Roger L. Simon

Should the State Department Be Disbanded?

In recent years, Republican presidential candidates — notably Rick Perry and Ted Cruz — have called for numerous government departments — Education, Energy, Commerce, HUD and, of course, the IRS — to be disbanded. Almost all candidates have urged that the bureaucracies be significantly curtailed. But in this orgy of cost and regulation cutting, one monumental, all-important agency (with a budget approaching $50 billion) curiously has been ignored — the State Department.

Now I realize we can’t legally fire approximately 70,000 or so people — we would just have to allow them to retire with no replacement — but it’s worth examining exactly what the State Department does and whether it has any efficacy. The answers are not easy to ascertain. The last few years have shown us that prying information out of the State Department (Benghazi, Clinton emails, etc.) is rather like opening an oyster underwater with your tongue. Nothing doing. Their lineup of spokespeople are about as forthcoming as dead bats. The primary purpose of the organization seems to be self-preservation, but self-preservation for what?

If one were to judge by its leaders (secretaries of State), one could say the purpose of the department is to provide a safe space for self-delusion. Hillary Clinton, free from public scrutiny and under sway of her “greasy” eminence Sidney Blumenthal, was able to convince herself the solution for Libya was to rid that benighted nation of strongman Muammar Gaddafi, although Gaddafi was, at that point, the only Arab potentate to make and live by a denuclearization agreement with the U.S. We all know how that turned out.

And then there’s John Kerry. The man who now sits bestride the State Department has possibly the most bizarre thought processes of anyone in public life — or maybe modern life. These were on vivid display in the aftermath of last week’s massacre in Paris. Our secretary of State called those ISIS terror acts “absolutely indiscriminate” as opposed to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo that were, in his words, “a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.”

Never mind that Kerry omitted — accidentally or on purpose — in his windy analysis the attacks on the Hyper Cacher market that were obviously intended to murder Jews (or, as Barack Obama called them, “folks”). What’s amazing here is the absolute blindness of the secretary’s calling ISIS’s acts in Paris “absolutely indiscriminate.” ISIS couldn’t be more clear about what they do and what their intentions are (as opposed to the State Department, for example). There’s nothing indiscriminate about them at all. Earth to John: Every ISIS attack is aimed at one thing and one thing only — taking over the world for Allah. Get it? (I guess not.)

Which brings us around to the headline question — should State be disbanded? And, yes, I know — it can’t be really, at least initially. But if a Republican comes into office, it will be among his or hers greatest enemies, an entrenched reactionary power center doing everything it can to oppose the new president’s foreign policy.

Most importantly — no matter what Marie Harf, John Kirby and the rest of those State Department nincompoops tell us — hello, we’re at war!

So here’s a suggestion for the next Republican president — take ninety percent of that $50 billion State Dept. budget and give it to the Pentagon. They’ll probably waste sixty percent of that, but at least the other forty percent will be put to good use.