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February 28, 2009

New Tomdispatch


After the Green Economy, Green Security
How to Build Resilient Communities in a Chaotic World

By Chip Ward

Now that we've decided to "green" the economy, why not green homeland security, too? I'm not talking about interrogators questioning suspects under the glow of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or cops wearing recycled Kevlar recharging their Tasers via solar panels. What I mean is: Shouldn't we finally start rethinking the very notion of homeland security on a sinking planet?

Now that Dennis Blair, the new Director of National Intelligence, claims that global insecurity is more of a danger to us than terrorism, isn't it time to release the idea of "security" from its top-down, business-as-usual, terrorism-oriented shackles? Isn't it, in fact, time for the Obama administration to begin building security we can believe in; that is, a bottom-up movement that will start us down the road to the kind of resilient American communities that could effectively recover from the disasters -- manmade or natural (if there's still a difference) -- that will surely characterize this emerging age of financial and climate chaos? In the long run, if we don't start pursuing security that actually focuses on the foremost challenges of our moment, that emphasizes recovery rather than what passes for "defense," that builds communities rather than just more SWAT teams, we're in trouble.

Today, "homeland security" and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that unwieldy amalgam of 13 agencies created by the Bush administration in 2002, continue to express the potent, all-encompassing fears and assumptions of our last president's Global War on Terror. Foreign enemies may indeed be plotting to attack us, but, believe it or not (and increasing numbers of people, watching their homes, money, and jobs melt away are coming to believe it), that's probably neither the worst, nor the most dangerous thing in store for us.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 28, 2009 10:02 AM

The significance of the next attack will be determined by the kind of attack it is.

If some radical outfit lights off a suitcase nuke somewhere in the CONUS, it's all over, because the USofA will be under martial law within hours, and will never emerge.

Posted by: woody at February 28, 2009 12:05 PM

Green "Homeland Security".

I can't put my finger on it, but the premise seems wrong. Why does it have to be militarized?

Posted by: Bruce F at February 28, 2009 12:43 PM

"security that actually focuses on the foremost challenges of our moment" isn't really the point; should be, maybe, but protecting one's job and maintaining the status quo is what drives the wheels. See: "The Iron Law of Institutions"

Posted by: Murfyn at March 2, 2009 07:36 PM