The tremendous number of nearly 3,000 victims traumatized the worldwide society in the morning of 11 September 2001. This event led to the instantaneous reactions of significant figures: “Nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love”, wrote the Queen Elizabeth in her consoling message. Initiated by the multinational terrorist group named al-Qaeda, this attack caused the destruction of essential parts of the World Trade Center complex in New York. Since it resulted in the physical damage of $55 billion, increment of U.S. debt crisis, rising of 2001 recession and the suspension of international markets as a consequence of Wall Street’s closure for several days, 9/11 influenced negatively the global economy. With the excuse of “to defend freedom against terrorism”, George Walker Bush mismanaged the situation by undertaking radical decisions against the Islamic World. Therefore, the U.S. government declared ‘war on terror’, which led to violating Americans’ human rights, applying harsh treatment to Muslim immigrants and committing military operations in Iraq.
After the terrorist attack, respective American institutions undertook counterterrorism measures that violated human rights. One of the first indicators is the signing of the Patriot Act, which aimed to increase domestic security by detecting the suspected extremists. Although it was veiled with the ideal facade, the Patriot Act provoked questions and criticism as soon as its aftermath was noticed. This legislation infringed on basic American civil liberties, since it consisted on permitting authorities to access personal records without the citizen’s awareness and investigate the target without a court order. Intelligence agencies such as the FBI gained the surveillance power over cell phone data, internet search histories and medical archives. According to American Civil Liberties Union (2001), officials abused with their political power by falsely accusing and charging innocent people, in particular immigrants from the Middle East. Consequently, political terror cultivated among people in the forms of torture, political imprisonment, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing, which represent the human rights’ violation. Moreover, in the article entitled ‘NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data is illegal, appeals Court rules’ by Eyder Peralta, the New York Court states that “Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans”. Nowadays, there are speculations that U.S. governmental institutions have misused Patriot Act and the other undertaken measures to gain votes in elections by manipulating the public opinion based on the obtained information from the collected data. Thus, Americans’ human rights and privacy were violated for political reasons.
In order to prevent or at least minimize the negative impact of human rights’ violation in American society, a reasonable solution would be to develop a more constitutional policy of preventative terrorism. Every government is chosen by its own nation; hence it has the major responsibility to provide its citizens with freedom and civil liberties as well as create secure environments within its borders. Since these concepts are interrelated, the trade between liberty and security is non-democratic and ineffective as it has been observed after the George Bush’s antiterrorist measures in 2001. Therefore, they are principal for the common good of the society. This solution is related with ‘Practical Wisdom’, one of Aristotle’s works in which he distinguishes the importance of this concept due to its unique nature and complexity. This philosopher connects the achievement of a wise decision with what a good life involves. Through deliberating, an individual can reach “a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to the things that are good or bad for man”. According to Aristotle, practical wisdom is one of the most fundamental ethical attributes that a ruler must possess by stating that “The work of man is achieved only in accordance with practical wisdom as well as with moral virtue; for virtue makes us aim at the right mark, and practical wisdom makes us take the right means”. For this renowned ancient Greek figure, maintaining power rather than persuading the common good leads to non-virtuous results. The outcome of the Patriot Act is serves as an example that reflects Aristotle’s philosophy. Thus, if the American officials relinquish from their political purposes or personal profits and focus on their priority of ensuring its citizens’ liberties and security through democratic ways, the violation of human rights would not occur.
The suspicion about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq served as a strong argument for the U.S. government to invade this country. The President Bush attributed Iraq as a part of an ‘axis of evil’; hence a regime change was indispensable. Nevertheless, behind this decision hided a darker truth. Experts had warned that an imminent global energy crisis would involve America by destabilizing the prices in the energy sector. Since Iraq was the most potential source of oil distribution around the world, it caught the attention of the U.S. government. At that time, Iraq was ruled by a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein who was developing legislations to remove oil from the international markets; consequently, the President Bush considered this action as threating for the interests of its country. Therefore, the real purpose of the Iraq War was about possessing the oil conglomerates that would bring significant economic profits to America. In order to achieve this, in 2003 many military operations were undertaken in Iraq; thereby, the native population was affected negatively. Due to suicide attacks, aerial bombing and shelling, approximately 165,000 Iraqi civilians were killed. Thousands of others tried to pass the borders of their country by leaving behind their families, properties, occupation and education. Bob Herbert, an American journalist, in his article ‘Now and forever’ explains that the US invasion led to destruction of economy, nonfulfillment of people’s basic needs and ruination of the cultural heritage. Eventually, in Iraq were never found weapons of mass destruction or links with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Nonetheless, transforming the country into a total chaos, the U.S. government is still pursuing its necessity for oil through its powerful military.
A wise solution of this negative consequence would be to eliminate U.S. dependency on foreign oil from the Middle East. This can be accomplished through decreasing consumption of oil and creating a new energy policy focused on using alternative energy sources. Consequently, this would lead to an improved foreign policy and less environmental harm. Since it is based on the ‘balance theory of wisdom’, this solution is appropriate and favorable for both pairs. Robert Sternberg, one of the most well-known psychologist in the research area of wisdom, maintained that “Wisdom is the application of successful intelligence and creativity as mediated by values toward the achievement of a common good. It is not just about maximizing one’s own or someone else’s self-interest, but also about balancing various self-interests with the interests of others and of other aspects of the context in which one lives, such as one’s city or country or environment or even God”. This doctrine implies that the U.S. government would avoid the massacre of thousands of Iraqi people, prevent the total destruction of the country, save the life of Americans’ soldiers and use the certain budget to improve its energy sector instead for committing military operations. Hence, by applying the mentioned solution, the situation would have been positively altered.
Additionally, the establishment of a special prison for Muslim immigrants in Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. government comprises another negative consequence. In 2002, George Bush ordered the construction of this detention camp for the suspected terrorist nonnatives, in particular those from the Middle East. Considered as the ‘Legal Black Hole’, it employs the use of force to pressure the prisoners to confess by applying atrocious methods of tortures, although its denial. Critics have highlighted the cruelty of force feeding which is a widely applicable type of torture among the detainees or hunger strikes. Since it is degrading and against the free will, it is considered a crime. Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a released victim of this unhuman torture at Guantanamo Bay, claimed during an interview “I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone”. Another Muslim immigrant that was allowed to go, maintained that there were several prisoners who had developed infections in the nose; thus this method affects negatively both the physical and mental state of an individual. Therefore, force feeding constitutes illegality owing to the fact that it violates human rights. Nevertheless, the prisoners’ treatment gets worse. ‘The Guantanamo suicides’ reports that there have been at least six reported suicides during May 2011, which indicates the damaged psychological condition of these prisoners. On the other hand, there exists suspicion that a considerable number of them has been killed during these years. Three accused Saudi Arabian detainees died in violent circumstances in 2006; however, the officials declared the deaths as ‘suicides’. Charged with no crime, they had been imprisoned for several years despite their insistence. The same situation is valid for the majority of the prisoners nowadays, even though their number has been decreasing.
In order to end the mistreatment of Muslim immigrants, there must be undertaken a decision based on wise democratic principles. Specifically, creating an independent commission from Guantanamo Bay’s prison to investigate the guiltiness of the accused immigrants would prohibit the continuance of torturing prisoners only because of their ethnicity. Thereby, this center of interrogation and detention would be abrogated from the function of questioning and torturing prisoners. In his study entitled ‘Knowledge and Wisdom’, Bertrand Russell examines the factors that contribute to wisdom as well as proves philosophically the connection between knowledge and wisdom. According to him, when someone has started the journey of searching for knowledge, it might become detrimental if not combined with knowledge. This is reflected in the decision of U.S. government to apply harsh treatment and cruel tortures in the Guantanamo Bay’s institution. The urge to find possible individuals related with terrorism, in particular with the attacks of 9/11 led the government to take unreasonable measures. However, comprehensiveness, intellect and feelings are crucial for reaching wise decisions. Forming a certain committee with the purpose of investigating the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay is definitely one of them, since it contains all the contributing factors of wisdom. It focuses on the main aim of protecting the nation by finding people related with terrorism through democratic methods and not prejudicing human rights. Therefore, this solution would have positive outcome by being wise and constitutional in all its aspects.
To conclude, the U.S. government undertook actions that led to several aftermaths. Violation of Americans’ rights, application of harsh treatment and tortures as well as commitment of military operations in Iraq has corroded the worldwide peace. Nevertheless, by keeping in mind the importance and usefulness of wisdom, there can be found a solution for every problem. Hence, respectively the development of a more constitutional policy of preventative terrorism, elimination of U.S. dependency on foreign oil and the creation of an independent commission from Guantanamo Bay in order to investigate the guiltiness of the accused Muslim prisoners are productive solutions. Since they are based on wisdom theories, undoubtedly the effects would be positive. The U.S. government blurred the line between what is acceptable and was in not; consequently, ‘set the world on fire’. If it would have based its previous measures on prudence, probably the world would be undigested now.