As Justice Robert Jackson observed more than half a century ago, “[i]t is easy, by giving way to the passion, intolerance and suspicion of wartime, to reduce our liberties to a shadow, often in answer to exaggerated claims of security.” Indeed, the United States has a long and unfortunate history of overreacting to the dangers of wartime. Again and again, Americans have allowed fear to the better of them. Some measure of fear, of course, is inevitable—even healthy—in time of war. Otherwise, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a nation to make the sacrifices war demands. An essential challenge to democracy, then, is to find a way to channel these forces so they play a constructive rather destructive role.

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