I fully admit it: I’m a news addict. I watch the news way too much. For instance, on Sunday mornings I watch CBS, CNN, Fox, ABC, and NBC. Last Sunday I was greatly impressed by Evan Bayh on a panel on Chris Wallace’s show. He summed up the very depressing scene the U.S. is facing in the world. Although some would like us to believe that Syria is going to destroy its chemical weapons and that Iran is going to start negotiating with America, neither is likely to happen since neither country has the incentive to do anything but agree to stall.
Of course, because of the U.S. government shutdown, most of the 24-hour news media is focused on the domestic side of this issue, but there is an international side of the dysfunction in D.C. as well. It is not only the U.S. domestic government branches that are getting cutback to essential personnel — and they have no guarantee of ever being paid back — it is also the departments that handle our national security and intelligence gathering.
The State Department is working on getting U.N. inspectors into Syria to handle the identification of all the chemical weapons. They are also trying to see if Iran is being accurate by saying it has no intentions of building or using a nuclear weapon. For both of these issues to be handled by the U.S. accurately, and with our interests properly represented, we must have accurate intelligence that is not only collected, but analyzed properly and to the fullest extent possible. Even if the government employees that are working on these two issues are listed as “essential,” they are not getting paid at the moment and they might well be a bit sidetracked with worrying about salaries and paying mortgages or other debts that most of the hard-working government employees face.
Let’s hope that the intelligence we need and the analysis that is crucial to the best interests of the U.S. is not compromised. I would hate to have to be the one who makes any major decisions during the shutdown. As Evan Bayh outlined, it is a very dangerous world for all of us at the moment and made more so each day that our government is not at full speed. I am worried that there are some members of the government who don’t see the reality of the world and how our country needs a working government.