September 3rd, 2005


The rosy and the not so rosy

This morning I am leaning more towards a rosier view of the refusal to allow the Red Cross into New Orleans with supplies. If you remember, when supplies came into Iraq, at least in television 'reality' there was some chaos. Basically, I remember some television scenes of the supplies being hoarded by young men who were able to grab what they could. So it was cruel but necessary not to repeat that scene, but the federal and more local governments and the Red Cross wisely did not explain their full reasoning, because to do so would have irresponsibly associated the word 'rioting' with African Americans.

On the other hand, I don't think the Bushist Party is behaving as if it is too terribly terrified of losing the next election, only that it is 'terrified' of losing the support of its unfairly rich sponsors. This makes me very anxious. I'm still counting on a lot of narrow and 'surprising' Bushist 'victories' in 2006. I would really like to be proven way wrong about that. And what I'd really like is for an active news media -- and Patrick Fitzgerald -- to derail the whole diabolical coup plot, before Nov. 2006.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same....

"The Homeland Security Department has requested and continues to request that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans," said Renita Hosler, spokeswoman for the Red Cross....

Though frustrated, Hosler understood the reasons. The goal is to move people out of an uninhabitable city, and relief operations might keep them there. Security is so bad that she fears feeding stations might get ransacked....
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Potemkin USA

I just woke up and yes, I know the demon has gone back to hell (but
that's too much expected to call it news), and yes, I have seen the
headlines about 'combat operations' in New Orleans.

For now, though:

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., issued the following statement this afternoon....

Sen. Landrieu said:


"[P]erhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment...."

Mary, don't whine that the Bushist tricked you; you've been tricked
too many times. Shame on you.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Combat in New Orleans

Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans

By Joseph R. Chenelly
[Army] Times staff writer

NEW ORLEANS — Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”

Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy.

Dozens of military trucks and up-armored Humvees left the staging area just after 11 a.m. Friday, while hundreds more troops arrived at the same staging area in the city via Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.

“We’re here to do whatever they need us to do,” Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon, of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1345th Transportation Company. “We packed to stay as long as it takes.”

While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.

To be generous here, one could note that (a) this was written by a professional newspaper reporter, so the writer probably didn't know the meaning of the word 'insurgency' and simply has fallen into a type of lingo, and (b) if soldiers are being shot at (see the following) then maybe you could stretch the term to cover that, if you are ambitious, although I'm not that ambitious. Gangs shooting it out with 'cops' is not an insurgency.

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and police helicopters filled the city sky Friday morning. Most had armed soldiers manning the doors. According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Grishamn, a spokesman for the amphibious assault ship Bataan, the vessel kept its helicopters at sea Thursday night after several military helicopters reported being shot at from the ground.

Numerous soldiers also told Army Times that they have been shot at by armed civilians in New Orleans. Spokesmen for the Joint Task Force Headquarters at the Superdome were unaware of any servicemen being wounded in the streets, although one soldier is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during a struggle with a civilian in the dome Wednesday night.

“I never thought that at a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,” said Spc. Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. “And I never thought I’d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.”

Spc. Cliff Ferguson of the 527th Engineer Battalion pointed out that he knows there are plenty of decent people in New Orleans, but he said it is hard to stay motivated considering the circumstances.

“This is making a lot of us think about not reenlisting.” Ferguson said. “You have to think about whether it is worth risking your neck for someone who will turn around and shoot at you. We didn’t come here to fight a war. We came here to help.”

I'm not ready to believe the reports above. The Army is very good at bullshitting. The quoted soldiers might all be covert propaganda operatives, for all I know. On the other hand, maybe these soldiers are experiencing something like what New Orleans police would have expected, which is consistent with reports that many New Orleans police have said the hell with it.

If Mike Malloy already knows about the stuff in this article, he's probably climbing the walls. If you are shocked each time the Bushists reach a new low, you will be shocked again and again; so don't be shocked by any new lows, believe in them ahead of time. Furthermore it is a good time to keep your eyes open; after all, combat troops going in, where martial law is in force by request of the city's Democratic mayor, isn't too surprising, and for combat people to talk like combat people also isn't surprising. They are doing their jobs, and few of them are as articulate as Wesley Clark. It could have happened with Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter as president. What makes it very anxiety-worthy in this case, though, is that the Bushists must view this disaster as an opportunity. They certainly are not treating it like a first class disaster.

Our only real hopes that I know of are a re-awakened media (we'll see) and Patrick Fitzgerald.