Argument Analysis

The focal point of this analysis

The focal point of this analysis is Matthew Brzezinski's essay, "The Homeland Security State: How far should we go?" Matthew is an creator as well as a journalist who has written for The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Matthew has worked in Moscow and in the United States. Matthew blanketed counterterrorism after the 9/11 attacks. The audience of the essay is Americans whom Matthew tasks with significantly analyzing the extent of counterterrorism measures that the government could take. Matthew argues that counterterrorism efforts may additionally come at a cost of much surveillance in every element of life and numerous inconveniences which Americans would trade off. The writer supports the thesis by using surveillance examples in daily routines in life and then translates the scenario to a series of activities which would typically follow the routine. Matthew also mentions other ways in which the surveillance methods have been used before and the effect of surveillance in other countries.


Matthew compares the United States to Israel on several occasions to show the degrees of security threat and the implications of the methods chosen to combat terror. At the beginning of the essay, Matthew states that while previously the United States and Israel differed significantly in terms of security, they now face more similar security threats. Israel intelligence has the authority to private citizens' surveillance and to use any means necessary to ensure security without any regard for individual's rights (Brzezinski, 234). The result has been successful thwarting of suicide bombs in Israel. The use of this comparison strategy aims at providing an insight of the possible trade-offs in counterterrorism efforts which are the individual rights.

Innocent citizens could be picked up for questioning or surveilled due to change of behavior patterns or innocent actions which appear suspicious to the system. Brzezinski (227) gives an illustration of where an individual uses cash to pay for a plane ticket without a return date via cash. If the government has the mandate to arrest someone on the basis of suspicious activity then such an individual would be arrested. The individual may however only have cash and may not know their return date. The example illustrates the inconveniences citizens may suffer in the process.

The author uses examples of ways that normal activities would change. For example, going to dinner or a movie would involve checks similar to those at airports with metal detectors, checking purses and an inspection of the trunk (Brzezinski, 237). The strategy triggers the reader's mind to reflect on the extent that things would change with the enforcement of such security methods.

The author uses headings which emphasize the key points of the essay. Matthew uses a heading which asks the readers what their security is worth to them (Brzezinski, 238). The headings preempt the discussion that follows. The use of such headings ensures the readers have that question at the back of their minds while they explore the examples in the essay. In this section, the author transits from showing a series of inconveniences to a situation where the inconvenience could pay off.


"The Homeland Security State: How far should we go?" an essay by Matthew Brzenzski is a well-researched paper with details that support the focus of the essay. The essay contains various facts and examples of situations happening in other parts of the world and implication of using such methods of counterterrorism in the United States and how they could turn out. The use of subheadings that give an insight on what that section of the essay discusses as well as the transition from one point to the next provides the readers with an opportunity to critically analyze the issue of homeland security.

Works Cited

Brzezinski, Matthew. "The Homeland Security State: How Far Should We Go?". 75 Arguments. Alan Ainsworth. 1st ed. 2007. Print.

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