Peggy Noonan goes into a great analytic detail to answer a basic question: what if the surveillance techniques we learned of recently are both scary and effective in fighting terrorism? I don't trust the Obama administration but both of these policies are extensions from Bush era practices. President Obama, in his comments Friday, essentially said Bush was right to do these things. But I don't trust the government with this data. Yet, what if, in fact, this level of scrutiny has stopped terror attacks, as the government claims.
What if these invasive policies are ended and we're hit? Noonan makes the point that such a possibility has become such a deep fear for any elected official that it's likely we're erring to the side of preventing attacks. In other words, President Obama was so afraid of a terror attack happening on his watch, the extreme can come to appear necessary. Agreed.
But what if conservatives rail against these practices, get them curbed and we're hit, catastrophically, as a result? What then?