Security and Bankruptcy and Analogies

I thought of titling this ‘No Comment Required’, but there is one and it follows this list of the top three stories from Slate’s Afternoon Edition for Nov. 22:

TSA Considers Relaxing Policy on Airport Pat-Downs
Only hours after saying the administration wouldn’t budge on airport pat-downs, TSA chief John Pistole suggested that officials might be willing to ease up on the controversial policy.
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Politico | Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Germany Braces for Possible Terrorist Attacks
Militants may be planning a “bloodbath” outside the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building in Berlin.
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The Wall Street Journal | Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Al Qaida: “Operation Hemorrhage” Cost $4,200
It cost less than $5,000 to plant parcel bombs on international flights, Al Qaida brags in the new issue of Inspire, claiming that the plot’s true goal was to drive up U.S. security spending.
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CNN | Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

It is worth noting that the so-called ‘porno scanners’ cost upwards of $175,000 apiece. I haven’t seen a figure for the cost per porno pat down TSA employee.

Based on these three stories, it’s hard not to think of the acceleration in the Soviet Union’s rate of decline underwritten by the enormous Reagan defense budgets, the proxy war in Afghanistan and the prospect of competing with ‘Star Wars’. We ‘bankrupted’ the Soviet Union and won the Cold War:  so goes a common belief.

We still buy expensive weapons systems for our police and military, and Star Wars continues its funding.   It’s hard to find a private building in an urban area that lacks ‘security’ in human and/or electronic forms.  And, we’ve become accustomed to the extended travel time ‘security’ adds.

What, then, does the analogist say about the US costs of the private and public security systems and the nation’s four wars: in Afghanistan and Iraq and on Drugs and Terror and the bankrupting of the Soviet Union?