Every now and then a story pops up that perfectly captures something important about a person or an agency or a policy. Today that story is this one , which begins thus:
It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”
But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the official federal antiterrorism database.
What’s so perfect about it, as diagnostic of an administration in a state of complete collapse, is not the ridiculous list, but that two senior DHS officials would defend it (a few paragraphs down) with a straight face, and with attribution. Being uninformed or misinformed is one thing, but it’s a higher level of cluelessness to be blatantly ridiculous and have no idea. It’s what makes Bill Irwin’s stage persona hilarious, but makes our current government heartbreaking. If Irwin were the clown he plays, we wouldn’t laugh.