By now, it should be evident to most Americans that our governmental emergency response systems are flawed and not working properly. The slow, inefficient response to Hurricane Katrina, our lack of preparedness for future disasters, our open borders, and the lack of consensus on what to do about such problems are appalling.
In the meantime, we have in America massive unemployment derived from blue and white-collar jobs that have been exported overseas. We see underprivileged ghetto areas where illegal drug trafficking has become the work of choice. We find other areas where there is not enough of a labor force in the local population to satisfy the demand of the economy.
Yet, like ground water ever present beneath the earth, there is an inert potential to solve such disastrous problems that is actually inherent on any population. There is a potential relief worker present in every able-bodied man and woman. The Amish population has always known to how to take care of their own in times of disaster. We are all aware of the barn and house raisings and the Amish community coming together to solve their own problems. Another example is that of farmer cooperatives that pools equipment and labor for their own local needs.
It makes little sense to create a new class of evacuees every time disaster strikes an area when the able-bodied victims of that disaster themselves can be put to work on relief and rebuilding tasks. If their homes have been destroyed and their jobs lost, why treat these victims as though they are helpless welfare recipients? Why do we not have them join in the rebuilding process and provide portable barracks and travel trailers for their housing?
It makes much more sense to reorganize and use our National Guard efficiently. We do not need huge and inefficient government departments like FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. We already have the blueprints for a national emergency response system in our National Guard. We, as a nation, can draw from the great pool of post high-school students who cannot afford their own health insurance and can barely make a living in a tight workforce. Mandatory national service has always made sense, especially for post high school age men and women, who need a time and direction to grow into a responsible citizen. Yet, mandatory service should certainly not mean that we train everyone to be a 'killing machine'. Only a small portion of the National Guard should be used for military and police purposes. The rest should be in the business of emergency management and training for later civilian occupations. Some would make a career of national service while others would go back to the proverbial plow and cultivate their own professional fields.
There is no shortage of disasters, nationally or worldwide. A strong National Guard could be exported for disaster relief worldwide. Additional manpower can be conscripted from the victims themselves, who would report for training and task assignments as soon as the emergency efforts were established in the area.
At the present time, we are having much trouble getting Americans to enlist in the National Guard. To enlist at this time is an automatic ticket to Iraq and open-ended tour of duty. It is criminal of our government to use the National Guard in this manner. The National Guard should be reserved for homeland security and national issues, not a substitute for mercenary soldiers who fight on foreign soil. Indeed, hiring Muslim mercenaries for duty in Iraq would be the proper way to withdraw from the mess we have created there! The cost of an Iraqi protective force should be borne by the Iraq government from the national oil revenue instead of being forced upon the shoulders of our children and grandchildren!
We must separate our military actions and emergency disaster relief from 'for profit' contractors who lobby to get blank checks and no-bid contracts for ineffective work. Obviously, there is still much room for private contracting for materials and labor in such situations, but the initial response needs to be handled by a trained military personnel while the real needs for future civilian contracts are being determined and put out for realistic and honest bids.