American Polity

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Donald Kettl – System Under Stress
Intro
* The Patriot Act was one of the Americans first responses to September 11th, terrorist attacks. * Professor Donald starts off by recounting some bureaucratic failures that led up to the attacks, and then discusses the legislation proposed immediately after Sept. 11. * The Patriot Act showed the tensions between officials who favored a broad expansion of governments powers to ensure security and those who feared a drastic loss of civil liberties. * Kettl takes up the question of whether the Patriot Act was passed to quickly, without sufficient consideration of the civil liberties that Americans were sacrificing. * The USA Patriot Act is a controversial approach to finding the correct balance between the security and the liberties of Americans. The real question is: Can we find the right balance? Part I:

* One major surprise of the terrorist attacks was that the four teams of hijackers had been living undetected in the US for many months, all of the hijackers had entered the country with valid passports. 16 of the hijackers were in the country legally and blended into American society easily * 2 had settled in San Diego, several had spent time in the US in the early 1990s taking language instruction and flight lessons * Americans have always treasured the values of their ability to go where they want, freedom to choose their jobs, chart their careers, live their lives without govt scrutiny, and to associate with the people they want. Many states refused to ratify the US Constitution until Congress proposed the bill of rights. But at the same time Americans believed the government should protect them. * People wondered how the country was attacked by people who had so easily integrated themselves into the nation’s daily life. * 9/11 raised the dilemma: How much should government intrude into the lives of citizens in its quest to provide protection? * This question raised a point,...
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