Katrina clearly illustrated the fact that shuffling the National Guard to the abattoir that is Iraq has severely weakened our response to disasters at home.
Now our nation’s governors are finally complaining about what Bush has done to the Guard.
This widespread deployment of guard units for combat missions is not only straining reservists and their employers, it’s also compromising the ability of guard units to respond to disasters in their home states, [Pennsylvania Gov. Ed] Rendell and other governors say.
The problem isn’t so much personnel, it’s equipment.
“Much of our equipment is now in the Middle East,” says Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.
When the Idaho National Guard’s 116th Brigade Combat Team returns from Iraq in a few weeks, it will come home without 60 Humvees, 213 trucks, 37 trailers, 96 tracked vehicles and six recovery vehicles, Kempthorne says.
Idaho’s guard units also will be short tactical communications equipment and critical medical equipment, he says.
“These facts are in direct conflict with my ability as a governor to prepare for disaster and/or domestic terrorist attacks,” Kempthorne says. “We need a commitment from the federal government that the equipment that is left in Iraq will be replaced in quick order.”