Don’t Blame Bush for Katrina!

…After all, those silly Louisianans shouldn't have been counting on the Federal Government in the first place.  According to This blogger. 

 There is, however,  a problem with "I told you so's"-when the people telling you so are the people who voted in those who caused the problem, "I told you so" is a short jaunt from a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Perhaps if George Bush believed that the government could be a positive force, he would have seen posts like the director of FEMA as an opportunity to help people, and not just the people he put into those positions. 

But maybe Louisiana shouldn't have trusted the Federal Government with one thing: its National Guard.  According to the Boston Globe:  

"The National Guard's scramble to bring aid and order to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is hamstrung by the fact that units across the country have, on average, half their usual amount of equipment — helicopters, Humvees, trucks, and weapons — on hand because much of it has been siphoned off to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military officials and security specialists."

At the time of Hurricane Katrina, 35% of the Louisiana National Guard was in Iraq. 

 What's the second ammendment again?  The right to bear arms?  No, the real one:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

 Everytime the National Guard is fighting in a Federal war rather than dealing with state needs, we are blatantly ignoring the wisdom in the Right's most treasured ammendment. 

And now the wisdom of Governor Schweitzer comes out:  In JUNE of 2005, he suggested that National Guard troops be rotated in order to keep Guardsmen at home when national disasters are most likely.  The Boston Globe, when reported the story, quoted John Goheen, communications director of the National Guard Association of the United States.  He said: 

''Many governors look to the National Guard as their contingency force, be it a hurricane or snow or fires out West," (emphasis mine). 

So..Governors knew this was a problem.  The National Guard knew this was a problem.  Concievably, this was predicted in previous wars, when the National Guard was only sent in much lower percentages to overseas combat zones (a fact George Bush made good use of).  But this administration decided that invading Iraq was more important than being ready to respond to a natural disaster at home.  The problem, then, seems to stem not from a systemic failure by the very existence of a Federal government, but because that government is controlled by those who place great importance on the role of the president as commander in chief, and little importance on the role of the Federal government in responding when States are overwhelmed.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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