« Pesh Merga & Tel Afar | Main | Pericles Strikes Again »

12 September 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Some Guy

"All" is far to ambiguous. I don't think the Bataan or the 82nd respond to "all."

And besides, somebody needs their rest. No point disrupting the nightly ritual to deploy a few "assets" on such a vague recommendation.

Pat Lang

Some Guy,

Come on. They respond to the CinC. That's the point.


Some Guy

It also makes me wonder about Rumsfeld's reported advice against using active military units to suppress looting and engage in rescue operations.

His worry was about active military shooting civilians, if I remember correctly.

What did Bush say to him, I wonder? Did he have any questions? Evidently Bush did not understand how bad it was (startling in itself), so without that understanding, how could he possibly cross-examine the DefSec's advice to determine if it made any sense?

Does Rummy have de facto control of troop deployment even in a national emergency?

I found the reporting on that dynamic to raise a whole lot more questions than it answered.

Some Guy

Important development on this talking point, coincidentally posted at Josh Marshall's talkingpointsmemo.com. The Congressional Research Service was asked by Rep. John Conyers to examine whether Governor Blanco followed the proper protocol for requesting federal aid and found that she did. (http://www2.dccc.org/docs/conyersgaokatrina.pdf)

Page 11 has the conclusion and succinct language on that point.

Also, we have Bush today saying he takes responsibility and not to blame first responders.

One wonders how this talking point is going to be massaged to try and preserve the image that Bush was tied by Blanco's alleged procedural errors. Or will Bush have to actually do more than say the appropriate thing and explain why he did not release the resources New Orleans so desparately needed?

He has forced Brown to resign, accepted responsibility and a reputable body has reviewed the actions and "acquitted" Blanco of the charge that she blocked federal action by not following the rules. There seems precious little wiggle room left, but then again I am probably being naive.

Josh has some good posts on this issue and raises some excellent questions.

Pat Lang


Under Goldwater-Nichols the SecDef is in the chain of command under all circumstances. Yes.

As a soldier, I too, do not want to see Regular Army troops killing civilians. They do not exist for that except in dire circumstance. This wasn't dire enough in my opinion. this is properly the function of the National Guard although I do not believe the Posse Comitatus act prevents the use of federal troops in suppressing public disorder if a state government asks for it. I do not think that a resort to the Insurrection act would have been necessary to do that if Louisiana had requested it.


Some Guy

Colonel, thanks for the clarification. What resources would have made sense to use if any? I also would worry about the use of troops in suppressing disorder, I am not making light of that danger; what I have have been wondering more about is relief and evacuation help. Don't the airborne forces have unique capacites that could have helped?

I guess what I am asking is if there is a way to employ those special capacities without putting soldiers untrained in policing in the position of stopping armed gangs?

Also, on Rumsfeld, in a case like this does that mean he does not need to wait for presidential authority to honor or decline requests for troops?



take a look at the latest:

FEMA, La. outsource Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping scandals

Pat Lang


If the pres. is unavailable he pretty much has a free hand.

Th Airborne force and their USAF friends could have dropped supplies. pl


FEMA, La. outsource Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping scandals

I think it is Blanco that signed the contract for the firm to take over the morgue responsibilities.

Something about FEMA dragging their feet, and hemming and hawing over the decision?



SCI has an interesting background. FLA and Texas.

Bush's career number four contributors heading into 2004.

SUppose they may 'lose count' of a few people?

Perhaps reclassify them so the 'total dead' is only allowed to be referred per precint/parrish.

Simple ways to parse terms and obfiscate.

Have previously heard SCI was a term to use for 'licensed to kill' designations within the company.

Their web page used to feature people walking up the steps on the Lincoln Memorial as a hint at their background...

More to come.


There is actually precedent for using Federal troops to maintain order in the event a city is destroyed by a national disaster. In 1906, the city of San Francisco was destroyed by a massive earthquake. Fires and looting broke out. 350,000 people were homeless and needed immediate evacuation.

Major General Frederick Funstan was the man on the ground at the Presidio, in charge of all forces in the California theater of operations in the absense of his superior officer. The Posse Comitatus law had been passed a few years prior prohibiting use of Federal troops in law enforcement situations, but the situation in San Francisco was clearly out of control of what the locals could do.

This being before the era of micro-managing limp-wristed civilians in the Pentagon micro-controlling commanders on the ground, he hit upon a simple and effective expedient -- he marched a column of soldiers up to where the Mayor of San Francisco was holed up, and said, "Mr. Mayor, we are at your disposal. Tell us what you need us to do." I.e., he basically deputized his men as San Francisco police officers under the command of the Mayor of San Francisco for the duration of the emergency.

Subsequent telegrams between himself and the War Department formalized this arrangement. For example, on April 26, Secretary Taft stated that "his [Mayor Schmidt] orders must control, and you must merely conform to his judgement so far as police matters are concerned."

Now: If a column of U.S. Marines under the command of a brigadier general had marched up to the Mayor's office in New Orleans and stated, "Mr. Mayor, we are at your command, what do you want us to do?" do you really, honestly believe that Mayor Nagin would have sent them packing? No freakin' way! But because our current leadership neither studies history nor understands command and control, the thought of turning federal military resources over to the local mayor for use in policing the city simply did not occur to them -- or if it did occur to them.

So people die needlessly for the incomptence or power-hungriness of our leaders... we have, indeed, come a long way since 1906. The wrong way, that is.

- Badtux the History Penguin

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Blog powered by Typepad