Coast Guard & Homeland Security

"Congress has passed a homeland security bill. The President didn't get everything he wanted, but he got most of it, and is expected to sign it into law as soon as he gets back home.

It's difficult to take issue with 'homeland security,' and I'm not going to, even though there are some parts of the bill that go a little far along the dangerous path of limiting civil liberties. After all, if we trade liberty for security, we've already lost. There are also some special interests apparently being looked after.

But there is one aspect of the bill that should be applauded: it would place the U.S. Coast Guard under the new department, and if there is one strong right arm of homeland security, it's the Coast Guard. Created in 1789, the Coast Guard has been bounced about from the Treasury Department, to the Department of Commerce, to the Department of Transportation, and sometimes treated like a red-headed stepchild not only by the other armed services, but by those who hold the purse strings in Washington. Except in time of war, of course, when the Coast Guard is 'drafted' into the Navy.

It's about time the Coast Guard had not only the respect it deserves, but will be part of a department that makes sense."