The Western View: Puerto Rico

Taylor HillmanFeatures, Western View

Puerto Rico

It’s not my job – or my desire – to defend Donald Trump. He does that just fine himself. But I believe in fairness. And to be fair, criticizing the Federal response to the disaster in Puerto Rico is uncalled for, at least at the present time. We can criticize the President for being tactless when he tweets mean and nasty comments about anyone who he perceives as an enemy, but not for the American response to the disaster. The real story isn’t being told by the mainstream media.

This is a disaster like no other we’ve faced in recent history. First. it’s an island, a long way from the network of freeways we’ve built in this country, which greatly simplifies moving people and goods. Its roads were in disrepair and its electrical grid was antiquated prior to the hurricane. It’s 1600 ocean miles from New York. It takes about 5 days for an ocean-going vessel to sail from an American port to Puerto Rico, but it needs a port to offload supplies and trucks to get them inland. Those trucks need roads cleared of power lines, trees, and wreckage to move goods where they are needed.

The mainland measures about 110 miles by 40 miles. The island is heavily forested and very mountainous, making travel difficult even before the hurricane knocked down trees and took out bridges.

The aid has poured in – we’ve all seen on TV all those containers at the ports – the problem has been getting those supplies to the people. That is taking a superhuman effort by our Military, and they are answering the call as quickly as humanly possible.

Bloomberg, in an interview with a retired Navy Admiral, says that we’ve sent numerous ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the Oak Hill, which can become a port dock. These are large ships that have large flight decks to land and dispatch big helicopters. They also have big well-decks from which large landing craft can be dispatched to carry water, food and other supplies.

Puerto Rico has been laid waste, with homes and businesses destroyed, agriculture wiped out, and the infrastructure made useless. It won’t be fixed in a week or two, no matter who’s the president.

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View, brought to you by Citrus Industry Magazine. Visit us on the web at