Naturalmente falsa la tesi che sia stato il collasso della polizia a rallentare i soccorsi. Fra le righe peró l' una o l' altra informazione c' é.
Disintegration of New Orleans police slowed response: guard commander [ Hurricane Katrina]
Source: Agence France Presse
Published: Sep 4, 2005
Author: Agence France Presse
Disintegration of New Orleans police slowed response: guard commander
Sat Sep 3, 4:34 PM ET
The National Guard was slow to move troops into New Orleans because it did not anticipate the collapse of the city's police force after Hurricane Katrina, the guard's commander said.
Lieutenant General Steven Blum said the New Orleans police force was left with only a third of its pre-storm 1,500-person strength.
Some police had families caught up in the disaster, others were unable to make it back to their precincts because of the flooding, and yet others left their posts after deciding the situation had grown too dangerous.
"The real issue, particularly in New Orleans, is that no one anticipated the disintegration or the erosion of the civilian police force in New Orleans," Blum told reporters here.
"Once that assessment was made ... then the requirement became obvious," he said. "And that's when we started flowing military police into the theater."
On Friday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin angrily denounced the slow federal response as too little, too late, charging that promised troops had not arrived in time.
"Now get off your asses and let's do something and fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country," the mayor said in remarks aired on CNN.
Blum said that since Thursday some 7,000 National Guard and military police had moved into the city.
But he said any suggestion that the National Guard had not performed well or was late was a "low blow."
The initial priority of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard forces was disaster relief, not law enforcement, because they expected the police to handle that, he said.
"We were pulsing forces in in very degraded infrastructure -- airports had reduced capabilities ... in some cases we only had one road in because of lack of bridges, flooding, loss of infrastructure," he said.
"So we couldn't rush to failure on this thing and we had to take a more measured approach on this thing than any of us wanted," he said.
When it became apparent that disorder in New Orleans should be the most immediate priority, the National Guard waited until they had enough forces in hand to make an overwhelming show of force, he said.
On Friday, while President George W. Bush was touring the stricken city, 1,000 military police and National Guard stormed the convention center where street gangs mixed in with thousands of others awaiting rescue had created a volatile situation, Blum said.
"Had we gone in with a lesser force we may have been challenged, innocents may have been caught in a fight between the guard and military police and those who did not want to be processed or apprehended," he said.
Bush, under intense criticism for the slow federal response, on Saturday ordered an additional 7,000 active duty and reserve ground troops to reinforce the National Guard.
That would raise the level of US military forces committed to the relief effort -- active duty as well as national guard and reserves -- to more than 50,000 by the end of next week.
Blum said that on Saturday there were 27,000 national guard troops in Louisiana and Mississippi. That number will grow to about 40,000 within the next week, he said.
There were varying estimates of the number of active duty troops already in the area as part of the relief of operations before Bush's order.
Major General Joseph Inge, deputy commander of the US Northern Command, put the number of active duty forces already on the ground at nearly 5,000 while Blum estimated the active force at 7,000, including sailors aboard navy ships.
The additional troops ordered in from the active force include 2,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, 2,700 from the 1st Cavalry Division and 2,000 from the 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Forces.