Two big assumptions fuel current mobilization against and policy discussions about the U.S. war on terror and its implications for human rights and international cooperation. First, terrorism creates strong pressures on governments—especially democracies—to restrict human rights. Second, these restrictions are not only immoral and illegal, but also counterproductive to curbing terrorism. If these two assumptions are correct, then democracies face a vicious circle: terrorist attacks provoke a reaction that makes it harder to defeat terrorist organizations.
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