What Does "Homeland" Mean to You?

I was getting my daily dose of NPR this morning when Morning Edition's listener letters segment came on. One comment from Linda Lewis from Branson, Mo., really resonated. She was complaining that when NPR interviewed Homeland Security advisor Frances Townsend about the new National Intelligence Estimate that the interviewer had "bought into" the language of "protecting the homeland."

Ms. Lewis complained: "I wasn’t alive during World War II, but I associate “the homeland” with Nazi propaganda. It’s fascistic and offensive." She prefers "U.S" or "America."

For me, too, the word "homeland" conjures a kind of antediluvian primitive nationalism (tribalism) based on blood and soil, not a people united by their devotion to political ideals like liberty and free speech.

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  • ||

    That's why I call it the Department of Fatherland Security.

  • ||

    This is what you get when "Defense" no longer has any relationship with the concept of "protection."

  • ||

    Yes, it is primitive. That is what makes it so apt for today's America.

    As I look around, blood and soil seem much more likely comonalities between me and the rest of my volk, than do any antiquated notions of free speech as a unique American attribute. After all, I can speak resonably freely many other places in the world, but only in America can I participate in an undertaking like the Iraq war.

  • ||

    What Does "Homeland" Mean to You?

    "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    -George Orwell

  • ||

    I never understood why they didn't call it the Dept. of Domestic Security or Interior Security or something. "Homeland" does sound very Nazi-esque, and completely at odds with American usages.

    Probably Cheney's idea.

  • crap-action-jackson||

    Every time I hear the word used in the current context, I can't help but think of Nazi Germany. It is such a strong effect it's difficult for me to imagine the same thought doesn't occur to every adult saying or hearing it too.

    It's such a strong association (isn't t?!?) that I also can't help but wonder if the term wasn't deliberately chosen specifically because of that association. Probably wasn't, but what a bad choice.

  • ||

    "...the word "homeland" conjures a kind of antediluvian nationalism (tribalism) based on blood and soil, not a people united by their devotion to political ideals like liberty and free speech."

    It sucks being oppressed doesn't it? Thanks for reminding me.

    I was going to write what I really think but remembered I've lost my right to speak freely. Waaaaaah.

  • thoreau||

    I agree with everything said in this thread.

    Good post, Ron!

  • ||

    The name'Homeland' scares me.Soon they'll be useing the term 'The Great Patriotic War'.

  • ||

    If we're going to use "Homeland" we should at least use the original Heimatland.

  • Sean||

    "Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes to a 'fatherland' (Latin patria < Greek patris, πατρίς), by individuals and groups. The 'fatherland' (or 'motherland') can be a region or a city, but patriotism usually applies to a nation and/or a nation-state."

    Uh, my parents are from Queens.

  • Derrick||

    I always wondered why the department was created. Isn't it the job of the Department of Defense to protect the "homeland?" What have they been doing this whole time?

  • ||

    Doesn't "Dept of Homeland Security" translate pretty closely to "Gestapo" or "Stasi?" Literally?

  • ||

    It depends on how you use the word patriotic.Stalin used the term in the war against Nazi Germany.A war he helped start and then used to occupy half of Europe.

  • ||

    This is what you get when "Defense" no longer has any relationship with the concept of "protection."

    Or when "defense" is a euphemism for "war". To me, changing the name of the War Department to the Department of Defense was a huge first step towards self-delusion.

    War is necessary sometimes, but you have to remember that military capability can be easily abused. Pretending that your preemptive expeditionary war, whether justified and necessary or not, is merely an act of "defense" and not one of "war" is willful ignorance.

  • VM||

    jim -

    Geheime Staatspolizei = Secret State Police

    Stasi might be closer - Staatssicherheitsdienst (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit - Ministry for State Security)

    Heimat, detsijl. Heimat.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    For me, too, the word "homeland" conjures a kind of antediluvian nationalism (tribalism) based on blood and soil.....

    I sort of thought that's what THEY wanted you and I to think when they coined the terminology. Like Linda Lewis, when I hear Homeland I see Brownshirts. [turns and spits]

    Well sometimes I get a visual of that dumpy little town called Homeland. It's out in the farmland off of Hwy 74 next to Romoland, which all the kids call Homoland--Homeland, that is, not Romoland.

  • sv||

    thanks for saying what has been glaringly obvious but taboo to say in print for too long. much like almost everything else the bush administration has done, it seemed at first like a devilishly clever idea - subtly excluding those like me whose loyalty lies with the american flag but whose originating culture and blood is not, as a 1st-generation immigrant in my case, tied to this soil.

    i say 'at first' because they seemed to have gotten away with propagating a naked symbol of their program of statist authoritarianism and mild but growing proto-fascism, but now america is finally noticing all these red flags as the bush initiatives are revealed to be falling apart or just gravely misguided.

    a step too far in the direction of re-naming the more honestly titled 'War Department' as the 'Defense Department'. Maybe in the final desperate year of Bush, we'll get a Ministry of Information to combat 'liberal media bias.'

  • Baslim||

    I've been talking about the scaryness of this "Homeland" talk for years with people, and always get looked at like I'm a wacko. After reading this threat its nice to know that I'm not the only person in the to think this way.

  • VM||

    "I sort of thought that's what THEY wanted you and me to think when they coined the terminology."

    they will train their blue eyed men to be young believers...

  • steveintheknow||

    "Homeland" as a qualifier definitely reeks of imperialism. What else are you supposed to "defend" anyway? Isn't that the job of, you know, the "military"?

    Of course if we must have one, I definitely prefer "Motherland", or "Holyland", or "Stankonia", its whatever.

  • Orwell\'s Disappointment||

    If it were called the Department of Domestic Security, critics would say that such a department's duties are obviously wholly redundant with the FBI's.

    "Homeland" makes you say dumb emo shit about Hitler instead.

    The government is smarter than you.

    (And "antediluvian" doesn't mean "old in a way I don't like," thesaurus boy.)

  • ed||

    Right...
    I propose we forbid the use of "national" and "socialist" as well.
    They make me have scary dreams.

  • Bhh||

    Like emboldening, homeland is a word I'd never heard used before in my 30+ years of american english. I think Dubs just made it up and they decided to run with it.

  • ||

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who gets creeptastic Nazi vibes from the phrase.

  • ||

    Oh...and.

    GODWINGODWINGODWIN!

  • ||

    Yup, I thought the same thing when I first heard the phrase and also wondered how this wasn't the job of the Dept. of Defense.

    But I also remember when Pres. Clinton called the White House, "The Peoples House". How long before we have the "Peoples Homeland Security"? I'm guessing sometime in late January of 2009.

  • ||

    It makes me think about the Indians (american variety) who lost their homeland. Not very good at homeland security.

  • ||

    lets call it the Department of Fred or Fred's Department if you like..."feelings, nothing more than feelings..."

  • ||

    Jammer | July 19, 2007, 10:24am | #

    I never understood why they didn't call it the Dept. of Domestic Security or Interior Security or something. "Homeland" does sound very Nazi-esque, and completely at odds with American usages.

    Probably Cheney's idea.



    Mreh Mreh Mreh, Hitler was right, Mreh Mreh

  • Russ 2000||

    That's why "Bushitler" is more apropos than snarky.

  • ||

    orwell's disapointment,

    probably there are functions of the Dept. of Homeland security that are arguably reudundant with the FBI. Other functions were previously done by INS.

    Others could belong to the FAA etc.

    Ever since 9/11 we have used clever rhetoric and bombast and other demegogary (sp?) to justify spending a few hundred billion dollars on chasing down some common criminals who had one day of success by catching us where we weren't looking.

    Rather than "war on terror" we could call it "increased security and vigilance" and rather than "homeland security" we could just call it "security" or "domestic security."

    Then we could take a breath and adress the situation in a serious minded way, proportionate to the actual danger.

    ps. the actual danger is not destruction of the United States. Instead it is the occasional destruction of a tiny fraction of our infrastructure combined with far fewer deaths than occur due to speeding on our nation's roads in any given year.

  • crap-action-jackson||

    Orwell's Disappointment: "Homeland" makes you say dumb emo shit about Hitler instead.

    Touche

  • ||

    But dis is vuy ve named it ze "HOMELAND". It ez all part ov our overall plan. It... it... MEIN FUREUR! I CAN WALK!

  • Edward||

    English has many more words derived from Latin (often via French) than other Germanic languages. That "homeland," a perfectly good Germanic word conjurs up visions of Nazi terror, while "domestic," a word derived from Latin is acceptable, is a testament to the extent that Nazi Germany (as opposed to Stalinist Russia) has become the touchstone of evil for the Western world.

  • ||

    what do you expect from an outfit that originally christened our invasion/belligerent occupation of Iraq as "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (O.I.L.)?

  • The Colonel||

    [aside]
    We apologise for Dr. Strangelove's behaviour. He apparently is still suffering from the Mine Shaft Gap.
    [/aside]

    But he has become silly. Much too silly.

  • SPD||

    It's a great term to inspire the easily frightened. "Homeland" = the land where our homes are. The homes those radical Muslims want to invade. They will rape our wives and turn our children against us. The entire continent is like our home, don't you see?

    It is collectivist scare tactics at their finest. Bush XLIII may not be a particularly intelligent man, but his handlers are God-damned geniuses at keeping the population on edge.

  • ||

    I hate the word Homeland almost as much as I hate that "God Bless America," became our national anthem after 9/11.

  • ||

    If you're a libertarian, is there any term that could be used to name a government security bureaucracy that would not seem scary to you?

  • ||

    Hmm. I heard the same thing this morning on NPR and thought, "Really?"

    It never struck me as anything other than an emotional appeal. I think of Motherland in a Nazi context, but not homeland. Is my german blood making me blind to imperialism?

  • ||

    Dan T.

    "department of defending our precious property rights against any and all commers, including the rest of the government"

    Its a little wordy, but it would work for me.

  • Bhh||

    That's another annoying thing although it started in the 80s.

    Instead of Operation Torch or Operation Overlord we get Operation Infinite Freedom or Operation Flawless Freedom Plan or Operation Enduring Permanant Global Peoples Freedom Revolution.

  • SPD||

    Why not just "Department of Counter-Terrorism" or something less touchy-feely? The current name is paternalistic in nature, as if to imply, "We'll keep you safe from the bad, bad men. Just relax and remain quiet and unassuming. We're going to have to borrow some of your civil liberties so we can -- no no, it's OK! It's OK, we'll give them back later, we promise, shhhhh...."

  • ||

    Homeland = Land of The Homies?

  • VM||

    Center for Advanced Sarcasm and Terrorist Levity Entertainment.

    CASTLE.

  • Tym||

    I cannot stand zee name "Homeland" because it zounds zoh much like zee "Fatherland". Most people I know vee think it zounds like Nazism but I guess the goverment haz vays of making you vlike it.

    No offense to anyone I am part German.

  • ||

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who gets creeptastic Nazi vibes from the phrase.

    You can put me in that same hopper.

  • SPD||

    Tym,

    You haff relatives in Germany, ja?

  • Sigmund||

    Sometimes a homeland is just a homeland.

  • ||

    Orwell's D: I love thesauruses (thesauri)! In any case, the first definition of antediluvian obviously refers to the mythical period before Noah's Flood. The second definition is below:

    2. very old, old-fashioned, or out of date; antiquated; primitive: antediluvian ideas.

    On second thought, primitive would have been a better choice.

  • Viking Foucault||

    ceci n'est pas un homeland

  • ||

    Ron,

    Snarky comments don't have time to consult dictionaries! That's pre-911 thinking!

  • ||

    If we pause to check reference materials the terrorists will have won.

  • Edward||

    If you saw a biker with a hammer and scikle insignia on his helmet, you would probably think he was some idiot lefty caught in a time warp. If you saw the same biker with a swastika on his helmet, you would probably consider him a dangerous white-power creep who vandalizes synagogues and beats up gays. The word "homeland" is wearing the swastika.

  • ||

    You know guys, Mr. Bailey has fulfilled Godwin's Law with his initial blog post - why are we continuing to comment?

  • ||

    The word "patriotic" is based on what they're trying to do with homeland, 2,000 years from now, perhaps english speaking peoples will refer to the patriotic among them as "homelandistic".

  • ||

    NPR listeners always get their panties in a bunch over sill crap. "This sounds like something some fascist might have done" is about as legitimate a complaint as "Mike Chertoff's looking at me wrong."

    Grow up.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    they will train their blue eyed men to be young believers...

    well, not all of them. Besides, blue eyed people and Siamese cats came from the 12th Planet to colonize earth and to exploit the riches of the race of man called Adam who called their home Eden. Their legacy, is, well, us. :-)

    Adam wasn't good at Homeland Security either.

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE, ABDUL?

    PERHAPS YOU ARE NOT WEARING ANY PANTIES?????

    HIER YOU CAN PURCHASE SOME.

  • ||

    If only they had taken the time to consult the guys who came up with "Altria."

  • ||

    "NPR listeners always get their panties in a bunch over sill crap. 'This sounds like something some fascist might have done' is about as legitimate a complaint as 'Mike Chertoff's looking at me wrong.'"

    Interesting you refer to Chertoff, who apparently is looking at you wrong, at least if his gut is any indicator. The Dep't of Homeland Security is probably a bad name, but I think we're used to absolute bullshit coming from gov't types these days.

  • ||

    Edward: I asked "Why aren't Nazi swastikas and Communist hammers and sickles equally offensive?" back in '03.

  • ||

    "This sounds like something some fascist might have done"

    is how I characterize any government activity. Sometimes I put "commie" in the place of "fascist" to alleviate the monotony.

  • ||

    For all of us who are offended at the admin's attempt to manipulate us with paternalistic fear-mongering nationalistic language, there are millions who bought it hook line and sinker.

    And then you have traditionally liberal media outlets like NPR attempting to appease these saps (who don't even listen to NPR because they consider it boring and elitist) by accepting and using the language of our great leaders and giving right-leaning interviewees a disproportionate amount of air time, which they validate by treating stupid money-grubbing authors like profound thinkers.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    Abdul, you have a point. Obviously referring to Bushitler as a Nazi is ridiculous.

    However, Homeland Security is a stupid name for a redundancy that was invented (IMO) so that the government could appear to be doing something productive about the terrorist threat.

    The name does have a Nazi feel about it as do the Border Patrol checkpoints on US soil that are miles from the border on all the major and not-so-major highways and byways of the great southwest.

    The iconography is very clear in my mind. Sure, you may get waved right through but the very real threat that you will be waved to the search lane and asked for your papers pleeeeze is a bit chilling.

    Personally, I'm way more offended by the Border Patrol checkpoints than the name of an inept and inane Department of Homeland Security.

    Maybe it's because the checkpoints are concrete and the traffic is stopped and US Officers peer into your vehicle and sometimes questions are asked, all of which happens without probable cause and without a warrant. Now THAT pisses me off. Mrs TWC keeps the mantra going all the way to the front of the line shut up, keep you big mouth shut, do not say anything to these guys, just calm down, shut up.....

    And it's nothing new, didn't originate with Herr Bush, it's been going on for decades but nobody noticed until recently.

    It almost like most of us seem to think that NSA appeared out of thin air on September 12, 2001. Well, not exactly.

    [takes a big breath]

  • ||

    You know guys, Mr. Bailey has fulfilled Godwin's Law with his initial blog post - why are we continuing to comment?



    T-Nad-

    Purely to make you ask questions like that.

  • Tym||

    Tym,

    You haff relatives in Germany, ja?


    Not that I know, my German relatives came to the US in like the 1820's. In fact my German great grandfather fought on the US side in WWI.

    I do have known relatives in Sweden though.

  • SPD||

    I do have known relatives in Sweden though.

    Are they hot?

    You know what, I'm just going to stop asking questions now. Sorry, everyone!

  • lunchstealer||

    We must protect the rodina.

  • ||

    While we're at it, we ought to stop referring to a "Patriot" act. Same thing, a name that makes you sound antipatriotic if you try to criticize it. Call it by it's true acronym, "U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act". Really. Say each letter.

  • ||

    Remember the 2000 census. All those question people were complaining about, and the government reassured us that it would not be used by law enforcement. Guess who holds that information now?

    The creation of DHS gave the government the ability to gather information across most important agencies that might have previously needed a warrant. The Bush admin philosophy is spying = security. More domestic security = more domestic spying.

  • ||

    I once had a blog called "Motherland of the Doomed"

    ....

    perhaps not germane....

  • Unclaimed Mysteries||

    Godwin's Law is a quaint relic of a simpler time.

  • ||

    When they announce the creation of the Ministry of Love, I'm moving to South America; great skiing in the Andes, and less pretense on the part of the juntas.

  • ||

    It is precisely being "grown up," which makes us savvy to the government's use of certain words in its effort to direct public opinion. Words matter. And their use in public debate creates boundaries for our thinking.

    Here's an idea, though-- ok, maybe it's not as dramatic as throwing all the tea overboard-- let's just stop using the words. In this magazine, at the coffee shop, in all our day-to-day conversations, refuse to use the words "homeland," "war on terror," "Iraqi freedom," etc. Don't do it. Make it obvious. (The word, "so-called," is a great lead in.) Maybe it'll catch on.

    As has already been pointed out, the so-called department of homeland security itself was never much more than a bunch of of fluff to make it appear that the government is doing something. Post 9/11 high level policy discussion: "We must convince the people [read that, sheep, ignorant masses, or similar] that we're taking action, that we're on top of this. I know, let's rearrange the bureacracy, consolidating and streamlining for better coordination and communication." Sound familar? This is not an uncommon approach in any political plan to "fix" government.

  • Kaa||

    I read somewhere on the net an excellent description of the difficulties the German journalists had with trying to translate Department of Homeland Security into German. Most straightforward translations sounded to almost all people like the name came directly out of Goebbels' mouth. But I lost the link... anyone has any pointers?

    Kaa

  • ||

    It is precisely being "grown up," which makes us savvy to the government's use of certain words in its effort to direct public opinion. Words matter. And their use in public debate creates boundaries for our thinking.

    Here's an idea, though-- ok, maybe it's not as dramatic as throwing all the tea overboard-- let's just stop using the words. In this magazine, at the coffee shop, in all our day-to-day conversations, refuse to use the words "homeland," "war on terror," "Iraqi freedom," etc. Don't do it. Make it obvious. (The word, "so-called," is a great lead in.) Maybe it'll catch on.


    Only if Reason agrees to change its name to The Journal of Selfishness Rationalization

  • VM||

    Kå:

    not as far as this moose remembers. "Heimatschutzministerium" is the word, at any rate.

    DanT: we'll rename the magazine "DEMAND KURV!!!"

  • ||

    O Fatherland!

    I was the lucky gal who got to sing that one in front of hundreds of people... I even saluted. Every mention of the DHS cues my Cabaret memories and it makes me sick.

    This is the first thread I've ever seen Godwin'd before it began.

  • Bee||

    I'm with you, TWC. I loathe the border crossing "theater". You're a frigging hour from the border, for god's sake. It snarls traffic, and is a none-too-subtle reminder of Who's Boss Around Here.

    Ron's post makes me feel a little less isolated. I'd always thought "Homeland" sounded kinda Nazi-ish, but other people I mentioned that to just fixed me with blank, puzzled stares. I figured it was just me that was disturbed by the name. I am glad I am not the only one who got the willies from the word "Homeland".

  • ||

    I couldn't agree more. "Homeland" has always rubbed me the wrong way. Just another slab of fear-mongering and propoganda Bush has thrown at the drooling American people to swallow.

  • VM||

    Cabaret, eh... hmmmmm...

  • ||

    Homeland Security is a stupid name for a redundancy that was invented (IMO) so that the government could appear to be doing something productive about the terrorist threat.

    Stupid grandiose names for government projects is low on the list of problems with the government that we should worry about. Soybean subsidies are a bigger problem.

    No offense to you liberals out there, but you're way too obsessed with appearances. Stop crying about what a thing is sounds like and start doing something about what it does.

    And by doing something, I don't mean making a giant puppet out of paper mache or forming a peace sign out of naked fat chicks on a beach.

    By the way, real Stasi agents laugh at the Dept of Homeland Security.

  • REAL STASI AGENT||

    ACTUALLY WE LAUGH AT ABDUL.

    JA JA. LAUGH.

    SNICKER.

    CHORTLE, EVEN!

  • ||

    I've always suspected. . . .

  • ||

    BTW, the difference between "Homeland" and "Fatherland" is that your home is where you live, whereas your Father is someone who spawned you and thus has authority over you.

    So yeah, the terms both end in "land" but beyond that any resemblence to the Third Reich beyond that is somewhat hyperbolic.

  • ||

    I've got to start previewing these comments, sorry for the redundant "beyond that'.

  • STASI||

    YOU SUSPECT NOTHING!!

  • ||

    Lawdy, Vm, more death by kitten cuteness? I can't take much more o' this!

    Anyway, the sick feeling came from singing such a pretty little melody while heil hitlering. Just raising my arm that way gave me the willies.

    Besides which, I tried out for Sally Bowles... I didn't want to be Freulein Kost!

    It's been 15 years, I'm over it.




    almost


    Y'alright, Dan T.? You seem to be having some trouble with your trolling today. *feels Dan T.'s forehead*

  • VM||

  • ||

    Okay, that's not cute, that's frickin' CREEPY!

  • VM||

    und zees hier is the most creepiest of all.

  • ||

    I like that one! What the hell is that white thing, anyway? Is it an evil hamster?

  • VM||

    It's Mr. Steven Crane's alter ego!

  • ||

    I for one, have been referring to DHS as the Heimatssicherheitsamt ever since it was created. It just seemed appropriate.

  • ||

    Do you mean Mr. Stephen Crane, or am I being ignernt.

    I'm petite, which means many things are over my head.

  • ||

    I'm gonna need a phonetic spelling on that, Seamus.

  • VM||

    hier is a little bit on Mr. Steven Crane.

  • Fluffy||

    Dan, give it a rest. No one is directly analogizing the US to Nazi Germany here.

    We're merely pointing out that the people who came up with the name for the DHS are tone-deaf, and they're a particular variety of tone-deaf: they're apparently unaware when they stumble onto names and slogans with a fascistic ring to them. If they had designed uniforms for DHS personnel with twin lightning bolts on them, it wouldn't have proven that Bush or anyone else is an actual Nazi. It would merely have proven that they were dumbasses whose sense of patriotic aptness leads them down some old familiar paths aesthetically.

    Everyone is chiming in about it because the term apparently rang in a lot of ears the same way. It's important to keep in mind, of course, that we aren't the target audience here. The target audience was supposed to think "Department of Homeland Security" was a cool-sounding name. Since a good part of that target audience apparently doesn't puke a little when they hear the Republicans talk about Jesus, maybe they actually DO think it's a cool name.

  • ||

    Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

  • ||

    VM,

    Ah hah. I see.



    I'd like a grape nehi, please.

    Fluffy,
    puke a little when they hear the Republicans talk about Jesus

    Heh. Yep, that sounds about right :)

  • The Owner\'s Manual||

    Homeland/country reflects two mindsets.
    It's the difference between the national anthem and America the Beautiful, between flying the national ensign and tying a yellow ribbon, between fighting for what you have and inheriting it.

    It's the dichotomy of those who earn their country and those who take it for granted.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    I don't mean making a giant puppet out of paper mache or forming a peace sign out of naked fat chicks on a beach.

    Abdul wins the thread! LOL

  • ||

    That squirrel [VM 2:15] needs a tattoo and a pack of Pall Malls rolled up in the sleeve of his t-shirt.

    "When I lose your comment, it stays lost. Got it?"

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    My cats would dispatch that ugly squirrel on the gate post haste.

    Heimatssicherheitsamt

    Won't work for me, I can barely pronounce mid-size American English words that are spelled correctly.

  • ||

    God-damn, but I hate that fucking word. And I think Fluffy is right - this administration and its minions sometimes make astoundingly bad choices in symbolism, not because they're fascists in embryo (although some are) but because they're morons. People with any common sense would have blown Abu Ghraib into orbit with C4 and replaced it with a memorial, for example, instead of handing it over to the military and intelligence services to house enemies of the state.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    Bee, thanks. The worst BP checkpoint bonehead move was when the one in Temecula (Rainbow) on I-15 had a five hour wait on New Years Eve three or four years ago. Traffic was backed up half way to San Diego. I believe that it was literally backed up for 20 miles.

  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    People with any common sense would have blown Abu Ghraib into orbit with C4 and replaced it with a memorial, for example, instead of handing it over to the military and intelligence services to house enemies of the state.

    Well said.

  • Edward||

    Ron,

    Thanks for the link to the previous discussion. I think communist symbols are less offensive than Nazi symbols because however much communists have to answer for--and they have a lot to answer for-- some communists were always involved in what most people would consider just causes. Nazis never were.

  • Fluffy||

    Oh, since I forgot to say it in my post above:

    Leaving aside the fascist image associations for a moment, we also have to address the fact that "Department of Homeland Security" = "Freedom Fries".

    There are two types of people in the world: Those who heard the term "freedom fries" and laughed AT it, and those who heard the term "freedom fries" and laughed WITH it. The people who laughed WITH it probably think "Department of Homeland Security" is a real tough, serious sounding name. You know: dumbasses.

  • Jennifer||

    Did a quick Google search of the Hit and Run archives (and mine wasn't the only comment in this vein):

    Jennifer | August 24, 2004, 5:51am | #

    I was surprised by the choice of the word "homeland" because that's the term used by the white-supremacist right-wing militias out West. Does anybody remember the old Mad TV parody "Homeland Improvement?"

    Still, I guess it's better than 'blood and soil.'

  • ||

    I am going to start calling the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act the "Us A Pat Riot Act"...

    It has a nice ring to it!

    Us? A pat riot? Act!

  • Terry Michael||

    My reaction to "homeland" is visceral. My right arm pops up, parallel to the ground. My mouth starts emitting these words: "Homeland, homeland, uber alles." What kind of lunatic came up with "Dept. of Homeland Security?" Obviously, one of the many geniuses who currently govern our country and have no sense of the history of that word's association with Nazi genocide. Be thankful there are only 550 days left of the Bush Barbarians.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Apparently, the name was proposed by someone on the Hart-Rudman Commission. Anybody have more details?

  • ||

    It gives me comfort that I am not alone in my dislike for the use of 'Homeland'. I was not, however, surprised by Bush's choice of the term.

  • ||

    I never understood why they didn't call it the Dept. of Domestic Security or Interior Security or something. "Homeland" does sound very Nazi-esque, and completely at odds with American usages.

    How about "the Committee for State Security"?

    Gets away from the Nazi thing completely.

  • ||

    My reaction to "homeland" is visceral. My right arm pops up, parallel to the ground. My mouth starts emitting these words: "Homeland, homeland, uber alles."

    Mein too!

  • uncle sam||

    More here on NAZI parallels.

  • ||

    The redundancy with the Defense Dept., is because "Defense" is the softer name for what was the War Dept. Homeland Security covers most government agencies that are involved with blocking attcks on the domestic front that are not military functions.

    Yes, this mishmash department was created so that the white house and congress could say they were doing something about the organzational problems in the security and intelligence agencies that at least looked productive. Also, Homeland Security was a bipartisan effort, if memory serves the Dems (who had the nominal majority in Senate) were pushing hard for its creation. As well as making airport security screeners federal employees under Homeland Security's auspices (I believe Daschle said "You cannot professionalize if you do not federalize").

  • ||

    When I first heard "Axis of Evil" I thought of Lex Luthor, John Bly, Darth Vader, and Magneto gathered around a table in the Legion of Doom's fortress.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Looks like the Heritage Foundation started using the phrase "Homeland Security" long before any government agency had that name.

  • ||

    Nice to see NPR twig to the bad vibes of the name in under seven years.

  • ed||

    I'll break up the party by noting that few Americans outside this little circle jerk are terribly concerned with or frightened by the term Homeland Security. We may as well fret over the word "Service" in Internal Revenue Service.

  • ||

    And so, by comparison, "Homeworld" should bring to mind the "Imperial Death March"? Does "Self-defence" = "Zenophobia", too? I guees one cannot be concerned with protecting himself and his family without being a racist or biggot... even on Reason.

    However, I think the USAPATRIOT Act is a POS and the function of Homeland Security is redundant and a money pit.

  • ||

    As a blog archaeologist, this is a most interesting find. Back in 2007, one could "feel the rage" rising. People wanted to shake off seven years of induced mass paranoia, symbolized by the alien word "Homeland".
    You can see here why Obama made it. Back then, of course, it wasn't clear what he would do with it.

  • Lech||

    When I saw this, the word that immediately came to mind was 'heimat'. I'm WWII buff, so I suppose that's to be expected.

    The whole Homeland Security thing reminds me very much of what the Soviet bloc nations were doing during the Cold War. They mined and patrolled their borders against a non-existant western threat of invasion.

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