Mon Jul 15, 2013, 08:48 PM
n2doc (43,310 posts)
The Case for Abolishing the DHS
By Charles Kenny
On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano resigned to take up a post running California’s university system. With her departure, there are now 15 vacant positions at the top of the department. That suggests it would be a particularly humane moment to shut the whole thing down. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was a panicked reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks. It owes its continued existence to a vastly exaggerated assessment of the threat of terrorism. The department is also responsible for some of the least cost-effective spending in the U.S. government. It’s time to admit that creating it was a mistake.
In 2002 the George W. Bush administration presented a budget request for massively increased spending on homeland security, at that point coordinated out of the Office of Homeland Security. “A new wave of terrorism, involving new weapons, looms in America’s future,” the White House said. “It is a challenge unlike any ever faced by our nation.” In proposing a new cabinet-level agency, Bush said, “The changing nature of the threats facing America requires a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons.” Because of “experience gained since Sept. 11 and new information we have learned about our enemies while fighting a war,” the president concluded that “our nation needs a more unified homeland security structure.”
More than a decade later, it’s increasingly clear that the danger to Americans posed by terrorism remains smaller than that of myriad other threats, from infectious disease to gun violence to drunk driving. Even in 2001, considerably more Americans died of drowning than from terror attacks. Since then, the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack in the U.S. or abroad have been about one in 20 million. The Boston marathon bombing was evil and tragic, but it’s worth comparing the three deaths in that attack to a list of the number of people in the U.S. killed by guns since the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., which stood at 6,078 as of June.
This low risk isn’t evidence that homeland security spending has worked: It’s evidence that the terror threat was never as great as we thought. A rather pathetic Heritage Foundation list of 50 terrorist plots against the U.S. foiled since Sept. 11 includes such incidents as a plan to use a blowtorch to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge and “allegedly lying about attending a terrorist training center”—but nothing involving weapons of mass destruction. Further, these are alleged plots. The list of plausible plots, let alone actual crimes, is considerably smaller. From 2005 to 2010, federal attorneys declined (PDF) to bring any charges against 67 percent of alleged terrorism-related cases referred to them from law enforcement agencies.
4 replies, 596 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
The Case for Abolishing the DHS (Original post)
|Egalitarian Thug||Jul 2013||#1|
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Mon Jul 15, 2013, 09:37 PM
KoKo (84,711 posts)
2. It seems to be an agency involved in Over Reach.. and maybe even
using funds for purposes that provide little value to the taxpayer. Too much room for Private Contractors and other "Interests" to misuse and abuse it, imho.
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:28 PM
indepat (20,899 posts)
4. The claims made in junior's 2002 budget request need to be analyzed and re-assessed for veracity,
reason, and accuracy. But that's not going to happen: too many present and future multi-billionaires' lucrative government contracts would be at stake, an impertinence that is not going to be allowed to happen.