Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Attacks Coming, But Not in Boise

Several days ago, after the London subway attacks, I wrote that while America will no doubt suffer another terrorist incident in our near future, St. Louis was unlikely to be the target, and we shouldn't act like it will be.

Today, in an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former Senator Tom Eagleton agrees:

Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Miami and a few other cities are considered "hubs" of the country. They are where we should be spending the most on homeland security; many other places don't need to spend anything.

Yet our homeland security policy is woefully lacking. We sometimes seem like generals bent on re-fighting the last war. After Sept. 11, 2001, we scrambled to protect ourselves against captured airplanes being flown into tall buildings. Now we will try to fortify security on subways in big cities. (That's not a bad idea - although it is after the fact - because numerous subway systems are soft targets.)

But the federal Department of Homeland Security is sprinkling money all around the 50 states. Even Boise, Idaho - not exactly high on al-Qaida's list - is getting antiterrorism money. In other words, we are treating homeland security money like pork-barrel spending, and pork goes where pork-loving senators - as I was and Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond is - guide it.

Pork-barrel spending may have its place in politics, but not when it comes to fighting terrorism, which is literally a life-or-death matter. President George W. Bush should declare publicly that homeland security money is de-porked and promise to veto any bill that tries to do otherwise. The money should go where the threat is, not to the Boises of America.

Our country will be hit. No doubt. Let's get real, and put our money where the threat is.