• The Question

    April 15, 2012

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State

    My recent posting on TomDispatch included a contest, where readers sent in questions for me. TomDispatch chose the most interesting one for me to answer. The winner also got a signed copy of my book. My thanks to everyone who sent in questions. Here is the winner:

    Does your experience since whistle-blowing indicate our government’s mere aversion to criticism, heightened by increasingly useful technology? Or, is it evidence of being actively targeted for disturbing the status-quo of ongoing operations?

    As a smart person once said, the crux of the State Department’s ongoing failures is that it is an island: it is a very inward looking and massively bureaucratic organization, which spends the majority of its time serving its own internal clients rather than talking to foreigners, Congress and other government partners. Clinton has not addressed this problem. Instead she has created yet more layers within State through the appointment of at least three dozen Special Advisors and Envoys to serve her political constituencies. State has some great talent but it’s being swallowed in the bureaucracy.

    The Department of State is also far too sensitive to criticism. While the military and the CIA almost enjoy the odd crank or critic, State is frightened that the slightest negative remark will mean Daddy does not love them anymore. Seriously, these people are like the worst abused person still hoping to be loved by his abuser. State is always getting its budget cut by Congress, always behind the curve when important decisions are made in the White House, always hoping to be cool like its big brothers in the Pentagon or CIA. Instead, the State Department finds itself increasingly useful in government only as a kind of overseas concierge, doing the clerical work of issuing visas and passports while hand-holding Congressional fact-finding visits to London and Paris.

    Under such circumstances, someone like me coming along with a book screaming that the “Emperor has no clothes!” is very unwelcome. Worse than mere criticism, my book is criticism from inside, which rings all too true to other insiders and can’t be easily dismissed by outsiders. That is why the State Department has acted so vengefully against me, turning its Keystone Cop-like Diplomatic Security goons loose to drum up some unholy hodge-podge to use to fire me. It is kind of sad really, a once-proud Cabinet agency reduced to making up lies about an unimportant employee to protect itself from, well, itself.

    At the same time, we live in an extraordinary age of growing Federal government power, where, for the first time, the Federal government has set out to systematically create a climate of fear in the US to enhance its own power. Fear of external things—terrorists, Communists, Nazis and the like has long been a trick card the government has used. But we are experiencing a change where in addition to fear of externals, the Federal Government wants us to fear it. So, Americans are subjected to pointless humiliation at the airport, and now routinely spied upon under the Orwellian-named “Patriot Act.” We watch our freedoms dissipate and our fear of the Government, that it will one day use a drone or a night raid to render one of us into a secret prison for torture, grow.

    In such a world, dissent in any form, maybe every form, must be stomped on. And so, for writing a book and a blog, the Department of State has turned on me like an angry dog.

    Enjoy your free book, it is on the way!



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  • Recent Comments

    • Clayton said...

      1

      “always hoping to be cool like its big brothers in the Pentagon or CIA. Instead, the State Department finds itself increasingly useful in government only as a kind of overseas concierge”

      And to think they could have brought in a MWT. Oops, dirty state secret. Sorry.

      Yo, bellhop………

      04/15/12 11:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Morris said...

      2

      Flattered and grateful to get a copy Peter!

      04/17/12 1:10 AM | Comment Link

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