Thursday, May 18, 2006

Coming Soon, the Secret Police

With the CIA being described as a relic of Cold War days, the United States is trying to devise an intelligence strategy for the future.

"They [the CIA] were great at CIA versus KGB," one analyst commented. "but not at the shadowy world of terrorism."

Secret enemies require secret police. One thing those totalitarian bastards in the Soviet Union did for us was create a bubble in which we could live. As they energetically repressed their own people, they contained those elements with which we deal today. True, their tactics ultimately made the problem worse and contributed to their own downfall, but the basic premise that you have to watch everyone when the bad guy could be anyone certainly applies to a dispersed and fanatically determined force like a terrorist movement melding religion and politics into an implacable subculture.

As much as we despise dictators, they tend to spring from roots within their own culture. Something in the general population lets the repressor get started. Perhaps it starts with a desire to see someone else's behavior prohibited. We need to control _________(fill in the blank).

How will intelligence services gain usable information about enemes whose location might be foreign or domestic without working in routine secrecy here, there and everywhere? How will the punitive authorities find out about subversive activities without informants?

We can't really stop it. Armed citizens defending their homes and families in a libertarian utopia become misinformed vigilantes lynching suspects because it's quick, decisive, inexpensive and avoids a lot of bureaucratic paperwork. So if we have an accountable official body , we can only control it by telling it specifically what its target is. Choose wisely.

It would be interesting to compare the accuracy of the vigilantes versus official law enforcement. I don't know how you would compile adequate statistics, but it would be interesting.

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