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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Excessive spending won't bring security

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A debate is raging over the allocation of Homeland Security funds for rural areas as opposed to urban centers of population. Rural legislators in Congress were successful last week is adding $855 million this year to rural funding for terrorist preparedness. That's in addition to the billions of dollars being spent to prepare for potential terrorist attacks.

I truly believe most of this money is being spent foolishly. For starters, like it or not, if a terrorist is determined and patient, no amount of funds can halt them from their mission. That doesn't mean you don't take steps to prepare. But at what cost?

Here's one thing we might try. We might quit speaking publicly about where the Homeland Security dollars are being spent. If you and I know that some areas are receiving funds and others are not, then rest assured, the terrorists know this information as well. So why don't we talk of our plans behind closed doors?

Homeland Security funding is insurance. You hope you don't ever have to use it but it makes you feel more secure if you have at least attempted some defense. But added lighting at a rural, agricultural port authority or fencing around the local airport is at best a questionable expenditure of taxpayer dollars for terrorist security.

Here's a comparison. The kid in Minnesota who killed his fellow students Monday walked through a metal detector with three guns. The school had made preparations but sometimes the best plans just don't succeed. The same can be said about Homeland Security dollars.

Logic would tell you to spend terrorist dollars in large metropolitan areas on the coasts. Protect Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, etc. But logic may not work in this area of discussion. Since that's the case, we cannot protect all of our borders. Heck, we can't even stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico by the thousands every day. So spend dollars where you believe they need to be spent and pray that you made the right choice.

Instead, we have adopted a philosophy to spend dollars everywhere. Much of that logic is dictated by politics. No state wants to lose out on "pork." So we spend more and more.

And just out of curiosity, when will we call a halt to this spending? It may well be like the expenditures on fallout shelters in the '50s and '60s. It may have made us feel more secure, but they were used only when a tornado struck. If we live in fear and spend accordingly, then the terrorists have already won.



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