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Rumsfeld kept rescue choppers from Katrina [View All]

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 11:25 AM
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Rumsfeld kept rescue choppers from Katrina
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by SteinL

The GQ article about SecDef Rumsfeld is now up. Frank Rich referenced it in today's column.

There you'll find the cover pages of the top secret notes Rumsfeld sent to the WH - with biblical quotations above battlefield images.

But you'll also find this:

a final story of Rumsfelds intransigence begins on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleansand the same day that Bush viewed the damage on a flyover from his Crawford, Texas, retreat back to Washingtona White House advance team toured the devastation in an Air Force helicopter. Noticing that their chopper was outfitted with a search-and-rescue lift, one of the advance men said to the pilot, "Were not taking you away from grabbing people off of rooftops, are we?"

"No, sir," said the pilot. He explained that he was from Floridas Hurlburt Field Air Force baseroughly 200 miles from New Orleanswhich contained an entire fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters. "Im just here because youre here," the pilot added. "My whole units sitting back at Hurlburt, wondering why were not being used."

Choppers with rescue air lift equipment were standing hours away, in the hundreds, and had not been deployed!
And why hadn't the choppers been sent?
Because Rumsfeld was engaged in a turf war, and it would take days before he finally sent in both troops and released the materiel.

The US military had hundreds of rescue choppers with airlift equipment within easy range. As BOHICA points out below, there were people in the military who were shaking with rage at not being allowed to assist.

The article explains:

The search-and-rescue helicopters were not being used because Donald Rumsfeld had not yet approved their deploymenteven though, as Lieutenant General Russ Honor, the cigar-chomping commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, would later tell me, "that Wednesday, we needed to evacuate people. The few helicopters we had in there were busy, and we were trying to deploy more."

Even a singularly obtuse George W Bush began understanding something was wrong, and in the end turned on his recalcitrant SecDef. But would you believe it - still it would take days before Rumsfeld gave the orders.

The article is worth reading in full. Personally I was convinced that Rumsfeld was a deeply delusional man, but the article makes it clear that he was dangerously delusional, and that the Bush presidency has him and Cheney to thank for a legacy that will go down in infamy.

Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, "Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching whats on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation Im watching? What the hell are you doing?"

Rumsfeld replied by trotting out the ongoing National Guard deployments and suggesting that sending active-duty troops would create "unity of command" issues. Visibly impatient, Bush turned away from Rumsfeld and began to direct his inquiries at Lieutenant General Honor on the video screen. "From then on, it was a Bush-Honor dialogue," remembers another participant. "The president cut Rumsfeld to pieces. I just wish it had happened earlier in the week."

The battlefield briefing cover sheets with biblical quotations can be seen at the slide-show that GQ has put up. The images are exclusive to them, and I can't place one here.

The article has a link to the cover-sheets mentioned by Frank Rich:
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