LOS ANGELES – As wildfires were charging across Southern California, nearly two dozen water-dropping helicopters and two massive cargo planes sat idly by, grounded by government rules and bureaucracy.
It took as long as a day for Navy, Marine and California National Guard helicopters to get clearance early this week, in part because state rules require all firefighting choppers to be accompanied by state forestry “fire spotters” who coordinate water or retardant drops. By the time those spotters arrived, the powerful Santa Ana winds stoking the fires had made it too dangerous to fly.
“The weight of bureaucracy kept these planes from flying, not the heavy winds,” Republican U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher told The Associated Press. “When you look at what’s happened, it’s disgusting, inexcusable foot-dragging that’s put tens of thousands of people in danger.”
The spotters have 24 hours to report for duty, and it took nearly all that time for them and the National Guard crews to assemble.
After the all of endless days of the California fire quagmire, it’s time for America to admit that it can’t win this battle. We must immediately withdraw our forces and go home. But until our so-called “leaders” in Washington wise up to the folly of their current course, all we can do is ask ourselves, “why does fire hate us?”.
We think ourselves so sophisticated with our electricity and our central heating, but if fire hadn’t paved the way for us, we’d be lost.
We offend fire by occupying the holy lands of burnable, burnable forests with our “fireless” nuclear power plants, claiming that we are “better than mere flames”. We laugh at fire’s “primitiveness” and “simplicity”.
How foolish fighting fire is. And what a waste of resources in a country where there are children without health insurance.
I, for one, don’t blame it. And I am ashamed to be an American.
After all, it’s not called “the combustion of peace” for nothing.