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    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    When FEAR Rules a Nation

    Stardate 4513.6

    I would suggest that many people in the USA live in constant fear of attack from some unseen foe. Whether it happens driving home from the grocers, or at work, in some 50 story monument to western society, attacks seem imminent. After the events of 9-11, the Bush administration has almost a tunnel-vision attitude towards policy. Everything revolves around preventing attacks on US soil, and thus, the Department of Homeland Security was born. So resolute are these mighty leaders in their goal to prevent attacks on their good ol' citizens, that they will go out of their way to create intelligence and terror suspects in order to fill other agendas... Of course, the key here is to keep the country in fear as long as possible. This serves to unite the people against a common enemy (terror) and allows the administration to do things that would normally seem highly suspicious or downright silly in light of what the US and Democracy really stand for.

    Of course, living in perpetual fear has other repurcussions alongside the usual mess of Propoganda, deceit and scapegoat creation. Important funding to many areas of US government and social programs have obviously had to be redirected to help power this mighty juggernaut called Homeland Security and National Defense. The Defense budget has been increased by 41% since 2001, and Homeland Security could see an 8% increase in funding in 2006 over this year... so these funds need to come from somewhere. Deficit will only cover so much. Other programs and departments obviously need to be cut in order to finance a military state.

    Let's start with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). It appears that the Bush admin was warned earlier this year that many folks working in FEMA felt that their equipment and training was getting to be far too heavily geared towards fighting terrorists instead of natural disasters like they are supposed to. Of course, this is because FEMA lost it's status as an independant group in March of 2003, when they were absorbed by the mighty Department of Homeland Security. Well no brainer there... what is going to happen? It seems that 31 out of 39 first responder departments had said that the training and equipment was geared too much towards dealing with NBC (Nuclear, Biological or Chemical) terrorist attacks and that natural disaster took a back seat to these events. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that integrating FEMA into the massive Homeland Security department "only enhanced the agency's ability to carry out its mission "because it can now use all of the biggest law enforcement agencies' resources. The same agencyies' that seem to refuse to share intel and work together? Oh my. So even after many responders said they needed more equipment and training to deal with natural and accidental incidents, and even after the same respondants said they needed more leeway with spending money to combat natural disasters more likely to occur in their areas, the Department of Homeland Security secretary Chertoff announced more changes in his agency, focussing almost entirely on preparedness against terrorism. Well let's re-focus priority on attacks from terrorists, and forget about things that plague the country *every* year, like Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Earthqakes! Almost all other natural disasters are side effects of these mighty occurances.

    Take the latest tragedy in New Orleans and the southern coast. The floods were inevitable, but since funding was cut to many of the levee repair projects to help pay for the War in Iraq and Homeland Security, they became that much worse. Highly needed re-design of the entire coast line will never get funding so that plan went out the window right away. The State couldn't afford it, and the Federal government is too busy invading the Middle East. It took 4 days for National Guard troops to get to New Orleans since almost all of Louisiana's National Guard is in Iraq. Of course, no troops from *that* campaign will be home early to help with relief, rioters or rebuilding. 4 days, while looting, mayhem and carnage was going on. Now I want to see Bush and the Department of Homeland Security try to convince the homeless people of New Orleans that an NBC attack was much more likely than a hurricane or flooding. Good luck with that. So maybe fear did rule those people, but not the fear the Government is feeding them. Overall, the response and preparedness for this latest tragedy was pathetic at best. Despite all of the warnings, nothing seemed to be ready in time and many lives were lost and property destroyed because of it.
    There was such a terrible exchange of direction and information between local and federal agencies in this disaster then even Tom DeLay, the Republican House majority leader, was disgusted with the efforts saying "no one knows who's in charge". And the President went on to say how well FEMA handled the situation. Of course, we all know which reality he is operating in though. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chertoff, recently began a news briefing with these wise words, "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater...". Good thing they took FEMA under their wing.

    It has even been suggested by many that the terrible response to a highly predicted disaster was, in part, racially motivated. It is a known fact that African-Americans make up the majority of the population of the stricken area and it is an on-going debate whether or not this plays a part in the crisis. Some folks are saying that the black people were looting all over the place, but white folks are merely searching for food. Kind of a double standard if you ask me, since they are all God's children. It seems to me that poor black people are only trying to survive, the saem as the rich white people. Obviously there are going to be bad elements on both sides...

    So now a nation lives in fear still. Perhaps not the Fear the Government wants but the fear that no-one will be there to save them when California sinks into the ocean... or Mount St. Helens blows its top off. I am glad that up in the Great White North we fear no attacks from terror, and I rest, assured that if a tornado blew through town, many selfless people would help those in need and leave political and racial motivation and bickering behind.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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