Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Boondoggle of the Day: Department of Homeland Security

I was thinking yesterday about the possibility impossibility of Barack Obama shutting down the utterly useless Department of Homeland Color-Coded Terror Levels Security.  Even in my idle considerations of when would be the most politically expedient time for Obama to drop such a bombshell (irony intended) — right away, I reasoned, as far away from upcoming elections as possible — was the implicit acknowledgement of the political thrashing that he would suffer for such a cogent step.

And then I read Jeffrey Rosen’s intelligent takedown of this “Man-Made Disaster,” complete with an analysis of why pols of both left and right will just never, ever let it happen:

homelandsecurityThe only way of calming people down is political leadership that puts the terrorist threat in perspective. But, despite efforts by Chertoff to avoid the color-coded hysteria that defined the department in its early days, DHS officials inevitably feel pressure to exaggerate the terrorist threat–scaremongering that creates further public demand for promises of security that can’t be fulfilled. And so the very existence of DHS creates a chain reaction of self-justifying insecurity. For this reason, Republicans (who used to be the stiff-upper-lip party of limited government) and Democrats (who don’t trust the government to run the war in Iraq and are generally cautious about spending too much on defense) are willing to sink billions into an institutional money pit that has more to do with symbols than substance. Both parties seem incapable of acknowledging an uncomfortable but increasingly obvious truth: that the Department of Homeland Security was a bureaucratic and philosophical mistake. [emphasis mine]

Read the whole thing.  And on a related note, ABC is unveiling a new series, “Homeland Security USA,” dedicated to telling us the stories of how brave DHS officers are keeping us safe every day.

(image from flickr user phantamage under a Creative Commons license)

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December 12, 2008 - Posted by | media, U.S. politics | , ,

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