PPS 49 – Terrorism and Democracy: Citizen Leadership and the Ethics of Security
Since the devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, American foreign policy has focused intensely on eliminating the threat that terrorists pose to our nation. President Bush took us to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and President Obama’s administration is fighting those same wars today. Heightened security measures at home and abroad have led to extra-judicial internment of suspected terrorists, warrantless wire-tapping, covert operations, controversial interrogation methods and allegations of torture by American officials. This course will involve you in a critical examination of the pressing ethical issues our nation faces associated with terrorism and counter-terrorism. These include the uses of violence, the concept of “just war,” entangling alliances with autocratic foreign governments, the tension in a democracy between rights and security, the meaning of patriotism, the character of dissent and the role of government secrecy. The course will emphasize the importance of citizens taking leadership to help our nation face its challenges. Students will practice essential leadership skills designed to help them effectively raise difficult public questions, to be self-reflective in the midst of action, to find the right allies and partners, to manage conflict, to provide a vision of a possible future, and to involve their communities in the work of change.