Thursday, September 01, 2005

Two thumbs up

Amidst all the ineptness of government in dealing with the disaster in Louisiana, there are two bright spots. Both are expected, because the individuals involved have been planning for many years in case this ever happened.

First, the Amateur Radio Operators, the HAMS. Ever since Camille the Gulf Coast Hurricane Warning Net has met formally every week on 3980 MHz. These people have practiced sending emergency messages, coordinating with local Emergency people, and have prepared themselves by haing every sort of communication and emergency power systems. We have a small example here in Springfield every year on "Field Day" when the HAMS make a contest of emergency communications set up at Lake Springfield.

Many HAMS also participate in what is called MARS. The Military Affiliate Radio System. Back in the old days the military would give surplus equipment to HAMS who gained points by participating. The system has fallen into disuse in this age of the internet and satellite phones, but is there, and being used as a system of last resort. We need to tip the hat to all the HAM operators who for all these years have spent their own money and devoted millions of hours with no repayment and little recognition.

The other is the role of the Coast Guard. This should come as no surprise, since the CG is almost entirely devoted to humanitarian missions, very risky missions. We are seeing that happen in NO right now. No branch of the service will exit the picture of this disaster with greater glory than the Coast Guard.

And lastly, the National Guard, which is the most valuable resource available to a State in an emergency is almost unavailable. 1/2 of them are presently in Operation Fucking Disaster destroying cities, rather than trying to save their neighbors. The rest suffer from worn-out equipment, and just plain weariness.

This is another example of the "Dogs of War" the unintended consequences of military adventurism, so that the neo-cons could shake their dicks at the rest of the world.


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