After watching the TV coverage for a while and it became clear that it was a terrorist attack, I wrote in my diary: “Today means the end of civil liberties for my lifetime”. In an interesting New York Review of Books piece David Cole is less pessimistic. But his tally of the aftermath and implications of the attacks is worth a read. Looking back, what’s most striking about the decade is how wasteful it has been in both resources and lives. The US (and the UK) got themselves enmeshed in one necessary war (Afghanistan), which they then screwed up by getting involved in an unnecessary one (Iraq). Air travel has been transformed from a convenience to an infuriating, inefficient nightmare. State surveillance has increased a thousandfold, and ’security theatre’ has become a way of life not just for real security authorities but also for the millions of jobsworths who wear uniforms in corporate foyers. Every time I’ve queued at an airport in the last decade, or been told by a cop that I can’t take a photograph in a public place, my first thought is that bin Laden won hands down.