and since I'm being vaguely political

Kate thinks: Hey, look at all those looters. Where's the national guard? During the riots, the national guard guys were in place within hours. . . . they stood on every street corner in the city.

some clicks later, This is from a site with a clear agenda. I kind of blanked out the more Outraged Bits. Why? Because it's my blog and I can. You can read the whole thing here.

THE GUARD AND THE HURRICANE
With many experts calling Hurricane Katrina "the worst natural disaster in US history," millions of residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in desperate need as the catastrophe deepens. Where is the National Guard, historically the shock troops who respond overnight to natural disasters and provide the backbone of relief efforts until recovery is underway? . . .
. . .Do a Google search for "National Guard" and "Katrina" and you will find dozens of stories with headlines like "National Guard: Enough GIs for Storm Duty."

The real deal is very different.

In early June, well before the hurricane season began, Guard officials knew they were in trouble. The Washington Post** reported then:


In Mississippi, the unit designated as "first responders" to repair hurricane damage, the 223rd Engineer Battalion, was deployed for the past year to Iraq. It has come home, said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross. But, he added, "they left the equipment in Iraq." He has been told that by hurricane season he will be given the gear belonging to another unit being deployed. He also noted that he has sent 21 helicopters to Iraq, leaving just five for post-storm rescues and transport of cargo and troops.

Today, 40% of the Mississippi Guard, 3,500 troops, are stationed in Baghdad. Over a quarter of the Alabama and Louisiana Guard are "in country" as well., These percentages are fudged already--the Alabama Army National Guard's roster of 11,000 is already 22% below what it is supposed to be. This is simply the local reflection of a nationwide recruitment and retention crisis in the Guard highlighted by the failure of recruiters to meet their goals for at least the last nine months running.

Furthermore the units most likely to be deployed in Iraq are exactly the ones trained in the skills most needed in the stricken areas right now, like military police, engineers, transport crews and heavy equipment operators and mechanics . . .

Gulf Coast shortages are being hastily filled in by Guard units from around the country, who don't have the same local knowledge. A local news story from Normal, IL, reports on an Illinois State student who was told to report--with rain gear--for what may be a months-long deployment. Galen Parks says he's somewhat surprised a Guard unit from Illinois was being called up for the damage primarily in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

[I guess I'll leave in this last biased bit.]

More information about how badly the occupation has hurt the National Guard's ability to respond to the Katrina crisis will doubtless start coming out in the next few days, as the extent of the disaster becomes clearer. Guard troops in Iraq helplessly watching their hometowns savaged and flooded by the storm half a world away will speak up.
And articles like this one will be accused of "politicizing a national tragedy." But it is the politicians responsible for the occupation of Iraq who have compounded the disaster, not us. It is Bush and company who sent troops and equipment now desperately needed in Katrina's wake into harm's way on the other side of he globe..We say: Bring Them Home Now!

from the website called...drumroll.... bringthemhomenow.org

It's interesting to see the odd mix of flaming liberals and army families coming together at sites like that.

MEANWHILE over at the Romance Unleashed blog, Terry has posted some links for taking action. They're all over the net, of course, but you know Terry won't post anything except the best.

Comments

  1. usually just lurk but had to say a hearty THANKS for being a chatty blogger this week. not because you echo any thoughts of mine, but because the more people capable of driving home kernals of truth to sprout in Joe Public's mind the better.

    off to check out those links you mentioned...

    ReplyDelete

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