SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold’s new book, “While America Sleeps” takes a look at some of the failures of the United States since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and what the U.S. needs to do over the next decade to solve international problems.
He said the first mistake that has been made is thinking that al-Qaeda is gone with the death of Osama bin Laden.
KCBS Interviews former senator Russ Feingold:
“The idea that al-Qaeda is all gone is way overstated. There’s an overconfidence all the way from the White House to the military to frankly, the average citizen who has been led to believe that because Osama bin Laden is gone, we’re okay,” said Feingold. “Just look at Africa for example. In Somalia, there is a group called al-Shabab, which is openly an arm of al-Qaeda and has tormented Somalia and has helped destabilize the significant countries of Ethiopia and Kenya. You can go to Northern Africa, Nigeria. We had the signals last time but we didn’t look at it. Al-Qaeda’s not done, these kinds of problems are not done and this issue of terrorism in al-Qaeda is only one of the many things around the world that I don’t think we as a government or as a people are really focusing on anymore.”
Feingold said that part of the problem the U.S. has is that they haven’t been able to connect all the dots regarding al-Qaeda.
“This is an international syndicate. It’s not a country-by-country deal,” he said. “We haven’t analyzed it correctly for ten years and I don’t think we still have.”
Feingold said that elected officials are not up to date on the latest foreign policies the U.S. is dealing with.
“Our elected representatives are not encouraged to be involved in foreign policy. In fact, they’re mocked sometimes,” Feingold said. “We as Americans, including our government, have to turn the corner. For 200 years, we were able to be separate from the world. But I thought 9/11 was the day when we realized, we’re not going to be safe if we do that anymore. Every one of us can participate. But it starts with your elected representatives.”
Feingold said that domestic issues, like the economy, have taken the nation’s focus away from terrorism over the last few years.
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