Monday, May 18, 2009


Paul Krugman wrote today that Donald Rumsfeld withheld military support from the gulf area during Katrina for a week while people were dying. Invoking Posse Comitatus, the law that forbids the active military from performing police function in the U.S. He said that the National Guard should be sufficient.
My take on the situation: One problem, the national guard was in Iraq, not Louisiana like it should have been. Another problem is that providing assistance to people in need does not violate Posse Comitatus, and once the national guard is called in the area is placed under martial law, habeas corpus is suspended and Posse Comitatus at that point does not apply.
Krugman had the most damning assessment from a post he wrote at the time:

Even military resources in the right place weren’t ordered into action. “On Wednesday,” said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., “reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!” 

There's only one thing I can say about Rummy, this was UNCONSCIONABLE! 


swordfish1543 said...

I can't remember where I read - recently! - about Rummy's need to "be in charge" without actually, you know, DOING anything.
This character trait explains why DoD - not State - got the post-invasion Iraq reconstruction portfolio... tho', of course, Rummy did nothing to plan for post-invasion reconstruction, and pretty much bungled it completely - staffing the Green Zone with young ideological "loyal Bushies", not competent, experienced personnel.

His non-response to Katrina is but another example of his assertion of power for the sake of it - with no underlying rationale or concern about the consequences.

A Biblical quotation comes to mind: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
[Matthew 16:19]
Seems Rummy wanted those keys!

P M Prescott said...

He sure did.