Readers might remember that a few months ago I had some fun poking fun at Liam Fox. a British former defense secretary who had to resign to avert a scandal. But he wrote something that has a ring of truth to it: Americans who were defending the actions of Edward Snowden didn't realize how much it took to protect them.
Yes, governments have done perfectly evil things to protect their citizens. That has been the routine case for the United States of America since the start of the Cold War. It's understandable; great power attracts great hatred and envy, and it also attracts great evil to protect it. That's the way things are for a superpower.
But there are three big problems with using evil to fight evil.
First, it becomes easier and easier to deploy evil means of protection; like anything else the more expertise one acquires in deploying strategies, the more one tends to use those options even when the link to defense is very tenuous.
Second, once the routine sets in, those who make careers of it tend to be increasingly blind to the limitations of their strategies and the passage of time. The world changes but they don't. Thus, a curiously anachronistic aspect of American defense policy today, as if the calendar on the wall hadn't been changed since the early 1990s.
Third, the first two problems don't become fully evident until it's too late. This I think explains an old saying in India: When the gods don't like you, they raise you up very high.