The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently defended
and secured our homeland by raiding a couple of flea markets in
Massachusetts. Some merchants were
selling counterfeit products such as CDs, DVDs, and clothing.
The DHS partnered with local law enforcement in arresting 46
people at the flea markets. This
was the culmination of a long investigation targeting individuals who were
selling counterfeit goods.
While I am not defending people who are selling counterfeit
products, we have to ask ourselves whether this should really be the role of
the DHS. When I said they were
defending and securing our homeland, you can note the sarcasm. I am reasonably certain that none of
the people arrested were being accused of terrorism.
The DHS was created by the Bush administration after the
attacks of September 11, 2001. Its
stated goal was to prepare and prevent terrorist activity. And now it is being used to raid flea
markets, something that local law enforcement should be quite capable of
When I discuss the federal budget and talk about defense
spending, I often put “defense” in quotes. Much of what the Defense Department and military do have
little to do with defense.
Sometimes it is offense and sometimes it is something that really has
nothing to do with national security at all.
I suppose you could say that the DHS was defending shoppers
at flea markets or the original producers of goods, but this certainly has
nothing to do with defense against terrorism or any kind of violent criminal
It is a common theme through history that the government
will use excuses to create government programs and departments and then they will
later be used for other things after they are set up.
I find that the war on terror in many ways imitates the war
on drugs. It is really part
two. The war on drugs was ramped
up to supposedly eradicate drugs, to stop people from harming themselves,
etc. Of course, the war on drugs
has been a complete failure from its stated objectives, but that is another
The war on drugs has been used for decades to justify other
power grabs. They use it as an
excuse to search your car or to raid houses. They use it to prevent people from doing business with large
amounts of cash. They use the war
on drugs to snoop in people’s bank accounts and other financial transactions
that should be private.
Now the so-called war on terror is used similar as the drug
war to invade people’s privacy and take away rights. The war on terror is the main excuse for the existence of
the NSA and it is the excuse for its massive spying and data collection.
It should really come as no surprise that the DHS is using
part of its budget for investigating and raiding flea markets. This is the natural progression of a
government program or a government agency.
As long as these agencies exist and they are granted big
budgets by Congress, then we should never be surprised when power is used and
So when you are lying in your bed at night worried about
terrorists, you can rest easy knowing that the DHS is on the job securing the
homeland. You should never have to
worry about flea market terrorism ever again.