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Hot Button: Civil Liberties and Terrorism

September 11, 2001, painfully exposed flaws in America's national security. Much has changed in an attempt to correct these flaws, but not without costs. The Patriot Act granted the government unprecedented powers to stop terrorists, and since then we've seen an ongoing debate about warrantless wiretapping, as well as having to sacrifice time and convenience at the airport and public events.

But how much should Americans be required to sacrifice during wartime? If we have to give up the very civil liberties that define America, have we let the terrorists win? To shed some light on conflicting viewpoints regarding civil liberties and the War on Terror,

Civil Liberties must be sacrificed because:

  • Terrorists do not commit crimes prior to terrorist acts.
  • Failure to prevent terrorist acts can result in massive loss of life, and damage our economy.
  • Law-abiding citizens have nothing to hide.
  • Checks-and-balances will prevent our government from going too far.

  • Civil Liberties should be protected because:

  • Taking away civil liberties destroys what it means to be an American.
  • The Constitution guarantees civil liberties.
  • Potential for abuse now and in the future.
  • Potential for racial profiling.
  • Government could use information for political purposes.
  • Abusing rights of moderate Muslims takes away a source of tips, keeps them from acting as partners.

  • Should we sacrifice some of our civil liberties to help fight the war on terror?

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