Thursday, July 11, 2002

Security or Boondoggle?

I really want to believe that President Bush is that rarest of flowers, a politician with a conscience. A man who will act with moral clarity, not just make morally clear speeches, while pursuimg the same ol' politics as usual. Then along came his plan for Homeland Security. No FBI. No CIA. And now the Congress gets its mitts on the idea. According to Reuters Still, the basic thrust of the plan remains untouched: To implement the biggest government overhaul in a half century to better coordinate defenses against terrorism, but then they reveal that the Coast Guard and FEMA have been stripped out of the deal. So how exactly are we to defend ourselves without the Coast Guard or any other armed service? And FEMA? The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal unit tasked with, among other things, managing our internal response to any attack upon this country by weapons of mass destruction.

So what exactly is the Department of Homeland Security going to do? Under Bush's plan, the new agency would have nearly 170,000 employees and a first-year budget of $38 billion. That's what they are going to do. What a disgrace. A cat with no claws, rounded fangs, but a really big budget. A cynic would say that this is a boondoggle; just a scheme to increase the money and personnel in the executive branch. But I'm not a cynic. I'm a skeptic. Things might be improved in Armey's committee. The whole house may set things aright. Bush might threaten a veto.

I'm still a skeptic.