Civil Liberties vs National Security

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In U.S., the bill of rights protects civil liberties. People in the United States, hold civil rights, which are those privileges, immunities and rights held by all Americans and political rights, which are the rights that are restricted to those who are entitled to participate in elections, as candidates or voters. The distinction is important since not all are eligible to vote though they all should enjoy their freedoms. This may no longer be feasible as majority of the civil rights are taken to include the political rghts in this age. National security can be defined as a country's need to maintain its survival by use of military, political and economic power for diplomacy. Civil liberty are freedoms and rights exercised by individuals in any country provided by their country's legislation or international laws, for example the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to security and liberty and many more. National security issues arose after the second world war in the united states of America with initial emphasis on the military. For any country in this day and age, national security encompasses energy security, economic security, environmental security and many more. Security threats range not only from external states but also from illegal drug cartels, multi-national organizations and terrorists groups. The civil liberty concepts are protected under a country's constitution, bill of rights. Other legal legislation are also adopted by country's to uphold this civil liberties by giving effect to international laws passed in conventions such as the International Covenant and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. The protection of civil rights is deemed as the responsibility of a country's people and government. The extent of some civil liberties, such as reproductive rights, property rights and several others are subject of debate. The debate of whether or not civil liberties should or can be infringed to ensure national security has been subject to never ending debate. The extent to which civil liberties can be altered and, or suspended with respect to the security of a nations interests calls for a great deal of care in striking the correct balance. Posner (2001) disputes the ideology of civil libertarians that national security will lead to an erosion of civil liberties. He proposes that the basic mistake is the prioritizing of liberty and is both a mistake about history as well as law when it comes to striking the needed balance between civil freedoms and national security. In his view, under law, these civil rights can rarely be altered to suit the time within which they exist to uphold the same rights as before. Cole (2002), in contrast states that the nation's response to national security threats has time and again infringed civil rights. The Supreme Court of the United State's in tandem acknowledges that, "History abundantly documents the tendency of Government, however benevolent and benign its motives -to view with suspicion those who most fervently dispute its policies." that said, this is not a problem that is unique to the United States, but the constitutional structures, political will and religious structures do not protect the people's rights. He further points out that our governments subvert the freedoms that constitute the defense in the well being of a nation.

Glenn Greenwald talks of the misconception of combating terror in the name of national security while upholding civil liberties. He emphasis that the meaning of this civil rights has been distorted and often misunderstood due to the description of combating terrorism to preserve national security. The meaning of terrorism has been built on the notion that, if one was not on our side then they were definitely against us. This has grown fear within people that infringe on basic human rights e.g of residence, movement,...
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