Term Paper: War on Terrorism

Pages: 4 (1448 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The actions and policies of the INS are strikingly draconian. Immigrants and visitors crossing the border into the United States are and will continue to be harangued unnecessarily because Ashcroft gives carte blanche to immigration officials. This reeks of Big Brother or the creation of an American "police state."

Ashcroft unabashedly supports restricting civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism, much to the chagrin of legal analysts and civil liberties protection groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU is involved with numerous lawsuits that should ensure the repeal of some of the unconstitutional facets of the U.S.A. PATRIOT act. In August of 2002 in Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down a policy that limited public access to deportation hearings. The same issue is presented before the Third Circuit court of appeals (North Jersey Media Group v. Ashcroft) and is expected to have the same result. Luckily, the United Nations Human Rights Commission has also affirmed the need for "combating terrorism more effectively while respecting human rights and where applicable, international humanitarian law." Moreover, mainstream media groups are trying to draw attention to the eroding of basic rights and freedoms most Americans take for granted. For example, the Detroit News ran an article entitled "Terror War Raises Fear about Rights" only months after the September 11 tragedy. Author Jodi Upton reports that as of November 23, 2001 "about 1,000 people, most of Middle Eastern descent, have been detained or questioned since the Sept. 11 attacks." That figure must have skyrocketed in the years that followed, but relatively little media attention has been paid to the issue recently, as Americans seem to have fallen into a state of numbness and preparation for a war against Iraq.

The rights and freedoms guaranteed by the United States constitution must be upheld even in times of war; to do otherwise would be hypocrisy. The United States was founded on a philosophy of freedom and the constitution guarantees certain rights, freedoms, and privileges to all its citizens. It would be a shame to give up those fundamental human rights because of fear or propaganda. The Anti-Terrorist Acts passed in 1996 under President Bill Clinton already offered the Department of Justice a wide berth in its approach to immigrants, but the hastily drafted 2001 USA PATRIOT act considerably enhances the power of the U.S. government over its citizens. With no limits of police surveillance, including wire taps, e-mail reading, and search and seizure, the civil liberties of Americans are being stripped away. Most people brush the issue aside, thinking that the sacrifices in freedom are worth it if another terrorist attack can be prevented. On the other hand, many citizens probably feel that they will never be directly impacted by these new laws. The opposite is true, however. The new Ashcroft proposal dubbed PATRIOT II, also known as the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," would enable the Department of Justice to strip citizenship from anyone thought to support a government-defined "terrorist organization." All Americans want to ensure a safe future, free from terrorism. Yet the future looms equally as bleak if the American people permit their fundamental rights to be stolen; it contradicts the philosophical foundation of the nation.

Works Cited

Herman, Susan. "The U.S.A. Patriot Act and the U.S. Department of Justice: Losing Our Balances?" Jurist. December 3, 2001.

McCullagh, Declan. "Patriot Bill Moves Along." Wired News. October 2001. http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,47312,00.html

Mueller, Robert S. "Congressional Statement 2003." Federal Bureau of Investigation. February 11, 2003. http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress03/mueller021103.htm

Shapiro, Steven R. "Supreme Court Faces 9/11 Cases and Other High Profile Issues in a Term Destined to Produce Landmark Decisions." American Civil Liberties Union. October 3, 2002. http://www.aclu.org/court/court.cfm?ID=10834&c=200

United Nations Press Release, February 14, 2003. http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/6031593A6D26A507C1256CD1003BA09D?opendocument

Upton, Jodi. "Terror War Raises Fears about Rights." The Detroit News. November 23, 2001. http://www.detnews.com/2001/metro/0111/23/a01-350634.htm

Vidal, Gore. "The New War on Freedom." July 18, 2002.

Williams, Johnny N. "Combating Terrorism: Protecting the United States (Statement Before the Senate Committee on Finance)." January 30, 2003. http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/aboutins/congress/testimonies/2003/Williams.pdf [END OF PREVIEW]

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