Student or Learner
I would be grateful if you could help me understand the meaning of the expression "permanent institutional response" in this excerpt from a Newsweek article (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/09/11/zakaria-al-qaeda-isn-t-the-threat-anymore0.html":
"Open societies and modern technology combine to create a permanent danger. Small groups of people can do terrible things. We could make ourselves much safer still, but that would mean many, many more restrictions on our freedoms (...).
So the legitimate question to ask now is, have we gone too far? Is the vast expansion in governmental powers and bureaucracies—layered on top of the already enormous military-industrial complex of the Cold War—warranted? Does an organization that has as few as 400 members and waning global appeal require the permanent institutional response we have created?"
Thank you in advance,
The author is questioning whether America's response to the terror attacks on her shores was too great. Whether the erection of vast new bureaucracies, laws, and procedures was warranted given the small number of actual terrorists.
The response of the institution (of government) was permanent.