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 handling.
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 activity.
Government Expands Power
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 point.
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 abused.
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.