the Homeland Security Cow
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
by Jim Grichar
In a climate of continued fear over additional terrorist
attacks by al Qaeda on the United States, it is no wonder that milking
the homeland security cash cow continues unabated. As Lew
Rockwell observed last year following Congressís approval of
a Homeland Security Department, lobbyists and contractors who
specialize in extracting money from taxpayers were drooling at the
prospect of making a big buck in this business. And they have prospered
at taxpayersí expense.
With the passage of time and with ample funds available,
others have gotten into the homeland security business, particularly
of universities and colleges. This should not be surprising
given the past proliferation of goofy, even trendy, ultra-specialized
courses and eventually majors at Americaís colleges and universities.
Again, the lure of a federal grant is enough to attract resources
into this field.
appear to be responding to the availability of federal funds, figuring
that the demand for such "expertise" will provide stable
long-term employment prospects. After all, being secure in oneís
person, family and property is something most people desire, even
more so in the wake of 9/11 and continued fears of further terrorist
attacks, so the demand for homeland security is likely to remain
And where there are students there is a need for experts
to teach classes and a need for books on the subject. The private
sector has for a long time looked at this problem and developed
ways of addressing the issue. The government side always
slower to respond is getting into the homeland security education
area, with some past and also "wannabe" political appointees
trying to profit from this government-created boom. Beginning this
fall, if some college instructor wants to give an introductory course
in homeland security, he can now turn to a new text, "Introduction
to Homeland Security" (Note: this web site might load slowly
because of the graphics content).
other book reviews I have done for LRC, I have not read
nor do I intend to read this book. Certainly not for the $69.95
that the publisher is asking for a copy! Let me tell you why.
one of my bureaucratic lives, I worked at the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA), one of the predecessors to the Homeland
Security Department, and I knew and sometimes dealt with two of
the six co-authors. Both Jane Bullock and George Haddow (refer to
the link to the textbook to get their biographies) were former
senior FEMA employees, working closely with the Clinton Administrationís
FEMA Director James Lee Witt. Bullock a career government worker
apparently had enough political connections to be chosen as Wittís
Chief of Staff, and Haddow was sent over from the White House to
work with her and Witt.
is especially hilarious and ironic about their co-authoring this
book is that Bullock and Haddow, along with Witt, did their utmost
to squelch the use of taxpayer funds for anything resembling anti-terrorist
preparedness measures while they were in FEMAís "head shed."
Most money was reprogrammed into various federal disaster relief
accounts and used for such critical priorities as paying
for municipal snow removal in places like North Carolina and Alabama.
(Check out Jim Bovardís Feeling
Your Pain for more on FEMAís wasteful spending during the
Clinton-Gore years. Like the Clinton Administration, the current
Bush policy is to have FEMA shoveling out tons of money to buy the
votes of disaster victims.)
the Congress, during the latter years of the Clinton Administration,
started to funnel money to various federal departments and agencies
for enhancing the nationís preparedness against terrorist acts,
Bullock and Haddow who generally had their hands on virtually
everything that went on at FEMA were at the forefront in allowing
employees to go on government-paid travel to talk about what types
of anti-terrorist preparedness measures might be needed. Little,
if anything, came of these boondoggle trips to meet with other federal,
state, and local bureaucrats. And that was the way Bullock, Haddow
and their political patrons wanted it. Activity abounded, but nothing
substantive was done. And that was evident when 9/11 hit, with most
bureaucrats (unsurprisingly) in the "sucking their thumb"
mode, as the Bush Administration had done little to reorient government
activities from Clinton Administration priorities.
readers think I am unduly critical of a book I have not read, let
me provide a bit of analysis of the outline that the publisher has
provided at the web link. It reads like it was written by bureaucrats.
In fact, the book appears to be (from the publisherís summary) loaded
with "wire diagrams" showing the lines of authority within
various departments and agencies as well as lists of contacts in
the emergency preparedness and management area, all of which can
easily change in one year if a department or agency is reorganized
or if there is some staff turnover. The rest of the text contains
a lot of history, which any astute researcher could pick up in a
short time by doing some focused web searches on Alexa or Google
or by going to the FEMA web site.
chapter whose contents really rubbed me the wrong way was the first
chapter, the outline of which stated that the book would cover pre-1992
domestic terrorist events (did this include the bombings in the
late 1960's and early 1970's by the anti-Vietnam war radicals),
the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (the outline at the web site
mistakenly said it was in 1992), the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,
and the 9/11 World Trade Center and 9/11 Pentagon events.
guess is that the chapter on domestic terrorist events is a rather
one-sided exposition, and that it did not include all domestic state-sponsored
terrorist events, namely those perpetrated by federal, state, and
local law enforcement authorities of the United States. Such events
include, but should certainly not be limited to: 1) the killing
of Randy Weaverís wife and son at Ruby Ridge Idaho in 1992 by U.S.
marshals; 2) the early 1993 killing of a very large number of the
Branch Davidian religious group at their church and ranch in Waco,
Texas in 1993 by the FBI; 3) the too numerous to list "mistaken
dynamic entries" into citizensí homes conducted by various
federal, state, and local law enforcement entities to capture alleged
drug dealers; 4) the raid by Janet Renoís goons to get Elian
Gonzalez sent back to Castroís Cuban paradise; and, 5) Internal
Revenue Service harassment of taxpayers and unjust confiscation
of their property.
the federal end of the homeland security racket will continue as
long as the money is appropriated by Congress. And folks like Bullock
and Haddow, both of whom may have ambitions to get high-ranking
posts in a Kerry Administration Homeland Security Department, will
continue to milk the system for all it's worth. Guess which textbook
on homeland security would be used for "in-house" training
at the Homeland Security Department? Real homeland security for
the populace resulting from current or future federal spending will
definitely be extremely costly for whatever benefits might be obtained.
that the risks of being killed or injured in a terrorist attack
in the U.S. are already quite low (despite the drumbeat of fear
coming out of the Bush Administration), there are only a few ways
you can really provide additional protection for yourself, your
family and your property. The good news is that none of these measures
are dependent upon the whims of homeland security bureaucrats, and
you will not have to get milked further in the homeland security
scam by spending $69.95 on a book to find out what measures you
can take. Iíll suggest a few for free.
measure is to live in a rural community with a low crime rate; such
places are normally off the terroristsí radar screen. If youíre
stuck in the city and still frightened, get a job located outside
of the city or in a suburb. That should generally keep you out of
harmís way. Finally, if you still want an additional bit of protection
and happen to live in a state that allows you to get a permit to
carry a concealed handgun, get the permit and proper training and
practice in the use of the gun. I know I always feel safer when
Iím packing. And I do not have to depend upon some distant and faceless
bureaucrat for my own personal homeland security protection plan.
your own actions to prepare against terrorism is more likely to
work and can help prevent additional milking of the taxpayers by
the government end of the homeland security crowd.
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2004 LewRockwell.com