Thanks to President Bush and his unjust and ill-conceived war in Iraq, there are about a thousand fewer Army National Guard members in Louisiana to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Isn't the point of the National Guard to protect us at home and help out in natural disasters?First, congrats to Barney for being the first desperate shill to link Bush, Iraq, and Katrina (he's got a chip in the ranting moonbat game now), and to the Strib for getting it in print before the rain even stopped.
Barney Peterson, Minneapolis.
Second, no Barney, the point of the National Guard is not to pick up branches and serve coffee after the storm. Since the 1903 Militia Act, it's mission is to supplement regular armed forces on the federal level. National Guard units may be made available to individual states based upon declaration of emergency by a state governor, and the reason National Guard is frequently injected into natural disasters because they are not subject to the Posse Comitatus Act, and may engage in civil law enforcement.
My bet is that Barney thinks the point of a city fire department is to rescue cats from trees. Even I knew better as a kid. Anyway, the federal government, using ample and available military resources, is not behind the curve on disaster relief, not by a long shot.
More than 9,000 National Guard members have been called to duty for hurricane relief work in those three states, Kucharek said. Tuesday, the Pentagon ordered five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations. One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used for search and rescue missions, was en route from Texas. Four other vessels from Norfolk, Va., were expected to sail within 24 hours and take four days to reach the gulf, Northern Command Kucharek said. The ships will carry food, fuel, medical and construction supplies, as well as hovercraft that can be used for evacuation and search-and-rescue missions. Also Tuesday, the Coast Guard called back to duty 500 reservists as part of the hurricane response. "The biggest challenge is getting enough resources, especially helicopters and small boats to the area for the rescue work we have to do," said Lt. Gene Maestas, a Coast Guard spokesman in Washington.