Friday, September 02, 2005

"You can't push a rope" 
I'm flagrantly plagiarizing the remarks of a longtime reader posted on Ann Althouse's bulletin board under the name "Subsunk." (I can't link directly to it.)

I lived through Hurrican Hugo. The response to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is about average. It took two days for power to be restored to only the most vital locations (hospitals, command centers, phones). Then it took 6 weeks to get power to the rest of the city in sections. and Charleston wasn't under 15 feet of water. The river was blocked for several weeks. The help has to cut their way in during the first 2 days. Just getting where you need them to be takes time.
After you mobilize the Guard, it takes a couple of days for them to get there. They work for the governor, not FEMA. They do what the governor says, not FEMA. Command and Control is the cities' police function. If that doesn't work, it is the state governments function. If they can't do it, then the federal government will take over. To do that you have to call out the Army and Navy. Since that has already happened, and they have been placed at the State's disposal, when the state of Louisiana gives up trying to control this, then the US government could take over, but only if LA is going to give up.
Those who say Posse Comitatus doesn't apply here are wrong. Federal military authorities have NO authority to operate outside their own bases with federal orders. The governor can't tell them what to do, except to stay off her turf. She is in charge. If the State of LA wants to abdicate their responsibilities here, then I'm sure the Army can commandeer her National Guardsmen and police and go about setting order here.
When the Guard is called up for non federal emergencies, the state which calls them up pays their salaries. Obviously, the Gov. has to worry about where she will get the money to do this from LA's budget. However, since the President mobilized several Guard units outside LA and MS, the federal government will be paying them, and we can assume their officers will give direction to their own folks and coordinate with the desires of LA and MS Guardsmen who will still be in charge in their states. That's just the way the law is.
It took almost 2 weeks after Hugo left town for Charleston to have food and water to all areas of the affected zone. The cops did their level best to help everyone, as I'm sure the NO cops are trying to do now. We aren't seeing all the good things people are doing to help each other because our news comes from the place where we send all the refugees and then wonder why trucks and busses can't get to them, why there are no Guardsmen giving direction? Because they can't get there.
Since the highways are under water, how do the Guardsmen get to these isolated areas? How many boats does a Guard Brigade have? not many, probably less than a dozen. Unless you are a bridging or engineer company, you don't use them in the Army. Trucking boats over the highways takes longer.

You guys and the folks stuck in NO just need to recognize that their lives will be day to day for the next 2 weeks, minimum. People are doing as much as they can to help. But it isn't Star Trek where you can just say "Make it so" and it is so. Men have to work hard to make these things happen. Everytime you moan and complain that things ain't happening to your satisfaction, the guys making the 6 hr trip to Houston to drop off refugees, and the Guardsmen driving 6 hours just to get to the outskirts of NO begin to feel pretty unappreciated. They aren't paid to give up their lives for 6 weeks to babysit people who need to stay in line and follow directions on their own. Striking out at the hand that is coming to help you is not the way to get that hand to move faster. Stop whining and accept the fact that the laws of physics are absolute, hurricanes will always be with us, and you can't push a rope

Umm, what he says.

Splash, out


That's a former submariner; shows up in our comments regularlike.

He needs to start a blog--he's a thoughtful dude.
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