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Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly: Military Was Ready but Waiting for Bush

Reported by Marie Therese - September 5, 2005

Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly of Northern Command was interviewed by the BBC Saturday 9/3/05 about military preparation and deployment after Hurricane Katrina. In the course of the interview he said: "The only caveat is we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion; we have to wait for the President to give us permission." Click here to view the video (which loads very slowly).

Prior to this Kelly said that the military was in a state of readiness, because they had already been alerted to the possibility of Katrina hitting Florida.

"Northcom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready when it hit Florida, because, as you remember, it hit the bottom part of Florida, and then we were planning once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast.

"So, what we did, we activated what we call 'defense coordinating officers' to work with the states to say, 'OK, what do you think you will need?' And we set up staging bases that could be started.

"We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately. So, we had things ready."

The question is: Why did President Bush wait so long to give the actual order?

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