CONSTITUTIONALITY AND THE PATRIOT ACT
Saturday, March 4, 2006
|The Patriot act is more unnecessary
than it is unconstitutional.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the power of the United States government and its agencies was broadened as a way to prevent future terrorist attacks from occurring. However, the Patriot Act has breached the supreme law of the land, the United States Constitution, in that the government can not only tap one’s phone without any proof that he or she is connected in any way with terrorism, they can seize library, medical, and business records. Moreover, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act permits wiretapping that is extremely illegal; they do not even need a search warrant for 72 hours. The fourth amendment protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures" which, as its name suggests, requires a reason to search or seize in the first place. Surprisingly, though, the Patriot Act is more unnecessary than it is unconstitutional.
Thinking that seizing personal records would cease a terrorist attack or attempts to carry them out is faulty logic at best. In 2004, former Attorney General John Ashcroft said there have been about 375 individuals charged criminally in investigations involving terrorism; 195 resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. The population of the United States is 298,173,678; the 375 people charged make up .000125% of the population; or 1 out of every 8,000 people is a potential terrorist on average. Sifting through those 8,000 people for that one potential terrorist would be akin to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
A better plan to cease terrorist attacks is to stop provoking enemy nations. Instead of getting its paws dirty in the Middle East, the United States should have stayed back, regardless of how ruthless a dictator Saddam Hussein is. The fact is, in an effort to spread democracy; the United States has become hypocritical of the nation that once feared the spread of Communism. Regardless of how “right” one feels democracy is, it gives them no right to march into a country and overthrow a government that posed no threat to the United States and certainly was not harboring weapons of mass destruction. The United States has become the Soviet Union it once feared in that they are literally forcing its beliefs upon other nations, a tactic that is certainly frowned upon by the Constitution, which discusses basic human rights, such as the freedom of speech and press, and the right to assemble peacefully.
In the fifty-plus years since the Cold War began, when the march against Communism was at its highest, the United States has not changed. Instead of fearing a Communist government, politicians and those they serve are fearing another episode reminiscent of the September 11 attacks. War is an undeniable truth of life, and will probably never become an extinct measure of problem solving. However, there are ways the government can limit its proneness to attacks from enemy nations, and that is simply by using selective involvement. Wiretapping and seizing personal records will likely never prevent a terrorist attack from happening because most of the attacks come from cells of terrorist groups; they are so spread out and yet so connected with each other that kicking one of their many legs out will not collapse the table of terrorism.
|Why piss him off?|
Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, has openly aired his grievances with the United States, which should have given the government a hint not to get involved and stimulate the extremists. Among his grievances: support for the state of Israel, as well as for several Middle Eastern dictatorships, and the United States military bases in Saudi Arabia. September 11 – and even the previous attack on the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 – would have never happened if the United States government were not so insistent on its power grab. Neutrality would have served the United States best before they had supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988 and funded Osama bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khadamat organization through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and certainly before they declared support for Israel, certain to upset Palestinians and their staunch supporters. When a side is taken, the other side is certain to feel slighted; why stimulate these feelings?
There is even evidence supporting the theory that the United States set up the September 11 attacks to create a reason to invade Iraq, a job that George W. Bush’s father was never able to complete – all the more reason for the current President to scorn Iraq. Of course, it is probably a mere coincidence that the CIA planned an exercise to simulate a plane crash into a government building the morning of 9/11. Even more of a coincidence, likely, is that hours before the Pentagon crash, a Pentagon medic was studying a disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Moreover, the crash at the Pentagon happened in the only section that was being renovated to bolster it against an attack, which severely limited that amount of damage and loss of life.
The government is laden (no pun intended) with cronyism and fraud that even if these measures against terrorism worked, American citizens would still be getting stabbed in the back. Dishonesty is, like war, an undeniable truth about any government that will never become extinct. They do not truthfully want to seize library records and tap the nation’s phones, but when they do, they will make it publicly known to distract the American people from the fraud the American government commits.
The United States Patriot Act is, in most cases, extremely unconstitutional, and in its entirety completely unnecessary. In the checks and balances system that the American people have become accustomed to, it would be a step in the right direction if the government would check itself before pointing fingers at the American population. Terrorist attacks would not become such a problem if the United States did not give other nations reasons to cause harm on American soil. As they say, "the war starts at home," and it certainly holds true with the current state of affairs between the United States and the rest of the world.