Monday, March 11, 2013

It has been an interesting week.

Senator Rand Paul filibustered for 13 hours during which time he questioned the Obama Administration policy on drones.  Paul was rewarded for his efforts by having both Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham (both follow Republicans) tell him to basically sit down and shut-up.  McCain's censure was most egregious when you consider his outspoken commendation of the use of torture under the Bush Administration.  How can the potential use of drones against Americans at home be any less concerning?

Secretary of State John Kerry did not wait long to predictably condemn Iran's nuclear weapons program and frame it as a clear and present danger to the United States (even though any weapons Iran is able to develop can't strike the continental US).  In my opinion, Kerry's comments lead North Korean President Kim Jung Un to declare his country would "mercilessly drive American aggressors off of the peninsula" (yes South Korea, this means you too).  The non-aggression pact may become a thing of the past.

Kerry has not been on the job long enough to make much more of an impact.  Syria is tearing itself apart with little to no impact discernible from US and UN efforts to end the violence.  US and NATO casualties in Afghanistan are at an all time high and Al Qaeda is going through a resurgence.

Perhaps this is what has lead Janet Napolitano to have DHS purchase over 1 billion rounds of ammunition of various calibers and now 2,700 Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) armored vehicles (source:  DHS has also ordered 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO "personal defense weapons" (PDW).  At the same time, DHS released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants recently released by the Homeland Security Department because of budget cuts (source: Star Tribune).

Remember, Department of Homeland Security consists mainly of the US Customs and Border Protection, US Citizenship and Immigration, US Coast Guard, FEMA, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Secret Service, TSA, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.  From this list, I see five or maybe six agencies that are armed.  Out of the five or six on the list that are armed, only the US Coast Guard is a military organization.  The others are strictly law enforcement (the US Coast Guard also has law enforcement powers).

All of the agencies already have budget lines for weapons and ammunition.  The huge stockpile of ammunition by DHS has conspiracy tongues wagging about martial law.  I don't buy that but the huge order is unusual at best unless DHS is anticipating some major insurrections at home.

The acquisition of the MRAPs are much harder to explain.  I can't imagine the streets of say Detroit being mined requiring the use of such vehicles.  Even if some kind of armageddon scenario from the worst 80s movie you could imagine happened, why not just contact your local National Guard or US Army unit and borrow one?  Having 2,700 in your inventory is bizarre and expensive.

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