A Letter to Glenn Greewnald – a writer of profound excellence: The progressive scholar and civil libertarian lawyer, Glenn Greenwald, writes a daily column for Salon.com unless his demanding schedule dictates otherwise. Glenn wrote an October 22, 2011 article for Salon entitled “A Remaining Realm of American Excellence.” I think I have never read a more precise, insightful and well-written article explaining the present-day character of this nation. He has an ability to convey, in the written word, that which few possess and his critical analysis of contemporary events is, in my opinion, unparalleled. I post the following link to the article and urge you to read it if you are the least bit interested in the direction of our nation and the fate of the generations which will come after us. If you cannot click on the link simply Google Salon and click on Greenwald. It appears at: http://www.salon.com/2011/10/22/a_remaining_realm_of_american_excellence/singleton/
I also wrote a letter to him conveying my complimentary thoughts:
Glenn, if there is a more significant and well written article than "A Remaining Realm of American Excellence" I have for quite some time not read it. This was a brilliant piece and an exemplar of quality political insight. I, too, have some thoughts explaining American belligerence about which you write so eloquently.
I think in part our national character has been carved into the sinew of the American DNA for nearly four centuries. Our wild-west mentality of the American 19th century with the violence of our westward expansion is not far from its door. It crushed an indigenous Indian population and removed anyone else who got in its way.
A rationale for our collective violent reaction now is, as I see it, an emptiness of the American character obsessed with the latest reality or dumbed down morning television, radio and no news news shows. Many times in the discussion of things political especially of economics, the source of our torturous predicament, our national eyes glaze over and turn the channel to the next mindless American Idol show or to an unfair and completely biased news channel. Few understand much if anything historical let alone the etiology of our recent economic plunge, what is responsible for that plunge and how the catastrophes of war fit into the explanation of its landscape. I would be willing to bet most do not know that the economic collapse occurred in 2007 on George Bush's watch. Bush who? I think most think President Obama to be the single creator of our economic meltdown when, in fact, it took decades to create by philosophical charlatans who wanted everything for just a few while leaving little for the many while the many slept.
Moreover, and more pertinent to your article, the US has not been in the right where its foreign violent entanglements are concerned since WWII. WWII was such a magnanimous victory, so pure in its accomplishment and America so beloved for fighting a foe who knew no negotiation and who, if not destroyed, would have certainly destroyed whatever vestiges of humanity that existed in that time. America, yes, along with some allies literally saved the world. That is a hard act to follow but we certainly try.
The intoxication of the WWII victory led this nation to make permanent its ebullience by conducting never-ending permanent war. It is the only product this nation sells. Korea, Vietnam, certainly Iraq, and even most probably Afghanistan have been abysmal failures incurring much death to so many innocents and our own while it infuriated an explosive regional Middle East tinderbox. I believe somewhere in the American psyche there is guilt for a stain on the American conscience which, like Lady Macbeth’s damn spot, cannot be washed out. It has become now our fatal flaw. Add to this the utter humiliation of 9/11, the viewing of the falling Twin Towers, huge edifices of American money and power, and the loss of 3000 innocent lives America again feels like it has been kicked in her collective teeth while still looking for the moral victory and accolades of WWII that elude us. It tries to find that adulation for the post World War II incompetence of American foreign policy and it will now do so by any means necessary collateral damage be damned.
We have gone from a colossal winner to a huge loser on the international and national stage. The only act to follow in this our American tragedy is the successful killing for sport of dreamed-up adversarial replacements for Adolph Hitler. The nation as of late does not conquer the cancer of war but spreads its violence with its American footprint. Its footprint is, of course, nearly everywhere. It is sad commentary for the evil of empire building. I have never in my 6 decades of life seen the country with the most rapaciously rancid ethos that not only allows but, indeed, loves to get its insatiable pound of flesh in the Coliseum of endless war.
I spend my life wondering how we got this way. I am getting tired and truly want to hand the baton of regeneration over to you, our next progressive generation. Voices like yours are the only ones that give me hope. You are, truly, as one man said of you when I heard you speak at Harvard, a national treasure!