Dick Cheney's Crystal Ball Says That NSA Surveillance Could Have Stopped 9/11
from the but-not-the-boston-bombing dept
"As everybody who's been associated with the program's said, if we had had this before 9/11, when there were two terrorists in San Diego — two hijackers — had been able to use that program, that capability, against that target, we might well have been able to prevent 9/11," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday."That's speculation based on nothing, frankly. As has been widely covered, there were a number of reasons why the government failed to stop 9/11, just as there were plenty of reasons it failed to stop the Boston bombings back in April. The idea that this program would have stopped one (while it clearly missed the other) isn't particularly convincing.
Of course, none of that gets to the bigger question of whether or not it's worth it. In theory, we could stop all sorts of crimes by putting military personnel and equipment in the streets, with the power to invade any home and do a full search. But we don't allow that. Because that's a violation of our privacy. And, yes, the loss of life from a terrorist attack is tragic and horrifying -- but many more people are killed in car accidents, and we don't freak out about that and take away everyone's cars. Giving up our basic principles of freedom on the off chance it might possibly stop a terrorist attack (while still missing other terrorist attacks) doesn't really seem like living up to the basic ideals of this country.