Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold ’79 delivered a lecture, sponsored by HLS’s American Constitution Society, titled “A Progressive Vision of National Security” in April.
The only member of the Senate to vote against the PATRIOT Act in 2001 and one of 23 to vote against the Iraq War in 2002, Feingold recently wrote “While America Sleeps,” a book which details his criticisms of American foreign policy since 9/11 and proposes a plan to correct the nation’s course.
Feingold said he chose to write the book—which is his first—about national security, rather than issues with which he is better associated, such as campaign finance reform, because despite an initial spike in engagement in the years immediately following 9/11, the American government and people are not sufficiently connected with the rest of the world, and have failed to stay connected to the issues. He said that, although it is understandable that public discourse and government resources shifted to address the financial crisis, a crucial lesson from 9/11 is that when we’re not alert to what’s occurring in the rest of the world, regardless of what’s occurring domestically, we can be taken completely by surprise.
Feingold said, “We can’t say ‘Domestic issues now, global issues later.’ We need to address both at once.”