SCREWING UP A TWO CAR FUNERAL POSSESSION_____
I read over and over again that we have criticized enough. I don't think so. Because we had people with their heads up their posteriors, we had a confused mess in New Orleans during the first few days after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Boy-Christian Parfait (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Many of us are "lighting flashing mad" at the initial response so we are going to criticize; or, as we say in the south, "get on the bandwagon", to find out what went wrong in hopes the response will be better next time.
Tell the youngster Angel Sky(what a great name) ,17, we don't need to find out who is responsible for the slow response. She sat on the side of Interstate 10 just outside of New Orleans holding her 2 week old son, Thomas, for more than 24 hours; The only food around was some cold hot dogs. Angel gave Thomas hot water to drink in 95 degree heat. She was too poor to evacuate. OK, whose fault is this? Somebody!
I think situations like Angel's still get many of us angry, me, in particular.
For those first 72 hours after Katrina, I was glued to the TV, watching 30,000 people in the Super Dome with no food and no water knowing that we could have gotten food and water to those people within hours.
When I served in the 82d Airborne, for instance, we had
warehouses full of water and MREs, (meals ready to eat) which could have been in New Orleans in 2 or 3 hours. What happened? The people who could make decisions were sitting on their hands. It irritates me to no end and I don't think we can criticize them enough. They f..... up. KT
| AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH--Special Forces A Teams____________
In watching the terrible devastation of the hurricane in New Orleans, I immediately had a thought: What is needed are scores of Special Forces A-teams.
The military is making a fairly good response to this unprecedented disaster. It should have been better; and, we don't know the reasons why they didn't do better: probably the thing that always hurts us: bureaucracy and "turf" issues even in the midst of tragedy. But, why would not the military be a first line of response? They have the resources and command and control that is necessary. And, this is a great argument for why we have a responsive military. However, what I am proposing is something a little different: Special Forces A-Teams.
What are they? Well, they are small teams of highly trained soldiers who operate in unconventional ways. In wartime, their mission is to train the local populace in counter insurgency activities; there are a wide range of possibilities of what they could do in response to a natural disaster. In Vietnam, for instance, they would go into a village and work with the people in every aspect of village life: helping with water supply, figuring out how to protect their rice supplies, or whatever was needed.
Special Forces (Green Berets) have sometimes been called, the shadow soldiers
(See Shadow Warriors by Tom Clancy). My belief has always been that where we messed up in Vietnam was when we introduced conventional soldiers to the fight. Had we left the Special Forces in charge and let them train the South Vietnamese military and civilians and plan on remaining for years, we would not have had to turn tail and run! The Special Forces are older, understand their missions, and their changing missions. The Special Forces A-Teams(the basic 12-man unit) are trained to study the population, terrain, infrastructure, and sociological makeup of a community. Thery're like practical sociologists in a sense. They would be ideal for the aftermath of Katrina and helping get the poor communities up and running. The Green Berets are highly skilled soldiers, but they are more: they are flexible and know how to respond to whatever need arises.
In New Orleans, we had a third world country and we had refugees who needed help and evacuation asap. Is anything any more tailor made for a Special Forces A-team? These A-teams are smart and know how to react to fluid situations on the battlefield and we are on the "battlefield" in New Orleans. Green Berets are "worst case" experts. They are a bunch of smart guys reacting to situations with forethought as to what might happen and what they need to do.
New Orleans in the weeks and months ahead calls for desperate measures, creative approaches, and some long term strategy. This is one possibility. KT