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Race and power in the US - Essay Example

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The United States of America is a nation held by the whole world as the protector of liberties and freedoms. The nation's fundamental existence rests on this precept, from its founding and eventual independence from British rule, to the Civil War, to the two World Wars, and countless foreign conflicts…
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Race and power in the US
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Download file to see previous pages However, the measures taken by the government and its officials have raised questions and protests regarding violations on civil liberties. This paper attempts to answer the question: "In time of war or national emergency we respond too harshly in our restriction of position, grounding it in a discussion of post 9/11 events." Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United states Constitution states that: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." However, it seems that the restrictions imposed by the U.S. government in response to 9/11 and its war on terror, has seriously infringed on the liberties of the very citizens which government seeks to protect. A majority of Americans (65.9%) are concerned that the war on terrorism has seriously affected civil liberties.1 Several instances support the claims of civil liberty advocates. The 9/11 detainees, 750 Arab residents in the U.S., were rounded up and were held by authorities for several weeks. Hundreds were deported after secret immigration hearings were held. All of them were never charged with any connection to 9/11. Congress and President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act which allows the government to expand its powers and conduct electronic surveillance and obtain personal records in criminal investigations and terrorism cases. The Justice Department also broadened the FBI's ability to conduct surveillance on domestic organizations despite the Patriot Act facilitating for the Bureau and other law enforcement agencies, access and share information from the CIA. Around 660 foreign nationals are being held without access to legal counsel or judicial review at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being captured in Afghanistan. The U.S government is preparing military trials which have few procedural rights. Two "enemy combatants" are being held incommunicado at Charleston brig, one of them Yasser Hamdi a U.S. citizen, after their capture in Afghanistan.
The imprisonment of foreign nationals especially Arabs and Muslims is becoming a condemnable pattern. However, those that support government actions say that the measures taken by the Bush administration are less severe than those in the past when people of German origin were harassed during World War I while American citizens of Japanese ancestry were herded into camps in the Second World War. However, post-war generations have condemned these injustices and if we know or even feel that what we are doing today is in the same although "less severe" track as what we had done in the past, I do not believe that it is enough justification. Any form of infringement on civil liberty is unacceptable.
We should condemn the government's unilateral and covert actions which undermine judicial review. The basic rights of the accused, in this case the rights to a legal counsel and fair and impartial trial, long upheld by American jurisprudence and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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