Wednesday, May 09, 2007

National Security, Part II

The sniping between Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and the White House over National Guard assistance to Greensburg - destroyed last Friday by a giant tornado - has been nauseating and, you gotta think, totally predictable.

It's largely the administration that's ratcheted up the rhetoric, with Tony Snow using the press secretary's lectern to channel The Secret by saying, "If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it." Down in the trenches, the wingers think the Democrat Sebelius is a lefty loon out to make the preznit look bad (who wouldn't want that?), exploit others' suffering for her own political gain (see "9/11, responses by Bush to"), and generally fumble her duties.

The Times, sticking to the facts, ma'am, reports that

In Kansas, the National Guard is operating with 40 percent to 50 percent of its vehicles and heavy machinery, local Guard officials said. Ordinarily, the Guard would have about 660 Humvees and more than 30 large trucks to traverse difficult terrain and transport heavy equipment. When the tornado struck, the Guard had about 350 Humvees and 15 large trucks, said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general. The Guard would also usually have 170 medium-scale tactical vehicles used to transport people and supplies — but now it has fewer than 30, he said.
And it's not the shortages per se that matter, but the fact that apparently much of this kind of equipment was "pre-positioned" in places that made it harder and slower to get it to Greensburg.

And yes, so while it's terrible that the citizens of that ruined town had to wait and suffer while the rain destroyed what the wind hadn't, I'm worried more about what might happen if there was a major terrorist attack in the U.S. right now. With so many National Guard troops, and so much of their equipment, off fightin' terra in Iraq, who would keep the peace, hunt for survivors, bag the corpses, and move the rubble if, god forbid, we something even a fraction as big as 9/11 occurred now?

If al-Qaeda believes in "hitting them when they're down," they must be cocking a fist right now. Who'd have thought that Bush's policies would become their best force multiplier?