How Patriotic Is the Patriot ACT?: Freedom Versus Security in the Age of Terrorism

Amitai Etzioni, Author Routledge $41.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-415-95047-3
A Carter administration advisor on domestic affairs, Etzioni is director of the Institute of Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University. Beginning with poll data and crime statistics, Etzioni takes as a premise that public safety measures can be crucial to democracy, but not that ""any and all"" safety measures enhance liberty. He then goes on to detail security measures undertaken in the U.S. since September 11th; review levels of privacy and security in differing forms of electronic communication, as well as the possible threats they pose; assess the threat of bioterrorism; debate the possibility of national ID cards; and probe the possibilities of nation building for national security. He finds parts of the Patriot Act ""reasonable and necessary"" (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and others ""troubling"" (military tribunals). All of his arguments are footnoted, most are brief and a few, such as strengthening public health, ""would be in the community's interest even if no further acts of terrorism were to occur."" While seemingly not comprehensive given the Patriot Act's enormous heft, Etzioni's brief treatise makes for a reasonable starting point for debate.
Reviewed on: 10/18/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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