Dover Bitch

Friday, June 02, 2006

DHS: A bad news onion

The news about New York's Homeland Security funding cuts is like a disturbing onion... layer upon layer of bad news. And like an onion, peeling away each layer makes you want to cry.

Layer 1: The Orwellian double-speak of the Bush Administration and their constant campaigning has made it impossible to take anything they say seriously. The "War on Terror" or whatever they are calling it these days is not just nonsensical when parsed, but the way they've incorporated all their schemes into it has obscured the fact that there really are people who want to continue attacking us. The administration has turned a great challenge for our nation into a political graveyard of sensational rhetoric. On both sides of the political spectrum.

Layer 2: The one thing the administration has said consistently, despite the ever-changing rationales for why we went to Iraq, is that we are fighting them over there so that we don't fight them here at home. If our leaders were so ill-prepared for a conflict for which they actually planned, how much confidence can we have that we are prepared to fight if the conflict returns to our own soil. Katrina gave us a few days' warning. How did that work out for us?

Layer 3: Slashing the budget in the New York and Washington have given Americans even less confidence in our leaders because the public seems practically unanimous in believing those cities to be the most threatened. Even if other cities need money, a 40% reduction is hard to accept.

Layer 4: The nonsense about New York and it's lack of icons makes you wonder if anybody at DHS has ever even been to New York. Was the GOP so scared during their convention that they never went outside?

Layer 5: What if DHS knows something we don't? It doesn't seem likely that this administration knows anything because they've been wrong about so many things. But consider this:

For instance, in the late 1950s, many senators thought President Dwight Eisenhower was either a knave or a fool for denying the existence of a "missile gap." U.S. Air Force Intelligence estimates—leaked to the press and supplied to the Air Force's allies on Capitol Hill—indicated that the Soviet Union would have at least 500 intercontinental ballistic missiles by 1962, far more than the U.S. arsenal. What the "missile gap" hawks didn't know—and Eisenhower did—was that the Central Intelligence Agency had recently acquired new evidence indicating that the Soviets couldn't possibly have more than 50 ICBMs by then—fewer than we would. (As it turned out, photoreconnaissance satellites, which were secretly launched in 1960, revealed that even that number was too high; the Soviets had only a couple of dozen ICBMs.)

Presidents can be right about things even when they seem wrong. Is it possible that places like Omaha and Louisville may be under a threat? If so, what are they going to do with that money? It seems like a great deal of the money that goes to places outside of our biggest targets ends up as pork. Remember bulletproof dog vests for Ohio? Or air-conditioned garbage trucks in New Jersey?