It is now 64 years since George Orwell released the famous futuristic novel “1984”. In the book he describes a frightening society with omnipresent government surveillance. Big Brother is watching you. His novel has never been more relevant than after the war against terror gave the government reason to increase the surveillance. The war against terror is bringing us closer to Orwells dystopian society. Do we have to pay this high price to win the war against terror?
After 9/11, the USA and the rest of the world were in shock. To keep the American people calm the government had to act fast. On the same day as the attack of the Twin Towers, President George W. Bush declared war on terrorism. On October the 26th 2001, the USA Patriot Act was signed into law. The act gave the FBI and other peacekeeping government organs more powers, as they got permission to start investigation without probable cause, compromising the principals of the Rechtsstaat (state of law). The critics pointed a finger at the fact that the Congress only had 15 minutes to read the Patriot Act before they would vote for or against it, even though they would need the United States Laws and several hours to fully understand the act. (Calabresi and Crowley, 2013)
This is not the first time new acts would increase security on expense of liberty. History shows us that in times of war, the government has often restricted personal freedom in the name of national security. Already in 1798 in the French-American war they passed an act that allowed deportation and dentations of aliens and prohibited criticism against the government. They did this to prevent any attempt to lower the troops morale in the Quasi-war. (2013)
During the civil war in 1863, they passed a new act allowing the president to free or detain prisoners without trail. We see the same during the First and Second World War. In 1917 they passed a new act giving severe penalties for speeches or writings against the government. The last example is from the cold war, when all government employees had to submit to loyalty investigations. (2013)
The 2001 attack revealed a communication failure within the US intelligence as they failed to discover the terrorist plans. The Patriot Act gave the FBI mandate to search without warrant, eavesdrop and detain and deport terrorism suspects. Despite all this effort the US once again experienced terror attacks in 2011 as the Tsarnev brothers executed the Boston Marathon bombings, killing 3 and injuring 264 people. Investigations showed that these radical Islamists had been under the radar for quite some time. They had even been warned by the Russian Federal Security Service about the Chechen brothers turning towards radicalism. (2013, Wikipedia)
The result of this was that the President gave more powers to the FBI, once again weakening the principals of the Rechtsstaat. The FBI could now arrest and...