How Has the War on Terrorism Affected American’s Civil Liberties?

The war on terrorism that has been started by the U.S. government after the 9/11 accident can be said to have exerted significant impact on various spheres of the life of American people. However, it is precisely the sphere of civil liberties that has been affected to the biggest extent. As a matter of fact, the U.S. government’s war on terrorism provoked a substantial contraction of civil rights and civil liberties of American citizens, and this phenomenon does require careful examination.

The legal ground for the aforementioned contraction of civil liberties was proposed by the USA Patriot Act which was adopted in the aftermath of the 9/11 accident. As Herman (2011) highlights, this act empowered the government officials to spy on anyone with less judicial review and exposed all business records of American citizens to be easily reached by government officials. Ultimately, the provisions of the USA Patriot Act have posed a factual threat to the freedoms of speech, associations, and religion as well as the privacy and the equality of the American citizens (Herman, 2011). Even though such situation might have been regarded as completely inadmissible for the genuinely democratic state, the emergence of the terrorist menace served as the sufficient condition for adopting the policy of more strict supervision over the activity of the U.S. citizens.

As far as it regards the way in which the USA Patriot Act actually influenced the American society, it needs to be highlighted that the major change has occurred not to the law itself but to the way the law is interpreted by the law enforcement institutions of the state (Liptak, 2011). The procedure of criminal prosecution has become much more harsh and aggressive in regard to the suspects, and the U.S. courts have demonstrated the tendency towards the imposition of the sentences which implied more severe punishments to the accused people. In this respect, the peculiarity of such change lies in the fact that even though the law itself has been modified just slightly, the corresponding credentials for its enforcement have been broadened significantly, and that provided the law enforcement officials with the capability to elaborate less restrictive manner of performing their formal duties. More specifically, the goal of preventing the terrorism caused law enforcement officials to make early arrests and then to rely on charges that required little proof of concrete conduct, and the numerous charges of U.S. citizens with hypothetical providing of the material support to the terrorist groups are to be regarded as the exemplary case for the description of the upgraded law enforcement procedure (Liptak, 2011).

Basically, the implementation of more effective mechanism of law enforcement might well be considered to be the appropriate action if the state government takes it in order to defend its citizens from the significant external threat. However, in doing so the U.S. government have started to expose themselves as the source of the menace for its own citizens since the danger of the criminal prosecution and possible custodial restraint is being generally perceived as …
Posted by: Frederic Granillo

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