Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate

By Ronald Dworkin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

TERRORISM AND
HUMAN RIGHTS

Terrorism, Rights, and Security

THOUSANDS OF FANATICS around the world would be glad to die if they could kill Westerners— particularly Americans. They created an unbelievable catastrophe in September 2001, and they may already have weapons of apocalyptic murder that could dwarf the horror of that destruction. We are angry and we are also frightened. Information is our main defense; the more we know about the resources, identity, leaders, and plans of the terrorists the safer we are. One source of information is people: the people our military and police believe may be terrorists themselves or may at least have information about terrorists that would be useful to us. Americans disagree about what our government may do to those people to extract whatever information they have. Controversy has centered on three practices: surveillance, coercive interrogation, and indefinite detention.

Soon after September 11, 2001, Congress adopted a law authorizing new forms of surveillance so quickly that few senators or representatives had a chance even to read it. Though the law,

-24-

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Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Common Ground 1
  • Chapter 2 - Terrorism and Human Rights 24
  • Chapter 3 - Religion and Dignity 52
  • Chapter 4 - Taxes and Legitimacy 90
  • Chapter 5 - Is Democracy Possible? 127
  • Epilogue 160
  • Notes 165
  • Index 171
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