The apparatus

The New York Times magazine convenes a panel of contributors, including Michael Ignatieff, to discuss the ramifications of 9/11.

The most obvious consequence of 9/11 to me has been the creation of a new national security state, to rival the one created at the start of the Cold War. It is an archipelago beneath democratic scrutiny, and it has done liberal democracies real damage: rendition, torture, detention without trial, Guantánamo, military tribunals. Its justification is that it has prevented an attack on the homeland. But this is a strange kind of justification: the absence of apocalypse is held to justify a permanent state of emergency, extending indefinitely into the future…

The concern I have about the whole world opened up after 9/11 is this archipelago, not just of drones, but of communication intercepts, Internet monitoring, which preserves our security at the price of … what? We don’t even know. I’m relatively trusting, far from paranoid, but we do have a new institutional problem:  to subject special forces, cybercommand, the boys with the drones, to some form of democratic oversight and control, if we are to stay what we say we are.