Homeland Insecurity


President Bush has announced his plan to ensure domestic security by creating a massive new bureaucracy. The proposed Department of Homeland Security would incorporate elements of many existing massive bureaucracies and oversee some of the other massive old bureaucracies, such as the CIA and FBI, that have failed dramatically at ensuring domestic security. Ironically, this announcement came the very same day as FBI agent Coleen Rowley told the Senate Judiciary Committee that "ever-growing bureaucracy" has gummed up the fight against domestic terrorism in the first place.

According to Bush, one of the goals of the new $37.5 billion cabinet department would be to solve the problem that "right now, as many as 100 different agencies have some responsibilities for homeland security, and no one has final accountability." But accountability means that someone will really take a fall for failure. Post-9/11, that's one thing in which the feds have shown absolutely zero interest. Indeed, in announcing his new plan, Bush specifically pooh-poohed any need to "point the finger of blame" for past flubs that might have allowed 9/11 to occur.

But let's not get nit-picky. OK, the federal government doesn't know how to keep the homeland secure. It does know how to spend, reorganize, and bureaucratize. So, it's really doing the best it can.

Complete security, of course, is impossible. The government itself has acknowledged this, with its cynical warnings (no one will be able to say they didn't warn us) that an unstoppable, horrible disaster from terrorists is surely just around the corner. However, this won't stop the government's continuous and ever more byzantine attempts to burn through both our tax dollars and our liberties in endlessly futile attempts at establishing homeland security against the enemies that world-spanning superpowers generate.