Sunday, February 05, 2006
In the wake of the revelation of about the NSA wiretapping story, most of the discussions have focused on whether or not the President has overstepped the limits of the law. And obviously, this is the core issue. But one of the things that irritates me about this discussion is this notion that 72 hours is akin to an eternity. The subtext is: gosh, three days is a long time just to get somebody to say "OK". 72 hours in government is the blink of an eye. The government is a lumbering morass. Public bueauracracies tend to be, some less so than others, but nonetheless. This is largely because they cannot be purely concerned with efficiency. Public organizations pick winners and losers every day, thus efficiency as a primary organizational goal, is insufficient. As a result, 72 hours, what may seem like a fair amount of time is not.