m a r k a n d e y a

Local efforts hampered…

Posted by Brian on May 7, 2007

As if the constant loss of human lives and the slow-motion draining of our national coffers doesn’t make the Iraq War enough of an absolute clusterfuck, now I hear that local disaster relief has been severely hampered because a lot of our gear is over there, rather than at home where it belongs:

A shortage of trucks, helicopters and other equipment — all sent to the war in Iraq — has hampered recovery in a U.S. town obliterated by a tornado, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said on Monday.

“There is no doubt at all that this will slow down and hamper the recovery,” Sebelius, a Democrat, told Reuters in Kansas where officials said the statewide death toll had risen to 12 on Monday.

“Not having this equipment in place all over the state is a huge handicap,” Sebelius said.

This news makes me quite angry… lucky for me my outrage meter broke a long time ago.

UPDATE: As expected, the White House returned fire by, you guessed it, blaming the (Democratic) governor:

The White House fought back Tuesday against criticism from Kansas’ governor that National Guard deployments to Iraq are slowing the response to last week’s devastating tornado.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the fault was Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’.

In a spat reminiscent of White House finger-pointing at Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco after the federal government’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina, Snow rapped Sebelius for not following procedure to find gaps and then asking the federal government to fill them.

“If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it,” he said.

Also as expected, this is a total lie, as Think Progress reports:

Dec. 30, 2005: Sebelius writes to Rumsfeld requesting new equipment. “The Guard was critical to responding to recent blizzards and floods in Kansas, yet its ability to respond to similar situations is being diminished by a lack of equipment,” wrote Sebelius. Included with her letter was a list of equipment Kansas had lost to the Iraq war. [Kansas City Star, 1/21/06; Topeka Capital-Journal, 6/29/06]

Jan. 23, 2006: Sebelius personally urges Bush to increase National Guard funding. In an one-hour motorcade ride in Kansas with Bush, Sebelius expressed concern about “a reduction of National Guard troop strength in its next budget.” Bush assured her he was “dealing” with the shortages. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/24/06; Kansas City Star, 3/11/06]

June 28, 2006: Sebelius sends Army Secretary list of equipment lost in war. In a meeting with Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, Sebelius told Harvey that the state had lost about $140 million in National Guard equipment to the Iraq war. Her office then sent him a list of the lost equipment. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 6/29/06]

Sept. 2006: Sebelius lobbies for replacement of National Guard equipment sent to Iraq. “Kansas’ congressional delegation, Sebelius and governors from around the country have been lobbying the Pentagon for increased funding to replace National Guard equipment that has been left in Iraq or damaged beyond repair after repeated use in war.” [AP, 9/5/06]

Feb. 27, 2007: Sebelius pushes White House and Congress for more funding. “Now the Guard needs Washington’s help,” Sebelius said in press conference on Capitol Hill. “The President and Congress need to step up to the plate and give our Guard members the support they deserve.” [Press Release, 2/27/07]

We’ll be lucky if the entire country isn’t destroyed by the time Bush is out of office.

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