Friday, September 02, 2005

Where are the Guardsmen?

"Right where they ought to be" according to James S. Robbins on National Review Online. This is the antidote to Michael Moore's latest Big Lie about the war and the hurricane. (Look it up yourselves. His fat site shouldn't be hard to miss.)

So is the war in Iraq causing troop shortfalls for hurricane relief in New Orleans?

In a word, no.

A look at the numbers should dispel that notion. Take the Army for example. There are 1,012,000 soldiers on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard. Of them, 261,000 are deployed overseas in 120 countries. Iraq accounts for 103,000 soldiers, or 10.2 percent of the Army.

That’s all? Yes, 10.2 percent. That datum is significant in itself, a good one to keep handy the next time someone talks about how our forces are stretched too thin, our troops are at the breaking point, and so forth. If you add in Afghanistan (15,000) and the support troops in Kuwait (10,000) you still only have 12.6 percent.

So where are the rest? 751,000 (74.2 percent) are in the U.S. About half are active duty, and half Guard and Reserve. The Guard is the real issue of course — the Left wants you to believe that the country has been denuded of its citizen soldiers, and that Louisiana has suffered inordinately because Guardsmen and women who would have been available to be mobilized by the state to stop looting and aid in reconstruction are instead risking their lives in Iraq.

Not hardly.
According to Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, 75 percent of the Army and Air National Guard are available nationwide. In addition, the federal government has agreed since the conflict in Iraq started not to mobilize more than 50 percent of Guard assets in any given state, in order to leave sufficient resources for governors to respond to emergencies.

In Louisiana only about a third of Guard personnel are deployed, and they will be returning in about a week as part of their normal rotation. The Mississippi Guard has 40 percent overseas.

The New York Times has called the military response “a costly game of catch up.” Catching up compared to what, one wonders. National Guard units were mobilized immediately; 7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of Katrina — a commendable response given the disruptions to the transportation infrastructure. The DOD response is well ahead of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew timetable. Back then, the support request took nine days to crawl through the bureaucracy. The reaction this time was less than three days officially, and DOD had been pre-staging assets in anticipation of the aid request from the moment Katrina hit.

Moreover, it is simply not plausible to use the situation to critique the force structure in Iraq. The Guard is demonstrating that it can fulfill both its state and federal responsibilities, as it was designed and intended to do. Of course, it is impossible to win in these situations; critics will always find a way. A year ago after Hurricane Charley, the president was accused of responding too quickly, allegedly to curry favor with Florida voters. Back then only a few fringe characters tried to make the Iraq/Guard connection. It is a shame that the Times has drifted in their direction.

Will this Truth be reported or will it be sacrificed on the "Get Dubya" meme altar?


Pedro Pedroso said...

BUSH: I want to know who are the folks who did this!
ADVISOR: Who did what?
BUSH: You know, the attack on New Orleans. You don't think they'd fool me with that name Katrina. I reckon that's a false name.
ADVISOR: Well, sir, that's just the name of the hurricane.
BUSH: Who's behind it??
ADVISOR: Mother Nature, sir.
BUSH: Find that Big Mamma for me. Find out where she lives and bomb her and all her followers.
ADVISOR: Perhaps if we'd signed the Kyoto Protocol, sir...
BUSH: What?? The japs are also behind this? I want them bombed as well!!

Dirk Belligerent said...

That was useful. Not.

Good luck on winning the lottery.