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Freedom Of Speech and the Global War-On-Terror

Short story By: EdwardJBradleySr
Editorial and opinion



This is to present a lighter and somewhat sarcastic view of a truly serious issue, currently, under heated public debate. From September 11, 2001 until now, the end of 2006, this debate has been gradually intensifying.

On one side of the debate are civil libertarians who claim that one or more of the U.S. Bill of Rights have been, effectively, abridged by the U.S. Government (that is, by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.) as part of the way in which it is conducting the War-On-Terror. These persons want the protections of the U.S. Bill of Rights to be extended, by the U.S. Government, to people who: 1. are not Citizens of the U.S.; 2. are identified as foreign agents waging their side of the War-On-Terror against the U.S.; and 3. may be U.S. citizens and who oppose the actions of the U.S. Government in conducting the War-On-Terror. Publically expressing their disapproval using vitriolic speech which some might consider subversive and/or treasonous.

On the other side of the debate can be found social and political conservatives and seriously patriotic Americans who believe: 1. the U.S. Bill of Rights extends only to U.S. citizens. 2. the U.S. Bill of Rights can, in no way, be appied to foreign combatants waging a "shooting" war against the U.S. and 3. in time of war, the more extreme expressions and exercise of one's civil rights may be legitimately and temporarily suspended in the interest of national security and safety. This viewpoint has held sway at various times in U.S. history. Examples: during wartime. the various "Red Scares". natural disasters and other perceived crises, real or imagined.

In my view, both sides put forth valid and well reasoned justifications for what they are advocating and seek to accomplish. At the same time, in the War-On-Terror, neither seems willing to permit their thinking or actions to be influenced or informed by the validity which may be found in the arguments of those with whom they disagree.

This submission is just one view on how this may actually be "sorted-out". Several justifiable perspectives are possible. One could say: "Some are correct, in part, and mistaken, in part.".

Perhaps, this would be a good time for adherents to either side of this argument to: back down, cool off and rethink the facts, the history, the context of situation and how it may all be resolved from the perspective: "What is best for America, Israel, Islam and the rest of the world?".

Some smaller sacrifices, on the part of all, may be required for a truly peaceful resolution and for peace, itself, to be found. At present, the sacrifices being experienced seem too costly for all involved.


Submitted:Dec 21, 2006    Reads: 543    Comments: 8    Likes: 3   


With the exception of ancient Greece, the pre-democratic period, in world history, existed prior to July 4, 1776 and the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

The U.S. Bill of Rights was enshrined in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791.� All Americans are guaranteed the right to "freedom of speech" by the 1st amendment.

The idea of "freedom of speech", most probably, originated with the renowned French political philosopher, Voltaire (1694-1778).� Voltaire shocked (pun intended) the educated people, of his day, by saying: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.". �"Just whose death?", I am wondering. �Although, Voltaire gets the credit, the remark originated with the less well known C. S. Tallentyre.� Apparently, as Groucho Marx,�viewing this quote,�might have said:�"A more forgettable historical figure I can't recall".

More recently, as some assert, America has entered into another post-democratic period as the result of the ongoing War-On-Terror.� This may be true.� If true, then every American should hope for the time when some of our, allegedly, "abridged" civil rights, contained in the U.S. Bill of Rights, are more fully restored.

Like the present time, it is during these difficult periods when many Americans will favor practicality over principle.� In other words, the "Spirit Of 1776" may not be fully embodied in or by the "Spirit Of 2006".� It may also be said that�between 1776 and 1791, it was not much in evidence then either.� What a difference 15 or�230 years can make "in the ways of the people and things."(George M. Cohan: "45 Minutes From Broadway" 1905).

In their thoughts and for the present, many Americans�may choose to�paraphase Votaire (and Tallentyre) by telling themselves: "While I may approve of what you say, under these circumstances,�I will not lift a finger to defend your right to say it.".





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