Terrorism Conservative Alert- Civil Liberties in a New Environment

http://www.townhall.com

As was best said by Benjamin Franklin (see "Civil Liberties and National Security" http://www.acton.org/research/comment/comment.html), "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." The vicious terrorist attacks of September 11 have been a jolting wake-up call from America's false sense of security. Terrorism is no longer something that happens to someone else, and demand for preventing future tragedies has been loud and clear. The law enforcement agencies of the federal government have correctly requested broader authority in their fight against terrorism. It has become clear that terrorists hold a competitive advantage against U.S. authorities, who have been hamstrung by restrictions that are often excessive and outdated. In the present environment, many would agree that more license must be granted to those responsible for our nation's security. Equally important however, is the need to maintain the civil liberties which make America unique among nations. In a recent article from the Cato Institute, http://www.cato.org/current/terrorism/pubs/eland-010920.html, the author reminds us of the importance of denying terrorists the victory that altering American society would represent. In an editorial by ACU's David Keene, http://www.conservative.org/columnists/keene09202001.htm, we are reminded that this alteration is the true motivation driving acts of terror, and being thoughtful about how we proceed is an act of defiance in itself. The point of concern among several Townhall member groups is that although increased security is needed, those in power must understand that the correct balance between security and liberty is vitally important to America. The decisions in the coming weeks must be reasoned responses, not knee-jerk reactions. Townhall member groups are doing their part with thoughtful analysis on this important topic. Here are just a few examples, more of which can be found at http://www.townhall.com: *Concern Voiced Over DOJ's Possible New Surveillance Powers - Agape Press http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/9/192001a.asp *The Constitutional Challenge - Claremont Institute http://www.claremont.org/precepts/302.cfm *Groups Ban To Temper Calls For Enlarged Police Powers - Cato Institute http://www.cato.org/dispatch/09-18-01d.html *Don't Let Terrorists Achieve Their Greatest Victory - Accuracy in the Media http://www.aim.org/publications/guest_columns/weyrich/2001/17sept2001.html *Is The Choice Liberty or Safety? - National Center for Policy Analysis http://www.ncpa.org/pi/congress/pd091401b.html For complete analysis and updated news on the events surrounding America's recovery and response, see The Heritage Foundation's Terrorism Briefing Room at http://www.heritage.org/shorts/terrorism.html. Jonathan Garthwaite Director, TownHall.com P.S. If you have comments or questions regarding this email or our website, please email me at editor@townhall.com or call 202-608-6099.

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