Essay Preview: Patriot Act
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“Were dealing with terrorists who operate by highly sophisticated methods and technologies, some of which were not even available when our existing laws were written. The bill before me accounts for the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists. It will help law enforcement to identify, dismantle, disrupt, and punish terrorists before they strike,” (President George W. Bush at signing of Patriot Act, 2001). The terrorists of today cannot be reasoned with. We must do whatever necessary to ensure that there never will be another September 11th. Since the enactment of the Patriot Act, there have not been any major acts of terrorism committed on U.S. soil. If the Act had been established earlier, perhaps the tragedy of September 11th would have been prevented. The Patriot Act has applied common sense knowledge and resources to law enforcement, making it easier for them to seize terrorists before they strike.
The Patriot Act, however, has stirred up controversies amongst those who believe it to be a violation of our civil liberties. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) argues that the Patriot Act not only fails to make us a safer nation, but also a less free one. They believe that it does not uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms. They want Congress to limit the sharing of information through wiretapping between the government, so as to preserve their privacy. The ACLU also believes the F.B.I., has been given too long a leash, that the Patriot Act has overstepped its boundaries. The ACLU has issued eighteen sheets, written dozens of letters to Congress and the Bush administration, and made hundreds of TV and radio appearances, calling on Congress to “defend the fundamental rights and freedoms that distinguish us from repressive societies in other parts of the world.”
The Patriot Act, however, violates none of these liberties and is a key source in protecting our freedom. If we do not fight back against terrorists who want to take over this land, we will be no different from other repressed societies. It is our determination and strength that has set us apart from the rest of the world. The attack on September 11th stirred up a desire in Americans to want to protect and defend this nation. The Patriot Act is a tool for defending our fundamental rights and freedoms from and enemy who will show no mercy. Terrorists are embedded throughout America. They are webbed into the deepest sectors of this country and we must do whatever necessary to not let them get any further in tearing us down. By establishing these bills, we will save this nation from another September 11th. If we fail to act upon our threats, we will be no different from other oppressed nations. Chief Justice Robert Jackson says, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact. Failing to take strong measures to defend our nation against future attacks would amount to suicide. The U.S.A. Patriot Act is an important part of the nations efforts to fight back to defend freedom and liberty.”
The ACLU has also influenced Congress to limit the sharing of information obtained through wire-tapping. The Act has removed major barriers between communications of law enforcement, intelligence and national defense communities from talking and coordinating their work, to protecting the American people and national security. Senator John Edwards (D-NC) said about the Patriot Act, “We cannot prevail in the battle against terrorism if the right hand of our government has no idea what the left hand is doing.” One example of the progress of this law was when a federal grand jury just recently had indicted an individual in Florida, Sami al-Arian, for allegedly being the U.S. leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the worlds most violent terrorist outfits. Palestinian Islamic Jihad is responsible for the murder of over 100 innocent people including a young American, Alisa Flatow, who was killed in a tragic bus bombing incident in the Gaza strip. The Patriot Act assisted by enabling the full sharing of information and advice about the case among prosecutors and investigators. Such sharing of information leads to concrete detail. One section of the government may have not had enough substantial evidence to evict this murderer by itself. This gives the government a long enough leash that allows them to have a stronger hold on cases such as these.
According to the ACLU at a congressional meeting on January 24,2001, they stated, ” we know from history what happens when the F.B.I. is given too long a leash. It targets individuals and groups based on their advocacy and association rather than based on legitimate law-enforcement concerns.” However, history dating back to September 11th has proven that the F.B.I. has