Is there anyone out there, left or right, who is still capable of being astonished by anything the current President and his colorful cronies do? Yes, all of us! Come on: no matter how jaded or savvy you think you are, you were astonished all over again by the AP story this morning about the Wackenhut Services guards and the really tough time they're having as they try to guard the Homeland Security Department building.
They carried an envelope full of some unknown white powder past Secretary Chertoff's office, took it outside, and shook it out under his window, without donning their biohazard face masks or evacuating anyone in the building. (The employees involved in the rudimentary take-out shake-out weren't even sequestered until they got back from lunch.) They failed to cordon off the parking lot when they found a suspicious bag on the ground, and they dithered awhile until somebody thought of calling a federal bomb squad. (But they did call the bomb squad, as Kate O'Beirne and Hannity and O'Reilly and Fred Barnes and gentle Annie and the others will tell you tomorrow, in exactly the same words, which is just a coincidence. The Wackenhut guards did call the bomb squad, after all, and the bomb squad raced up an hour after the bag was discovered. Was that a potentially fatal delay? Yes. But it was not a Katrina delay! (That could be Fred Barnes, who loves the President.) So maybe the whole operation is getting better! (Fred again, and the other boy will agree with him, and they'll cluck and tsk and move on to helping their viewers deal with the really grueling problem of being rich.) Anyway, there's more Wackenhut stuff, but we don't have any more time to waste on it. Trust me.
I think we can all agree, on both sides of the aisle, that what we have to do now is find an immediate, emergency, top-alert-level solution to this unfortunate Homeland Security security snafu. Stop snickering. Grow up. Don't you see how serious this is? This sort of "situation normal" will not stand, because we're in a war against terror that might last a long time and the American people want the President to protect them. Don't they? Whatever it takes. Right?
I have two solutions to the Wackenhut mess. (Wackenhut is fun to say, but don't say it. Concentrate. If you're not with us, you're...shame on...shame on you.) Either of my suggestions will work. (And if all you have to suggest is some tired quip about sending Dick and Pam to the front of the building with their faux-quail guns, it will be apparent to everybody that you are not treating this "DC-in-Crisis" story with the gravity it deserves.)
1. We can outsource. (I'm assuming Wackenhut is an American company.) The Indians could do this, the Chinese could do this, the Venezuelans could do this, the Cubans could do this, and the United Arab Emirates will soon have some of its best people freed up. (You have to know that those crack port administrators could not stay in business if they operated at a Wackenhut level of nincompoop incompetence. How history will laugh at us, just the way we laugh at Harry Dougherty and the Harding Administration, but it isn't funny now. Harding was even funny then. If there is any history.)
2. (This is the best one.) We can create a new high-level government agency, the Department of the Department of Homeland Security Security (DDHSS). The head of the new organization, the Secretary of the Department of the Department of Homeland Security Security, should be a cabinet-level appointee, and we could put everything under him--Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Chertoff, the Supremes, etc.--because, well, first things first--and what should come before guarding the guards? And then, as soon as we get it all set up, and our superior can-do world-beating Yankee-ingenuity American defenses in order, that's right--bring 'em on!
Because if we fight them over here, we won't have to fight them over there!