Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes--A Tardy Gripe
Ok, now--is it just me, or are certain things just not holding water? Over the past 8 years we've seen various civil rights laws eroded all in the name of civic safety, only to see little outcome, save from said erosion of civil rights and liberties. Not long ago, we were being encouraged to buy nonperishables, duct tape, and Visqueen--by no one less than Cheney--in case of attack. Grocery stores complied with National need and were selling Ramen noodles at 20 for $1.00. I'll admit that I went ahead and bought two dollars worth, though I opted out on the Visqueen and duct tape part of the Cheney Terrorist Kit equation. Back then even, I wasn't seeing the logic of this whole thing. The Government is doing all they can to stop the no-doubt imminent threat of terrorist attack, but it is up to the Populace to protect themselves in case it actually did happen. Strong whiffs of Cold War America came wafting out of the National basement. If hundreds of people are entering the country illegally over borders--ostensibly for jobs that will pay them enough for them to send money down to their families, and these folks have been crossing for quite some time, that means that, if various operatives have been actively trying to get into the country--with radioactive material, mind you--to cause mayhem, they'd be crossing right now. If they hadn't crossed already. And for years, even after 9/11, the problem went unchecked.
This started me thinking, back around 2004, on whether the threat was quite as big as Cheney & Co. were saying it was. The WTC and Pentagon thing was pretty damned splashy, but were these nutso fundamentalists going to be doing the same thing country-wide? It seemed improbable. And as the years passed by, so many other chinks in the armor have made themselves evident. Good Ol' Boys in charge of things whey shouldn't be (Brownie and his tenure at FEMA), Air travel, fer godsakes (passengers going through all that crap while caterers and food personnel weren't even checked as they drove onto airport grounds), and now the biggie--food safety. Really, if hijacking an airplane is so much more difficult now, why would saboteurs/terrorists bother with that, when with the American food system we have untraceable ways to make grand numbers of the American populace sick or dead? Taking a cue from the unsolved Anthrax mess, people out to cause mayhem could easily look elsewhere. It wasn't long ago that it was impossible--for quite a while--to get a salad in this country, unless it was home-grown spinach and lettuce. And now, in spite of that mess, we have a similar hoo-hah with salmonella-ridden tomatoes (or is it tomatoes? We aren't quite sure) whose source can't be traced at all.
For all their focus on eroding civil liberties and wiretapping, you'd think the grand braintrust at Homeland Security (and those higher above) would have thought of this by now and made some sort of plan. Almost a decade after WTC, a simple, easily untraceable sabotaging of the food supply could easily do more damage than any flashy airplane kamikaze run. For all the repeated claims that they've got us covered, I see nothing but bungling here. Rather than simply going for civil liberties and constitutional contradictions (anyone remember Gonzalez and his Habeas Corpus argument?), what about accountability and oversight?