Can the world be rid of terrorism without damaging the civil rights of citizens?

Essay by rood_boi_47College, UndergraduateA, October 2003

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It will take the world a long time to realize the full meaning of the events of September 11. Even as the United States wages its war on terrorism, the rest of us still struggle to understand the impact of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In uncertain times, it's easy for bad ideas to gain merit. Consider these: The US needs to shed idealism for revenge. Intelligence agencies must be unleashed, assassinations resumed and dirty warfare embraced. In a new age where the enemy - or shall we say enemies - can strike anywhere, the world needs to respond similarly. The United States' has vowed to rid the globe of terrorism; the big question here is, "at what cost?" Can terrorism be stopped without jeopardizing the rights and freedoms of individuals? The answer is no. The expulsion of terrorism from our lives will undoubtedly lead to an infringement on our democratic principles and human rights, making a terror free democracy an unfortunate oxymoron.

Reforms to Canada's immigration system would unacceptably alter the structure of a country that boasts it's multicultural populace. An infringement upon simple, guaranteed rights of citizens will undoubtedly occur if effective anti-terrorism legislation is brought into place. The right to free speech, a presumption of innocence and privacy of the person cannot be guaranteed if terrorists are to be apprehended. Most importantly though, Canada's track record for maintaining human rights in times of crisis is far from spotless. But are these legitimate claims? Is it necessary to make a distinct choice between security and civil rights? Is our current legislation not sufficient to adequately handle the terrorism problem now, without jeopardizing our rights and freedoms? Good questions that must be thoroughly discussed. The fact still remains that human rights are slowly being placed...