Poor, Picked-On Pentagon

From the second hour of CNN’s NewsNight With Aaron Brown (September 1); an interview with Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre:

BROWN: Yes, there were a couple of things actually said in there. I mean, on the one hand, I suppose – I understand when people say no one could have anticipated this, but the fact is that three years ago, two reporters to New Orleans Times Picayune laid out exactly this scenario.

That aside, I said introducing you that everything seems political to people these days. I know this will be perceived as a political question. It’s not meant that way. To what extent does the fact that there were 135,000 troops in Iraq and troops in Afghanistan, to what extent, if any, impact, the ability of the military, the Pentagon, to respond to this crisis?

MCINTYRE: Well, clearly, if all the troops – all the National Guard troops were in their home base, they could probably be mobilized a little bit easier. That said, we analyze this pretty carefully today. And we have to say that the impact seems to be very marginal.

The troops, for instance, from Louisiana that are deployed to Iraq are combat unit. They’re an armor infantry unit. They’re not the military police if they really need to help restore security.

And as to your question about political, I talked to a lot of people at the Pentagon today who were very frustrated about the fact that the perception was being created that the military didn’t move fast enough. And they did it somewhat as political. They thought that part of the motivation was the critics of the administration to make the president look bad.

And they seemed to question the motives of some of our reporters who were out there and hearing these stories from the victims about why they had so much sympathy for the victims, and not as much sympathy for the challenges that the government met in meeting this challenge.

And I have to say thinking about that, it doesn’t really seem all that unusual that you would tend to understand the plight of the victims a little more than the bureaucrats in Washington.

BROWN: Yes, I mean, I’m glad you told us that. And they have every right to believe they believe and think the way they think. I mean, and I mean that. But you’ve got people who have been living as refugees. It is not hard to understand why our first heart beat goes in their direction. We’ll worry about the bureaucrats later.

Jamie, thank you. That’s a tough beat you got. We’ll take a break. When we come back, we’ll have more from the Astrodome in Houston. That really does speak to – that’s a scene out of the Astrodome tonight. By the way, several thousand people there – what Jamie just said just speaks to how political events are perceived in this day and age. We got a lot of mail on these sorts of questions.