One of the great concerns of our Founding Fathers was a large standing army on American soil. James Madison spoke for all of America’s founders when he said, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.” I wonder what Madison and the rest of our founders would have to say about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
John Whitehead, the president of The Rutherford Institute, recently wrote a trenchant summary of the DHS. He began by saying, “If the United States is a police state, then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its national police force, with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies. In fact, although the DHS’ governmental bureaucracy may at times appear to be inept and bungling, it is ruthlessly efficient when it comes to building what the Founders feared most–a standing army on American soil.”
Whitehead observes that the DHS employs over 240,000 full time workers and has an annual budget of $61 billion. Sub-agencies of the DHS include the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Whitehead states, “In the 12 years since it was established to ‘prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,’ the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.
“A better plan would be to abolish the DHS altogether. In making the case for shutting down the de facto national police agency, analyst Charles Kenny offers the following six reasons: one, the agency lacks leadership; two, terrorism is far less of a threat than it is made out to be; three, the FBI has actually stopped more alleged terrorist attacks than DHS; four, the agency wastes exorbitant amounts of money with little to show for it; five, ‘An overweight DHS gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification’; and six, the agency is just plain bloated.”
In addition to Kenny’s reasons for shutting down the DHS, Whitehead adds the following indictments:
“Militarizing police and SWAT teams. The DHS routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms. This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, ‘paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams.’ The end result? An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war–and the citizenry are the enemy combatants.
“Stockpiling ammunition. DHS, along with other government agencies, has been stockpiling an alarming amount of ammunition in recent years, which only adds to the discomfort of those already leery of the government. As of 2013, DHS had 260 million rounds of ammo in stock, which averages out to between 1,300 to 1,600 rounds per officer. The US Army, in contrast, has roughly 350 rounds per soldier. DHS has since requisitioned more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammo, ‘enough,’ concludes Forbes magazine, ‘to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.’
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom