Thursday, January 21, 2010

Putting the wrong people in charge..

One of my favorite retired Army Generals, Russel L. Honoré, had this to say last week,
The U.S. relief effort after the Haiti earthquake started too slowly and cautiously, says a retired general who led the military relief effort on the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"The next morning after the earthquake, as a military man of 37 years service, I assumed … there would be airplanes delivering aid, not troops, but aid," said retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who coordinated military operations after disaster struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005. "What we saw instead was discussion about, 'Well we've got to send an assessment team in to see what the needs are.' And anytime I hear that, my head turns red."

The problem, Honore told USA TODAY, is that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, instead of the military, take the lead in international disaster response.
So, how is that working out for the Haitian people?
Food handouts were shut off Tuesday to thousands of people at a tent city here when the main U.S. aid agency said the Army should not be distributing the packages.
It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.

"We are not supposed to get rations unless approved by AID," Maj. Larry Jordan said.

Jordan said that approval was revoked; water was not included in the USAID decision, so the troops continued to hand out bottles of water. The State Department and USAID did not respond to requests for comment.

Jordan has been at the airport supervising distribution of individual food packages and bottled water since his arrival last week. Each package provides enough calories to sustain a person for a day.

The food is flown by helicopter to points throughout the capital and distributed by paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. At the tent city, set up at a golf course, more than 10,000 people displaced by the Haitian earthquake lay under makeshift tents. Each day, hundreds of people, many young children, line up for a meal.

Tuesday morning, the helicopters came only with water. Soldiers carried boxes of water in the hot sun and supervised Haitian volunteers who handed the supplies out.
Smart power ..... or humanitarian assistance run by the Vogan?


Lobotomy (sel) said...

Currently the administration being very very careful to look like its making its "best effort" to provide aide when in fact it is really doing very little as evidenced by Honore's observations.  Our country promised 100 million when we spent 300 times that amount buying new cars for the constituents.  We sent troops because that manpower is realistically pretty cheap or already paid for and makes some great press footage of the US "doing something". 

Bottom line is that despite the speeches and promises we are doing very little which then leads to the question do we have a responsibility to do so?  Yes we can probably help with some short term suffering, but long term the population is under-educated, over-populated and subject to a very corrupt ruling class and our "help" will do nothing to fix that.  A business man would call putting any effort beyond the minimal required to save face a very poor investment.

Its really hard to watch other people suffer, but when we've promised so much to our own country in various forms of social programs, there really is very little left to go around.  I would hate to be the troops there ordered to help but not given the resources and materials required to do the job right.  I think we have heard that theme somewhere else though too.

Byron Audler said...

I suspect that one of the uber-left State undersecretaries was crying to someone in the administration about how badly Bushitler screwed up Katrina aid by giving control to the hated and soon to revolt against the nation Military.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

The General is, as usual for him, correct.   Ah me.

Jay said...

General Honore is all wet on this.  The first slug of stuff to flow is rescue stuff.  Followed in short order (in our case -- a pretty large Navy presence) by relief supplies -- food/water/supplies.  The troops will provided needed security for the relief distribution.  If he thinks that the logistics of this is easy -- or that assessment/planning doesn't take some time -- or have value -- I am just flabbergasted.   He ought to know better.

cdrsalamander said...

If i blogged the the grass was green - would you come back and call it blue because everything else is color blind.

Dude - without a safe and secure environment, no one gets anything.  Full stop.  Humanitarian Relief 101.  I used to teach it.

Juan Caruso said...

Substitute the Katrina relief for Haiti and the parallels are striking (save Sean Penn's row boat fiasco, so far):
a) Incompetence/incapacity of the impacted state government
b) Dilatory assistance of U.S. Government (children without food for 5 days)
c) Unimplemented, preventative construction details
d) Outbreaks of violence
e) Largely black victims

The main difference in Haiti is that a military person will be held MOST accountable for any relief shortcomings the media pounces relentlessy upon.

MR T's Haircut said...

Wait, what about our "Global Force for Good"????

cdrsalamander said...

A & C are the most germane.  As always, you have to pick the right leaders and the right lead organization.

Right now, it is DOS and USAID.  That needs to change.

dc said...

Many of these Haitians will migrate to America, most will gain citizenship and vote. How many will remember/consider the current civilian administration in the future? 

I have no doubt that the troops on the ground are explaining why the food was shut off.

What else is about to be bungled in the near future?

AW1 Tim said...

If you want to help, and know for certain that your donation will be put to the best use, then go here:

These guys make me proud. Veterans and volunteers, paying their own way, being in place and providing medical assistance while others were making up their check lists. these folks are the type of quiet heros that America produces. Seeing a need, and doing what they can to meet it. No red tape, no government oversight, not willing to take no for an answer.

Identify, Adapt, Overcome. Lots of Haitians will survive because these guys saw a need and chose to act on it. God Bless them all.

   You can also read more about them at Blackfive.


11B40 said...


Last night on the "Russia Today" newscast, one of Putin's minions was interviewing an "American filmmaker" of whom I have never heard, who insisted that America was guilty of "criminal negligence" for its aid efforts in Haiti.  

Mother, please get me my hammer.  I found a nail that's sticking up.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I never thought I would say this, but I agree with Jay.  (Hey, Massachusetts elected a Republican, so we are out of smelling salts)

This dwarfs Katrina.  By several orders of magnitude.  Damage, loss of life, sick/injured, all of it. 

Gen Honore back-seat driving will not help things. 

In both cases, (Katrina and here) the Federal response was as fast as the Federal government is capable of moving.  Period.  The only thing they do efficiently is to ensure they get bigger. 

People aren't dying because of negligence or incompetence.  They're dying because of an earthquake and the aftermath in a big city with teeming slums that already was on the ragged edge for any kind of medical care for its population.

MaryR said...

This is obscene. and I agree with AW1 Tim. Team Rubcon is making it happen. An URR is right [don't tell him I said that], this is a disaster of magnitute...that matters.

AW1 Tim said...

Keep in mind that the meme about Bush and FEMA's slow response in the leftist sphere is predicated on the willfull blindness to the laws and separation of powers.

The Federal Government was ready and willing to assist in the days leading up to Katrina, and for sometime afterward. However, the Feds are prohibited from getting involved unless and until the Governor odf the state asks for help. LA's governor refused to ask for help until the drisis was well underway, and, as a result, Federal Assistance was delyed for much longer than it should have been.

Added to the misery was that NHO's own well-thought out, written, and published disaster plan was completely ignored by that buffoon Ray Nagin and his band of sycophantic, crapweael enablers and moron side-show palooza. Nagin bailed on his own frikkin' city, and left no one in charge. The cops weren't any help either.  People said that a full 25% of the force disappeared.  That's a lie. What turned up afterward was that 25% of the force never even existed. They were phantom hires to bring in more payroll and use it as grease for the other cops and flunkies.

The 9th ward is more like Haiti. Not because it was primarily poor, or black. It was an entire neighborhood of dependent folks. Folks whom the government supported through welfare. The city provided free transportation for them for medical and welfare appointments, helped them with everything. those folks didn't KNOW how to react when disaster struck, becuase they had never had to think for themselves or act on their own behalf. They sat while the water came, and waited for a free ride that never appeared.

Folks can disparage the Katrina response all they want to. It's a free country. However, they shouldn't disregard facts just to forward their own meme(s). First and formost, the problems and disaster that befell NO from Katrina were an entirely self-inflicted wound. Far more damage was done in Mississippi, but the folks there knew what to do and acted accordingly. they weren't an entitlement population, dependent upon the government for all their needs. They acted on their own behalf, weathered the storm, then set about rebuilding their communities and their lives. thank you very muc, without waiting for someone to "assist" them.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

So what else is new?

Eagle1 said...

Vogans and those who suffer the illusion that words = action.

Anyone who played in the Balkans could have foreseen this misadventure once the "NGOs" and DOS got involved as leads. Couple that with "Global Air Power" and it would be comedy show if people weren't dying.

Which may explain why the really useful tools like JLOTS are just now headed to a frigging island which has broken ports and no infrastructure. And a little tiny airport.

We were far better off when the Navy used to do this sort of thing as a matter of routine. >:o

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Tim nails it regarding Katrina.  Mayor of NO Nagin (D) and Governor of LA Blanco (D) absolutely abdicated their responsibilities in preparation for and during the hurricane.  LA was offered massive Federal $$$ assistance (to do things like rent buses) and flatly refused it.  Remember?

The only way to prevent a similar FEMA response is to give massive powers to the Federal Government at the expense of the state and local governments.  This clearly violates Stafford, and the 9th and 10th Amendments. 

Point being, the State Department has been in the driver's seat for things like we see in Haiti for decades.  We can no more pretend State doesn't exist and parse out its authorities to others (DoD) than we should pretend state and local governments don't exist because of Katrina and parse their authorities out to the Federal Government instead. 

No, what is required here is for SecState to start moving the chains....

cdrsalamander said...

Bring that heat on Sunday for Midrats!

Andrewdb said...

The number of FS officers is less than the number of members of military bands.  DoS can't do this job.  This makes the halt in aid distribution even more outrageous.

xformed said...

JLOTS...saw it on a Lisa Computer back in 1982.

But on topic, this should be a no brainer to get a sustained organization, and theri logistics on the ground, sts.  Sorrt of the thing "we" have had to do for a very long time now, and not not a mission of DOS/USAID:  Bases from nothingness.

ewok40k said...

hell, even couple of C-17s could be used to para-drop critical medical supplies within first 24 hours...
And don't compare this with Katrina, there was well70+k dead people in one place in a few days is something never witnessed in the US since Civil War... NO was quite well evacuated before the hurricane struck.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I suspect that the USAID people who stopped the Army from distributing food sleep just fine at night. After all, the Army had no place trying to usurp thier most noble progressive leadership.  What a pity Major could not have just thumped on the twit who stopped him, and carried on handing out the food.