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COLUMN SEVENTY-FIVE, SEPTEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
BY MURIEL DOBBIN
DO WE HAVE TO GIVE UP OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES TO DEFEND AGAINST TERRORISM
Poll: Half willing to suspend freedoms
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 21:22:22 -0700
From: "venire" firstname.lastname@example.org
Half willing to suspend freedoms
libertarians say public unaware of rights it would trade for safety
By Muriel Dobbin / McClatchy Newspapers
under the continuing threat of terrorism that might prove worse than last
September's attacks, Americans are faced with the dilemma of how much to
sacrifice in civil liberties for safety.
new poll showing that almost half of 1,000 surveyed are willing to curtail basic
freedoms to protect their country evokes concern among some civil libertarians,
while others assert that a wartime mentality of survivalism has evolved over the
nine months since the terrorists struck.
Sen. Gary Hart, co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the
21st Century, said it would be very difficult to find a balance when a pendulum
was swinging between security and liberty.
lot will depend on whether there are more attacks. If there are, we will suspend
a lot more liberties," he predicted.
Edley, a Harvard law professor who is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil
Rights, believes that familiar safeguards of civil liberties might not be up to
the current challenge. He suggested that the proposed Homeland Security
Department should include an office of rights and liberties that would report to
the public as well as to the president.
Livingstone, president of Global Options, a Washington-based anti-terrorism
consulting group, said, "We have to try to preserve our security without
eroding civil liberties, but they will take a back seat to security, especially
in our dealing with foreign nationals who have no constitutional rights in this
Williamsburg Foundation survey of 1,000 people nationwide showed that 49 percent
took the position that "if we need to relinquish some of our personal
freedoms and privacies to protect our country, we should be prepared to do
that." Another 53 percent agreed that the FBI should be allowed
"greater monitoring powers."
Campbell, foundation president, said, "the critical question is how
Americans are willing to go in giving up freedoms that they now take for
granted. That is my concern."
is worried that people are not aware enough of the significance of those
liberties they are willing to surrender. He suggested that a "national
dialogue" was needed to make sure people were not being "cavalier and
unaware of vulnerabilities that would be exposed if they lost some basic
don't want a situation where people are not paying attention until it is too
late," he said.
Robert Turner, a professor of international law at the University of Virginia,
said, "What limitations may be placed on civil liberties is a hard call. I
don't like it, but we also have to remember that to
who said he had been lecturing on terrorism around the country, said the
findings of the Williamsburg poll troubled him but did not surprise him.
have a 9-year-old son who plays in the front yard, and if there were a deranged
person roaming around, we would have to take all kinds of precautions we would
not normally take. That is what we are looking at here," he said.
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