You might have read about (or are personally experiencing) the massive snowstorms hitting the Plains states. So what does that have to do with Iraq? From the NY Times:
Colorado and Kansas were trying to find enough helicopters capable of hauling hay bales weighing up to 1,300 pounds, said Don Ament, Colorado’s agriculture director. Many helicopters in the state’s National Guard fleet are in the Middle East.
That is supposed to be the primary role of the Guard: natural disaster, backup for enforcing civil order, and threats against the country itself (I refuse to use that Orwellian-sounding concoction, “the homeland”). It shouldn’t be a way to permanently increase the size of the active military without reinstating the draft: the guardsmen sign on for that, but they actually have other, very important things they should be doing. Consider this the domestic equivalent of the deterioration of our foreign policy apparatus.