Monday, June 17, 2002

Make War Not Defense

Peggy Noonan and The Poor Man (in a truly brilliant post) have expressed concern about the name of the new Department of Homeland Security. Homeland is not an American expression, says Noonan. It's troublingly Teutonic. She suggests as an alternative the Department of Heartland Security. That doesn't work either in my opinion – too Disney.

Let's just call our security departments what they are.

Instead of the Defense Department, let's revert to the Department of War. That more accurately reflects it's purpose and it would have the salutary effect of scaring our enemies and offending the thin-skinned.

And as for homeland security, isn't that properly the role of an entirely new Department of Defense? That name at least clarifies the new organization's mission. Plus, the employees of the new DoD's constituent agencies would instantly gain all the prestige they crave but would have lost as workers in an otherwise nondescript new amalgam government department.

Paradoxically, this cosmetic change would also convince many people that the Bush Administration is dead serious about making substantive changes to our homeland security infrastructure.

Even more important, the Department of War would help the public understand that when the Pentagon is fully activated we are waging war, not some ambiguous peacekeeping exercise.

The Department of War and the Department of Defense. I like it.

And while we're at it, why not change the name of that Foggy Bottom sinkhole to the Department of Appeasement?

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