The Navy's guided missile destroyer McFaul arrived in Georgia today, not with guns blazing but loaded with 72 pallets of humanitarian aid. Granted, 72 pallets isn't a lot - a pallet represents a volume of the standard sized pallet you see at home depot about 4 feet high - but it does represent a huge effort for a small ship designed to something other than carry stuff.
There are a few points to remember as aid starts to flow that I think are worth mentioning.Following the tsunami off the coast of Bandar Aceh, the Navy responded with an entire aircraft carrier strike group, that once it got a handle on things, was delivering 100,000 pounds of relief supplies per day, along a 110 mile coast, via helicopter. So, why can't we do that now?
First, carrier strike groups aren't just sitting around, you know. Got some other things going on. Second, McFaul is going in first because she was nearest to the problem. File this under a good plan now beats a better plan later. Third, there is also the issue of getting through the waterspace of Turkey, which would involve both diplomatic and simple size of the waterway vs size of the ship considerations. Finally, there is the issue of ports - well, a port - in Georgia. Batumi is the major deep water port in Georgia. What fits, what doesn't? Depth is the first consideration, length of pier is second.
What's coming? No doubt the U.S. will be sending more aid, and will attempt to do so by ship.
What's really coming is the accusation by the dems that the administration isn't doing enough. Of course, they'll know about the true challenges that stand in the way (as discussed above) but will leverage their public's lack of interest in reality and focus on the talking point.