A constitutional-law attorney submits a blistering, highly tendentious brief against President George W. Bush.
Greenwald (How Would a Patriot Act?, 2006) unambiguously declares the Bush legacy “one of colossal failure” due almost entirely to the president’s response to the attacks of 9/11. According to the author, echoing what has become a well-worn trope on the Left, this response unmasked Bush’s Manichean world view, a simplistic proclivity to see events in terms of Good and Evil that precludes any possibility of reexamination or change. This cramped vision, Greenwald argues, is reinforced by the President’s “hungry, crazed, warmongering ‘base’ ” composed of Middle East oil interests, Christian evangelicals and an Israel-centric strain of neoconservatives. The combined interests of these forces, requiring a seemingly endless stream of enemies, accounts for the restriction of our civil liberties, the intimidation of the press, the muzzling of dissent, the alienation of our allies. Where others might congratulate Bush for his moral clarity, Greenwald sees him as the leader of an administration obsessed with its own power. Among his more incendiary charges: Bush wanted to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to demonstrate “he is more powerful than the law”; he has replaced his alcohol addiction with fervent evangelicalism; and any U.S. action against Iran will be dictated not by geopolitical considerations, but rather by the “President’s personality.” One endless denunciation follows another in prose so overheated and with judgments so uniformly negative and absolute as to mimic the very worldview the author rails against. What might have made a rousing article for, say, The Nation, collapses at book length, a victim of its own relentless, wild-eyed partisanship.
Red meat for Bush haters; a tedious, predictable bore for everyone else.