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. . . And A Failed Presidency

book.pngNext Sunday at 5:00 p.m. EDT, the amazing Glenn Greenwald will be joining us on Book Salon to discuss his new book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good Vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. Glenn will no doubt have a lot to say not only about how George Bush’s foreign policy framework produced one train wreck after another in the Middle East but equally important how the deeply flawed perceptions of the world held by Bush and his neocon followers have violated long-held American values across the board. From Glenn’s discussion Monday:

The central purpose of the book is to examine what has happened to the United States for the last six years under the Bush presidency. That is the “Bush legacy” — our national character and national identity have been fundamentally degraded, our moral standing and credibility in the world eroded to previously unthinkable depths, our government engaged in the very behavior which, for decades, we have collectively deplored, our trust in America’s governmental and journalistic institutions reduced virtually to zero, and our country placed on a plainly unsustainable course as a result of the militarized, imperial role we are choosing to play in the world.

At the heart of this process lies a binary moralistic view of the world, one which seeks to define every conflict and political challenge, both foreign and domestic, as a battle of Good versus Evil. The crux of this mindset is the continuous identification of an Enemy, one which embodies Evil and which must be stopped, typically destroyed, at all costs. No competing considerations, no rational arguments, no counter-balancing objectives, not even constraints of reality or resources, can compete with the moral imperative of this mission. The mission of destroying Evil trumps all. . . .

This Manichean mentality not only drives George W. Bush personally, but it also consumes our political discourse almost entirely. It is this mindset, more than any other single cause, that has driven us to embrace extraordinary policies and truly radical beliefs that are as ill-considered and incoherent as they are destructive. This is the “moral reasoning” which led us to invade and indefinitely occupy Iraq, to vest previously unimaginable power in the President, to allow our country to become symbolized by orange-jumpsuit-clad, shackled and leashed detainees locked away and brutally maltreated in lawless prisons around the world, and which has brought us to the brink of still new wars in the Middle East, most alarmingly with Iran. It is this reasoning which has rendered our country virtually unrecognizable, and has placed us on a course which simply cannot be sustained.

Glenn’s book is right on target, pulling together many of the themes and issues we talk about here every day and analyzing the Bush legacy with penetrating insights as only Glenn can. This promises to be one of our best and most engaging Book Salons ever. You won’t want to miss it.

Update: Glenn provides a must-read dissection of the Beltway media, in response to Richard Cohen’s Washington Post column this a.m.

You can pre-order Glenn’s book here at a significant discount, and doing so now will help call attention to this important work at Amazon and even help FDL a little.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley