Thursday, 16 October, 2003

War on Terror?

When government is involved, it seems that the amount of useful work done and the nearness to attaining goals, is inversely proportional to the number of Congresscritters and bureaucrats involved.  NASA pulled off the Moon landing in part because everybody else was too worried about Vietnam and Johnson's War on Poverty to care about a measly few billion spent on space flight.  The War on Poverty, screamed from the rooftops by LBJ and his ilk, and blindly supported by millions of mindless idiots, has been nothing more than an expensive and ineffective wealth redistribution scheme.  Same thing for the War on Drugs.  Are there any fewer drugs and addicts on the street now than there were 15 years ago?  I suspect there are more.  Maybe the War on Drugs has slowed the growth of the booming illegal drug industry, but I rather doubt it.  So excuse me if I look with some suspicion on the War on Terror.  So far all we've done is roll over the armies of two third-world countries and tick off about 90% of the world's population.  There's no evidence (at least no publicly available evidence) that the measures we've taken since September 11 have made any dent at all in the possibility of another terrorist incident here.

A case in point regarding border security.  We were 2 hours out from home on the way to my annual reunion in Harlingen last spring when I discovered that I had left my wallet behind.  Rather than turn around I obtained a temporary license, without a picture, when I got to Harlingen.  Even without a photo ID I crossed the border into Mexico, figuring they might detain me on the way back in if they decided to check IDs, but I'd get out of the mess somehow.  On the way back across the border, the officer was asking everybody if they were citizens and viewing their driver's licenses or other photo ID.  When our turn came, Debra had her ID ready and presented it.  I shrugged, looked confused, patted my pockets and mumbled "now where did I put that thing?"  Debra gave me "that look" and shook her head.  The border guard said "Go on through, sir."   If a couple of half-drunk amateurs like us can muddle our way through a border crossing, I can't see that it'd be terribly difficult for somebody who is much more motivated.