Monday, May 14, 2007

Obama and the Illinois Guard

Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax intern, Paul Richardson, linked to an AP story (via the Grand Island, NE Independent) on the concerns of several Governors regarding their states' National Guard preparedness. For good measure, the AP also threw in a quote from Democratic Senator Barack Obama, who, they report, recently wrote a letter to President Bush regarding this issue.

Now, what AP fails to mention is that none of these Governors (including our very own Rod Blagojevich) ever denied the consent required by the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1952 for federal mobilization and deployment of their states' guard units. Perhaps someone should remind Senator Obama that his fellow Chicago Democrat is, thus, at least partially responsible for the National Guard's equipment being “stretched thin in his home state of Illinois.”

If the Senator is really concerned about the readiness of our Guard - and not just scoring political points with his party's base - he would be writing letters to the Governor as well as the President.

Want to take bets as to whether or not he's doing that?


So-Called Austin Mayor 3:53 PM  


Had Democratic governors requested that their Guardsmen not be deployed to Iraq, the response of you and your fellow Republicans would have been -- what?

Quiet recognition of the fact that the Guard has a critical role to play here in the states or alleging that Democratic governors were undermining our war effort in Iraq?


grand old partisan 4:58 PM  
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grand old partisan 5:01 PM  


Would I be critical of Democratic Governors denying deployment requests? Yes. But what does that matter? It doesn't make them any less responsible for the alleged consequences of allowing them to be deployed about which Sen. Obama (and, in many cases, they themselves) are upset, does it?

Your comment presents a sad, predictable excuse for Democrats not putting their money where their mouth is.

So-Called Austin Mayor 9:30 PM  

"Your comment presents a sad, predictable excuse for Democrats not putting their money where their mouth is."

And your entire post is nothing more than another "sad, predictable excuse" for the Bush administration's continuing to dump men and money into Iraq, rather than actually securing the safety of the citizens of the United States.

Everyone else -- the Democratic governors, Barack Obama, liberal bloggers -- is to blame for the Bush administration's grinding-up our National Guard units.

Yeah, that makes sense.


Springfield 10:04 PM  

Grave concerns about the erosion of our National Guard strength due to troop deployments in Iraq have been expressed a number of times in recent years by Governors Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), Dirk Kempthore (R-ID), Mike Round (R-SD) and others. New flash: This an extremely serious preparedness and military readiness issue that is neither not Republican nor Democratic. It's also an issue of federalism and balancing states rights v. national security. So painting this as a one-dimensional Democratic ploy ignores the basic facts and countless discusions that have occured at the National Governors Assn over the past 5 years on this very topic with the WH. The question of denying the President Guard or Reserve troops during a war should be a very last resort, shouldn't it? And the mindless Obama-bashing merely lowers your rhetorical bar to the Baar level.

grand old partisan 10:22 PM  


It does make sense if - you just go by what I've actually said. Did I say that "Barack Obama [and] liberal bloggers [are] to blame for the Bush administration's grinding-up our National Guard units?" I don't believe that I said anything remoted close to that.

All I have said is that if there is a domestic force readiness crisis, it is at least partially the fault of the Governors who willingly signed away their states' guard units, and thus, are equally deserving of Sen. Obama's criticism here.

I think that's a perfectly reasonable point. And it's very telling that you can't seem to respond to it without putting words in my mouth in an attempt to discredit me.

springfield - you are right, this is a complex and bi-partisan problem. And my point is that Sen. Obama's attempt to paint it as a one-dimensional Republican/administration issue ignores that.

Anonymous,  10:57 PM  

It is pretty clear we don't have enough troops and other military resources in Iraq to stabilize the country. And we can't keep recycling the National Guard units. The current war plan is not working. In my opinion, we have two choices: either significantly increase the number of troops and ask our allies for more support, or admit defeat and pull out.

Anonymous,  8:33 AM  

GOP - you really don't get it do you??? You can't blame democratic governors for this war. This war is your fault. This war is GWB's fault. This war is Republicans fault.

I hate to be partisan as I don't really like democrats either. But the sad fact is, you are in extreme denial. You spew forth blatant falsehoods and pretend they are fact.

Springfield 9:36 AM  

This is a bipartisan issue in the sense that both Republican and Democratic governors agree that the Iraq war and Bush policy has been terrible for their National Guard units. Not to mention local officials who have lost police, fire fighters and teachers to Iraq via the Natl Guard. Again, to blame Obama, who voted against the war, for the Illinois Guard's sorry state of readiness is just pointless and idiotic, even for a right-wing smear.

grand old partisan 9:42 AM  

anon 8:33 (et al) – please note the consistent use of the phrase “at least partially..” The implication is that – yes – the President is primarily responsible for the war and it’s consequences. But it’s a more complex and (nod to ‘springfield’) bipartisan issue, which Sen. Obama fails to recognize.

That is my point. Notice that I didn’t say Obama should have written Rod instead of Bush, but rather as well as Bush.

grand old partisan 9:47 AM  

springfield -

First off, Obama never "voted against the war" because he wasn't in the Senate when it started.

Secondly, I am very clearly NOT "blaming" Obama for "for the Illinois Guard's sorry state of readiness." I am simply pointing out that he is oversimplifying and politicizing a serious, complex issue.

Please, please, pretty please....respond to what I am ACTUALLY saying, or don't respond at all.

JJR,  3:24 PM  

As a former active duty infantryman, it was my impression that the president has the authority to federalize the national guard on his own authority, and nothing that the governors of the various states could do would stop that if he did so.

What actual effect would a protest from a governor have? To the best of my recollection, I don't think it would have any practical (as opposed to political) effect. the soldiers would still be federalized and sent where the president directs. Once they are federalized and on active duty, their chain of command is the same as the active Army.

So, frankly, GOP, I think your point here is picking a pretty large nit. Nothing Obama or Blago could have done would have changed a thing.


One has to admire the loyalty GOP has shown to the worst President of this century. At tonights Republican debate they all will work to distance themselves from President Bush. They will all say "mistakes were made." GOP is one of the few Republicans left that does anything to defend the President. But there has to come a time for one even as loyal as he is to finally say enough of this. This entire presidency has been a blunder. I'm sorry I supported him. Let's move on and get the next one right.

grand old partisan 3:56 PM  
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grand old partisan 5:35 PM  

jjr - you're partially right.

Apparently, federal law does prohibit Governors from withholding “consent with regard to active duty outside the United States because of any objection to the location, purpose, type, or schedule of such duty”

Althought, I don’t see why a Governor who felt strongly enough about it wouldn’t at least try to find some other grounds for withholding consent.

Milton 1:02 PM  

Blago and Barack are not suppose to do this. What are you going to do about this?

Bush is not suppose to spy on Americans. What can we do about that?

The entire was is based on a lie, what do we do now?

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