An article, well, series1 would be a better definition, on the Washington Post confirm what I have long suspect, that the United States has many security agencies working on suspiciously similar areas. Well ok, the demarcation CIA and FBI is quite clear, but then when you have CIA, DIA, NSA, NRO, DNI, NGIA2, you can’t help but wonder “shouldn’t they like, be coordinated or something?”
I’m all in about a nation’s right to protect it’s sovereignty and both the nation and it’s people security, but America, come on, for the sake of your own economy, isn’t a waste to have 857,000 people working3 on security/intelligence related issues. That’s like, at least 5% of the American workforce.
One can argue that this means jobs and jobs help the economy, but on the flip side, that means there are smart people, some are damn smart people, not working on other things that can help America (and the world in some cases) in some other way. These are talents that could be developing research, innovation that can benefit America, instead they spend their time sifting tons of data, writing tens of thousand of reports in vain, believing that this activity would make America safer, but really, has there been any real assessment on which part of this activity do contribute to American safety? All? Really? Or all of this just serve to provide a false sense of security, “we done a lot and cover a lot of ground, so we should be safe”, as if there’s a terrorism god somewhere that automatically link and reward security activities with less threats.
Another interesting numbers related to maintaining this sense of security:
The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 21/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn’t include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs.”3
US$ 75 billion, annually. That’s big, Warren Buffet is the richest man on earth, and his has that amount of wealth only in stocks, while the US spends that amount, cash, every year.
This indicates that when it comes to security and safety, for all the talent working on US government, US is more passive than active, reactive than proactive.
US spending pattern indicates that rather than ensuring security by adding allies and seeding good will, it rest it’s security on the high wall of mighty intelligence and military. Although this crutch is sound, it’s unsustainable and uncomfortable since the expected zone of security will keep expanding. Example: how do you ensure, totally ensure, the safety of US citizen abroad? By subjugating the nations they visit? Why not by building universities, schools, mosque, churches, and hospitals? Isn’t funny that we are using a hostile approach to ensure safety and security? It sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Here’s an idea, safe 10% of US Intelligence Budget, surely you can trim 10%. Now you have US$ 7.5 billion. Use US$ 7 billion to build facilities in a foreign country of your option (e.g. Egypt, Indonesia, Syria). Labor, land, and material cost in these countries is cheaper than in the US, so you can get more bang for the buck with that US$ 7 billion.
Let’s say you build schools and hospitals, each costing US$ 1 million and US$ 10 million respectively, you can get 2000 schools and 500 hospitals. That’s and insane lot of schools and hospitals. Would the people of the country bomb the schools and hospitals you build? Would they be able to quell the very small segment of their population who are potential threat to you? Then you spend the leftover US$ 500 million to advertise the fact that you build 2000 schools and 500 hospitals to the world.
Do this for 10 years, and see if your country and citizens doesn’t grow more secure.
Be active, there are always people who hate people, but most people don’t wanna used up their life blowing up themselves. Why are you spending so much money trying to identify these idiots, while you can spend a fraction building good will with the sane ones?
Filed under: Social commentary