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3.11.2012

While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era
While America Sleeps: 

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


While America Sleeps is an insightful look from former US Senator Russ Feingold in how America contributed to the its own fall. By assuming an attitude of disinterest in the world outside our own we convinced the rest of the world that we don't care about their plight or day–to–day struggles unless there is something in it for us. 

America ignored the warning signs, thinking the mere greatness of name would keep us safe. But we were rudely awaken on September 11, 2001 when we were attacked on our own soil not with conventional weapons, but with airplanes. 

But in the ''war on terror'' that followed we lost our focus. Instead of focusing on Al Qaeda we determined that we needed a target with boundaries, we needed to focus our attention on a country we could see rather than faceless terrorists that could be hidden throughout the world's vast population. 

While the majority of the country had to return to its normal day–to–day life, Washington was scared. And any threat whether or not it was credible added to the anxiety. 9/11 gave certain government agencies the excuse needed to end or curtail basic freedoms Americans expected. Privacy was one victim of 9/11. Under the Patriot Act the government claimed the right to Library records, records of phone and internet usage, and the right to search and seizure without notice. 

9/11 also provided the government with a reason to torture post 9/11 detainees, while they downplayed the inhuman cruelty of a practice that did not lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden. 

Playing on fear these government agencies grabbed power that was not theirs and refuse to let it go. But many Americans are unaware of what they have lost in the decade following 9/11. Civil liberties and Constitutional rights have been undermined in the name of the war on terror. 

To truly fight terrorists and Al Qaeda we must focus on the needs of the outside world. We must care about the needs of Asia, Africa, Central and South America. We should be reaching out to the people of these countries. What happens in one is not isolated to only that country. Terrorists have no boarders, they go where they can do the most to promote their cause. 

Americans cannot assume that everyone knows English. We must make an effort to learn the languages of others, to understand their culture. Americans suffer from the notion that they have a ''divine role'' and that they are ''the ideal experiment in government and nation building'' a notion held since its founding. America has an arrogance about her place in the world, but do nothing to help others. We must reach out and attempt to bridge the gap that divides us from the rest of the world. 

As the years have past since 9/11 America has turned its focus inward. The wake–up call of that September morning in 2001 has faded. America is returning to its sleeping state of oblivion. Unless we make a change in how we conduct our day–to–day living, our education system, our government, and our media coverage – we will forever remain vulnerable to terror and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We received our wake–up call but did we heed it? Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it neither can we claim ignorance of the world as an excuse for ignoring ir. 

While America Sleeps is an intriguing look at Washington and how it is run. The power wielded by a few is the greatest danger to fixing what is broken. But the greatest power lies not in who is elected, but in those who are behind the scenes, those who have financial power. 

While America Sleeps is not light reading. It is thoughtfully and provokingly written is such a manner so as to awaken the reader to the dangers that are both within and without. America must remember this warning from Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall, a man's heart is proud

This title was provided by the publisher as a Digital ARC loan for the purpose of this review.