The War on Terrorism
Judging by the results of their actions, terrorist and criminal groups are actually made of exactly the same stuff. However, most people, especially the social scientists, differentiate the two groups based on their motivations. While terrorists proclaim that their actions are motivated by a cause which they consider sacred, the common criminals are viewed by society as ordinary deviants who do what they do simply to satisfy their own personal motivations. In spite of the difference in their motivations, however, the man in the street perceives that the costs to society of their actions are the same: loss of lives and property, and the effective curtailment of the ordinary people’s individual rights and liberties.
Since terrorists resort to actions and tactics that are very similar, if not exactly the same, as those being taken by common criminals, it is sometimes inconceivable for law enforcement agencies to claim that they should be granted with extrajudicial powers in their fight against terrorism. Over the years, law enforcers have been employing the same logistics and abiding by the same operating rules and legal procedures to fight criminality with decent success. Why, then, should the fight against terrorism require so much more?
The almost unlimited and unchecked powers granted by the Patriot Act virtually threaten the very privacy of every citizen of the United States. As it is, this privacy, which is supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment, has already suffered countless invasions despite the existing law covering the search and seizure proceedings in criminal cases. In fact, news of police officers manhandling and mistreating suspects before the public is almost a daily fare in the United States. This ugly situation only demonstrates that power blinds, corrupts, and debases those allowed to wield it. Unchecked, power simply elevates man to the level of God. What if that man is a bigot? This frailty of man when it comes to power was already recognized by James Madison more than two hundred years earlier when he said that: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” (as cited in Raab, 2006). The Patriot Act should therefore be revised to allow law enforcers to save Americans from terrorists without denying them of their basic constitutional rights.
Raab, C.P. (2006). FIGHTING TERRORISM IN AN ELECTRONIC AGE: DOES THE
PATRIOT ACT UNDULY COMPROMISE OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES? Duke Law &
Technology Review: 003. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from