Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Such dread was a large part of the post-9/11 decade.  A culture of fear had created a culture of spending to control it, which, in turn, had led to a belief that the government had to be able to stop every single plot before it took place, regardless of whether it involved one network of twenty terrorists or one single deranged person.  This expectation propelled more spending and even more zero-defect expectations.  There were tens of thousands of unsolved murders in the United States by 2010, but few newspapers ever blared this across their front pages or even tried to investigate how their police departments had to failed to solve them all over the years.  But when it came to terrorism, newspaper and other media outlets amplified each mistake, which amplified the threat, which amplified the fear, which prompted more spending, and on and on and on.

-- Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, in "Top Secret America:  The Rise of the New American Security State", Chapter 3

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