Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is Anyone Steering This Ship?

Printed in the Guardian (UK)

National Guard Delay Likely to Be Examined
Saturday September 3, 2005 7:46 AM
Associated Press Writer

Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the situation has shown major breakdowns in the nation's emergency response capabilities. "There must be some accountability in this process after the crisis is addressed," he said....

Democrat Ben Nelson, Nebraska's other senator, said he now questions National Guard leaders' earlier assertions that they had enough resources to respond to natural disasters even with the Iraq war.

"I'm going to ask that question again," Nelson said. "Do we have enough (troops), and if we do, why were they not deployed sooner?"


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