Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More on Obama and Governor Kathleen Sebelius

Both Barak Obama and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius moved quickly to exaggerate and exploit the tornado tragedy in Greensburg, Kansas. The New York Post pronounces BS on both and identifies the real culprit behind the National Guard's stretched resources.

From today's New York Post:

May 10, 2007 -- Did you hear about the tornado in Kan sas that killed 10,000 people last weekend?

Barack Obama did.

"There was a tragedy in Kansas," said Obama Monday. "Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed."

"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment," he said, "and they are having to slow down the recovery process."

And where is the missing equipment?

In Iraq, fighting Dubya's war - thus blame for all the death and destruction in Kansas accrues to President Bush.

Right, Senator?

Wrong.

Indeed, Obama couldn't possibly have been more wrong.

Only 10 people were killed in the storm - the word "thousand" apparently popping out of Obama's mouth in his haste to exploit the tragedy, and hang another Katrina-like indictment on the president.

More to the point, tornadoes happen in Kansas - if you doubt it, rent "The Wizard of Oz."

So it would be reasonable for Kansans to expect their state government to be prepared for such an event.

Instead, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has been complaining for years of a "looming crisis" traceable to the fact that a lot of Kansas National Guard heavy equipment had been deployed to Iraq.

Complaining is always easier than discharging the responsibilities of office.

That is, if the "looming crisis" were as grave as the governor claims, why didn't she simply replace the deployed equipment out of a doubtlessly more-than-adequate Kansas state budget?

The fact is, America is at war. By law, the Army has first claim on the National Guard - its troops and its equipment.

If any president is to blame for the "missing equipment," it's Bill Clinton.

For it was on Clinton's watch - and at his urging - that the post-Cold War "peace dividend" was cashed in.

Clinton conspired with Congress to slash the Army from more than 14 divisions to fewer than 10 - with the explicit understanding that the difference was to be made up in time of war by the deployment of National Guard units with their equipment.

Well, it's wartime.

Time to pay the piper.

Sure, Barack Obama - two years removed from the back bench of the Illinois Legislature - might be forgiven for not understanding all of this (though inflating a death toll by a factor of 1,000 is a little breathtaking).

But Sebelius and other governors sure should know it.

Didn't Hurricane Katrina deliver the mother of all wake-up calls?

Sebelius, in particular, clearly recognized the problems facing her tornado-friendly state - the knowledge was embedded in her warnings.

She could have purchased replacement equipment from state resources. Yes, that might have required a bit of belt-tightening and revising of other priorities.

This is called leadership - which seems to be what's really missing at the moment in Kansas.

Sebelius was content simply to complain.

And now, to score some cheap political points.

For shame.


Update: The tornado victims are very upset with Governor Sebilius for politically exploiting their suffering.

While Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Bush administration jaw back-and-forth over the relief efforts for Greensburg, Kan., the town devastated by Friday night's F-5 tornado, town residents have chimed in and say they couldn't be any happier with the response from the government and other rescue units.

"The poor response thing is just political BS," Greensburg resident Mike Swigart, 47, who lost his house and four vehicles from the storm, told wcbstv.com in an exclusive interview. "I saw her on television and I'm disappointed in that because she doesn't know what she's talking about."

After the storm dissipated, Swigart and his family came up to find just a small portion of the structure of their house remaining. Their cars were destroyed. People were crawling from a semi-truck that rolled onto his lawn. But Swigart said there was an almost immediate response from other towns, people who had lined up to try and provide rescue efforts. He said Sebelius' comment about the lack of Humvees was unfounded.

"You may have seen her on television when she said that, and she talked about Hummers, that we needed Hummers. There were Hummers sitting in front of my house every day. The National Guard was there," he said. "I saw people from all over who came right away to help and nobody sent them, they just came because they knew it was going to be big. The response was excellent, the rescue efforts were all night long, and I even made a comment to my wife later that night when we came back into our basement that I can't imagine anyone saying we had a poor response to this tragedy, that it was so quick and it was amazing."

Swigart says the general feeling around the town is that residents were overwhelmed by the immediate response, and that the governor's fuss was for her own good. White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to Sebelius by saying that there was no request by Kansas officials for extra equipment, and that if there is anyone to blame, it's her.

"I was told she wanted to run as vice president on the Democratic ticket, and honestly, I wouldn't vote for her if they paid me because of that one thing she said on television right there. It was a political slam is all it was," he said. "It was a political statement and as far as the military thing overseas, I support what they're doing over there, and the military that came here is doing a great job too."


16 comments:

Nic said...

The Post? Honestly now, has Murdoch's legion of propagandists ever done a fair story?

Barenjager said...

Hey, Nic,
Check out the picture of the GI with the canteen cup on the main page of this blog. His message is for you. And Obama. And the Clintons. And congress.

Michael said...

I note that you ignored the content of the story. In fact, Clinton did slash the Army from 14 divisions to 10 and did arrange for the National Guard to make up the difference in time of war. And, if you looked at the update you would have learned that the residents of Greensburg are not critical of the National Guard response, but are instead furious with the governor for her political exploitation of the tragedy.
If you can find any factual errors in either story, then refute them and cite your sources. If not, it's a coward's way to simply impugn the source.

Truth said...

Well first of all I think its important to note the fairly obvious bias in the story. The fact that the entire first section attacks Obama while not providing his response is a pretty clear example of this.

As for Clinton's slashing of the military, he took it from a Cold-War state to a peace state, and in doing so saved a good deal of money, something we as Republicans should be thankful of.

And yes, I realize the National Guard is designed to be used in the event of war, but I also realize that its designed to be used in exactly these kind of situations. The point that is being made isnt necessarily a lack of manpower, but rather something which can (and hopefully will) be fixed; namely a lack of equipment. A good article which illustrates this problem can be found below

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/us/09guard.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

John Ruberry said...

Greensburg had just 1,500 people living in it. My senator made in 10,000.

Nic said...

That's why i love this blog, I get called a coward and a moron for pointing out the obvious bias of the media people post. Why is everyone here so angry? To borrow from Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman, "This blog needs an enema!"

Barenjager said...

Truth,
Your posts remind me of the old saying about Pravda and Izvestia; the two official soviet "newspapers." Roughly translated, Pravda means "truth" and Izvestia means "news."

It was said that there was no "pravda" in Izvestia and no "izvestia" in Pravda. In keeping with this, you should change your byline to "Pravda" as that is about as close as you come to telling the truth.

You know ABSOLUTELY nothing of military readiness, operational requirements, logistics, manpower management, training, deployment or any related matter. Please get an education in those issues BEFORE offering another opinion on any military topic.


Nic,
I like your enema comment. Feel free to flush yourself out.

Truth said...

Barenjager, I wonder why all you seem to do on this blog is attack people. On this post for example your two comments have held no real substance and instead go after people who post comments that dare stray from what you believe. In the future could I please request that you try to keep your posts on topic and related to the issue at hand.

Secondly, you are alsmot correct, I'm not well versed in military facts, I'll admit that. However, I wonder if you or anybody else here is trully well-versed in that, and if so I am curious as to their credentials. I believe Paul (although I could be mistaken on the person, and if so I'm sorry) worked in intelligence for a while, but as I also recall that was a while ago and I wonder how much information.

Either way however, I wasnt delving into anything which required too much knowledge. What I said is that the national guard has an equipment shortage, and Clinton brought the military down from Cold War levels as we were no longer terribly concered about an invasion by the Soviet Union.

Barenjager said...

Truth,
I attack things I think are wrong. If those who post such things are offended or threatened that's their problem, not mine.

As for my credentials, you don't have the experience to evaluate them. Suffice it to say my experience and knowledge in the arena of military and political affairs does qualify me to express informed opinion on those matters.

Truth said...

If you could please tell me your credentials then I'd be more than happy to accept them, however I will continue to question them as you are unwilling to present them.

And I have no problem with you attacking ideas that you think are wrong. However personal attacks are uncalled for, especially when thats all you have done. You have not sought in any way to refute the idea that the National Guard is suffering from a lack of equipment across the board and for all of your talk about supporting the troops I havent heard any outrage at this lack of equipment. All I ask is that you try to stay on topic rather then delve into personal attacks.

Barenjager said...

Truth,
It isn't up to you to accept my qualifications but I'll provide some basic info.

I have in excess of 30 years study and practice in military history and operations. My unifored military service exceeds 20 years. During my service, I held numerous postings in which I had the privelege of representing US interests to agencies of various foreign governments, both allied and adversary. (No, not at the point of a gun, for the most part)

As for attacking the person rather than the idea; you are mistaken. You need to step back and re-read my posts. I address demonstrated behavior and faulty reasoning.

You asked why all I do is attack. The answer is simple. This blog was created for people who share a similar viewpoint. I don't have to cover the points I agree with. There are plenty of bright, articulate people in this forum who say things I agree with. The only time I feel compelled to speak up are when an important point goes unadresed or someone says something I disagree with.

You might ask yourself why you post to this blog. Is it because you wish to hold an honest conversation or you want to stir the pot. If the answer is the former, I would ask you to dial back the emotions and pay more attention and see what is said, not what you think is being said. I speak fairly directly and clearly and rarely have a hidden agenda. If it's the latter, I hope you are getting your jollies. In either case, this is the last I have to say on the matter.

Truth said...

Barenjager, that sounds like quite an impressive resume, and its all I wanted to know on that subject.

On the matter of personal attacks, I went back and read your first two posts here. The first one accused Nic of supporting terrorists because he questioned the bias of the article presented (which given any serious analysis does have a conservative bias, its not bad or good, its the point he made). The second post you called me a liar (or more precisely said I never tell the truth), you then proceeded to tell me that I know "nothing" about anything having to do with the military (while I clearly don't know as much as you, capitalizing "absolutly" prior to the word "nothing" is an attack as it implies that anything I say must clearly be made up, as per your first point).

If you meant those differently I welcome the clarification, but the manner in which they were presented did not focus on the issues brought up but rather went after the people bringing up the issues.

As for my reasons for posting here its multi-facted. First I do enjoy honest discussion and debate. I think one of the biggest political problems facing the country as a whole is that we become so partisan in our own little camps that we refuse to see that the actions of other parties or more extreme members of our parties are all done with the same goal of benefiting America. The second reason is that I've been reading this for some time, and quite honestly (as I'm sure everybody has noticed) I'm rather tired of the personal attacks (mocking Angel's name because he's an atheist is a low blow and I think everybody knows it). I understand everybody here (save for myself, Nic, and a few others) have the same mindset and thats fine, but I don't think there's anything wrong with opening up some discussion on issues, and I don't think its terribly wrong to call people out when they stray from issue discussion towards one solely focused on personal attacks.

Those are the reasons I post here, and once again Barenjager thanks for providing your background information (and I'm not being snide or such). Seeing as how I don't have that experience I find its always interesting to hear the viewpoint of those who do. By the way, what's your name?

Barenjager said...

Truth,
One of the weaknesses of a forum such as this is the loss of context that comes with not being able to see one another and read the subtle cues of a face to face exchange.

I have fairly thick skin and don't mind someone poking me with a joke or two ("Pravda") and sometimes mistakenly use my rough sense of humor on those who don't appreciate it. My intent was not to call you a liar but to remind you of the standard you set for yourself by choosing the screen name "Truth."

While we're on the subject of screen names; I will neither ask your identity nor reveal mine. I've found that correspondence of a controversial nature is far to easily manipulated and presented out of context. Defending one's self against such is the equivalent of having to answer the question "have you stopped kicking your dog yet?" Since I have no desire to deal with such an occurance, I reserve my identity.

Where does that leave us? I suggest we forgive one another any perceived tresspasses and move on in the knowledge that our exchanges don't contain personal attacks. I will still kid and prod and generally be a pain in your butt if I think you're off base and I expect you to hold your ground and do the same. The only thing I ask of you is to view my responses in that light and think about why I'm saying something. IMO, that's how learning occurs and I hope I'm not to old or calcified in my positions to learn.

Barenjager said...

Hey, Truth!
What? Are you on vacation? I made you an offer. What's your response?

Truth said...

Hmm... sorry, I could have sworn I posted a response and for some reason its no longer displayin so I may have posted it elsewhere by mistake, or just entered the code at the bottom wrong wrong...either way, my bad, I swear I responded to this.

Basically I said you are correct in that we lose most (approximatly 90% if I recall correctly) of our communication because we are only typing things online, and as such I'm sorry for misinterpreting what you were saying.

As for your name, the only reason I was asking is in case you wanted to be called something other than Barenjager, but assuming you're fine with that then I'm fine not knowing your name.

Finally, I'm cool with you being a pain in my but so long as you're cool with me being a pain in yours. With all that in mine, I apologize for any attacks I've mispercieved that you've made, and welcome the debates which will likely follow soon. Glad to have you posting here.

Barenjager said...

Fire when ready, Truth.

BTW: I wanted to clarify a point. I think you may have misunderstood a fundamental part of the pun about Pravda and Izvestia. In the pun, Pravda contains no news. Had I said your name should be Izvestia, I would have been calling you a liar as that publication is said to contain no truth.

From time to time I may call you "Pravda" if I think you're covering old ground or belaboring a point. Think of it as my way of saying "next point, please."