Ten thousand National Guardsmen, 7,500 active-duty soldiers, 25,000 cops from "99 federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies." A city "honeycombed" with "communication command centers" spying on supposedly free Americans with 5,265 surveillance cameras. And, as if we aren’t already up to our eyeballs in goons, an entire brigade of the US Army on call. The cost for this hyperbolic hysteria? Hundreds of millions at a time when many taxpayers can’t scrape together the next month’s mortgage. All for an inauguration that has attracted no "specific threats."
"Critics" contend that this is overkill. Go figure.
The piranhas swarming the security food-chain beg to differ. After all, they aren’t squandering their own money to guard against every conceivable threat, whether it’s a discarded cigarette igniting Obama’s hot air or the Almighty hurling a meteorite at DC’s massed mountebanks. Michael Chertoff, large intestine at the Department of Homeland Security, pompously assured CNN, "We are literally going to be watching this every minute between now and the conclusion of events on the 20th." Having turned Washington into an armed camp, this twit added, "You don’t want to make this like an armed camp because it spoils the event itself."
Then there’s White House chief of staff Josh Bolton. He equates dreaming up the remotest of risks and spending other people’s money to prevent them with common courtesy: “In the post-9/11 world, this isn’t just good manners, good government; it’s a national [sic for u2018homeland'] security responsibility." Geez, Josh, get with the program. Your boss has been tossing off the Nazi terminology for 8 years now: time you did, too.
The excuse for militarizing the inauguration is the same tired one trotted out for militarizing the country: 9/11. Gordon Johndroe is a spokesman for the National Security Council who apparently boasts as little historical perspective as Chertoff and Bolton do common sense: "…obviously the world is a substantially different place in 2009,” he opined to CBS.
Yo, Gordie: politicians have ever embroiled their subjects in wars, attacks, ambushes, assaults, and incursions that invite reprisals. Farmers in ancient Israel feared Philistine raids thanks to their kings’ provocations; medieval serfs huddled inside their lords’ castles lest the enemies those lords made massacre them; French and British settlers in the New World kept a musket within reach while plowing their fields. 9/11 was just another link in a very long chain, not the cataclysmic break Our Rulers allege.
Naturally, Gordie and his buddies understand none of this. Nor do they see the irony in protecting politicians from us when we’re the ones needing protection from them.
Some of our millions will pay everyone’s favorite bureaucracy to strut about DC during the inauguration, searching the people footing its bills as though they’re criminals. Whoops, I misspeak: criminals usually merit the dignity of a warrant before a search commences. Not so the throngs jamming the capital — who are guilty, I admit, but only of criminal stupidity. Yet the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), steadfast stomper of the Fourth Amendment for the last 7 years, will take its war on the Constitution from the country’s airports to its capital. "TSA spokesman John Allen [said]… that 300 TSA workers from all over the country are being flown in to Washington, D.C. to work security for special events. They will screen guests as though they were coming into the airport."
Whoa-ho! That oughta endanger everyone but good: these are the nitwits who can’t discern plastic props from weapons. They actually called a bomb squad a few days ago when a screener uprooted a forgotten, fake grenade from an actor’s bag at Los Angeles International Airport. Said squad helpfully pointed out that "the weapon wasn’t live because it didn’t have a firing pin or explosive." No matter. "It was a practice grenade; a prohibited item," sniffed one of the TSA’s leeches, Nico Melendez. I hope but I doubt that he blushed and stammered while trying to excuse such lunacy.
You can say this for the TSA and the millions of Americans cheering an emperor who has no clothes: they certainly deserve one another.
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.