2005 October 04 Tuesday
Hurricane Katrina Underscores US Iraq Overstretch

Check out this article from the Washington Post. Some National Guardsmen in Lousiana lost their homes in the hurricane yet were called up for catastrophe duty and now are getting shipped off to Iraq even though their families have no homes and their wives lost their jobs.

"It's hard," Sepulvado said amid the bustle of pre-deployment medical checks at his battalion headquarters in Gulfport. Nearly 70 percent of the members of his battalion had their homes damaged, with the homes of 115 destroyed or unlivable.

Soon after Katrina plowed through, Sepulvado was sent to work at Gulfport's Hope Haven, a home for abandoned children. As he and comrades ripped out walls and carpeting, repaired shingles and moved appliances, they worried about their own catastrophes. "I was kind of thinking, 'What am I doing here?' " he said. "Why are we doing this when we lost our own homes?"

Like others in his unit, Sepulvado waits for an insurance check, hoping to get his family--now living with parents -- settled before he deploys. His wife, like several other spouses, lost her job when her workplace was destroyed.

The US military is not big enough to fight in Iraq, handle a disaster at home, and let National Guard soldiers have time to take care of families when they lose their own homes.

The Iraq War will go down in history as an act of foolish and counterproductive overstretch. Hurricane Katrina's aftermath in New Orleans similarly sends a reminder that the middle and upper class populations of the United States have only tenuous control of the third world populations in American cities. We can not afford to send soldiers to control third world cities abroad when we do not have enough soldiers to control third world cities at home.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 October 04 08:11 PM  Mideast Iraq


Comments
John S Bolton said at October 4, 2005 11:40 PM:

One would be tempted to believe that these policies are intended to deliberately weaken the country; to embolden enemies and antimerit minorities stateside, and sacrifice the largest possible number. In terms of recruitment for the military and riot police; what is the excuse for racial quotas when this discourages the majority from joining or staying in? Back in 1995, in the 12 6 WSJ, p. A20, Paul Craig Roberts reported that "special permission will be required for promotion of all white men without disabilities", throughout the military. This longstanding policy is very negative for recruitment and retention of military personnel. The lack of respect for national guardsmen in distress of this kind, is like Captain Bligh. It is actually worse, because Bligh was purposeful, in his defense of the plants that his mission charged him to convey. The administration objectives are vague and not such as can tell us what the next mission would be. The best one can hope is that they care about the national interest, but don't dare to say that the goal is to kill the maximum number of moslems, and get in position for striking Iran or the oil fileds.

Hugh Angell said at October 5, 2005 2:58 PM:


Once upon a time it was. In the 1960's the active duty military was over 3,000,000 men.
Women were a negligible component of our armed forces then. The US population during this
period was at least 1/3 smaller than today as well.

Now I'm not saying we need a 100 wing air force, two dozen carriers and 24 army divisions
( but we could and soon) but clearly the reductions in force that occured in the 1990's
where we reduced our active duty military from some 2,000,000 to 1,400,000 and filled those
slots up with a female component that now numbers around 20% was unwise. Samething could
be said for trying to mask the reduction in force by relying on National Guard and
Rerservists as an intergral part of any major deployment of US military forces.

We are the world's superpower and it was patentedly obvious that our military would be
committed to any number of foreign contingencies so we played a cruel hoax on those who
joined the reserves expecting to see limited active duty. That almost no deployment
contingency the short side of a division was going to be sustained solely by active duty
forces alone was pretty clear. Whole military occupational specialties, like military
police and engineering units, resided in the reserves. Still we are where we are and that
includes Iraq, and remember both parties signed off on this war. We can't just say oops
and pullout. Too many Iraqis took us at our word, joined the government and security
forces, cooperated with the coalition to just say 'you're own your now fellows, we've
decided it really wasn't worth it.' Time for that decision was back in October 2002 when
we have a vote in Congress. In for a penny, in for a pound. No 'mulligans' in war.

As to the reservists who lost their homes and or jobs. Tough break. Of course the fact
that you have a military career does enable you to continue to provide for your family.
I imagine your family will receive priority housing at any number of military bases now.


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