Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Who Would Have Believed?

It's been a year and a half since the Katrina and Rita disasters of 2005. In both instances, relief efforts were hampered greatly by reduced National Guard forces in the affected states.

So here we are, Spring of 2007, and guess what? We still have a large chunk of forces in Iraq and worse, we have equipment that is being destroyed on a daily basis there that really ought to be in barns and armories here:
OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - Critics of the Iraq war said on Tuesday the Bush administration's failure to replenish vital National Guard equipment sent to Iraq caused Kansas to fall short in responding to last week's tornado disaster, and other states were equally vulnerable.

The White House and the Pentagon rebuffed the criticism, saying Kansas and other states had adequate resources that they could share in event of disasters like the Kansas tornado that leveled one small town on Friday and killed 10 in the area.

The debate was ignited by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who said on Monday the federal government had failed to replace state National Guard equipment deployed to Iraq and the lack of equipment was hindering rescue and recovery efforts after a weekend of violent weather in the Midwestern state.
"Adequate resources" sounds like a misnomer, and also suggests that Gov. Sebelius has been deliberately underutilizing the resources at hand to make a political point. Currently, Kansas has available about forty percent of the hardware its National Guard needs to be effective domestically.

Estimates for National Guard material resources being used in Iraq that will need to be replaced hover just under $50 billion dollars, with an estimated four-year time frame to replace all that equipment. Sure, it's possible that the next four years will be free of any major disasters that would require, say, bulldozers, front loaders, backhoes and trucks.

Just like it's also possible that monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Kansas is a curious political duck. While it tends to vote "red" and is in fact, the reddest of red states based on election results, it does have a Democratic governor and has shown a tendency for "bluer" results creeping from the Missouri River valley inward, possibly as a result of the proximity of Kansas City, MO, right across the river and an influx of immigrants.

That Sebelius has been successfully able to make this complaint and that this complaint seems to be sticking, does not bode well for Kansas' continued support for the invasion of Iraq, or Senators Sam Brownback, Presidential hopeful, and Pat Roberts, both of whom have given full-throated support to the invasion.