Q Just back to the National Guard for a moment. You said it's a success story, they moved in quickly. But could you have gotten equipment there any sooner were we not in Iraq? I mean, could it have been closer, would there have been units that were closer, equipment closer?Stop right there. The only honest answer is, yes, if we had more Kansas National Guard resources in Kansas, the response could have been more swift. Instead, here's Tony's gut reaction. Remember, he "speaks for the President."
MR. SNOW: I don't -- that's a hypothetical question that I'm not sure --Damn right it’s not hypothetical. The facts are in place. The situation happened. You can at least answer honestly, can't you Tony?
Q It's not hypothetical.
MR. SNOW: Well, it is -- let me put it this way. We have no indication that people did not get what they needed as soon as they needed it.What? That's not a proper answer to a very straight forward question.
Let's see if rephrasing the question gives Tony the resolve to honestly answer the question. Really, it's a straight forward question with technically only one reply: Yes. But what do we get?
Q So they couldn't have moved in sooner had they --
MR. SNOW: Again, things were moved -- again, some of the things -- let me just give you a sense --
Q As quickly as they could now doesn't mean as quickly as they could were they not deployed.
MR. SNOW: Let me give you a sense of what's available in the state, because I think -- resources available: I already told you 83,000 National Guard units in the region, 99 bulldozers, 61 loaders, 246 dump trucks, 59 graders, 228 heavy expandable mobility tactical trucks, 2,243 2.5 and 5-ton trucks, 70 palletalized load systems. There's a lot of stuff available. So, again, I think this is one where the equipment was available and everybody was moving as rapidly as possible.Okay, so this sounds like an answer, but is it? Not in my book. To answer the question in the title of this post - Why the convoluted answer when a simple yes will do? It's all about the politics for the W, Rove and Co. Any one who says different is "itchin' for a fight."
But really, is it only about the politics? I don't think so. If you dig deep enough into Tony's "briefing," you will find the real reason the W, Rove and Co doesn't want you to ask about this. It's because the American Taxpayer is going to be hit with the bill that is substantially more expensive becuase they are "privatizing" the response, much like they are privatizing the military by hiring Blackwater to do the dirty work.
Q I'm not trying to do that. The Governor has said she didn't have all of the equipment and that she was concerned about the personnel.Except, that still does not answer the question honestly, now does it. The answer to the original question is still yes. Anything else is indirect lies and diversion to keep the American people ignorant of the truth.
MR. SNOW: And again, when you're talking about the availability of literally tens of thousands of personnel, and thousands of vehicles, and people willing to deploy them -- and it's not merely, by the way, it's not merely the National Guard in surrounding states. You have EMS, you have fire departments, you have private vendors. The President signed a declaration that made private help available immediately -- just writes the check, boom, you just -- have them do it, we'll write the check for you. So we did everything possible to make available any resource necessary.
Let's give Tony one more chance to dig himself into a bigger hole. Have a look at a more general but related question and see if he answers it adequately or honestly. You be the judge:
Q Tony, how much is the disaster response effort impacted by the war?
MR. SNOW: I think they're separate issues. The war --
Q Aren't they shared resources?
MR. SNOW: They're shared resources, but on the other hand, it is not something that you can't -- just as in a time of war, the Pentagon plans for more than one conflict at a time, you have to be able to do more than one thing at a time. So the fact that you have people deployed in a time of war to protect Americans is important; but at the same time, you also maintain your capability of dealing with domestic concerns.
Q There is no impact?
MR. SNOW: I don't know. I don't know how you measure. How would I measure -- I'm not being snarky in giving -- I just don't know how you measure that.
Q You look at the available equipment and you see how much of it is overseas.
MR. SNOW: Well, the fact is, again, taking a look at what you're talking about, in many cases, vital equipment for Kansas -- they have more than 100 percent of their National Guard requisition in Kansas now, including 2.5-ton trucks, and 5-ton trucks and a lot of that stuff.
There are a number of things that are appropriate for a time of war that are not necessarily going to be helpful to you in a time of rescue. Also keep in mind, it is not solely a National Guard responsibility. And in a time like this, again, great American tradition, pulling together assets from a variety of different sources so that you respond to the needs and you get to the site what you need. And in this particular case, people responded swiftly.
And the Governor and others -- if you look at some of the immediate responses, people said, yes, they were pleased with the response. And the most important thing to do is to continue working with the Governor and with authorities in Kansas to help these people.