Questions that Keep My Up at Night (After a Foiled Terrorist Plot)

Why is our “Homeland Security” Department still wasting so much money?
Despite this stunning and deft capture of terror suspects, the facts are that our government is wasting billions of dollars in a so-called War on Terror. I say “so called” not because we shouldn’t fight terrorism –we should. But some of the ways we’re spending money to “fight” terrorism defy all logic and credulity and make me question whether we’re really serious about it or not.

For example, as I write these words, and since its creation a few years back, our Homeland Security Department has spent close to half a trillion dollars. Some of this, I am sure, has done great good. But, our government is also wasting billions of dollars to catalogue targets that can’t possibly have anything to do with terrorism.

As just one example of how bad it’s gotten, Indiana (not exactly the first state that leaps to my mind) apparently has more terrorism targets on the government’s official list than New York or California. Seems a little odd, no?

The folks at the Daily Show thought so, and as usual, they are right on the mark with their lampoon of this insanity.

And, as if it couldn’t get any more surreal, there are stories that some of the pork-barrell projects coming out of Homeland Security may actually go to benefit the regime of Hugo Chavez. I kid you not.
Read for yourself.

The Washington Post recently ran a story that detailed much of these same issues too.

It said:
“In the years since Bush stood atop the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center and pledged retaliation against “the people who knocked down these buildings,” the federal government has undergone an unprecedented expansion and reorganization.
Yet the counterterrorism infrastructure that resulted has become so immense and unwieldy that many looking at it from the outside, and even some on the inside, have trouble understanding how it works or how much safer it has made the country.”

We’ve spent almost half-a-trillion-dollars on this stuff.

Do you feel half-a-trillion-dollars safer?

Why have we not caught Osama Bin Laden?
Incredulously, earlier this year, the CIA disbanded its group that worked exclusively on tracking Bin Laden. They did so because they argued that the terrorism threat had expanded so exponentially that it was useless to simply focus on him alone.

But terrorism experts are saying that this week’s foiled plot looks an awful lot like a foiled Al Qaida plot from the mid-90s. And, whether he’s still a threat or not, he’s still he guy most responsible for the most horrendous attack in our history. And yet, almost nobody talks about him anymore.

How is that possible?!!!

And why are we still fighting a War in Iraq that has nothing to do with stopping terrorist attacks like this?
As the hot days of summer roll on, hotter news has pushed the war right out of our minds. The situation in Israel/Lebanon is “hotter.” This foiled terrorist plot is “hotter.”

But lest we forget, there’s still a war going on in Iraq.

We’re being told that our top generals now admit that “civil war” there is a distinct possibility. There’s absolutely no question that Iraq is now the world’s largest crucible for new-terrorist-creation. Iraq is churning them out at a rate that will surely astound us all.

And, just this week, my own hometown newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, came out with a scathing editorial about the conduct of the war by our administration. Titled “What We’re Doing Isn’t Working” here’s a part of what they said:

“Three years after the overthrow of Saddam, the American military is still fighting to control Baghdad. Whatever this is, it’s not progress.
Facts on the ground are rendering President Bush’s vision of a united Iraq increasingly untenable. The forces of sectarian hatred tearing the country apart are growing stronger than the forces keeping it together. The U.S. military is being asked to reconstruct a nation that’s apparently more interested in deconstructing itself.
What we’re doing isn’t working, and this late in the game there is little reason to assume things will change. It’s time for Plan B – which probably means working out, in conjunction with regional powers, some credible and enforceable partitioning of the country.”

You know it’s bad when the DMN will print this kind of editorial.

Cindy Sheehan is back in Crawford, Texas because the President in on vacation there too. And whether you love her or hate her, I appreciate her willingness to keep the war in front of us all. As of this writing, 2,600 Americans have lost their lives, as have tens of thousands of Iraqis. Cindy Sheehan is still asking the question “What is the Noble Cause?”

It’s still a good question.
———————————————
So, although the world is preoccupied with the “what if” questions of a foiled terrorist attack this week, I guess I’m just weird. Because I’m still asking the “why” questions:

Why all this Homeland Security fraud?
Why no capture of Bin Laden?
Why still a war with no clear purpose or strategy?

Those are the questions that still keep me up at night.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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