Saturday, January 16, 2010

Search and Rescue Trumps Security

Randy R Cox

The need to search and rescue trumps security.  We watch people die in Haiti as the help they need moves slowly.  There are many fears of violence from gangs and angry people, and maybe there are a few actual incidents of violence, but something seems wrong.  There is too much holding back.  There is too much fear!  There is too much caution.  Search and rescue trumps security!

Last night apparently a team of doctors from Belgum were ordered by their Chief Coordinator, Geert Gijs, also a doctor, to retreat from a UN hospital site they had set up with patients under their care housed in tents.  Someone passed on rumors of gangs in the night, and the doctors took their supplies, left the patients, and disappeared in the night.

The UN team left CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with almost no equipment to do the best he could with almost nothing to work with but victims.

The UN teams seem overly cautious, but at least they were there for a moment.  Where were our American teams?  The Haitians could see our ships offshore.  We know what the Haitians were waiting for as they bleed and die, but what are the Americans waiting for, security?

When Lt. General Russel Honore was asked about the UN teams leaving their patients, he said it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard of.  He said search and rescue and evacuation trumps security.  I agree with Gen. Honore,  search and rescue trumps security.

I'm not a doctor.  I'm not a rescue worker.  I'm only an American citizen, but I have one vote.  I am not happy with the decisions  authorities are making in these matters. 

I've spent some time thinking about this issue and here is what I have decided.  It is just common sense!

America should be willing to risk at least as much to save our friends as we are willing to risk to kill our enemies.  Our brave military often put themselves in harm's way to seek out and destroy our enemies.
We expect our troops to protect themselves, but we don't expect them to run from a fight.  We don't expect our helicopters to ground themselves with rumors of occasional groundfire.

Americans are never happy when we have to aggressively kill the enemy, but we all know there is a price to pay for freedom .  Sometimes a few of our best will die protecting the greatest country on earth.  When one falls a dozen more will rise to take his place until the job is done.

I believe America is equally willing to risk their lives to save others.  The Bible says there is no greater gift than to give one's life for another.

I think it is imperative for the greatest country on earth to be willing to risk at least as much to save our friends as we are willing to kill our enemies.

There is not a lot written about security theory of rescue teams but there is some.  Mostly the authorities in control of first responders put security of those teams first.  Now, I know  the rescue workers are far more willing to put their lives on the line than those in authority who often rule from safe zones and make decisions based on rumor, emotion, and an almost absolute safety-first attitude.  Every day we hear of heroic acts as these men and women hurl themselves into danger to save complete strangers.  Sometimes these heroes don't survive.

I think we need to reevaluate our rules of rescue.  People are dying stupidly and needlessly because of placing security concerns over safety concerns.  We need to change the way our leaders think...or we need to change the leaders.  Search and rescue trumps security.  We should be willing to risk at least as much to save lives as we are willing to risk to take lives.

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