The Department'd


There are many, many war hawk pundits who have nothing left to say about the Iraq war except "send more troops" and mean names for Cindy Sheehan. Credit to Max Boot: He still has big ideas. In Boot's mind, the U.S. can recover from the ongoing Iraq debacle by setting up, with cash money, lots of new departments and plans.

1) "Open the ranks of the armed forces to recruits who are not citizens or green card holders."

This is costly, and a little depressing, but if we're going to have a serious debate on immigration I don't see why we don't hash this out, too.

2) "Create a Department of Peace, perhaps built out of a revamped Agency for International Development, so that we can be better prepared for the aftermath of future military operations than we were in Iraq."

This is wonderful: A Seth Brundle-style mash-up of the worst ideas of neoconservatism and the worst ideas of Dennis Kucinich. It is not actually possible to high-five somebody online, but if I could, I so would.

3) "Re-create the defunct U.S. Information Agency, which was folded into the State Department in 1999, to wage the battle of ideas against Islamist extremists."

We are spending a lot of money to do this already, aren't we? Although the problem may be the model of rock 'em sock 'em robots we send into the battle.

4) "Create a federal police force, possibly within the U.S. Marshals Service, that can be dispatched to enforce the law in lawless lands."

We tried this. With puppets. Although if I remember, that worked out okay.

5) "Beef up the 'expeditionary' capacity in other civilian branches of government, ranging from the Treasury to the Agriculture Department, so that they can augment the efforts of our soldiers."

In other words, make nation-building easier, so we might do more of it.

You have to appreciate Boot's honesty and clarity; again, while the Bush administration and most neoconservatives are content fibbing and claiming we can win the Long War with the military we've got, Boot is sketching out the expansion of the state we'd need to make this stuff happen.