I know that in the coming weeks "low-intensity combat" will be our subject, but I think it is interesting what is happening in New Orleans today and the role that this type of combat is playing there as I blog.
Today the military is engaged in "4th Phase" operations in New Orleans. The mission: Secure the streets, provide order, deliver goods. Most enlisted men don't sign up for such exercises, and if they do, they think that such events will take place in Liberia, not Louisana. According to the New York Times (www.nytimes.com) , "By Friday, about 19,500 National Guard troops had arrived in Louisiana and Mississippi, and 6,500 in New Orleans itself...Senior Pentagon and military officials said the Guard presence in the hurricane zone would grow to 30,000 in coming days."
Hopefully what all this means is that with troops in the city and a "shoot to kill" order, looting will cease and that stability will somehow start to restablish itself in a flooded city. Many of the reservists in New Orleans have just returned from Iraq where they gained first-hand experience in peacekeeping and "nation-building." Luckily for them, the radical elements in New Orleans are fewer in number than in Iraq, so their jobs should be easier, but very important nonetheless.
And at this point I am just going to vent and know that nothing below will have anything to do with low-intensity combat.
Why does it take 4 days to get essentials to a populace? Don't tell me logistics, when we can get a team of American experts to the far reaches of the Artic to save a dozen Russian submariners. Why does the head of FEMA have absolutely no experience in disaster relief? Oh yeah, he raised a lot of money for the President. Why didn't local authorities make evacuation mandatory before the hurricane, and provide school and public buses for the poor? To borrow an expression, the entire post-disaster planning has been "FUBAR" from both local and federal government. This hurricane has also been a case study in human nature: putting things off until disaster strikes. We don't do anything about islamic terrorism until after 9/11 even though we had Marine barracks, naval vessels, and embassies bombed, and we don't appropiate the money for New Orlean's levies until they're shattered.
I can start to see how Iraqis feel now. They are poor, hungry, and sick and all we want to do is promote freedom. Whats more important to the common man Iraqi: a constitution or a job and food? Could you imagine going to New Orleans yesterday and trying to get people to register to vote while bodies are in the streets, people are starving, and diabetics are about to run out of their insulin supply? This hardens my resolve in that democracy is not the basis of civilization, stability is.