Get Rid Of This, End That, Soon Enough It Will Add Up To Real Money

The Washington Post had a bunch of people write editorials on the idea of “spring cleaning,” as in institutions to get rid of. This is ripe for the blogoshere, of course. So let’s cover the various posts arguing for getting rid of something.

1. Thomas Ricks argued for getting rid of academies and war colleges:

And you should check out his blog for a plethora of responses:

Including this defense of West Point by Cadet Tianyi Xin:

James Joyner also has many responses to the Ricks article:

Robert Farley notes that the article probably has not made Ricks Mr. Popular:

2. John Judis wants to discuss getting rid of the CIA:

And he cites this article in his new piece on torture, in these two graphs:

The question that Congress might ponder, but won’t, is whether the structure of our foreign policy apparatus – the power and responsibility vested in a secret branch of government —  invites abuse. That was the position of the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan who argued for abolishing the CIA.  He didn’t want to eliminate intelligence, but he wanted to return it to the purview of the State Department, while giving the armed forces the responsibility for overseas intervention.

I’m not saying I favor this, but it’s certainly worth discussing. One need only consider George Tenet’s reign as CIA chief.  Tenet came in with a reform portfolio; and he initially did well as a manager; but by the time he had been forced out of office, the CIA itself had committed more war crimes, and bollixed more critical intelligence inquiries than ever before.  Was that because Tenet was deeply incompetent?  Or was there something about the agency’s structure in government that invited presidents to twist it for their own sordid political ends?  Could the armed services have as easily complied with these torture memos?  I think not. ”

Matt Y takes up the case:

UPDATE #1: Spencer Ackerman stands up for the CIA:

As does Amy Zegart:

And Matt Y responds:

UPDATE #2: Christopher Hitchens in Slate:

3. Jeremy Lott argued for getting rid of the Vice Presidency:

James Joyner rips it apart:

And Lott and Joyner tangle again:

Any other posts on these ideas? Put the links in the comments.


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