Don’t you wonder if they ever pause on September 11 every year and ponder how they all used the dead of that awful day for their own purposes, to fulfill their long-held desires for empire-building in the countries of oil, to use other people’s children in service of their profane desires? Don’t you wonder if they ever pause on September 11 and ponder how they’d all screwed up so badly throughout the summer of 2001 when, as Richard Clarke recalled, “all the lights were blinking red”? Do you wonder if they make the connection, in the softening dark of the early morning, between their own incompetence and the use they ultimately made of it?
“The more authoritarian the regime is, and the more people allow governments to get away with doing this sort of thing politically, the worse the conditions are likely to get,” Hyslop says. “So, a lot of it depends on how much pushback there is. But when you get a totally authoritarian regime like Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, there’s no control, or no countervailing force, the state can do what it likes, and certainly things will then tend to break down.
“It’s more of a political question, really. Are people prepared to tolerate the deteriorating conditions? And if public opinion isn’t effective in a liberal democratic situation, things can still get pretty bad.”