Why is the governor of Kansas playing anti-war politics with the issue of disaster aid? Kansas Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius seems to be doing her best to imitate Louisiana’s Kathleen Babineau Blanco, whose state government seemed to set some sort of record for incompetence in the Katrina disaster in 2005. Sebelius — who has been saying her state’s National Guard forces have been reduced by the Iraq war below levels needed (adding that those forces don’t even exist in other states to help Greensburg disaster victims) hasn’t neither run into a deficiency nor asked for out of state reinforcements according to National Guard statements to HUMAN EVENTS.
On MSNBC’s “Today Show" Gov. Sebelius said "50% of the equipment is gone and we can’t borrow from other states because their equipment is gone."
H.E. asked Capt. Tamara Spicer of the Missouri National Guard how much help Missouri would be able to provide, Cpt. Spicer answered that “We have not been asked for help.” But could they if they were asked?
Capt. Spicer said that if they were asked for help they would do their best to provide it. “For instance when Louisiana needed help we sent 2000 soldiers and airmen in, in a period of 72 hours” said Spicer.
Not only has Gov. Sebelius not asked for help, the Pentagon announced Tuesday that National Guard statistics contradict Sebelius’s numbers. Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said that Kansas has 88% of its state guard forces on hand and all of its engineering resources. There have been no indications that the National Guard in Kansas is lacking resources to provide relief. In fact Whitman reported that Kansas has its full range and in some cases additional authorized vehicles, listing 352 Humvees, 94 cargo trucks, 72 dump trucks, 62 five-ton trucks, 13 medium-haul trucks and trailers and 152 2 1/2-ton trucks, 76 series 5-ton trucks, 13 M916 tractors, 870 trailers, 52 Heavy Equipment Transport Systems, and 30 Palletized Load System Trucks.
Even CNN is reporting that although politicians are quick to blame the war in Iraq for delayed response time or relief, Gov. Sebelius has blown this issue way out of proportion. Jamie Mcintyre CNN’s Senior Pentagon correspondent reported on the “Paula Zahn Now” show:
“As bad as it is, the Army insists the devastation in Kansas isn’t overly straining the Guard’s admittedly limited resources. There are still thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles available. In fact, of the state’s more than 7,600 Guard troops, only around 10% are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. And Kansas has not asked for any reinforcements or extra equipment from neighboring states.”
CNN’s Zahn questioned Major Tod Bunting, Kansas’s adjutant general, about Gov. Sebelius’s concern regarding lack of equipment in her state.
“What the governor is saying is, with the shortage of equipment, if we had another storm anywhere near this magnitude, we wouldn’t have enough equipment to handle it,” Bunting answered. Perhaps the major was being unnecessarily diplomatic.
The major was – as military officers usually do – trying his best to avoid being embroiled in a political controversy. But his meaning, and that of the Pentagon spokesman, are pretty clear. When Governor Sebelius said we don’t have the things we need here, and here — she really meant we have them now but won’t have them later? The Dems and their “amen chorus” in the media should do a better job of checking facts before blaming the Iraq War for leaving American disaster victims unaided.
Gov. Sibelius made up her mind about the supposed inadequacy of National Guard forces in her state back in February. Perhaps that’s another lesson she’s learned from Gov. Blanco. President Bush announced the doctrine of preemptive war. Is the doctrine of preemptive whining the Democrat governors’ answer?
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