Understanding the Core Challenges to Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

This springs from the inherent flaw to the logical and practical
underpinnings of the 2001 bill. Its twofold set of assumptions-that safety
can only be preserved through the sacrifice of personal liberties and that
terrorism is the product of bureaucratic obstacles to law-enforcement-both
proceed from a faulty ideological seedling that far predates 9/11.
In its forceful attainment of new authorities which have even further
removed it from the province of democratic process, the United States
government has implemented legislation that may usher in a new era of
sustained McCarthyism. With the 'terrorist' tag supplanting the
'communist' label that was considered social, professional and political
anathema in the 40's and 50's, the Patriot Act is the first and broadest of
post-9/11 tools for the extension of ideological hegemony in an age of
highly charged philosophical division. Much like the witch-hunt that
McCarthyism engendered, the Patriot Act's impact on the Bill of Rights
demonstrates a common flight of misdirection in our representative
democracy. When 19 foreign nationals hijacked the four airliners that
caused such carnage in September, 2001, the government responded with
legislation that aimed its power squarely at the rights of its own
citizens. While there are countless cases emerging daily illustrating the
government's willingness to flex its muscle against political groups,
religious organizations and private citizens at home, it has yet to prove
that these measures are providing the nation with any greater security.
And as this war continues unabated, it will remain to be seen whether this
short-sighted surrender of our liberties will contribute in any way to the
long-term posterity of freedom.
The validity of the Patriot Act and other like-minded policies, such
as the shamelessly self-explanatory Total Information Awareness Act, which
Congress refused to pass in 2004, is extremely suspect. Particularly, in
consideration of the details concerning the September 11th attacks, there
seems to be little congruity between domestic policy response and the
actual administrative failings which enabled that breach to occur.
The notion elicits little thought from many in the voting public who
are confined to receiving the bulk of information regarding 9/11 and its
fallout from mainstream media sources. It is accepted that the world has
indeed changed insofar as it is now more dangerous and that daily life
requires more paranoia. American culture, which in the 1990s was regarded
as a beacon in the international community for technological, corporate and
human rights progress, took on a far more bellicose and ideologically
regressive outlook in the policy eventualities provoked by the attacks.
But these changes are not the inevitabilities of a terrorist attack on
American soil. They are instead the self-fulfilling prophecy of an
administration which has demanded fear, blind faith, the willing suspension
of disbelief and extremely low expectations of its supporters.
Though the 9/11 attacks dealt Americans a serious dose of reality,
the policy aftermath can be most accurately characterized as an ongoing
distortion thereto. An anonymous Bush official famously stated during the
2004 presidential campaign regarding the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction
intelligence scandal that many of the administration's enemies in the press
were internally referred to as members of the 'reality community.' Truly,
the Bush Administration's relationship with the reality community took its
first turn for the worst when, within days of 9/11, the White House had
begun to reveal its two-pronged strategy for survival in the New America.
The top policy initiative became the inception of an ultra-aggressive form
of proactive pursuit called the War On Terror. This was an indefinable,
self-applied clearance to undertake massive, pre-emptive military action
against any entity or nation deemed a terrorist threat. The principle
would be to seek out terrorist havens and destroy the enemy before it could
reach the shores of the U.S.
The War on Terror is a daily reminder of the changed world theory.
Now in the seventh year of a struggle with an Iraqi population that is
reluctant to be beaten into democracy, the U.S. is helming an international
war that seems to know no limit of philosophical manipulation and no
parameter of spatial, chronological or practical resolution. American
military casualties have reached a mark not seen since the War on Vietnam
that, in its attempt to forcibly deliver democracy to a native population
through armed invasion, lasted for more than a decade and ultimately failed
in its goal. Here, there is evidence that, while America was a nation
profoundly different at the end of 2001 than it was at the beginning of
that same year, it is not today profoundly different from the emergent
pattern in our history.
The War on Terror, in both its infinitive nature and its global
pervasiveness, echoes the Cold War in many ways, not the least of which is
domestic policy. This is the second prong of security policy adaptation
with which civil rights activists are struggling today. The passage of the
Patriot Act immediately after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent creation
of the Department of Homeland Security are the realization of the Bush
Administration's response to the domestic threat. The Patriot Act is
informed by the faulty theory that intelligence errors are to blame for
security failings leading up to September 11th. It is therefore designed
to break down legal obstruction to the collection of intelligence on
suspected terrorists both at home and abroad. Inherent to this policy has
been a broad-based subversion of privacy rights to ordinary American
citizens, marked by the proliferation of internet interactions, phone taps,
search warrants, ethnic profiling, Terror Watch List Designation and a
whole host of options now available to law enforcement agencies with little
Constitutional or judicial restraint.
While these actions have taken us great leaps forward in terms of the
erosion of civil liberties, and have done much to remind us of the not-too-
distant scars of McCarthyism, they do not address what is at the root of
terrorism. Like the administration's pre-9/11 approach of willful
deviation from overwhelming logic, its post-9/11 strategy of initiating
questionable military engagements and lowering the hammer of prevention on
the American public is one which is both divergent from reality and poorly-
suited to its stated intention. The microcosm of Iraq, which as the site
of our most recent endeavor in this crusade has become the single greatest
location for the recruitment of terrorism in the world, provides a useful
example of the ideological flaw in eliminating fundamentalist violence by
creating more widows, orphans and homeless, jobless men. This is an
illustration of the counterproductive collateral damage which is becoming
the calling card of our new war.
In a period of two terms, the Bush Administration had been
responsible for a real change in the cultural climate and the future
prospects for the United States. Both by way of the negligence which
allowed September 11th to occur and by way of the tragically
misappropriated power which saw its resultant policies into legislation,
the Bush Administration will ultimately be the subject of incontrovertible
reproach for its role in America's social, economic, military and
geopolitical decline. Thus, the Department of Homeland Security continues
to struggle today in the face of such core problems as inherent tendencies
toward the violation of American liberties, its sapping of resources from
other core agencies and the continued practical difficulties of achieving
its full operational capacity.
These challenges speak to core failures in the ideology and
perspective of the previous Bush Administration. Particularly, its
rationale and plan for combating terrorism would be faulty, proceeding with
no accordance to the causes of events on 9/11. This is particularly
notable in the approach which the government adopted to detect internal
perils to its sovereignty, crafting legislation designed to fortify the
tools entitled for oversight of American citizens. Therefore, "just six
weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the
"USA/Patriot Act," an overnight revision of the nation's surveillance laws
that vastly expanded the government's authority to spy on its own
citizens." (ACLU, 1) As the American Civil Liberties Union would indicate,
the increasingly lax protections for citizens against the privacy invasion
of the American government would create allowances for the tapping of
phones, the warrantless searching of computers, the monitoring of email
exchanges and even the tracking of library checkout content. This speaks
to a primary problem which the Obama Administration must eliminate if it is
to improve prospects for providing a more secure nation that does not
simultaneously sacrifice American privacy and other expected freedoms.
Efforts at creating a more secure nation would be reflected in the
creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The massive bureaucracy,
created within the language of the Patriot Act, would become the composite
title for a variety of new and old agencies. As the text Noftsinger et al
(2007) would indicate, the events that would follow would throw into the
spotlight the inherent contradiction that was the Homeland Security policy.
This consolidation would blunt the effectiveness of many crucial
agencies, such as FEMA. Subordinate to a department…

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