Tarry for the Nonce

September 2, 2005

Being All That They Can Be

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:06 pm

Having heard some complaint today about the National Guard not being available to help with Katrina because they are “stretched too thin” by Bush policy, I just wanted to toss in something about the National Guard:

There are 1,012,000 soldiers on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard. Of them, 261,000 are deployed overseas in 120 countries. Iraq accounts for 103,000 soldiers, or 10.2 percent of the Army.

Thatís all? Yes, 10.2 percent. That datum is significant in itself, a good one to keep handy the next time someone talks about how our forces are stretched too thin, our troops are at the breaking point, and so forth. If you add in Afghanistan (15,000) and the support troops in Kuwait (10,000) you still only have 12.6 percent.

So where are the rest? 751,000 (74.2 percent) are in the U.S. About half are active duty, and half Guard and Reserve . . .

The New York Times has called the military response ďa costly game of catch up.Ē Catching up compared to what, one wonders. National Guard units were mobilized immediately; 7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of Katrina ó a commendable response given the disruptions to the transportation infrastructure . . . Seven thousand mostly Navy and other specialized assets are currently in the area directly supporting hurricane relief, and a much larger number of other forces are en route. The process has been functioning remarkably smoothly under the circumstances.

I reiterate my position that the government is doing everything it can. Sometimes, these things just happen.



  1. It seems to me that, considering the degree of devastation, the numbers of people affected and the fact that katrina did not simply hit New Orleans & leave, allowing people to recover, but that katrina hit, the levees did not hold, the streets were flooded (beyond repair?) and the crisis continued for several days before anything could be done either to get a handle on things or even to determine the true extent of the damage — it seems to me that governments (city, state & national) of surrounding areas have reacted quickly and are desparately trying to find solutions to an extremely difficult, immense and unprecendented problem. In particular, our military has once again demonstrated its superb training and capability in dealing with even a catastrophic disaster. From reports of donations from all over the country and from corporations as well as private citizens (both celebrity and average Americans) indicate that, once again, Americans have risen to the challenge.

    I think that one of the reasons that people in the crisis are complaining that “no one seems to be helping them” is that they can only see things from their direct view — they cannot see the extent of the devastation nor can they know what is happening to assist them, having no way to get any news. So, of course, to them — hungry, without electricity, no water, few public facilities, most likely suffering from shock — it seems as if no one is helping them. Tunnel vision and it is completely understandable, under the circumstances.

    Comment by auntlori — September 3, 2005 @ 7:38 am

  2. What I want to know is…if these news channels can send in journalists with camera crews to do interviews and the like, why aren’t they instead using the money/resources to lend a hand instead of wasting it on the aftermath news stories? Seems to me like there is more they could be doing than just walking around reporting on the scene.

    Not that I’m trying to tell them how to spend their money, but if this is such a big deal, why are they sitting on their laurels when it comes to helping those who are the most affected by this? Already our corporations have begun to respond to the devistation, but it just makes sense that these people would feel violent towards outsiders if they have these pansy-type of news anchors walking around, taking pictures, and interviewing folks who are struggling for food and water, just to survive. Especially if they aren’t giving them any assistance.

    Comment by Andrew P. — September 3, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

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