Sure seems like it.
"The ubiquitous fantasy of “homeland security,” pushed hard by the federal government in the wake of 9/11, has been widely embraced by the public. It has also excited intense weapons- and techno-envy among police departments and municipalities vying for the latest in armor and spy equipment.
"In such a world, deadly gadgetry is just a grant request away, so why shouldn’t the 14,000 at-risk souls in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, have a closed-circuit-digital-camera-and-monitor system (cost: $180,000, courtesy of the Homeland Security Department) identical to the one up and running in New York’s Times Square?
"So much money has gone into armoring and arming local law-enforcement since 9/11 that the federal government could have rebuilt post-Katrina New Orleans five times over and had enough money left in the kitty to provide job training and housing for every one of the record 41,000-plus homeless people in New York City. It could have added in the growing population of 15,000 homeless in Philadelphia, my hometown, and still have had money to spare. Add disintegrating Detroit, Newark, and Camden to the list. Throw in some crumbling bridges and roads, too."
Like everything else, it is all about priorities. I can see how, after 9/11, people genuinely thought a "war on terror" was necessary. But then, all it would have taken to confront such a thought was an examination of the term. How can you have a war -- violence for political purposes -- to defeat terrorism (also violence for political purposes)?
It is all due to the militarization of all levels of government, all very expensive.
"Militarized thinking is made manifest through budgets, which daily reshape political and bureaucratic life in large and small ways. Not long after the 9/11 attacks, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, used this formula to define the new American environment and so the thinking that went with it: “Terrorist operatives infiltrate our communities -- plotting, planning, and waiting to kill again.” To counter that, the government had urgently embarked on “a wartime reorganization,” he said, and was “forging new relationships of cooperation with state and local law enforcement.”
"While such visionary Ashcroftian rhetoric has cooled in recent years, the relationships and funding he touted a decade ago have been institutionalized throughout government -- federal, state, and local -- as well as civil society. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security, with a total 2012 budget of about $57 billion, is the most obvious example of this.
"That budget only hints at what’s being doled out for homeland security at the federal level. Such moneys flow not just from Homeland Security, but from the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commerce Department, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense.
In 2010, the Office of Management and Budget reckoned that 31 separate federal agencies were involved in homeland security-related funding that year to the tune of more than $65 billion. The Census Bureau, which has itself been compromised by War on Terror activities -- mapping Middle Eastern and Muslim communities for counter-terrorism officials -- estimated that federal homeland security funding topped $70 billion in 2010. But government officials acknowledge that much funding is not included in that compilation. (To offer but one example, grants made through the $5.6 billion Project BioShield, to offer but one example, an exotic vaccination and medical program launched in 2004, are absent from the total.)
"Even the estimate of more than $635 billion in such expenditures does not tell the full spending story. That figure does not include the national intelligence or military intelligence budgets for which the Obama Administration is seeking $52.6 billion and $19.6 billion respectively in 2013, or secret parts of the national security budget, the so-called black budget."
And then there is the local level, not included in the above totals. And what is it for?
"The chances of an American dying in a terrorist incident in a given year are 1 in 3.5 million. To reduce that risk, to make something minuscule even more minuscule, what has the nation spent? What has it cost us? Instead of rebuilding a ravaged American city in a timely fashion or making Americans more secure in their “underwater” homes and their disappearing jobs, we have created militarized police forces, visible evidence of police-state-style funding."
I sure would like to know what the US debt would be without all this nonsense.
What is most amazing to me is the lack of media coverage about it. At least some media organizations are on it.