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Re: <nettime> Homeland Security: The Untold Story
Jeffrey Fisher on Tue, 2 Oct 2001 03:11:23 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Homeland Security: The Untold Story


also see the following article on the complete failure of the US military
establishment in terrorist wargames *years ago*:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,557678,00.html

the hart-rudman report has been getting a lot of play recently, but i have
to admit it strikes me as just a little bit strange watching liberals and
progressives deploy it.

first, the commission hardly represents the diversity of opinion hart
suggests it does. virtually everyone has a substantial military leadership
background, nevermind defense industry ties (including a current chair and
former ceo of lockheed martin, for chrissakes). to argue that these are
the people with the most experience in national security (as hart appears
to me to do) is fully circular.

second:
"We also call for urgent changes in the presidential appointments system.
The present system of harassment and delay deters recruitment of the senior
talent we need to inject fresh ideas and energies into government."

i agree that the appointments system the way it now functions (to speak
loosely) is ridiculous. it's an opportunity for grandstanding by everyone
and for cutting all sorts of backroom deals. however, the main argument
from the commission seems to be that too much transparency is required.
this is an unconvincing position. maybe if they'd argue against the
politicization (in the worst sense of the term) of the appointments
process (wherein approval hearings are delayed in a kind of hostage
tactic), or against using hearings as photo opps, that would be one thing.
but they don't. they argue that our poor high-level appointees have to
endure too much.

and on a closely-related note, third:
"It is simply counterproductive to demand that senior appointees sacrifice
huge sums of money - and the right even to work in their chosen fields upon
leaving government service - in order to serve their country."

here there seems to be a conflict of interest in their denial of the
importance of conflict of interest. just as an example, norman augustine
served in the defense dept, then as undersecretary of the army, is now
chair (formerly also ceo, apparently) of one of the world's biggest
defense contractors, and also finds himself on a congressional commission
whereby he is handed the opportunity to deny the relevance of conflict of
interest in public service. i would think that the words "dick cheney"
ought to stand as sufficient refutation of the commission's position.

i can't understand how people interpret any of this to mean that they see
strengthening democracy as the best defense against terrorism.


j






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