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Congress Likely to Probe Guard Delay
|Last Edited||ArmyDem Sep 03, 2005 11:59am|
|Media||Website - Yahoo News|
|News Date||Saturday, September 3, 2005 05:00:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 3, 9:51 AM ET |
WASHINGTON - Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck — a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.
California troops just began arriving in Louisiana on Friday, three days after flood waters devastated New Orleans and chaos broke out.
In fact, when New Orleans' levees gave way to deadly flooding on Tuesday, Louisiana's National Guard had received help from troops in only three other states: Ohio, which had nine people in Louisiana then; Oklahoma, 89; and Texas, 625, figures provided by the National Guard show.
Maj. Gen. Thomas Cutler, who leads the Michigan National Guard, said he anticipated a call for police units and started preparing them, but couldn't go until states in the hurricane zone asked them to come.
"We could have had people on the road Tuesday," Cutler said. "We have to wait and respond to their need."
The Michigan National Guard was asked for military police by Mississippi late Tuesday and by Louisiana officials late Wednesday. The state sent 182 MPs to Mississippi on Friday and had 242 headed to Louisiana on Saturday.
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