Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nothing New Here

U.S. National Guard lacking equipment due to Iraq war.

The headline above has been chanted since Katrina. Meant to make BushCo look bad and perhaps scare folks, that if another natural or manmade disaster occurs there's not enough Guard or equipment to take care of the homeland. Shortly after Katrina the talking point was that NOLA guard troops were in Iraq, not in New Orleans, although at the time 8,000 of Louisiana's 11,000 NG were home.

The above piece goes on to state : "National Guard units in 31 U.S. states have 60 percent or less of their authorized quota of equipment due to the Iraq war, the USA Today newspaper reported Friday. Eighteen of the 31 states report having half or fewer of the vehicles, aircraft, radios, weapons and other items they are authorized to have for home-front uses, a 50-state review by the newspaper found."

According to the history of the NG: " Army National Guard has participated in every war or conflict the US has fought. The militia stood their ground at Lexington Green in 1775 when the opening shots of the War of Independence were fired. They fought the British and their Indian allies from the Great Lakes to New Orleans during the War of 1812, and provided 70% of the troops that fought in the Mexican War.

The majority of the troops that fought in the Philippines during the Spanish American War were National Guardsmen, and the greatest number of combat divisions to fight the Germans during World War I came from the Guard - including six out of the eight that the German General Staff rated as "Excellent" or "Superior."

The Guard doubled the size of the Regular Army when it was mobilized in 1940, more then a year before Pearl Harbor, and contributed 19 divisions to that war, as well as numerous other units, to include Guard aviation squadrons. Over 138,000 Guardsmen were mobilized for Korea, followed by numerous smaller mobilizations for the Berlin Crisis, Vietnam, and numerous strikes and riots at home. Over 63,000 Army Guardsmen were called to serve in Desert Storm, and in the decade since then, Guardsmen have seen a greater role then ever before conducting peacekeeping in Somalia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo."

And equipment shortage is not new : "Not just National Guard manpower was needed, either. Some 67 percent of the Army National Guard's equipment was also mobilized for war. According to The Korean War: An Encyclopedia, edited by Stanley Sandler:

"The Army National Guard gave up motor vehicles, tanks, and other ground weapons, plus light aircraft. Besides 156 M-26 tanks, some 592 M-4 medium tanks were withdrawn from National Guard inventories. The impact is suggested by the fact that, a year into the war, the Army National Guard had on hand only 33 percent of its authorized equipment. Likewise, the Air National Guard was stripped of its F-74 jet fighter aircraft, and even such items as life vests, life rafts, and spare parts for F-51 aircraft were withdrawn for use by the active forces."

And, no surprise, in this GAO Actions Needed to Identify National Guard Domestic Equipment Requirements and Readiness report, shortages are at least in part due to the usual State and Federal bureaucracy and incompetency.

Looks like SOP to me.

Soooooo, is there something new to see here or should I just move along and tell Bubba and Earl we ain't protected at home because that golldamn Bush has all our NG troops and equipment fighting his war in Iraq. Bubba and Earl will think I'm so informed.

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