Thursday, September 01, 2005

Paul Krugman Discovers Basketball-gate

Once more descending into a parody of himself, Paul Krugman has now found the smoking gun behind Bush's ineptitude, Air Force personnel playing basketball.

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!"

Of course what he doesn't mention is that the Air Force Base in question, Keesler Air Force Base, is a training base, and may not even have the capability of taking any meaningful action, short of giving flight lessons to New Orleans' refugees, and in fact was heavily damaged by the hurricane. In fact looking up the base's home page brings up the following:

Keesler Air Force base has survived a direct hit by a Hurricane Katrina a Category 4 hurricane. Initial assessment shows extensive damage to our industrial and housing areas. We are deploying assessment crews and are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with commanders of many military bases who have offered assistance. The damage is severe enough that we are unable to leave our shelters until Thursday at the earliest in order to assure our recovery teams have cleared debris and made it safe for us and our families to return home.

Furthermore Krugman laments the fact that the National Guard cannot respond because "... many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "

Completely losing all sense of proportion, especially for an economist, Krugman fails to mention how much equipment "much" is. If you look at the actual quote from the officer.

Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

Considering there are over 10,000 guardsmen involved already, with tens of thousands more on the way, I think it is safe to say that they will bring more than "dozens" of vehicles.

Furthermore the officer in question continues:

Col. Schneider says the state has enough equipment to get by, and if Louisiana were to get hit by a major hurricane, the neighboring states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have all agreed to help."

As Governor Bush did for Ivan, after they were hit so many times, he just maxed all of his resources out, he reached out to Louisiana and we sent 200 national guardsmen to help support in recovery efforts," Col. Schneider said.

Now my heart goes out to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, and you could always make the case that we need to prepare for disasters like this better. We all need to chip in to help them. But hysterics and wild exaggerations do not help.

This helps.