Several readers have written to make this point, in response to left-wing criticisms that we should somehow have more National Guardsmen standing by–everywhere, I guess–to respond in case of emergency. I think Joe Zwers says it well:
The key point I see on the National Guard issue is that they are a fighting force, not a disaster recovery force. That is what we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars for [the Guard] over the years.
It is like owning a car. In my family, for example, we have one car. I work at home (I’m a writer) and my wife uses the car to drive to work. Now, if our son breaks his arm skateboarding while my wife is at work, I won’t have the car available to rush him over to the emergency room. So, is it bad that my wife uses the car for its primary purpose? No. We wouldn’t spend $10,000 a year just to have the car sitting in the driveway ready for those rare emergencies, but having a car that is used primarily for driving to work means that it is also available for emergencies the rest of the time as an added bonus.
So it is with the National Guard. If we weren’t using them sometimes as a military force, we wouldn’t be spending all that money to hire, train and equip them, so they wouldn’t be available on those rare occasions when a disaster occurs anyway. Even if it would help to have those extra National Guardsmen available at this moment in New Orleans, if they weren’t occasionally used for warfare, there would be no Guard at all for use in disaster recovery. As it is the state has thousands ready to deploy.
Caroline Fijan adds:
Geez, NOW Liberals like the National Guard!—I thought they were a bunch of weenies who didn’t go to war, like W.
And Sharon Johnson provides appropriate perspective:
I just read your post on the National Guard, and wanted to let you know that my daughter-in-law called today to let us know that all of New Hampshire’s National Guard, as well as sixteen (I think) other states’ Guards have been put on alert to be deployed to the Gulf Coast. My son just got back from Iraq in February, and his first child is due in November. You can bet that there is and will be no whining from him and his wife or the rest of us. He signed up to do a job and will do it.
There is no need for us on the right to wring our hands about the finger-pointing that is happening in the media. The Guard stands ready to serve and couldn’t care less what some blonde under-fed bubble-headed morning show hostess has to say about their situation.
We do have a pretty stark contrast here, I think. We can all choose which side we want to be on.