But as someone who believes the war in Iraq is a complete disaster and that we need to get our troops out now (www.getourtroopsout.com), I look at the natural disaster in California and feel compelled to also ask President Bush and every candidate who thinks it is okay for our troops to remain in Iraq until 2013 or longer - where is our National Guard?
In California, the Guard force is authorized to have over 21,000 members. Today, that number is just under 15,000. Why the decline? I believe it has nothing to do with a diminished commitment to service, but rather is a frustration with having that commitment abused, and families turned upside down, just so President Bush can continue to pretend his war can succeed.
More than 1,500 California National Guardsmen continue to provide firefighting, security, support to law enforcement, interoperable communications, transportation, medical and command and control in support of firefighting operations in southern California.
More than 17,000 additional California National Guardsmen are available if needed.
“I have heard claims that there are not enough National Guard available, and that simply does not reflect reality,” Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said today.
Additionally, by law:
The National Guard is pre-positioned in 3,200 communities across the nation with over 400,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen Airmen available and ready to go.
And they are available to California on request. None have been requested.
Even Barbara Boxer backed off this assinine talking point when her hand was called by the National Guard Bureau. But apparently no one bothered to tell Richardson, or if they did, he chose to ignore it.