A study commissioned by the US Department of Defense has concluded that, contrary to claims by some politicians and pundits, a “major factor in the delayed response [to Hurricane Katrina] was that the bulk of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard was deployed in Iraq.”
Other factors contributing to the poor response by all levels of government, according to the report, included the diversion of flood control funds to other projects and the failure of military leaders to authorize the mobilization of available special forces to the area.
The report was compiled by Stephen Henthorne, a deputy-director in the Louisiana relief efforts (and former US Army War College professor and adviser to the Pentagon). It conflicts with the Bush Administration’s insistence that the war in Iraq did not have an effect on hurricane relief, and casts doubt on the viability of the doctrine that the US military must be prepared to fight and win two major regional wars at once.
The “two wars doctrine,” established by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in early 2001, was already being reconsidered by the Pentagon prior to Hurricane Katrina, which provided real-world evidence that the doctrine may be untenable.