I think I’m in 100% agreement with Kevin Drum here.

The fact is, superhawks always claim their programs are vital to American security, and they almost always turn out to be wrong. We didn’t need to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II, we didn’t need Joe McCarthy’s theatrics during the Cold War, and we didn’t need COINTELPRO during the Vietnam War. And when the Church Committee outlawed the most egregious of our intelligence abuses in the 70s, guess what happened? The Soviet Union disintegrated a decade later. Turns out we didn’t need that stuff after all. America is a lot stronger than its supposed defenders give it credit for.

Of course, some of those supposed defenders are actually manuevering for short-term electoral gains against their enemies.

2 thoughts on “Drumbeat

  1. Well, if you believe that there were never any Japanese or Communist spies in the US, then that makes sense: Cite a few security excesses and you prove that vigilance is never called for at all. Back on Earth, taking liberty and security seriously requires understanding that sometimes there’s a trade-off between the two, and that this leads to hard questions. Pretending otherwise is just a cop-out.

  2. I believe Drum is talking about the excesses, not just any countermeasures against Japanese spies or Communists. That’s the part I’m agreeing with. He’s disagreeing with Boot, who admits “Bush has not always gotten the balance between life and liberty exactly right” right after he claims we would have been attacked by terrorists if we didn’t give Bush all the powers he wanted.

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