We Have Methods In Place

The anti Bush crowd seems to harp on this idea that the National Guard should have been here as if their presence would have prevented hurricane Katrina. Over at the Nation the admonishment that it is cheap to politicize natural disaster came with the line, “Did you see the headline about Louisiana’s National Guard watching the destruction of their homeland from Iraq?”

Of course this is inaccurate because as I have pointed out, most of Louisiana’s National Guard is in Louisiana. They say they have about 6500 troops available (that is not how many are actually home, just how many are available). There are about 31,700 troops available when the strength of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi are combined. We all know that the Guard belongs to the state and is there to provide aid in the event of emergencies. However, the Guard has a federal mission that involves serving with the active duty when required. So how do we manage without them?

Well, as strange as it might seem, the US has other methods to handle these kinds of emergencies. There is an agency called the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They have a whole lot of experience and expertise in these things. I have worked with many FEMA employees and they are very knowledgeable and well skilled. Then there are other agencies like the Red Cross, The Environmental Protection Agency, The Department of Health and Human Services, Coast Guard, Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Aviation Administration just to name a few. These agencies have experience in responding to these disasters. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that resources are available even if several agencies are otherwise occupied. So what have they managed to put into motion in this short time frame?

  • _The American Red Cross said it had thousands of volunteers mobilized for the hurricane. It was the “largest single mobilization that we’ve done for any single natural disaster,” spokesman Bradley Hague said. The organization set up operational headquarters in Baton Rouge, La.
  • _The Environmental Protection Agency dispatched emergency crews to Louisiana and Texas because of concern about oil and chemical spills.
  • _The Coast Guard closed ports and waterways along the Gulf Coast and positioned craft around the area to conduct post-hurricane search and rescue operations.
  • _The Agriculture Department said its Food and Nutrition Service would provide meals and other commodities, such as infant formula, distilled water for babies and emergency food stamps.
  • _The Federal Aviation Administration said airports were closed in New Orleans and Baton Rouge; Biloxi, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.; Pensacola, Fla., and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
  • _The Defense Department dispatched emergency coordinators to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi to provide communications equipment, search and rescue operations, medical teams and other emergency assistance.
  • _The Health and Human Services Department sent 38 doctors and nurses to Jackson, Miss., to be used where needed, and 30 pallets of medical supplies to the region, including first aid materials, sterile gloves and oxygen tanks.

Throw in the donations by private citizens and the money and equipment from the large businesses that the liberals portray as evil and we have the makings of a full blown recovery effort even without the National Guard. This will make no difference to those who wish to use the disaster to further a political agenda and natural hatred for the President. To them, Katrina was manufactured by the Bush administration to let his oil buddies get richer and it could have been prevented if 34% of Louisiana’s National Guard had not been deployed.

Read it here.

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