Security At The Expense Of Civil Liberties

By Sal Bommarito

What should Americans expect from their government? Without a doubt, security is the most important service provided by federal, state and local officials. Ever since the 9/11 attacks, living in America has become more dangerous, so much so that the tradeoff between civil liberty and security must be recalibrated.


George W. Bush’s response to 9/11 was to declare war on those who perpetrated the greatest incursion on American soil since Pearl Harbor. All avenues were available to bring the terrorists to justice, or to their Maker. The citizens of the U.S. were totally supportive of their leader, and a great spirit of nationalism overwhelmed the country. Since the attacks, a false sense of security has evolved because terrorist events have not been so prevalent domestically. The hypersensitivity of 2001 has turned to ambivalence, and the left has orchestrated a push for greater emphasis of civil liberty at the expense of security.


I suppose it is human nature to overreact in crisis and underreact when conditions are benign. Unfortunately, the current president has led the charge towards civil liberty while the threat level increased; frankly, his response to terror has been tepid and America is more vulnerable than ever.


Radical Islamists are the true perpetrators of terrorism. They have proven to be resilient and an attractive alternative to disenfranchised young people throughout the world. Social media enables the evildoers to make contact with those who have little to live for. The result has been deadly bombings in peaceful urban places like Boston and vicious attacks on any group who dares to challenge the supremacy of Islam like Charlie Hebdo.


The U.S. greatly increased the status of jihadists by taking a tepid role in the ISIS war enabling a rag tag group of malcontents to control vast areas in Iraq and Syria. This has exacerbated the terrorist situation exponentially as ISIS has attained mythical status throughout the world, which has been a boon to recruitment of fighters.


The U.S. cannot control what happens in every place around the world. Yet, it can take actions domestically and internationally to thwart attempts to export terror to America. Civil liberty fanatics have done us all a disservice by pushing back against sensible and effective ways to control the forces that want to destroy our culture. Lies about the ultimate benefits of tight security and the intelligence available from aggressive interrogations have created an untenable situation. We have effectively yielded to those who think that security is a dirty word.


The nagging question is whether western governments including the U.S. are doing everything possible to prevent terrorist attacks; not responding to terrorist threats is a recipe for disaster. My answer is no because there is an over concern about liberty at the expense of security. This is exacerbated by an aversion towards identifying the real enemy, radical Islam. America should not be hesitant in recognizing this fact and acting to protect itself even if innocent Muslims are insulted by this not so insightful realization.


Frankly, the response of peaceful Muslims in response to atrocities worldwide has fallen far short of what we should expect from a peace-loving group. Condemnation of terror by the Muslim community should be loud and clear. Is it possible that are they afraid of a backlash from the radical elements in their own communities? Even worse, some Americans are beginning to think that moderate Muslims are in favor of violent protest and terror operations even if they do not play a direct role.


It is time for the west to protect innocent people at any cost. Peaceful nations should not continue to turn away form the obvious places that foment havoc, death and fear. Political correctness does not matter when uncivilized jihadists are slaughtering innocents. Civil liberties are not relevant when there is a backpack near you loaded with explosives and shrapnel like in Boston, or when free speech is attacked in Paris. People died and families were ruined in each of these events. We can no longer make excuses for the organizations that breed such contempt for human life.


Our nation needs to adopt the Bush worldview relating to terrorism. As it turns out, the president was ahead of his time recognizing the true potential of radical Islam. Americans need to sacrifice some privacy, endorse systematic data gathering, approve of long-term imprisonment and interrogation (short of torture), limit immigration and visits by people from certain parts of the world and institute many other restrictions in the interest of protecting our way of life.

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