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A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era

by Russ Feingold

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-95252-3
Publisher: Crown

Former Senator Feingold shares his progressive foreign-policy vision.

Defeated for reelection by a Republican in 2010, the author served 18 years in the Senate, making his mark most notably with the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 and by challenging the Bush administration on the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. In this straightforward, clear-eyed look at the fallout after 9/11, Feingold revisits the U.S. reaction in the wake of the attacks, which set off an “unfortunate trend” in soured international relations that is only presently being arrested under President Obama. While Feingold graciously allows former President Bush accolades for his initial words of resolve and restraint after 9/11, he grew increasingly alarmed by the hysterical fear gripping Washington, and cast the lone vote against the Patriot Act. He was disturbed by Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil” speech and refused to buy the administration’s justification for war, despite Joe Biden’s extensive hearings and endorsement of it. (Curiously, meeting former President Nixon, his nemesis, helped Feingold come to doubt the reasoning behind the Saddam-bin Laden conspiracy.) In the post-9/11 Risk game, as he calls it, Feingold urged the government not to lose sight of other important strategic spots like Yemen, Indonesia and Somalia, and he traveled widely with Hilary Clinton and others; he first urged the troop withdrawal from Iraq in 2005 and was gratified to see it finally occurring under Obama. He has been a vocal proponent for “restoring the rule of law” to the presidency and of Obama’s health-care legislation, which essentially invited the Tea Partiers to organize his defeat in the anti-incumbent fever of 2010.

Sage, sensible words by a leader who can now point to how he right he was.