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Danger from Terrorism - Essay Example Invoking national security, the government is supposed to have taken advantage of 9/11 and the generally negative perception of terrorism to invest some righteousness and enlist popular support for its anti-terrorist war that often run roughshod over individual human rights and civil liberties. Richard Posner of the Atlantic Monthly affirms that officials tend to exaggerate the dangers to national security. When surprised and hurt, we tend to overreact. "The greater the threat that an activity poses to national safety, the stronger will the grounds seem for seeking to repress that activity, even at some cost to liberty Legality must sometimes be sacrificed for other values (p. 2)." American history itself is replete with examples of such overreaction to security threats. There was Lincoln who faced the threat of secession by suspending the writ of habeas corpus. This triggered the Civil War. Officials in the modern era have learned their lessons from the past when their counterparts in the old days ignored the storm clouds in the horizon and paid dearly for it. The Japanese early posturing, for example, was glossed over and led to the Pearl Harbor disaster that triggered World War II.When Soviet missiles were installed in Cuba, the US shrugged its shoulder and regretted it when theit later grappled with the Cuban missile crisis. As for terrorism as it is known today, Posner notes that 9/11 indeed showed the US as 'in much greater jeopardy from international terrorism than was previously believed." However, the government must exercise some discretion and sensitivity in running after terrorists. There have been a good number of men who were labeled "terrorists" by the western media when they engaged in a struggle to liberate their countries, among them Nelson Mandela and Menachem Begin. Later, the same media called them "statesmen" when they assumed leadership of their liberated nations. Thus, "one man's terrorist may be another man's freedom fighter (Posner, 2001, ch. 2). Process of Terror Wikipedia says "Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorisme which is based on the Latin verb terrere (to frighten). It was first used by French officials to describe themselves as members of the Jacobin Club which ruled post-Revolution under a "Reign of Terror (1793-94)." The terrorist acts consisted mainly of illegal arrest and execution of dissidents as a means of coercing compliance. Before this, terrorist acts under different labels were carried out by the 1st century Zealots against the Roman occupiers of eastern Mediterranean, by the Islamic sect Hash-Ishiim (which became the root word for "assassin") against people who opposed their beliefs, and by the IRA precursor Irish Republican Brotherhood against the British to demand independence. (p.1) Terrorism in the modern sense is commonly described as an "immoral, wanton and unjustified political violence characterized as indiscriminate, targeting civilians and executing them with disregard for human life (Wikipedia, p. 2). On the other hand, those accused of such acts call themselves by other names, among them, freedom fighter, separatist, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerrilla, rebel, and in the Muslim world, jihadi and mujaheddin (engaged in a holy war) or fedayeen (prepared for martyrdom). For
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