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To what extent has the war on terror had an effect on the idea of citizenship?

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Introduction

To what extent has the war on terror had an effect on the idea of citizenship? Citizenship describes the membership of an individual to a political society/country. As a citizen of a country, the individual is granted certain rights and privileges such as the right to vote, hold government office(if they choose) and to be protected by the state through the legal system. The rights of the individual will vary according to the country in which citizenship is held. For example, citizens of the United Kingdom are entitled to free public education and health care. Income support, housing benefit and working tax credits are just some of the privileges granted to the citizens of the United Kingdom. In return, citizens are required not only to abide by the states laws and regulations, but also to adopt an element of patriotism1 and respect for the state. In other words, being a citizen is like being a member of a family, where your primary loyalty is to your family members and you get looked after. Residents in a country aren't always citizens as citizenship must be specifically granted by the state. Residents (or legal aliens) are granted protection by the state through the police force and legal system but are limited in their participation within the state. For instance in Britain, an alien hasn't the right to vote or hold public office. ...read more.

Middle

Is this citizenship gone too far? Although not at the same scale as the world wars, the subsequent war on Iraq can be seen as affirming this. It has been argued by the media and other critics of the war on Iraq argue that the war was simply for the attainment of oil from Iraq and if this indeed true, then it correlates with the idea of America putting itself and the needs of its people before everyone else and ignoring the basic rules of a 'just war' as outlined by Thomas Aquianas. On the other hand, if it was for the removal of a president that possessed weapons which he threatened to use on the west, it still shows an element of over-patriotism as America didn't wait for proof before embarking on conflict...against the advise of the U.N. The idea of citizenship in America thus came into question as unified patriarchy is an expected response from a country being attacked by another. According to CBS-11 News, federal authorities 'have invoked a rarely-used federal statute - mainly used in past decades to deport former Nazis - to de-naturalize native Palestinian Rasmi Khader Almallah. The government's "Complaint to Revoke Naturalization" claims Almallah paid a woman for a "sham marriage" in 1981 that helped him gain permanent residency and then American citizenship in 1988.3 A similar reaction was felt on the shores of Britain. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the war on terror had an immeasurable effect on the idea of citizenship. As is often the case, when there is a period of social and political upheaval, people tend to stick together and there is an increased sense of patriotism. This was no different in the wake of the war on terror. The Americans created the Patriots Act and although some opposed the fact that the act legalised the invasion of their privacy, they supported the governments effort to protect them and they came together against the common enemy. Stricter controls put on those who weren't citizens of America also shows that the outside threat of terrorism caused a re-evaluation of the trust placed on 'outsiders' In the same way the British people exercising their democratic and civil right to oppose the decision made by the government, shows their utilisation of the benefits of living and being a citizen of a western democratic society. Citizenship after the war on terror has also caused many to feel like outsiders and others feel ignored. For example, even after great opposition by the British people about the war on Iraq, the government still embarked on war. A decision that made many get the impression that their democratic right as citizens were being compromised. 1 http://www.citizen.org.uk/ 2 Strauss.P.L, Administrative justice in the United States (Carolina academic press,2002) 3 http://cbs11tv.com/localnews/local_story_292192305.html 4 Hunt. M (1997); Using Human Rights Laws In English Courts ...read more.

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