Governor Palin's cavalier approach to learning about U.S. national security policy is offensive, given that she is well aware of the horrific impact that the war in Iraq has had on the Alaska National Guard.
When I read the preliminary findings from Veterans for America National Guard Program's work in Alaska, I was outraged. It is unconscionable to think that the citizens of Alaska are suffering in part from her neglect while she -- and others associated with the McCain-Palin campaign -- uses them to boost her own national security policy credentials.
I have spent the better part of a year trying to get our presidential (and now, vice presidential) candidates to recognize the unprecedented sacrifices that have been asked of our National Guard, but, to date, the response has been inadequate.
According to VFA's preliminary Alaska findings, "The post-deployment challenges facing Alaska's Army National Guard are more daunting and widespread than any seen by Veterans for America."
The Alaska National Guard needs their governor to advocate and fight for their needs -- not exploit their deployments for her own political advantage.
We cannot let her shy away from this. We must demand that she answers questions during Thursday's Vice Presidential Debate -- and accepts responsibility -- for the conditions on the ground in Alaska. For any who might say that what's happening in Alaska is part of a larger Army problem (or any other excuse), remind them of what the Adjutant General of the Alaska Guard recently told Fox News: "Yes. Governor Palin is in charge, the commander-in-chief for the Alaska National Guard, and she plays the same role that all governors in all 54 states and territories play, running and managing and operating the Guard day to day for the states that they're responsible for... National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great."
The Alaska National Guard is set to again mobilize an additional 140 Aviators from the 207th Aviation Regiment in December for a one-year mobilization. We know that Alaska does not have the ability to care for Guard members post-deployment, and we are sending them anyway.
Governor Sarah Palin needs to address the needs of the Guard as governor and as a vice presidential candidate. Any candidate who speaks of war while not adequately responding to the immense human implications deserves to be held responsible.
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