Is America Free? Essay

Submitted By lita13088
Words: 614
Pages: 3

Paula Padilla 02/03/2012 Week 4

Whether we are viewed as a free country with authoritarian inclinations or an authoritarian nation with free aspirations, we are clearly not what we once were. Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. The Administration continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. One day after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush vowed that "we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms." Yet within several months following the attacks, it became increasingly evident that the "War on Terrorism" was evolving into a reshaping of our national security policies and challenging the value that Americans have always placed on civil liberties. While Congress' anti-terrorism law, the so-called Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism may not have been designed to restrict American citizens' civil liberties, its unintended consequences threaten the fundamental constitutional rights of people who have absolutely no involvement with terrorism. Americans' liberties have been trammeled in a variety of different ways. Under the guise of stopping terrorism, law enforcement officials and government leaders have now been given the right to conduct searches of homes and offices without prior notice, use roving wiretaps to listen in on telephone conversations, and monitor computers and e-mail messages, even to the degree of eavesdropping on attorney/client conversations. In addition, the President has made efforts to bring suspected terrorists into military tribunals for prosecution. Finally, a growing sentiment for the establishment of a national…