|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
Friday, July 28th, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|President Bush insists his first priority is protecting the American people. His policies at home and abroad, he likes to say, are designed to make us safer. Some of these policies are highly visible, such as reducing Iraq to bloody rubble, or encouraging Israel to do the same in Lebanon, or siccing the rabid John Bolton on a cowed United Nations, or reading your mail and listening to your phone conversations. The president receives as much credit as he deserves for these bold protective measures.
But some Bush administration policies protect us in far subtler ways, and itís high time the president was recognized for them. In the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, to cite just two examples, the Bush administration is making the big security picture a lot brighter by getting all those critical little things just right.
Take the DHS. The Government Accountability Office just produced a report on $34 billion worth of Homeland Security contracts* showing how thoroughly President Bush is protecting us. What would happen if a national emergency shut down the nationís breweries, and our men and women in uniform thirsted for beer? DHS has it covered, with beer brewing kits for the Coast Guard. With their cutters and small motor craft and general can-do spirit, the Coast Guard can deliver home brew anywhere itís needed in a major emergency.
We all know what happens when earthquakes, hurricanes, or airplanes strike big buildings: lots of broken glass. But what if Fido needs to go walkies? DHS is on the job, having stockpiled tens of thousands of dollars worth of dog booties, ready to protect the paws of the nationís dumb chums from any danger.
Thereís no end to the subtlety of DHS. Secret Service officers are generally easy to spot because of the communication devices they wear in their ears. How secret can you be, wearing a suit in a crowd of people in shorts and tee shirts, with one of those curly things dangling from your auricle? DHS solved the problem by buying the Secret Service thousands of dollars worth of ipods. These will help Secret Service officers blend in to any crowd, preserving their cover, and allowing them to do their jobs undistracted by public notice or orders from superiors.
Judging by their surly demeanors, immigration officials at places like airport passport control or border crossings arenít overly happy with life. How then can they do an efficient job guarding our frontiers? So DHS spent hundreds of thousands sending them to resort hotels and golf courses. Ditto those grim-faced Transportation Safety Administration officers, the people who make you take off your shoes and watches before boarding a plane. Time spent soaking up the rays, splashing in the pool, and rolling from hole to hole in those little carts will make entirely new men and women of them.
But of course the security of the American people is a very serious matter. An excess of gaiety is just as much a bar to efficiency as is a shortage of good cheer. Thatís why the president is determined to make the Department of Defense much less gay. And so the Pentagon just discharged Sergeant Bleu Copas, a decorated soldier and skilled Arabist, one of the few Arab speakers in the armed forces. The reason: an anonymous source accused him of being gay.**
Sergeant Copas is one of eight hundred members of the armed forces with rare and essential skills to be recently dismissed by the Pentagon, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara, Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military. UCSB maintains that these eight hundred are among the eleven thousand members of the armed forces discharged for gaiety over the past five years.
UCSB has conveniently tallied up the cost to taxpayers. Purging the military of gays: $369,000,000. Perfect security for the American people: priceless. With our nationís safety in the hands of the Decider, joy may or may not be unconfined, but gaiety will never reign supreme.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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