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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Today... it's not black and white

Yet another inane graphic of questionable origin is floating around the social media sites. I have to wonder, who comes up with these things? And why don't those people get jobs and lives instead of spreading their negative crap on the Internet? Anyway... The graphic suggests, that because NSA failed to anticipate and prevent tragedies, such as the Boston Marathon shooting and the Naval Shipyard shooting, it has no business of getting our hard-earned tax money.

First of all, I find it rather startling how little is ever said or remembered when NSA (or any government agency for that matter) has a success to report. Not many people seem to care. Is it because a vital organ would fall out if they acknowledge that the government has done something right? Or is it because finding something else to bitch and whine about is such hard work? In any case, good news reporting is not exactly overwhelming when it comes to government agencies.

Second, we have already used the "if it fails once, de-fund it and shut it down" approach in this country. Just recently, in fact, although it was not in an area related to national security. No, it was education. Remember? When it was decided that if a teacher is failing (based on preposterous standardized test performance of the students) he or she should be fired, and if a school is failing, it should lose funding and be closed. We all know how well that went. Not.

If we use such "all or nothing" approach, it could be argued that, based on all the un-prevented and unsolved crimes in this country, we should de-fund and shut down the police and the FBI. Based on all the successful cases of arson and burned-down buildings, we should shut down the fire departments. Based on all the death and destruction during natural disasters, we should withdraw funding from FEMA and National Guard and close them up too. And don't even start me on the overwhelming lack of success of the US military in the places of foreign conflict, starting with Vietnam and Korea and ending with Afghanistan and Iraq. Based on that, the entire army should be fired right this minute.

Sounds preposterous, I know. But then, isn't it equally preposterous to demand withdrawal of funds and decommissioning of an agency based solely on its failures, and taking into account none of its other work?

Nothing is ever 100% good or bad. The actions of some of the worst war criminals actually received approval from someone somewhere for some reason that appeared to be sensible at the time. And even the best leaders and the best organizations have a truckload of failures through the course of their history and a closetfull of skeletons. I can't think of a single prominent historic figure or a single major historic event that was not in someway controversial. Why, then, are there people who insist on propagating this "black or white" mentality? And why are there so many who bother listening to them and make no attempts to call on reason?

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