Excerpt from How Would A Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

How Would A Patriot Act?

Defending American Values from a President Run Amok

by Glenn Greenwald

How Would A Patriot Act?
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    May 2006, 146 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I first moved to Manhattan in 1991 to attend law school at New York University, and lived and worked there for the next fifteen years. Manhattan was my home and place of work on September 11, 2001. On that day, Manhattan felt like a nightmarish mix of war zone, police state, and anarchy all rolled into one. I don't know anyone whose outlook on politics wasn't altered in some meaningful way on that day. But soon we realized that our country, its institutions, and its people are strong enough to withstand any terrorist attack or any group of terrorists, and, for those who had not lost friends or family, life seemed to return to normal more quickly than anyone could have anticipated.

This is not to say that I was not angry about the attacks. I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president's ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president's approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance.

What first began to shake my faith in the administration was its conduct in the case of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested in May 2002 on U.S. soil and then publicly labeled "the dirty bomber." The administration claimed it could hold him indefinitely without charging him with any crime and while denying him access to counsel.

I never imagined that such a thing could happen in modern America— that a president would claim the right to order American citizens imprisoned with no charges and without the right to a trial. In China, the former Soviet Union, Iran, and countless other countries, the government can literally abduct its citizens and imprison them without a trial. But that cannot happen in the United States—at least it never could before. If it means anything to be an American citizen, it means that we cannot be locked away by our government unless we are charged with a crime, given due process in court, and then convicted by a jury of our peers.

I developed an intense interest in the Padilla case. It represented a direct challenge to my foundational political views—that we can tolerate all sorts of political disputes on a range of issues, but we cannot tolerate attacks by the government on our constitutional framework and guaranteed liberties. My deep concerns about the Padilla case eroded but did not entirely eliminate my support for the president. The next significant item on the president's agenda was the invasion of Iraq. While the administration recited the standard and obligatory clichés about war being a last resort, by mid-2002 it appeared, at least to me, that the only unresolved issue was not whether we would invade but when the invasion would begin.

During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president's performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

Copyright by Glenn Greenwald.  All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe transmitted in any form by any means without permission in writing from the publisher, Working Assets Publishing (www.workingassetspublishing.com).

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.