Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but 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.
This gives the false impression that the Bataan was "never mobilized" to help the relief efforts. Now I don't claim to know specifically the status of their hospital beds, but the Bataan was mobilized on the 30th and has been operating in support of the relief since then. I guess Krugman just figures the Navy and Marine Corp are just lazy and spending their time watching pre-season football or something.
USS BATAAN, Gulf of Mexico (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) was tasked Aug. 30 to assist with Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts.
Two MH-60 search and rescue helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HC) 28, based out of Norfolk, Va., launched at 5 p.m. CST Aug. 30 to assist in the search and rescue efforts that are currently ongoing in and around the New Orleans area.
At 6:30 p.m. CST, two MH-53 helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, based out of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, also flew off Bataan to assist with efforts in the New Orleans area.
Bataan is currently underway in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 100 miles South of New Orleans. The ship’s involvement in humanitarian assistance operations is an effort by the Department of Defense in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
UPDATE: Powerline has more to say on this.