US sends forces from Iraq to New Orleans amid growing criticism on Bush
The U.S. Air Force will dispatch 300 airmen home from Iraq and Afghanistan to help their families cope with emergencies on an air base devastated by Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Miss., a spokesman said Saturday.
Earlier, General John Vines, head of the multinational troop force in Iraq, has said he could free up US soldiers deployed in Iraq for relief duty back home. He made this remark as food, water and medicine rolled through floodwaters Friday into what remained of New Orleans.
The United States has 140,900 troops in Iraq now, according to Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman.
More than four days after Katrina storm hit New Orleans, there is mounting criticism of President Bush's handling of the crisis and a prediction by one senator that the death toll in Louisiana alone could top 10,000 people.
On his part, Bush was forced to admit that the relief effort had been inadequate. "The results are not acceptable," he said. "We have a responsibility to clean up this mess. What is not working right, we're going to make it right."
The president took a land and air tour of hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Congress passed a $10.5 billion disaster aid package, and Bush quickly signed the measure.