War on Terror in the US Quest

Question 3

Read the full text of the USA PATRIOT Act (Links to an external site.) passed in 2001. Then watch this five-minute clip from a 2007 exclusive ABC News interview with former CIA agent-turned whistleblower John Kiriakou.

In this difficult-to-find video, Kiriakou, who would later serve time in prison for whistleblowing, became the first CIA operative to confirm the USA’s use of torture at Guantanamo Bay. Evidence of American ‘black sites’ and torture-use has become increasingly available in the past ten years. In 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published a report on their investigation of the CIA’s “detention and interrogation program” (Links to an external site.)(optional read). Additionally, take a look at the lyrics of this song written by the country band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks. The women of the Dixie Chicks were very vocal in their criticism of the impending invasion of Iraq and the main singer made a statement at a concert in the UK about her embarrassment that President Bush was from her home state of Texas. The Dixie Chicks were quickly blacklisted by country music broadcasters and conservative groups in the US. They received death threats for years, with one famous letter telling them to “shut up and sing” or they would be killed. The Dixie Chicks ended up apologizing for the anti-Bush comment. They also penned the following song, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” in 2006 about the controversy.

Q. What do these sources tell you about the domestic issues, divisions, and debates caused by the War on Terror here in the US during the 2000s? What was the relationship between American freedoms at home and the War on Terror abroad? How was freedom of speech restricted when the War on Terror started? How do home-front restrictions on rights like speech compare to those we studied in World War I? What is the relationship between dissent and patriotism, or rather a lack of patriotism, in the US? What is the balance between freedom and security?

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