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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Daniel Glick still claims "it's not about logistics" 
And responds to my arguments - and those of several logistics pros here:

http://www.danielglick.com/wp/index.php?p=563

Not surprisingly, since Glick's out of his league, his response fails.



Well, I go off to Seattle for a couple of days, and look what happens. The only time this sleepy little blog gets any traffic is when I say something that provokes a conservative pile-on. This time, it was Jason van Steenwyk, whom I criticized in my last post.


Well, I hate to burst his "poor me" victim bubble, but one blogger responding to criticisms does not a "conservative pile on" make. Nor does calling me conservative in ANY way refute my substantive points, nor those of any of several loggie pros, some of whom have first hand knowledge of the Katrina-related operations.

In fact, at no time does Glick even attempt to address their points directly, nor does he make any attempt to challenge any specific substansive point I've made in any of several posts here dealing with hurricane logistics.

Here he is, though asserting, well, nothing in particular:

However, the military specializes in doing things that would seem impossibly complex to the untrained.


In other words, a bunch of professional military officers - loggies all - slap him around and tell him what he wants to do is logistically impossible, and his response is that the military specializes in doing the impossible. No, it doesn't. Military loggies especially specialize in doing the POSSIBLE, and not trying to do what's clearly impossible, nor promising the impossible.

When they do, the results are disastrous. Ask anyone in Army Group B under General von Paulus in Stalingrad. When the army was cut off by a Russian pincer movement, von Paulus quite rightly sought to attack to the west to cut his way back to his logistical base.

Field Marshall Goering, head of the German Luftwaffe, assured Hitler that he would be able to keep von Paulus supplied by air.

Goering was out of his league, too. He had no idea what it would take to keep a motorized army group supplied in combat operations. And as it turned out, the Luftwaffe did not have sufficient transport aircraft in the inventory to supply half of von Paulus's needs. And the airfields available - like the airfields and available, intact road networks around New Orleans, had only limited throughput capacity. So even unlimited transport capacity would have been insufficient.

As a result, Army Group B slowly began to eat itself. And the process deteriorated until Army Group B could not even send trucks to pick up supplies from its last remaining airfield, because they didn't have enough fuel to go pick up more fuel. Read "Enemy at the Gates" for a vivid oral history of the battle (the movie sucks, despite Rachel Weisz being hot.)

It was all about the logistics. And in the case of New Orleans in the early days of the disaster, it was specifically about throughput.



Logistics imposed a limit on what the armed forces could do. But because politics imposed an even greater limit, the actual delay was not about the logistics.



Glick evinces no evidence that he's absorbed what we are trying to tell him. He presents no evidence to support the idea that an earlier green light could have more than marginally improved ground-based federal response - and totally ignores the large scale Coast Guard and USN presence that was already on the scene rescuing people by the hundreds well within the first five days.

The rest of the military was actively engaged in contingency planning, even without an official warning order from the Pentagon. But guess what, kiddo - it takes more than two days to get a brigade ready to move.

Glick's final point goes back to his first point in his earlier post - and relies on a politely worded ad hominem:



As for Lieutenant van Steenwyk, I am sure that his service in the Guard has been more difficult and consequential than anything I have ever done or will do in my life. He has my respect and gratitude for that. But it does not make him a reliable expert on all things military, especially when his partisan bias is so evident.



Sure, I'm usually conservative. But where is Glick's evidence that my partisan bias is distorting my argument? Am I commenting on all things military? No. Do I claim expertise on submarine tactics from the 1950s? No. I'm commenting on what it takes to move a battalion task force's worth of vehicles and gear during and immediately after hurricane conditions. And Mr. Glick, if you have reason to believe I'm not credible on this particular subject, then spell it out. It's easy enough. Find someone who's got more experience in hurricane relief than I have, whose commanded or been an S4 or XO at a higher echelon than I have, who will argue differently, or who will tell you it's "Not about the logistics."

It's frustrating to see these people resort to ad hominems. Oh, Van Steenwyk's only a junior officer. Oh, Van Steenwyk's politically biased. Ad hominems do not advance an argument, nor do they invalidated someone else's. If I'm lying because I'm biased, or if I'm distorting things because I'm biased, then fine. Maybe I am. So point it out. What, specifically, am I distorting, or omitting, or lying about, that would have sped up the arrival of large federal troops by as much as a single day?

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
Jason,

Don't let them see you upset over their dumb attacks. You are a bigger man than they will ever be, and have accomplished more in your hurricane relief role than they ever will.

We trust you. I trust you. And I know you are correct. Press on, to the next crisis.

Subsunk
 
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Oh, I'm not frustrated in the sense that I take it personally. I'm just frustrated because people on the other side of the argument are just not grounding the discussion in the facts.
 
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