Disagree: Sacrifice Civil Liberties in War Time

No one should have to sacrifice their civil liberties in order to help fight a war. Civil liberties should be protected and respected regardless of whether a country is in war time. Taking away someone’s civil liberties in a time of war is completely contradictory. Our constitutional rights are being violated if these rights are taken away when the government determines the country is in war time. What is to stop them from abusing this power and taking our civil liberties away when there is some other threat? Sacrificing civil liberties is not something that should be condoned even in war time.

Taking away a person’s civil liberties destroys the definition of what living in the United States of America is all about. With regards to the war on terror, the sacrifice of our civil liberties is a victory for them. This surrender of our civil liberties breaks down the essence of being American. Additionally, our constitutional rights are being violated if we are required to give up our civil liberties to the government in a time of war. If our civil liberties were surrendered, people could be followed to their place of worship (1st Amendment), prevented from access to a lawyer to defend them (6th Amendment), held without a trial (7th Amendment), and even our right to privacy (implied in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 9th Amendment) would be violated. This sort of treatment from our government is unacceptable regardless of if our country is in war or not.

Furthermore, who will ensure that abuse of this situation from our government would not occur? This “War on Terror” still has no foreseeable end, years after it has been started. Unlike traditional nation vs nation wars, which eventually end in a cease fire, a peace treaty signing, or one country taking over another, this “War on Terror” is not against any country and is something that could essentially go on forever. Since this is the case, if our civil liberties are given up to help fight this “War on Terror”, they could be gone forever if our government choose to abuse this power. Even if you trust the current administration, what about the next one that comes into power? Who is going to stop the government from using the information they gather for non-terror or non-war purposes? The information that would be gather, if we surrendered our civil liberties, could be used in other situations which is harmful to our country as a whole. In addition, it could lead to racial profiling and discrimination. Should the law abiding Arab-American and Muslims be subject to unfair treatment simply because we are stereotyping? This should of treatment and abuse is uncalled for and must never happen.

Surrendering our civil liberties is an absurd idea and would result in many negative things. What this country was build on, would be destroyed instantly. Civil rights could be abused, and the government could use information gathered in improper methods. Racial profiling and other forms of discrimination would be encouraged; this is simply unacceptable. Sacrificing our civil liberties to help in war time has no merit.

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[…] Disagree […]

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Paul Frumkin
November 15th, 2010 11:51 pm

With respect, I agree with you, but only to a certain extent. I believe that certain civil liberties should never be sacrificed, and those include freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness and so on, but the fact of the matter is that some things might need to be sacrificed temporarily in order to win a war. For example: Let’s say that we are at war with a country. Let’s say that the country has spies so that they can gain a military advantage by exploiting a weakness. Wouldn’t you be willing to give up the right to privacy to help stop this? America’s govenment might tap your phone or read your emails, and your privacy might be sacrificed. That is true, but no one is saying that America is heading for 1984. Would you really mind that someone will read an email telling a friend happy birthday or if they listen in on a phone conversation between you and a friend discussing how your day went? In my humble view of things, if you go to war, you have already lost. You are forced into a position where you have to fight and sacrifice certain things…like civil liberties to prevent the deaths of soldiers fighting overseas and the people staying behind.

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