Monday, April 11, 2005
Bush's Occupation Endagers The West
Protecting Americans? That's not the job of the National Guard under the Bush administration. Why protect Americans when they can die attempting to justify Bush's last and least emphisized rational for war.
SEATTLE Apr 11, 2005 — The Northwest faces what could be one of its worst wildfire seasons in years, but military duty in Iraq means forestry officials might not be able to call on their states' National Guard units as much as they'd like.
Wildland fires burned more than 155,000 acres in 2004
across Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, and this year a preliminary outlook shows above-normal fire potential in the region because of a run of unusually dry weather.
"The Pacific Northwest, including northern Idaho and western Montana, has pretty serious water and fuel issues, so the folks in those states are being wise to look at preplanning," said Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has already asked the Pentagon to free up some of his state's 1,500 National Guard soldiers still on active duty because of the war. Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said he couldn't do that, but he promised help from other states if Schweitzer asks for it.
U.S. operations in Iraq have stripped Montana of its 12 UH-60
Blackhawks, which played critical roles in 2003 when wildfires in Montana burned more than 736,800 acres.