Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It Is To Laugh, Again

For a man that the Emperor said he didn't think much about, Osama bin Laden sure has been name-dropped a lot in the last few weeks. The latest reference came from Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. From the NY Times:

Osama bin Laden, Mr. Chertoff said, has made it clear that scaring the United States into an unsustainable spending spree is one of his aims. In a 2004 video, Mr. bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, spoke of “bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.”

“He understood that one tool he had in waging war against the United States was to drive us crazy, into bankruptcy, trying to defend ourselves against every conceivable threat,” Mr. Chertoff said at a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We have to be realistic about what we expect and what we do. We do have limits, and we do have choices to make.”

...Others who spoke at the hearing, including Richard A. Falkenrath, the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department, questioned just how good a job Mr. Chertoff was doing divvying up his limited resources.

Mr. Chertoff, since he was named secretary in February 2005, has talked of the need to make spending risk-based, but his department has also been lambasted for compiling a list of possible targets that included a petting zoo, a bourbon festival and a popcorn factory, while at the same time it cut antiterrorism grants to high-risk cities like Washington and New York.
[Emphasis added]

Clearly Mr. bin Laden's comments are useful in the terra-terra-terra fear mongering this election season. The fact is, however, that his remarks seem to have been quite prescient. The US under the current regime has in fact spent the country into a state quite close to bankruptcy, but the funding hasn't gone into make the nation more secure, but rather into making us less secure. The billions poured into the Iraq War rat-hole has succeeded only in creating new terrorists the world over and in destroying any credibility in US foreign policy. Even our "allies" are distrust us.

And as to using risk-based analysis in distributing funds, I'm sure the citizens of New York and Washington, DC have a few suggestions for Mr. Chertoff. In the mean time, our chemical and nuclear plants remain unprotected, as do our ports and our mass transit systems. I take no comfort in knowing that a petting zoo is safer or that a bourbon festival is more secure.

But then, I don't think this is about security at all, at least not homeland security. It's more about job security for a select few and about increased power for an even more select few. I think my opinion is beginning to be shared by more and more Americans, at least I certainly hope so.


Blogger Eli said...

So, let me get this straight: Osama is trying to trick us into depending our ports and plants? He truly is diabolical!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Nora said...

Why should we listen to anything Chertoff says? Seriously, when has he shown any expertise in anything? After his department's decision to cut funds to NYC because there are no targets there, he has lost whatever credibility he might once have had.

6:05 PM  

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