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Monday, January 18, 2010

CNN misleads with info from Haiti

Watching the updates of the earthquake and the support poring in on CNN just a few ago left me with some bitter tastes. I don’t believe the REAL story is getting out.

Just recently there was a report from the hospitals on supplies that were or were not there. The reporter, although a regular ‘medical reporter routinely on the network, had very little idea about the ‘information’ what she was trying to pass along. These guys, even those sitting right there where all this is happening, have so little idea about what they are telling us; it almost makes those that may even know just a little about how all this takes place want to scream.

Whether there is a US hospital set up yet or not is not the real story. It’s about the aid being provided. Why has the US not provided a hospital yet might be the question that needs to be asked by the stateside journalist? Just what is needed and where it is needed is the question to be asked by the journalist on the ground in Haiti.

Consider that the US is currently fighting two wars and another hospital is a bit harder to get to right now than it would be otherwise. The hospitals are there, you can bet on it. Where it is to come from is the question. Is it in the Army Reserves, the Air Force Reserves, or the War Reserves? The deeper they have to go to get to it, the longer it takes; obviously.

Before I forget this; the one thing we must all remember is that in a situation like this, it is the State Department that determines who goes in and where they go in. The exception to this is those US assets that are already under the direction of the United Nations. I spent many an hour on the tarmac at Fort Bragg, North Carolina while State made up their mind on just what the mission was to be and who//what would be the exact support package. I do not mean to cast dispersions here; it’s just a fact.

The supplies available addressed in the journalist’s piece were more disinformation than real information. She showed us a blood pressure cup supply that might be a real questionable piece as it seemed to be missing the cup; this is a small no matter of concern but not as major as what is actually there doing good. The open heart surgery kit was also displayed – OK. Maybe they aren’t doing open heart surgery there right now and may never do it; but these are all planned items that sometimes are appropriate and sometimes not. They are already in the pack and distributed as ‘guessed’. Nobody ahead of times knows exactly what is needed and to get the exact requirements takes far too long. A guess is made based on history and things start moving.

Besides the requirement to feed the hungry; the new requirement that comes along with a deployment of this nature is the need to feed the supporters: the US volunteers, the army, the navy, the air force, the foreigner volunteers, the PRESS CORPS, and the dignitaries just wanting to get face time in the area. All these need to be fed and nourished in order to continue to deliver the support they were sent there to provide.

The next wave of REAL requirements will probably be the on-site fuel situation. The distribution of Haitian fuel is most likely getting low and will soon have to be augmented. Dare say, the distribution of what fuel that is there is much hindered. The best of all situations is to resupply as much as possible out of the airfield assets. These assets will be heavily slanted to jet fuel and not ground fuel. I haven’t heard anything about the stationary assets at the airfield or anything about the remaining ability from the port area. But the ability to air-tanker (US Air Force) in fuel is always a real possibility and to store this fuel above ground in collapsible tanks (US Army) is quiet an easy task; State just has to levy the requirement. Again, the limiting factor may probably be the active assets available to do so. Then you go to Reserves and National Guard assets – takes a little longer, but not much – but this is why these support elements are in this status of readiness.

The PRESS CORPS plays us all for the newsworthy aspect and tends to depress us more than inform us. This is particularly true the longer the situation lasts. In this case, CNN has done us all a disservice. Take it from one who knows.

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