Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Securing the homeland ...

Let's play a little game of "use your imagination" here.

Imagine, if you will, that you've got a Civil War era farmhouse on a nice big plot of land ... surrounded by a normal old picket fence. You've got a shed, a barn, and just for pretend sake, here, a chicken coop filled with chicks. Pretend it's the nicest chicken coop in the world. Everyone envies it. And one day, inexplicably, some cretin from the next township takes his pickup truck and rams into it - killing about 3,000 of your chickens.

Let's imagine that you find out the driver of the truck was named John Smouse. He and his family despise you. The even sent a tape into the local community television station to let the world know that it was them who killed your chicks and they're awfully proud of it, too.

So. What do you do?

If you're George Bush, you round up all the Smouses (or would that be Smice?) and take them far far away where no one will hurt them. Then you plow through Farmer Jones' fields, killing all his corn, wheat, and a good percentage of his livestock. Once that's done, you get a bunch of folks with big tractors to ram through the fences of the Speers farm and sit there - antagonizing the living crap out of those Speers. You send your own tape to community television explaining that since the cowardly Smouses (again - Smice?) attacked you, the creator told you to round up all the Speers and bring them to a deserted part of the area where you can torture them into telling you why the Smouses did such horrible things to you.

Of course, the key to ALL of this is to make sure that you're doing it as far away from your Civil War era farmhouse as possible.

Meanwhile, back at that farmhouse, take the fence down. Paint pro-yourself propaganda on the barn ... and occasionally stand in front of it saying things that may further irritate the Smouses ... and the Speers. After all, they're cut from the same cloth in your eyes. Jump on your tractor and proclaim yourself the victor of this little farm gang fight ... even if the fighting is still going on over at the Speers' farm and the folks that you sent there to do your dirty work get mauled daily and have eggs thrown at them.

Make sure that the eggmunitions that you have are all centralized in the middle of your farm rather than spread around. In fact, it'd be nice to save a couple bucks. Why not close down a couple of those eggmunition centers?

Oh, and don't forget to occasionally say something derogatory about the Scheer family ... cause you heard they may be hiding eggs. And you want them to know that you know.


Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

But this is essentially our strategy for "Homeland Security."

Now, don't look at the quotation marks that I put around the phrase Homeland Security and assume that I'm not interested in protecting the homeland (although, frankly I would be a little more comfortable if we didn't take the phrase DIRECTLY from the Third Reich).

I'm all for making sure we're secure. September 11th was a travesty. It was brutal. It was ugly. And we should do everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen again. Well, almost everything in our power. I'm not in favor of shredding the Constitution, but other than that - let's get secure, baby.

But we're not working on making ourselves more secure. HOMEland security begins at HOME. We seem much more interested in IRAQIland security.

Insert imaginary Bushie: "But Scott, we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here."

Ah, the use of the universal THEM ... brilliantly employed with the make-believe concept that we have to fight SOMEWHERE. (And I thought Republicans didn't believe in zero-sum games).
Better there than here, right?

I don't recall it being a requirement that we be in a fight at all times ... with someone. I looked it up in the rule book. Not there.

And who is THEM? The Iraqis? They were going to come fight us here? With their WMD, right? Or were the Taliban going to come kill us with heroin?

We could have just spent some time and energy securing the border. Novel concept. And I'm not against bolstering the military. Just not for offensive measures. Ever notice, by the way, that the Pentagon is the home to the "Department of DEFENSE?" Not the Department of Offense. Not even the Department of the MILITARY. We wisely thought - at one point a long time ago - that military in the United States should be a defensive measure.

I'd like to continue to follow that guideline.

Of course, it'd be easier to defend the homeland if the Department of Defense wasn't having its bases closed. Nowhere do we better understand that than on the Canadian border - right here in Niagara Falls, New York - where they're closing our military base to save $180 Million (over what, 20 years?), while we've spent nearly 10 times that over the last 18 months in our latest desert paradise, Iraq.

One last thought before wrapping this up; while I would like our immigration policy to be more open and comprehensive, I would like our borders to be less porous. Bring the military home and line them up on the Mexican AND Canadian borders to make sure people we don't want in aren't getting in.

To summarize: Homeland Security should be about keeping the military at home to play defense IF need be. Not across the oceans stirring up beehives and creating new enemies. And it's the Constitution we're trying to defend. Let's not shred it to save it. In other words, kill the Patriot Act.