This is a comment made by “JDA” on Brad DeLong’s website. I find it rather insightful, now that more and more people begin to realise the consequences of the post 9-11 abrogations of civil liberties throughout the Western world.

Here is William Butler Yeats, addressing the Irish Senate on a bill that would give new powers to the Minister of Justice: The Government does not intend these things to happen, the Commission on whose report the Bill was founded did not intend these things to happen, but in legislation intention is nothing, and the letter of the law everything, and no government has the right, whether to flatter fanatics or in mere vagueness of mind, to forge an instrument of tyranny and say that it will never be used. (Quoted in Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century at 204 (2000))

I might post an email exchange I had with the office of the leader of the FDP shortly after 9-11 on that topic later.