A critical analysis of war on terror can easily reflect some of the common pros and cons that are involved, particularly the effects on human rights. Introduction of security measure to cover-up terror threats such as the September 11th attack in U.S. often emerges as a government counter-terrorism plan.
The sole reason the government consider such measures is to enhance security and protect citizens against similar terror attacks (white, 30). Arguably, war on terror emerges due to the negative executive assertions that the government builds regarding terrorism. War on terror and the countermeasures on terror threats such as security appraisals have pushed citizens to a point of critically analyzing the benefits and outweighing them against the compromised privacy and personal freedom.
The administration often links and catalyzes its peacekeeping missions to need for protecting citizens against similar possible attacks. A good example has been the war on terror in Iraq. The U.S. and British government started the war in Iraq on March 2003 and the Bush administration was quick to ascertain that Iraq had violated some U.N. Security Councils’ Resolutions, such as being in possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Former president of the United States, G. W Bush condemned Iraq for utter contempt (The Guardian, 1). He emphasized that they had violated the United Nations regulations and argued that the “end of Sadam Hussein and his regime would deprive terrorist a wealthy patron”. According to Bush’s administration, Iraq was aiding, protecting and arming terrorists with the weapons.
The reasons for engaging the war was a counter measure to protect its citizens against attacks similar to that of September 11, 2001. What followed were tight security measures in United States especially at the ports and public places. A large percentage of the American citizens supported the invasions by America’s military and justified the war and security measures placed in U.S., even without the approval by U.N. Were these security measures viable and did they compromise on privacy and freedom of the citizens in any way?
According to Keegan, the government’s reaction is proactive; hence, its reactions to enforce security measures may be compromising some human social rights. The administration uses all resources in its power to protect citizens against such terror enemies, (p 14). Researchers often raise questions concerning the power of command involved when certain security measures are engaged to protect citizens.
For instance, is it morally justifiable to declare war without basing such pronouncements on some solid proof, reasons and consultations? Security measures against terror war and possible threats from terrorists may be negatively affecting human lifestyles and sometimes depriving innocent victims their rights. Citizens are forced to live under specified conditions due to security confrontations. Those in war zones also suffer from lack of basic needs such as food, shelter, education and health.
Effects on Solders in War and their Families
Solders have lost lives during combats such as the U.S. war confrontations in Afghanistan and Iraq (Keegan, 14). The Iraq coalition casualty count indicated that over 4,300 U.S. and 4,693 coalition solders died during the Iraq war (Keegan, 31). Iraq recorded an even greater number of casualties during the Iraq war (Keegan, 31). The actions to engage war has huge positive as well as negative effects on human rights both on the battlefields and to the citizens of involved countries.
Since the 9/11 attack, the U.S. government immediately placed strict screening measures in major public offices and places that were prone to similar terror attacks. Evidently, the administrators rushed into such plans. Were there greater destructions of personal freedom and privacy of the citizens, compared to urgent enforcement of security measures by the government, to ensure citizens’ safety?
The world war II caused formation of the Department of Defence (DOD) in U.S. while the 9/11 attack founded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The attack also catalyzed formation of law that caused stricter handling of suspected terrorists.
Could this have caused harassment of foreign-born but legal immigrants in the U.S. as well as those seeking entry? In October 2001, former president Bush signed to law the “USA Patriot Act” that empowered law enforcement agencies at boarder-points, allowing them to thoroughly search, and monitor travellers.
The courts were also mandated to detain and deport illegal immigrants (Abrams, 72). The government also enforced security measures regarding visa entry procedures, where more strict visa screening, border-point inspection and tracking procedures for foreigners were enhanced. Although the new standards were to tighten security, would such strengthened boarder protection rules provide loopholes for harassment for the asylum seekers?
The Post 9/11 attack in U.S. has caused changes on federal rules and therefore courts have a different interpretation regarding violation of individuals’ privacy. The technological advancement has also changed the procedures engaged by security personnel in their surveillance. In accordance with Bloss, there might be some direct infringement of civil rights especially the rights to privacy (39).
The increase in police surveillance techniques since the 9/11 attack has drastically diminished the privacy of individuals. The technology may no longer be protecting the privacy but negatively affecting some aspects of civil rights (Bloss, 39).
Post 9/11 attack caused an increase in police surveillance activities. Arguably, due to the inability to keep up-to-date with the technologically advanced of terrorists and similar criminals, the security forces have instead widened their surveillance competence.
The personnel collaborate with private sectors and other business enterprises such as communication firms to retrieve personal data or to eavesdrop for any possible terror threats. Due to the 9/11 terror attack, lawmakers/administration in collaboration with the courts may have over-reacted against such threats of terrorism by enacting modifications to the already establish protection rules, which were in line with civil privacy (Peterson, 13).
The “Prevention Law Enforcement” law gives enforcers (police) more powers to undertake broader surveillance. The law enforcers have transformed their approaches to handle security operations and thus focus keenly on intelligent ways of gathering information through the technological tools such as radio frequency scanners, CCTVs and other public cameras (Peterson, 13).
The public today reacts to the surveillance measures in an awkward manner. There is more anxiety and people tend to avoid converging in public. Crowding often increases suspicion, triggers police reaction, and is perceived such as a threat to security. The security measures are mainly implemented via electronic media such as biometric mechanism, data-vigilance or virtually in the public places where there are no physical boundaries.
Post 9/11 security measures also included implementation of inconspicuous methods of gathering information, which remained undercover, unless there were need to react publically over a targeted area of investigation. This means that the public is often unaware of areas with strict surveillance equipments. The ubiquitous police surveillance mechanism causes unnecessary anxiety.
Do such measures deprive citizens their freedom of movement and privacy compared to the positive effect of tightened security? Collection of information through biometric identification, virtual identity and analysis of personal data means that the security measures may have compromised movement, identity and private transactions, since most private information is readily accessible by police. There security systems have also allowed burgeoning of private information from various databases (Peterson, 47).
‘The increase on surveillance measures has thus amplified public reactions and freedom in a negative manner.’ Evidently, more surveillance has a negative impact over public behaviours. Freedom to movement is highly compromised by the new security measures especially for immigrants or foreigners.
The U.S. security policies after the 9/11 attack changed dramatically by reducing free movement within public places. Although the measures do not restrict movement in a direct manner, the strict search policies and increased barriers such as checkpoints are often a nuisance. People habitually prefer to stay away and restrict their movements to avoid unnecessary surveillance and searches.
Common luggage searchers in major public places became more frequent after the 9/11 attack. Such intensive explorations have caused great threat to privacy and people’s freedom. The security measures seem a mere inconvenience with great security benefits, but these are major and direct disruptions to civil lifestyles.
The U.S.’s Department of Defence proposed total disclosure of information through the “Total Information Awareness” project (White, 31). The significance of these measures was reminiscent of methods implemented during the twentieth century by the totalitarian governments.
To many citizens, these extreme measures control citizens’ private social lives. It is the beginning of demise on democratic rights or lack of fundamental democratic supremacy that recent governments have been promising its citizens. According to White, the surveillance practices have broken the fragile link between the roles of administration to enforce rules and need to protect civil liberty (p 31).
The legal jurisprudence of the U.S. government shows a clear difference between its role of providing protection against crime and protecting civil rights such as privacy. However, research fails to indicate the intensity of policing such as public surveillances. Determining the positive or negative impacts of these security measures helps to judge on the social or psychological impacts of such security policies.
The lawmakers, courts and enforcers react by perceiving the potential threats at hand. In line with Bloss, government actions to enforce strict security measures on terror threats after the 9/11-attack has nevertheless produced some unforeseen effects on freedom and privacy of civil life (p 39). Further research is however required to monitor the political doctrine and the psychosocial effects on individuals in a constant way.
The government is quick to restore peace and order and ensure citizen’s protection after a terror attack. However, such an administration fails to consider vital humanitarian needs such as privacy issue and freedom. Human rights ought to be considered as essential factors during arrangement to safeguard citizens against attacks of similar nature.
In general, the government fails to understand the limits and enforce laws after a terror attacks or civil war. Such laws cause violation of human rights. Poor implementation of laws to enforce protective measures therefore equally compromises a wide range of humanitarian rights.
Evidently, the post 9/11 security measures caused numerous transformations in the relationship between government necessitate to prevent global terror threats and protection of human rights such as freedom of movement and privacy. The U.S. government security measures have changes to accommodate the dynamism brought by technological advancement and the global effects connected to technology.
The situation especially the escalating surveillance has thus given birth to a myriad of political, legal, social and psychological effects on citizens. There is thus an indistinguishable balance between the security measures to prevent crime and infringement of human privacy or individuals’ rights.
Abrams, Norman. Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Enforcement, Second Edition, St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West Publishing. 2005. Print.
Bloss, William. Transnational Crime and Terrorism in a Global Context, Boston: McGraw-Hill Publishers. 2006. Print.
Keegan, John. The Iraq War: UK: Vintage Series publishers. 2005. Print
Peterson, Marilyn. Intelligence-Led Policing: The New Intelligence Architecture. 2005
The Guardian. George Bush’s Address on the Start of War. Web. 21 November 2011.
White, Jonathan. Terrorism and Homeland Security, 5th Edition, Thomson/Wadsworth. 2006. Print.