The operative question becomes this: If neither the CIA nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff had existed when Osama bin Laden launched his attack, if Congress had not created the Department of Defense or the National Security Council back in 1947, would the United States find itself in any worse shape than it is? That is, if President Bush had had to rely upon the institutions that existed through World War II - a modest State Department for diplomacy and two small cabinet agencies to manage military affairs - would he have bollixed up Iraq any more than he already has? To frame the question more broadly: When considering the national security state as it has evolved and grown up over the past six decades, what exactly has been the value added? And if the answer is none - if, indeed, the return on investment has been essentially negative - then perhaps the time has come to consider dismantling an apparatus that demonstrably serves no useful purpose.
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