6 April 2002
DO ANTITERRORISM MEASURES THREATEN CIVIL LIBERTIES
Antiterrorism measures are implemented to prevent a terrorist from being able to carry out an operation. There have been acts of terrorism throughout history and prior to the 1990s the average American citizen found comfort in knowing that at least in his or her own backyard there was a blanket of safety. Since the attack of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 there has been a growing threat of terrorism in America. The threat was also manifested in the 9/11 attack on America at the World Trade Center. Antiterrorism measures have been employed to stop or at least obstruct further attacks, and some complain that their rights as American citizens are being violated. Antiterrorism is not threatening civil liberties as long as the American people understand why these steps are being taken.
After the 9/11 bombing, the lines at airports were known to take between two and four hours just to get baggage checked, yet there were no complaints. The media coverage of the measures that were being taken in order to protect the American travelers were enough reason to support such prolonged delays in airport lobbies.
Other types of antiterrorism measures that were enacted after the World Trade Center attack in 1993 and the Murrah building bombing in 1995 were to increase the usage of wiretaps on suspected terrorists, military involvement in chemical and biological weapons, stopping contributions to international terrorist organizations, and facilitating the government to deny entry to the United States and implementing deportation policies against suspected terrorists (Bender, 126). These policies of antiterrorism have no threat to any American citizen that is not associated to a terrorist organization, but it does affect those citizens that are suspected terrorist or supporters of a terrorist organization.
After the 9/11 World Trade Center attack occurred, the government was cursed for not preventing the attack and actually questioned as to why stronger laws were not already put into practice. The problem with the antiterrorism actions is that it takes a grotesque event to gain the attention of the American people in order for the government to enact policies, with the support of American citizens, which should already have been put in place.
In my opinion the antiterrorism measures do not threaten civil liberties. This may be in part due to my being educated about why these measures have been employed. The rest of the American public deserves the right to know why the government is taking such measures, and after they have such knowledge; they are more apt to support the measures.
Bender, David. CURRENT CONTROVERSIES: URBAN TERRORISM. San
Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1996.
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