Jane Galt has a great post today about the 9-11 Commission (The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States).
She correctly observes that if the expectation is to discover how the attack could have been prevented and to recommend changes that will prevent future attacks, then the commission might end up doing more harm than good.
It’s possible, I would guess probable, that there is no way to do this in a way that is an improvement and maintains the values that we are trying to defend. Certainly, there can be structural and procedural changes that can improve the likelihood that we will do better, and we should pursue those that are reasonable.
But, if we turn the country into a prison, or impose restrictions on commerce and civil liberties with costs that are higher than the security benefits that they provide, then we won’t be solving problems. We’ll be creating them.
As the post says:
Clinton didn’t know. Bush didn’t know. We didn’t know. And the uncomfortable possibility remains that there are more events that we not only don’t know about–but can’t know about. Deluding ourselves otherwise isn’t helping. And if it causes us to take costly, fruitless
measures to reassure ourselves, it could actively hurt us.