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T___A

Post Election Thread: Democracy Dies In Darkness And You Can Help

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Not saying that I might not want to hang the Governor from a high tree, but Trump isn't exactly looking like Hitler here.  I'm gonna rag on him for poor optics.  The twitter thing did more harm to him than good, IMO.   Death toll figures are the real odd card. I've heard rumours of a couple of ICUs failing wholesale and causing a bunch of fatalities...  Nothing concrete, but if that pans out, ouch. That's not easy to spin no matter what party is in office.

 

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6 hours ago, Belesarius said:

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/response-to-puerto-rico-pales-next-to-haiti-actions-1.490502#.WdGMo53D9Fp

 

""I think it's a fair ask why we're not seeing a similar command and response," said retired Lt. Gen. P.K. "Ken" Keen, the three-star general who commanded the U.S. military effort in Haiti, where 200,000 people died by some estimates. "The morning after, the president said we were going to respond in Port-au-Prince . . . robustly and immediately, and that gave the whole government clarity of purpose."

 

 

 

I am going to have to respond to the General with Jerry Hendrix, a retired USN captain and the Director of Naval History.

 


Tobin Harshaw: Jerry, before we get to the immediate issue of Puerto Rico, why don't you give us a brief rundown of your own experience in the Navy with disaster relief.


Jerry Hendrix: Like virtually every sailor of the past century, going back to Theodore Roosevelt’s dispatch of the Great White Fleet to respond to a massive earthquake on the island of Sicily, I had several exposures to humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations during my career. Perhaps the most instructive was when I served with Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 from 2005 to 2008. During that tour, the squadron provided detachments in response to earthquakes and volcano eruptions, including directing air operations in Kashmir following a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The devastation made the roads largely impassable to wheeled vehicles and at that altitude the air is so thin that helicopter cannot lift as many supplies with each flight.

Most of the time, our people operated from light amphibious carriers. But we also supplied detachments to the West Coast-based hospital ship USNS Mercy when she got underway in support of the planned Pacific Partnership summer exercise.

TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration's response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?

JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.

These are large ships that have large flight decks to land and dispatch heavy-lift CH-53 helicopters to and from disaster sites. They also have big well-decks -- exposed surfaces that are lower than the fore and aft of the ship -- from which large landing craft can be dispatched to shore carrying over 150 tons of water, food and other supplies on each trip. These are actually the ideal platforms for relief operations owing to their range of assets. The ships, due to their designs to support Marine amphibious landings in war zones, also have hospitals onboard to provide medical treatment on a large scale. That these ships were in the area should be viewed as a huge positive for the administration and the Department of Defense.

TH: On the flip side, others say that sending the hospital ship Comfortwas unnecessary -- purely symbolic and possibly counterproductive -- given that the number of hospital beds was not the problem. What's your opinion? 

JH: Comfort can add to the solution, but her lack of well-decks and large boats as well as her limited support of helicopter operations means that she has to go alongside a pier to be effective. In the immediate aftermath of a huge storm, pulling into a port that has not been surveyed for underwater obstacles like trees or cables or other refuse is an invitation to either put a hole your ship or foul your propellers or rudders.

That being said, there was a broad misunderstanding of the Comfort’s mission. She is not an “emergency response ship” but rather a hospital ship. She was built to accompany a large military force into a war zone as part of a buildup over time of capabilities to respond to wartime injuries. She is manned by military and civilian mariners as well as active and reserve medical personnel. It takes time to both man and equip her for sea. Given that there was no certainty where the hurricane would hit, it doesn’t make sense to have readied her prior to its impact.

It is revelatory of where the U.S. group mind is now that when the American public thinks about ships like the Comfort and Mercy, they automatically think of them as part of a civilian emergency response force rather than quietly considering the type of potential conflict that would require a hospital ship with 1,000 beds. I can tell you that when I think of those ships, I internally shudder at the thought of the type of conflict they were intended to support.

TH: Your plaudits toward the White House on all this are surprising to say the least. But where does the response still need to improve?

JH: One area in which the Trump administration could possibly lend additional assistance would be looking at a more robust activation of its assets in the Defense Department's Transportation Command to include more heavy-lift and cargo aircraft, as well as Maritime Administration shipping to move the logistics-heavy large infrastructure items on the ocean. Everything from bulldozers to transformers needs to come by ships, and it's been decades since it was really flexed to its full capacity. This would have the dual purpose of revealing any significant weaknesses in the Transportation Command assets and readiness should we need it in a military emergency down the road.

TH: Many critics feel that Florida and Houston had much better preparation before their storms hit this month. What could have been done better in advance in Puerto Rico, and what can be done in the rebuilding process to help minimize damage next time around?

JH: Puerto Rico is an island that suffers from its position in the middle of the Caribbean and its physical separation from the U.S. Its roads were in disrepair and its electrical grid was antiquated prior to the hurricane. The island has also suffered for years from ineffective local government and rising local territorial debt.

The Navy used to operate a large Navy base there, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads. I spent six months on the island in 1993, but when the island’s population protested the presence of the training range at nearby Vieques Island, the Navy shuttered the base, taking $300 million a year out of the Puerto Rican economy. I have no doubt that the federal government will be taking a hard look at large infrastructure investments and I hope that local governments look at building and general construction codes to make future buildings more hurricane survivable.

TH: What has been the most impressive crisis response/disaster relief operation undertaken by the Pentagon in recent decades? The tidal wave and nuclear disaster at $#@!ushima, Japan? The Indian Ocean typhoon?

JH: Without a doubt the Joint Force response to the 2004-05 earthquake and tsunami was the most massive and well-executed relief operation of my professional career. Virtually the entire U.S. Seventh Fleet under the leadership of Vice Admiral Doug Crowder responded with multiple carrier and amphibious strike groups. Water, food, medicine and other supplies flowed to and from disaster sites all over a vast geographical region. Crews worked for weeks on end to bring aid to people miles from the shoreline. The amount of coordination required was on the scale of a small war, and yet the supplies flowed both efficiently and effectively to where they were needed most.

TH: What other sorts of "soft power" can the Navy and other branches put an emphasis on going beyond reacting to disasters? Things like building roads and health facilities in the developing world?

JH: Exercises like the Pacific Partnership are superb for building good will. Navy SeaBees help to build school buildings and other administrative facilities with local tribal leaders. Wells are dug to provide fresh water and medical teams provide basic measles-mumps-rubella and polio vaccines, greatly decreasing child mortality rates in remote regions. These type of operations provide long term benefits for the U.S. in regions where radical terrorism can easily take hold.

TH: Obviously, it takes years for military purchases to become reality. Just as we have to plan well in advance for the security threats of tomorrow, what acquisitions priorities should the Pentagon have now to prepare for the natural and human-made disasters of tomorrow?

JH: One of the frustrating comments I recently received was that the Navy should have had the Comfort manned and ready prior to these hurricanes. Given that it has been over a decade since the nation suffered a major hurricane-related disaster, the argument my friend was making suggested that we should man the hospital ships each year during the three-month hurricane season. This would have cost tens of millions of dollars each year at the same time the Navy is shrinking and has less money and time to man, train and equip its combat and regular naval presence force to meet its day-to-day tasks. We have had a ship grounded and three collisions in the western Pacific over the past few months, largely due to the strain we have placed the Navy under.

If people want the Navy to be more ready to respond to natural disasters, then they need a larger Navy that is more flexible and has the funding to train and maintain its ships.

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9 hours ago, Belesarius said:

Not saying that I might not want to hang the Governor from a high tree, but Trump isn't exactly looking like Hitler here.  I'm gonna rag on him for poor optics.  The twitter thing did more harm to him than good, IMO.   Death toll figures are the real odd card. I've heard rumours of a couple of ICUs failing wholesale and causing a bunch of fatalities...  Nothing concrete, but if that pans out, ouch. That's not easy to spin no matter what party is in office.

 

 

Poor optics is like Trump's weapon though. It's his distraction smokescreen.

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Since we've all already established that most people fall into one of 2 camps on Trump; everything he does is evil or he's making America great again. Is there honestly a reason for him (or anyone) to care about what he tweets? Bad optics? What a joke. It doesn't matter what he says or tweets, it'll always be perceived as "bad optics" on the left and the media is going to ride that dick raw. He gets his power from shitting on people like that mayor and letting the media hyperventilate all over the place with their "hot takes". The brutal reality is that perception of his tweets is entirely irrelevant, much like his tweets themselves. I can't even bring myself to consider social media statements by anyone seriously anymore. It's all a farce, no matter who is doing it.

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1 hour ago, Lostwingman said:

Since we've all already established that most people fall into one of 2 camps on Trump; everything he does is evil or he's making America great again. Is there honestly a reason for him (or anyone) to care about what he tweets? Bad optics? What a joke. It doesn't matter what he says or tweets, it'll always be perceived as "bad optics" on the left and the media is going to ride that dick raw. He gets his power from shitting on people like that mayor and letting the media hyperventilate all over the place with their "hot takes". The brutal reality is that perception of his tweets is entirely irrelevant, much like his tweets themselves. I can't even bring myself to consider social media statements by anyone seriously anymore. It's all a farce, no matter who is doing it.

 

Pretty much true.

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17 hours ago, T___A said:

So a bill, which was sponsored by my rep, that bans abortion after 20 weeks passed the house. 

 

 

My rep is the best. 

 

 

I'm pro choice, since free country and everything, but I applaud this bill. 

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