructing or interfering with all
sorts of relief efforts. The media have been so captivated with their
blame game and handwringing since New Orleans was flooded that most of the public have the impression the airport was not operational for many days after Katrina.


I'll dig into this some more, but if Art's correct, there may have been another missed opportunity. Your typical helicopter can carry about as much cargo as a pickup truck. Being able to land cargo aircraft before the main airport was back up would have greatly increased the authorities' ability to get supplies into the area.

Now, it's not just runway length that counts. It's also having electricity (although perhaps generators could be part of the first load, along with bare base personnel to hook them up). It's also having some sort of airfield operations capability, not to mention access to thoroughfares so vehicles could get between the airfield and the staging areas for relief.

Let's not kid ourselves, though---having enough dry, flat, open space near downtown would present a great opportunity for getting in life-saving supplies.

If anyone has any further insight into Armstrong Airport, we'd love to hear about it.

Update X:

Protein Wisdom gives us big ups.

Irish Spy's been snooping around here.

Margi Lowry sends big love.

Update XI:

Political Yen/Yang thinks the above is quite short and quite good. The original post perhaps, but these updates are making it very long indeed.

Digital Brownshirt has a pic up of how the MSM seems to think FEMA would run under the Kerry Administration.

Hanamas.com resembles that remark.

Rammin' and Jammin' says the LWM can't handle the truth.

Voices in My Head has a nice summary of the Jack Kelly article, our original post, and some key facts about the rescue and relief effort thus far.

Update XII:

Lanz over at Fulcrum Ruminations (my pick for best blog name of the year)proves great minds think alike.

Thanks to all of our new friends who've linked and commented via blog and e-mail.

3 Comments:

Blogger Karl said...

I posted a link to the Post Gazette piece on my Live Journal page. It got picked up, and then it got commented on.

One of the comments:

Obviously this unnamed "former Air Force logistics officer" hasn't studied his logistics courses very well, or perhaps thats why he's a FORMER logistics officer?


Needless to say, he disagrees with your take.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Teflon said...

That's actually pretty funny.

I did quite well in Supply School (where AF supply officers get their logistics training), particularly given how we'd hoodwinked the instructor into starting class every day at 6 am so that we could get an early tee time in the afternoon.

Perhaps your commenter has specialized knowledge as to how to traverse space and time more effectively than the U.S. military, who managed to get to the disaster area in force in a mere 3 days, versus, say, the 5 it took to reach South Florida post-Andrew.

If so, FEMA seems to be hiring.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Karl said...

I forwarded your response. I won't play telephone beyond this point -- if he wants to continue telling you how and why you're wrong, he knows where to find you.

5:45 PM  

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