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Showing posts from January 19, 2014

counterfactual 9.11

Sometimes the news makes me all counterfactually itchy, or, uh, it makes me itchy to explore a counterfactual. In the case of Edward Snowden, it makes me especially itchy. The discussion so far is defined by those who say Snowden’s revelations are necessary, and his sacrifice is heroic, and those who say that his revelations have damaged our intelligence agencies, and his actions are treasonous. But who among us is saying that his actions have damaged our intelligence agencies and made us safer? I am. Imagine (counterfactual time) that 9/11 had been prevented. Obviously, the Patriot act and the setting up of special courts would not have ensued, and we wouldn’t have the Snowden revelations.So it is worth asking: would the prevention of 9/11 been brought about by less transparency about what the executive branch and the intelligence agencies were up to, or more? Now, there is a large answer to this, in which one tediously goes over the history of the CIA and the Middle East, explor