Thursday, February 27, 2003

Homeland Safety Vital, Wasteful Bureaucracy Not
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 21, 2002

Tuesday, the Homeland Security Bill passed the senate and that means that we'll have yet another government department and layer of bureaucracy in charge of one the government's' only primary duties: protecting us from foreign aggression. But why, when the departments of Justice and Defense weren't able to thwart the terrorists before, would a third department make the already bloated, inefficient, and unreliable government worker and political appointee system of operations function any better?

No one really knows, other than it would "shake things up" and show people that we're serious in our war on terrorism. And to show you that both parties don't care at all about the efficiency of the proposed agency or even what it is the agency actually does, besides bear the name of a popular policy, look at what they are disputing and what they let fly by. They dispute the worker protections, with the democrats arguing that they should be more extensive so that the 18 months it already takes to can someone is extended and republicans arguing to keep the 18-month policy in place. They don't dispute the increased centralization of intelligence the department of defense will be able to have in order to look up factoids on everyone, from credit card purchases to number of guns owned to your college grades.

However, this oughtn't to surprise me or anyone else. Whenever a problem arises the government's immediate reaction is always to enact legislation to supposedly correct the problem. Such as the price of prescription drugs, which are artificially high due to international drug regulations and the FDA. The government now wants to "fix" the problem they are responsible for in the first place. Of course they could fix it by doing away with all of their original legislation, but that is certainly not going to happen any time soon, even with the republicans in power.

The one arm of the government that actually works well when asked to perform its job (besides the IRS) is sitting by the wayside hoping for actual orders soon. That arm is, of course, the armed forces. Paul Wolfowitz, universally pointed to as the only guy in the administration more hawkish than Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney, originally developed a three staged assault after the September 11 terrorist attacks that I think, if enacted, would be a much greater move towards Homeland Security than this current farce. The plan was to invade Lebanon to take out the Baq'aa Valley Terrorist training camps and then move in and destroy the terrorist regime in Syria, while also removing Saddam from power and invading Afghanistan with a land force so that we wouldn't have to rely on the Pakistanis. Now while I like this plan, I don't think it goes far enough, as the regime of Saudi Arabia, a place I lived in for four years, is a supporter and great sympathizer with fanatical Islamists. Not to mention that perennial putz, Yassar Arafat, who used to coordinate world wide terrorist training in Lebanon, would still be around.

But it would be a start and it would be using a piece of government actually legally mandated to do the job, rather than extra constitutional measures like a Department of Homeland Security. And while we're at it we could get rid of all the other useless and illegal departments like Commerce, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Interior, the EPA, Health and Human Services, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and I'm sure there are others, I just can't remember them all. But that's a fight I doubt I'll see won in my life time without some sort of cataclysmic event to precipitate it unfortunately.

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