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General Blum: Guard Deployment in Iraq Hurt Katrina Response

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posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 10:36 AM
The deployment of thousands of National Guard troops from Mississippi and Louisiana in Iraq when Hurricane Katrina struck hindered those states' initial storm response, military and civilian officials said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said that "arguably" a day or so of response time was lost due to the absence of the Mississippi National Guard's 155th Brigade Combat Team and Louisiana's 256th Infantry Brigade, each with thousands of troops in Iraq.

"Had that brigade been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear," said Blum.

Blum said that to replace those units' command and control equipment, he dispatched personnel from Guard division headquarters from Kansas and Minnesota shortly after the storm struck.

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., whose waterfront home here was washed away in the storm, told reporters that the absence of the deployed Mississippi Guard units made it harder for local officials to coordinate their initial response.

"What you lost was a lot of local knowledge," Taylor said, as well as equipment that could have been used in recovery operations.

"The best equipment went with them, for obvious reasons," especially communications equipment, he added.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said this week that the Pentagon has the ability to cope with both Katrina and the Iraq war: "We can and will do both."

Asked on Tuesday about critics who said the commitment of large numbers of troops to the Iraq conflict hindered the military's response to Hurricane Katrina, Rumsfeld said, "Anyone who's saying that doesn't understand the situation."


Interesting that a General, chief of the National Guard, said that the National Guard deployment in Iraq has hurt the Katrina response - on the other side mister Rumsfeld claims that Pentagon can and will do both missions without any problems.

I posted this thread on the 1st of September - right after the Katrina hit the Coast - saying that the National Guard is streched too much and cannot cope with all the missions that the Pentagon "Thinks" they can perform.

Read more:

National Guard: Streched to a Breaking Point

The Gulf Coast disaster is further taxing the National Guard, already stretched to a breaking point in Iraq.

A spokesman for the Louisiana National Guard lamented to a local reporter that the state might be stretched for security personnel in the event of a big hurricane. Dozens of high-water vehicles, generators and Humvees were employed in Iraq, along with 3,000 Louisiana National Guard troops.

[edit on 10/9/05 by Souljah]


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