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Some Personal Thoughts on Homeland Security from an Old Sarge after Watching Dubya's Dance and Rather's Blather
Rick Fulton rpfulton@fament.com

Tonight George W. Bush told us of a rearrangement plan to spend billions of bucks, upset many Congressional Committees, disrupt the careers of a multitude of civil servants -- all in the name of Homeland Security.

George W. Bush says the rearrangement is necessary to meet a four-fold mission of safeguarding borders, building a quick reaction force response, prevention of bio-terrorism, and infrastructural protection. His plan will bring order to the chaos which has reigned supreme since 9-11, protect us all from the ten foot tall bad guys, and most of all will ensure Federal integrity and accountability...

Ahhh, excuse me. Accountability? Integrity? Setting up a new super agency, rivaling the Pentagon and letting the camel's nose of the military into yet another cabinet level structure is somehow going to guarantee integrity and accountability?

Yeah, right.

Well, let's think about it as it pertains to Kansas. Do we need to shut our eyes, forget our common sense and wattle quacking along behind this GOP pie in the sky approach?


Break it down. Start with the ten foot tall bad guys... the many thousands we are told are out there, wanting to drink our blood. First of all, ten foot tall, they aren't. Secondly, many thousands greatly exceeds reality. A few who are willing to throw their lives away and come after us, here in the heartland? Yup. Tough guys? Sure. Tough as the people who were protecting us in many different ways in this state before 9-11? I don't think so.

Americans have had dealings with the Islamic world the entire length of our Nation's history. Remember that line in the Marine hymn, "...to the shores of Tripoli!" Tripoli, as in North Africa, Libya, where in the 1960's a few US GI's armed with pistols and German Shepherds played games out in the sand with Qadaffi's boys, and the gents with rags tied around their skulls always lost. I know. I was there. And Jihad vs. the USA has popped up in other places too... and, I must add, with the same results.

Are they religious fanatics who hate our guts? You bet. But let us also not forget that they are mostly young men... scared young men... and while they have the potential to do us harm, that potential is a one time thing. They aren't nearly as bad as the Germans or the Japanese, or the North Koreans and Chinese, or the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. They couldn't even whip Iraq's Republican Guard a decade back.

And yet for this bunch of wannabes we are going to change our US government?

That is stupid...

We need to do all we can to fight this insanity... this notion of a changed governmental structure in order to "win."

Here in Kansas we don't need a super Czar of Homeland Security, dripping stars while heading an agency with a cast of thousands and a budget of millions to do what is already being done so well by First Responders all across our state.

What we do need to change is attitude... especially the attitude that says the military has to be in charge of everything, when it comes to defending our corn stalks, cow lots and wheat fields. What the Republicans in Topeka did by appointing the Adjutant General to head the National Guard, Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security, all three, was an end run around common sense He is a general so he should stick to the military side of the crises which is, after all, only a thin slice of the whole pie.

We do need someone between the Governor, the various local, state and federal agencies, and the people... someone who looks at the big picture who will make trusted recommendations as needed to the players in the little drama... a coach, if you would, rather than a czar. Member of the Governor's cabinet? Sure... but acting in a liaison role rather than as king.

All four of the missions described can be met by existing agencies without recourse to empire building. We can't afford it anyway, thanks to Republican stupidity of the past few years.

The main resource needed is a keg that hasn't even been tapped yet. When the bad guys come, and they will at some point get their act together and - encouraged by the nervous nelly behavior witnessed on the boob tube tonight - will probably give us another go, a super agency with lots of computers, day workers and phones isn't going to stop them.

You know what will stop them... or at least slow them up?

The muddy boot brigade.

The good folks of the state who live at foxhole forward, out at the line of contact, wherever that may be... the folks where the rubber meets the road.

Not the cops. Not the firemen. Not the National Guard.


I am talking about Aunt Sally who lives in Girard and Uncle Joe in Medicine Bow, cousin Willy in Wichita, brother Bob in Topeka, sister Sarah in Overland Park, and Grandpa Jones out there west of Dodge, pretty close to the Colorado border. These are the people who the terrorists need to fear the most... plain average every day Kansans who are just living their lives as they did before 9-11, except with a twist.

That twist is a willingness to help out, by keeping their minds and their eyes and ears open... and by reporting to the First Responders when things don't look right. And they are the people who, I'll bet a buck, would be willing to serve as volunteers, pulling sentry duty on the places the County Sheriff deems in need of watching... thus freeing up the cops to do cop things, until such time as Homeland Defense requires cop presence, courage and skills.

The muddy boot brigade, down where they are needed, down where it will happen.

The kind of people who dot the I and cross the T when it comes to integrity.

We need to go along with what we have got, and not reinvent the wheel.

We just need to develop a sharper and better ability to listen to each other and to support one another when the bad guys come... protecting our borders and transportation assets, responding to attack, addressing chemicals and germs while taking care of our bridges and highways and all the rest.

In 1940 the English people were tested and the blitz spoke volumes about English heart and English character.

Are we any different? I don't think so.

Kansans want to protect what makes Kansas so very special. All Kansans want to do that... Real people with a real stake in the outcome... Real people who love Freedom and understand it comes from the Constitution and not from sticking heads into the sand.

Most of all, Real people who want to recognize the state when the war is won, as it will be, who don't see this crisis in quite the same way as the empire builders and the shiny uniforms dripping stars. They are people who get the message that wars are won... not by bucks... but by guts. Individuals with integrity and character and courage, who are willing to work, and who want to be led.

People who live where the terrorists want to strike; people who have a stake in holding fast, holding on, and defeating terrorism. They are people who most of all believe we are all in this together... so let us do what is legal, what is smart, what is right for the people of our state... and begin.