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September 17, 2005

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Why isn't assisting in evacuation, transporting supplies and equipment and keeping or restoring order the job of the National Guard -- essentially a cross between civilain and military?

I think it would be. But they're in Iraq. So you still come down to the fact that SOMEONE in the miltiary needs to be trained in that military/civil role. And trained in more detail than the Guard is.

"Nationbuilding" isn't just rebuilding levees and bridges and highways and the port and so forth. "Nationbuilding" really refers to the establishment of order and democratic governing institutions. We don't need to do that here, except for a very brief period while the local authorities rest and regroup. What we needed the military for was search and rescue, and delivery of supplies and evacuation. That is more traditional.

So I think Bush is really misguided here, but it isn't about "nationbuilding" so much as understanding that one big role of the Commander in Chief is to give orders, like "Go!" Rumsfeld wasn't involved, Cheney was fishing, and no one gave an order or told Bush to give an order.

As others have said, we really need to get FEMA back as an independent entity and get the national guard back as a real national guard--the guardians of the homefront. Easiest way is to bring them home and eschew any more foreign adventures. Then people would be willing to join the Guard and Reserves again, because basically many people liked the idea of being guardians of the home front.

One thing we really need right now is local Civilian Groups that will read through, and lead public discussion about, the local and state disaster plan. Something tells me that if even a few Citizens of New Orleans had reviewed their planning -- a good many questions would have been asked. For instance, Red Cross had refused to "service" the Superdome because the plan did not meet their minimal standards for shelter. From that little fact, a lotta hell could have been raised about the plan.

As to the Military -- of course they have a role in most current disaster plans -- but it is not within the competence of a local or state official to "command" the 82nd Airborne. But when the DOD takes about 30% of the Guard out of Country on Deployment, and about 50% of their equiptment -- they ought to be held responsible IN ADVANCE to designate the emergency replacement for the Guard, their assets, and what they can and can't do. Bush has been treating the Guard as a cheapo piggy bank into which he can dip with no consequences. We need to make that much more difficult to do. (I would add, look at the BRAC plan -- it takes away even more state based Guard assets.) This summer the Governor's raised questions about this, and PA has taken DOD and the BRAC plan to court. Stopping the current BRAC until an assessment is made on the impact on the Guard's ability to execute disaster relief should be a cause as the BRAC is on schedule to be voted on this fall.

I actually think we should go raw on Bush's suggestion of seeing military under his command as first responders. If you remember some of the cartoons about Nixon (Herblok) asking if you would buy a used car from this guy -- we need a new visual, -- would you trust your family safety to W (shown sleeping on his favorite pillow under something saying he wants his life back) when the guy has a history of "getting lost" when he should be on duty -- reference, TANG, 911, and Katrina.

Mimikatz:

I do think a sound rebuilding program would include some "nation-building." Only, in the ideal world, it'd be led by NAACP, not the military.

Our government failed at every level, city, parish/county, state, and federal. It failed because we no longer select our leaders based on the qualities that matter most--the ability to lead and a genuine concern for the welfare of the people. Which is not to say that Blanco isn't well-intentioned. It's just to say that we often don't have people who have been selected for their ability to govern.

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