The scenarios presented in this paper are the action of a newly elected President of the United States of American in the different areas of the antiterrorism laws that are in place. These laws and their safeguards have been placed to ensure that there are no further attacks on the nation and to exterminate terrorism from the face of the planet.
War on Terror
The war on terror has been an important segment in the history of this nation especially since 9/11. There is no requirement to make any drastic changes to the existing antiterrorism laws. These laws were framed after careful consideration by two different administrations and changes to them are not going to be significant (if any at all).
Balance between liberty and security
The question of liberty has been largely overrated ever since the first whistleblower appeared on the scene from AT&T. Americans are not yanked out of their homes unnecessarily, they are not detained indefinitely nor are they denied their rights because of the surveillance programs. The logic of surveillance should be examined to see if there is a legitimate claim at all. Almost all content on the internet is accessible by the respective domain owners and service providers. Emails sent by American citizens were monitored long before the Patriot Act and we all knew about it; yet we made no fuss over it because it was protocol. So why is it suddenly a problem when government agencies conduct the same monitoring?
Moreover, the views about lack of liberty are from a minority of the citizenry. These are people who have yet to understand the importance of these programs and in their ignorance are pushing for changes that will make us vulnerable to terrorist attacks. To prove this point, let’s look at the numbers in the sale of mobile phones since 9/11. The number of subscribers for mobile networks was at 128,374,512 in 2001 when the Patriot Act was introduced and in 2010, the numbers were at 300,520,098. This is more than twice the number of people. If the American citizenry decided that the surveillance program was too intrusive, why did so many of them opt for the service at all? Likewise there were 141 million internet users in the U.S in 2001 and in 2014, we have 280 million users. If they thought that monitoring of emails was unacceptable, why should so many more choose to use the internet? We have sufficient balance in existing antiterrorism laws and we do not require any further changes to them; at least for now.
What is the proper balance between violation of detainees’ rights and aggressive interrogation in the interest of national security?
Our nation has some of the finest interrogation techniques that do not require violence or torture. We are not new to the concept of dangerous criminals since we have seen some of the most diabolical serial killers in history from our land. Yet we did not torture any of them to get the information. We also do not require torture to procure information from terror suspects. Terrorism is not a battle group or battalion; it is a political belief that manifests itself in various forms of violence against the armed and the unarmed.
If we have to break terror suspects down, we have to break that belief. Physical torture will only strengthen their resolve and give them a reason to increase their propaganda against the American nation. Although torture may yield short term results, our ultimate victory over terrorism comes only when we destroy the perception that has been built by terror leaders of American people as tyrants.
Should the 14th Amendment rights be extended to terrorist suspects who are not American citizens?
The US Constitution was framed after our independence for all those who remained on American soil and called it home. We began as a new nation and the laws were for all peoples. We have to remember this before asking any questions about the Bill of Rights or the guarantees it provides. The answer to that question is “yes”. We have to treat them the same way if we are to truly interpret the Amendment rights. Any individual from any nation is allowed due process. To deny them (terror suspects) of these rights would be the equivalent of denying ourselves of these rights too. Hence all amendment rights should be extended to anyone without prejudice. Although this might remain unpopular initially, it would be one of the stepping stones to succeeding in the process of uprooting jihadist terrorism altogether.