by Philip Giraldi
January 03, 2013

Playwright Neil Simon once joked that there are only two universal truths – the law of gravity and that everyone loves Italian food. He might have, in a moment of more serious contemplation, added that it is true that every known form of government is inefficient but nevertheless exists primarily to grow and protect itself. We Americans have witnessed in the short space of eleven years a government that has metastasized built around a fiction that the American people are somehow under serious threat from foreign enemies. This has produced two large and a number of smaller wars coupled to a US military and intelligence footprint that now extends to every corner of every continent. The festering sore of Afghanistan is like the story of Uncle Remus’s tar baby – easy to get stuck to but damned hard to get away from. Under Bush and Obama the cost and size of government have doubled, and Washington has added a massive new bureaucracy that has a primary function of monitoring the American people in the Department of Homeland Security. And to our eternal shame as a nation, it has all been done on a credit card with Asian governments picking up the tab and the US treasury printing money that has no actual backing, running up the national debt to hitherto unimaginable levels while doing grievous damage to the economy.

Government never thinks far enough ahead to appreciate that any action on its part will result in unforeseen and sometimes catastrophic consequences, whether in the form of unacceptable collateral damage or blowback. The war on drugs has been disastrous for Mexico while the incursions into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are prime examples of a structural inability to look over the horizon. The United States supported both Saddam Hussein and also Osama bin Laden before they became designated enemies. Government never admits failure and its response to shortcomings is to throw more resources at the problem in an attempt to either make it go away or delay the day of reckoning. Witness how the Transportation Security Administration, which has never caught a single terrorist, responds to incidents by engaging in panic buying of screening machines being hawked by former senior bureaucrats only to find that they don’t work well and eventually wind up in a warehouse in Omaha.

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