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Appalling Gaps…All Over

The leading GOP candidate for president, John McCain, is running on a "less jobs, more war" platform. Which is just a continuation of the Bush/Cheney record, given the dropping workforce numbers, the rising economic shitpile, and the violence in Iraq yet again today, just for starters. But hey, things are just rosy here in the US of A, right? Feeling safer, yet? Me neither:

The U.S. military is not prepared to meet catastrophic threats at home, and it is suffering from an "appalling gap" in forces able to respond to chemical, biological and nuclear strikes on U.S. soil, according to a congressional commission report released yesterday.

The situation is rooted in severe readiness problems in National Guard and reserve forces, which would otherwise be well-suited to respond to domestic crises but lack sufficient personnel and training, as well as $48 billion in equipment because of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.

Guard readiness has continued to slide since last March, when the panel found that 88 percent of Army National Guard units were rated "not ready," said retired Marine Maj. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro, the commission chairman….

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 600,000 reservists have served in Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries as part of the anti-terrorism campaign, and the use of reservists has risen more than fivefold, according to the report. Without a strong reserve force, the nation would be more likely to have to resort to a draft, which would be unfeasible both politically and militarily, Punaro said.

Here’s hoping for no floods, fires, tornadoes, catastrophic events of any kind, major attacks, accidents, explosions, chemical spills, biological weapons attacks, mass flu epidemics…well, you get the picture. Putting the Republicans in charge of anything requiring more thought, consideration or concern than running a snow cone machine is a recipe for disaster.

Heckuva job, Bushie. The nation and our nation’s military deserves a helluva lot better than this neglectful idiocy. And what we do not need is another 100 years war, Sen. McCain. Of course, the concept of drowning the entire nation in a sea of incompetence may explain McCain’s new appealling gleam for the odious Grover Norquist and pals. To wit:

“He has moved in the right direction strongly and forcefully on taxes,” said Grover Norquist, an antitax organizer who had been the informal leader of conservatives against a McCain nomination, adding that he had been talking to Mr. McCain’s “tax guys” for more than a year….

“Romney and Huckabee divided the Bush vote,” Mr. Norquist, the tax opponent, said. “Bush was Romney and Huckabee in one body.”

Cuddle up, kids, looks like Mr. Norquist has found his new publicly touted whatever his private thoughts comfort object. Sincerity is so overrated, especially when a well-placed lie will get you more fundraising leverage to fill your own coffers, eh, Grover? Blergh.

(Personally, I think that Norquist quote about Bush, Huckabee and Romney ought to be stuck up on a billboard outside his office in DC. Dance with them that brought ya, Grover…especially the ones who have been laundering money through your coffers. Just sayin’…)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com