Homeland Insecurity: The Emotional Response That Expanded The Federal Bureaucracy And Its Efforts To Prevent Acts Of Terrorism Against the United States
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This study will examine the emotional response that led to the expansion of the federal bureaucracy of the U.S. Government in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The federal bureaucracy was expanded in order to prevent future acts of terrorism on the U.S. homeland and execute policies related to the War on Terror. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 had an immediate and overwhelming emotional effect upon the American public and prompted countless memorials and services across the United States and around the world. Gratitude towards uniformed public-safety workers (notably firefighters and police officers) was widely expressed in light of both the drama of the risks taken on the scene at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the high death toll among their ranks in New York City on that day. The number of casualties among the emergency services was exceptional compared to routine disasters, with an unprecedented number of the emergency personnel responding to the attacks losing their lives. The media, in print, in radio, on the internet, and on television proceeded immediately to provide continuous live coverage that continued unabated and focused on the attacks for months. From the moment of the attacks, there was a framing of events that focused narrowly on reaction from high-profile leaders. These reports, at times, offered speculation on the anticipated actions and statements of President George W. Bush and of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Across the media, President Bush was characterized as "facing his greatest test," and there was conjecture as to what Bush should do "politically." Anecdotally, the media conducted polls and surveys that attempted to measure the reaction of the American public. Many of those surveyed demanded a direct military response against those responsible for the attacks. The media repeatedly televised images of the attacks, official responses by the local and federal government, images of firefighters and police officers on the scene, as well as images of suffering and personal grief (such as the countless "missing" flyers and signs of lost loved ones. Moreover, the print media circulated U.S. newspapers with bold and large font-type headlines on September 12, 2001, that read "Acts of Mass Murder" (New York Newsday), "It's War" (New York Daily News), "A Day of Infamy" (Tulsa World), "Freedom Under Siege" (Albany Times Union), "America's Darkest Day" (Detroit Free Press), and "Beyond Belief" (St. Paul Pioneer Press). It was against this emotional backdrop and its response that the federal bureaucracy began to expand. Federal government officials (members of the United States Congress, Cabinet Officers, and President George W. Bush) reacted to the emotional climate by proposing and passing legislation and signing Presidential Executive Orders whose objectives were the prevention of future terrorist attacks against the U.S. homeland, but whose result was an expanded federal bureaucracy that perhaps, has yielded no tangible or quantifiable results in the prevention of future terrorist attacks, not provided a mechanism for accountability, not improved coordination between federal agencies, or disallowed innovation or imagination in its policy directives. Both President Bush and numerous members of the U.S. Congress delivered numerous impassioned speeches appealing to the emotions of the American public, employed patriotic language and themes, and sought to rally the nation in a manner akin to that of the efforts by President Lincoln during the Civil War and President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. Without much public discourse or dissent, the federal government in the emotional climate following the 9/11 terrorist attacks began the process of augmenting the existing federal bureaucracy with additional layers of bureaucracy. The U.S. political leadership held that the emotional trauma endured by the American public was motive enough to expand the scope of the federal government and bureaucratize even further the intelligence, law enforcement, and national security infrastructure. It may be said that the increased federal bureaucracy with its multiple layers of authority and inability to foster coordination and communication between agencies may be responsible for providing terrorists a means by which to stage another attack against the United States at some future date. America has been warned against a "failure of imagination", yet the expansive bureaucracy is leading the nation along the same path.