Essay Example: Harmony between National Security and Freedom

Published: 2022-02-16
Essay Example: Harmony between National Security and Freedom
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Civil rights National security
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1792 words
15 min read

After any significant terrorist attack, a country's national security is usually threatened to prompt the security departments to beef up security which is believed to in turn reduce the liberties and rights enjoyed by its citizens. In times of crisis, the government can slant the balance between freedom and national security and favor the latter which has been the case in several instances in history. There is a time in history when the American government detained Japanese immigrants without justification due to the fear of the Japanese Americans being a threat to the security of the country (Weinberg, Eubank & Francis, 2008). There are also some laws that have been passed that favored security more than they cared for individual rights. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, security was highly increased through Legislation such as the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" Act (USA PATRIOT ACT) that aimed at fighting terrorism and eliminates a threat to the US homeland. The Act allowed the government to perform surveillance such as the use of wiretaps that was deemed as a threat to citizens' liberties.

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Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was developed in 2001 by President Bush in the United States after the terrorist events of September 11th. The mandate of DHS was to secure the country borders and protect the citizens. There is also the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) office that is responsible for safeguarding the citizens from the government's invasion on the people's rights. Hence, despite the government striving to shield the country from radical assaults through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it is still not clear whether it is restricting the freedoms of the citizens while carrying out its mandate to the nation.

This paper will study the balance between security maintaining and safeguarding citizens' liberties and rights by the established country's security organs in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be analyzed to understand its major mandate and regulations pertaining safeguarding the rights, privacy, and freedoms while securing the country borders. The research hypotheses, therefore, include; Hypothesis testing that security measures imposed by the government to strongly increase security measures attributed to the occurrence of terrorist attacks that leads to massive casualties will infringe on citizens' civil liberties; and to study the Homeland Security act of 2002 in order to get more information on the guidelines and obligations recommended for DHS to follow in preserving citizens Privacy and civil rights as it executes its mandate of shielding the nation's security. The research will cover the Local Fusion Center Program and the "Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties" (CRCL). It includes their mandate, regulations, directives, and orders of the office and the program, stated in the Act and if they are sufficiently successful. Hence, the research question asks whether the DHS safeguards the civil and constitutional rights, freedoms, and privacy of the citizens while fulfilling its mandate to shield the country from radical attacks and if so, what are the policies put in place to safeguard these rights Civil rights in the aftermath of terrorism?

Review of the literature

Since the terrorist attacks that happened on 11th September 2001, equity between the citizens' liberty and national security has been a concern for all concerned stakeholders. The matter has been in the spotlight for a very long time since Benjamin Franklin wrote about in 1755 dismissing the ones who sacrifice liberty for temporary safety as individuals that do not deserve safety or liberty (Weinberg, Eubank, & Francis, 2008). In 2002, after the terrorist attack of 9/11 Homeland Security Act developed the major guidelines and programs in line with security policies useful in safeguarding the citizen's freedom from infringement by the government. Whenever there is some crisis, the US regime has shown the tendency to favor security at the dire expense of freedom. An example being, after World War II when the government detained Japanese Immigrants absent fair judgment process with a view that they could be a source of national threat (Weinberg, Eubank, & Francis, 2008). Further causes of concern are the "Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798" that encouraged, deportation and Imprisonment of anyone deemed to be a danger to the safety and peace of the nation and severely hampered freedom of speech (Weinberg, Eubank, & Francis, 2008). All these acts show a course of concern that draws all concerned to find a fine line for harmony between security sustenance and rights safeguarding.

A. The Relationship between Protecting Citizens' Rights and Intensifying Security in the Aftermath of Terrorism

National security and freedom go hand in hand as they are the process for perfection. MohdSani (2013) suggest that both national security and freedom are experienced alone by an individual, and their value is based on a person's mindset which includes mutual respect, human rights, open-mindedness, and co-existence. National security and freedom are universal phenomena which have been found to directly affect all individuals in the universe from the rich to the poor (Etzioni, 2014; MohdSani, 2013). National security is a person-centered notion while freedom is human-centered and it advocates the people's independence from fear and wants, as well as to live in dignity. Freedom also entails the autonomy to act on one's behalf and the free will to protect the environment and inherit peace.

However, the security measures imposed by a government to increase national security have the potential of infringing on the civil liberties of citizens. In Schwartz (2010) summary article reviewing the studies on the forfeiture of civil and statutory rights and freedoms just to protect national security, it was found that national security affects certain liberties that belong to the political, cultural, and civil rights and it underscores as interdependent, multidimensional, and inalienable rights. The studies found that national security is basically the exclusion of injustice, insecurity, apartheid, and indignity which is similar to human freedom only that it puts the security agenda at the foremost strengthening the humanitarian laws and actions and respects the human rights while preventing conflicts and defending citizens (Etzioni, 2014; Schwartz, 2010). Freedom, on the other hand, was found to be guided by legal instruments, international treaties, and humanitarian laws (Schwartz, 2010). The strength of the relationship between national security and freedom was best predicted in another study that identified national security as a neologism which protects the basic needs and capabilities of humans while freedom as an act to respect and preserve them (Slobogin, 2014). Hence, national security was found to reduce the differences of the implementation of rights while the state suppresses some of the human rights with the primary purpose of maintaining law and order which indicates that some security measures can impose on the freedom of the citizens.

National security is the necessity to maintain a state's survival by using the political, economic, and projection and diplomacy powers. It was found to be a concept that developed after the World War II which initially focused on the military might now encompass a wide range of facets that impinge on a nation's economic security and the values of the national society (Etzioni, 2014; Schwartz, 2010). Generally, it is assumed that when it comes to national security, it means that a nation is more concerned with safeguarding its way of life as well as preserving its internal harmony. Seong-Woo Ji (2010) in the study of national security and the freedom of occupation found that security relates to all facets of nationalism and internationalism and also takes into account the human rights issues and social injustices. Accordingly, MohdSani (2013) found that for a country to be secure, it needs to have financial safety, environmental security, and energy security among other significant guards in a nation. Besides, security threats were found to involve more than just the traditional foes like other states but also non-state actors such as the narcotic cartels, violent international actors, and non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations some of which include natural events that cause severe environmental damage (Evans & Valdivia, 2012). Therefore, maintaining national security is vital for every nation and should be done without impinging on the civil privileges and freedoms of the citizens.

The moral appeal of human freedom has been used for various purposes which include resisting torture and subjective incarceration as well as demanding the end of unequal treatment especially of the women and other minority races (Evans & Valdivia, 2012). Asia, for instance, has a different notion of freedom which is to some extent defensive and focuses more on defending the democracy of the people. It advocates for the duties of the state and individual rights, as well as those of the community and the society equally (Etzioni, 2014). Culture, values, and class were found to differ between the East and the western nations, and most of these cultural values are less favorable to individual freedom and more apprehensive to the nation's order and discipline (Etzioni, 2014). This fact indicates that human freedoms also differ widely with the states. Some governments might at times prefer to give priority to national security than to human freedom when some cases threaten the basic needs of the people.

Asia was also found to have a culture and cultural values that are less favorable to freedom and more anxious to discipline and order (Slobogin, 2014). The country focusses more on the fundamental freedoms of its people and community rather than on the political and civil liberties like in the West (Slobogin, 2014). MohdSani (2013) studied the balance of freedom and national security in the Asian countries and found that in the authoritarian nations, the government politics controls faster economic growth and economy rates, and only a few wealthy elites control all the government systems and political parties in the multi-party liberal democracies. Authoritarian regimes such as South Korea, Malaysia, and China were found to achieve rapid economic growth when compared to progressive democratic nations like Brazil, Russia, and Japan (MohdSani, 2013). Besides, the Western conception of human freedom emphasizes the political and vital civil rights and liberties of individuals that determine the power the government has over the governed. Every person, be it man, woman, or child, have specific freedoms as humans. The ideology of human freedoms being moral rights is because every person has inherent and inalienable rights that are universal, individual, paramount, practicable, and enforceable. Furthermore, it is universally true to have respect for a person's dignity and to be free from intrusion and coercion (Evans & Valdivia, 2012). Hence, human freedom refers to the independence to which all humanity is entitled to as beneficiaries of the state.

B. The "Homeland Security Act" of 2002

The "Office of Homeland Security" (OHS) became a topic after the devastating 9-11 terrorist attacks. It was planned for the budget to cover policy initiatives that would contribute to national security such as those for emergency preparedness and response and border and transport security. Moreover, Kahan (2...

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