Threats to civil liberties
Posted by aogMonday, 30 June 2003 at 09:35
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One thread of thought that's been worrying at me is how much of a threat to civil liberties the current war against the Caliphascists is. As I've noted, the current state of things is relatively benign as wars go, but it's the trends that concern me. Again, the failure to hold any of the agencies responsible for guarding against threats like Al Qaeda is nexus of most of what worries me. Beyond just reacting the wrong way to such threats (i.e., expanding powers rather than making sure we actually use what is already available) is the institutional incentives that are created. The people who ran the FBI and the CIA while clear threats were ignored or suppressed have now not only escaped any punishment or even castigation but have been richly rewarded (in bureaocratic terms) for their incompetence. From a public choice point of view, why should they make any real effort to protect from the next attack? Letting the last one happen has been pretty good for them. It would be a completely different situation if a real investigation had been done rather than, as far as I can tell, not even deigning to consider such questions. Even more worrying is the attitude that doesn't see this as a problem. Where is President Bush's vaunted business sense now? That kind of management is a ticket to bankruptcy.