...federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.
Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.But, in fact the government was using the Bataan to fly search and rescue missions with helicoptors, on Tuesday, the day after the hurricane hit, according to this CNN story:
The Pentagon effort includes the Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, whose helicopters have been flying relief missions from off the Louisiana coast.
The ship, which resembles a small aircraft carrier, can produce large quantities of fresh water and is equipped with 600 hospital beds.
The ship apparently had been returning from a training exercise off Panama and had been routed to follow Katrina and assist where it was decided she was most needed after the hurricane hit land.
Nor is that all the Bush Administration did. The CNN story is headlined:
Massive federal relief effort under way
And tells us:
Several other ships, including a rescue and salvage vessel and the USS Iwo Jima, another amphibious assault ship, are on their way from Norfolk, Virginia, the Navy said.
The USNS Comfort, a floating hospital based in Baltimore, Maryland, will depart in coming days. A medical crew from Bethesda Naval Hospital will staff the ship. It has full hospital capabilities, including operating rooms and hundreds of beds.
In addition to the Navy:
More than 125,000 National Guard troops have been activated in 19 states and Washington, D.C., to help local agencies with traffic control, security, distributing food, and search and rescue, a Guard spokesman said.
The Coast Guard, whose crews have been assisting in the rescue of people stranded by high water in the New Orleans area, is recalling 550 reservists to assist in the relief effort.
The Air Force said it was sending two large cargo planes to the region -- a C-5 Galaxy to Louisiana and a C-17 to Mississippi.
Besides humanitarian aid, the C-5 is bringing in swift boats, which can maneuver in shallow floodwaters to ferry rescue workers and victims. The C-17 is outfitted to evacuate 36 sick and injured people at a time.
The Air Force also deployed MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to Mississippi for search and rescue efforts.
The Pentagon's Northern Command was setting up a joint relief task force at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, to coordinate military efforts with FEMA, officials said.Or, we could say, the Federal government mobilized substantial amounts of its resources to rescue Americans hit by the hurricane. Which is the exact opposite of what Krugman and his ilk are claiming.
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