Before I talk about Latin America, I want to take a few moments to talk about what is going on here in this state.
These are tough times for Californians. They are tough times for all Americans. The fires that have ravaged this state ... have ravaged the national consciousness.
Brave men and women are working day and night to end the devastation. Fire fighters continue to risk their own lives ... to protect the lives of their fellow Americans.
In this sea of destruction, we can see reflected the courageous will that defines our nation.
We must each step up and do what we can.
Yesterday, my campaign donated ten thousand dollars to the Red Cross to assist relief efforts. I encourage all of you to give as much as possible, as soon as possible.
I also ordered two strike teams of New Mexico fire fighters to assist in protecting against the fires here. I know that these fine New Mexicans will reflect the very best of our state's fire fighting tradition. Please take good care of them.
In addition, it is clear that we need more air resources, so that we can be better positioned to handle these fires and better prepared to handle any other crises.
I recall, in another disaster, when I led an effort in New Mexico to help out victims of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I remember going out to meet the first plane of refugees and you can feel so helpless in the presence of people that have lost everything.
We did what a state can do.
New Mexico has experienced the devastation and tragedy of huge wildfires and we know well the toll it takes on families and communities.
On a national level, I believe that we need to reform our military to ensure that our National Guard system is never stretched to the breaking point again.
At the same time that I was ordering New Mexico fire fighters to California, the President deployed three hundred of my state's National Guardsmen to Iraq.
This is not what the National Guard was designed for. The war is leaving our homeland vulnerable to natural disasters. We have to end the war and get all our troops out as soon as possible.
As President, I will get all the troops out within a year after I take office. And I'm going to add fifty thousand troops to the active-duty Army and Marine Corps, so that the Guard can protect Americans right here at home.