March 10, 2006
|They're All Bozos On That Bus||9/11, "War On Terror" Politics|
It just keeps getting more grotesque. Somebody please make it stop. AP via the Guardian:
The agency entrusted with protecting the U.S. homeland is having difficulty safeguarding its own headquarters, say private security guards at the complex.
The guards have taken their concerns to Congress, describing inadequate training, failed security tests and slow or confused reactions to bomb and biological threats.
For instance, when an envelope with suspicious powder was opened last fall at Homeland Security Department headquarters, guards said they watched in amazement as superiors carried it by the office of Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then shook it outside Chertoff's window without evacuating people nearby.
The scare, caused by white powder that proved to be harmless, "stands as one glaring example" of the agency's security problems, said Derrick Daniels, one of the first guards to respond to the incident.
"I had never previously been given training...describing how to respond to a possible chemical attack," Daniels told The Associated Press. "I wouldn't feel safe nowhere on this compound as an officer."
Daniels was employed until last fall by Wackenhut Services Inc., the private security firm that guards Homeland's headquarters in a residential area of Washington. The company has been criticized previously for its work at nuclear facilities and transporting nuclear weapons. [Emphasis added]
Besides the obvious Catch-22 lunacy of this, there's a deeper subtext that's very, very serious. The current occupants of the White House think their responsibility ends when they decide which political crony to reward with a contract. They have no interest in governing, no interest in managing. Their interest is in plundering the treasury and accumulating power. They think government can't solve problems, so that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many of them, in fact, would prefer to see government fail, for ideological reasons.
Wackenhut's an ally, so they get the contract. Nobody pays the slightest attention to whether Wackenhut's actually doing the job it was hired to do.
Only people who believe in government can govern well. People who believe that government can do good, that government can solve problems and make people's lives better, are people who will try their best to make government succeed, people who will pay attention and follow through. That's why the Clinton administration was infinitely more effective than the Bush administration has been. And Clinton was no progressive. He's basically what a Republican used to be — Eisenhower, say, or even Nixon. But at least he wanted government to perform well, and he hired a bunch of other people who felt the same way. That really does matter.