Retired general says war siphons supplies

Published May 13, 2007

WASHINGTON - The National Guard isn't as strong as it should be because of the war in Iraq, and American communities will suffer as a result, retired Air Force Gen. Melvyn Montano said Saturday.

Delivering the Democrats' weekly radio address, Montano said the strain means it will take longer for Greensburg, Kan., to recover from a devastating tornado that leveled the town more than a week ago.

"Crucial equipment used by the Guard for disaster relief is now in Iraq instead of standing ready to respond to crises here at home, " said Montano, who was once adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard.

Montano echoed Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who clashed with the Bush administration last week.

"I don't think there is any question if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response (to the tornado) is going to be slower, " she said Monday.