My contribution to Lawfare's 10th Anniversary Project concerns the role of the military in strengthening justice institutions in countries struggling to emerge from instability, a topic on which my personal and professional views have changed as a result of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and service in U.S.
Kandahar--Among the ceremonies in Afghanistan on this past July 4th was one having more to do with Afghans and their international partners than with the United States troops stationed here, though we Americans saw strong connections between our allies' celebration and our own Independence Day observances.
Parwan, Friday, November 19, 2010 -- The week’s posts up until now—written on a Blackberry while we moved or found small spaces of time between engagements—position me finally to move from the definitional and philosophical matters I pondered yesterday in Khost to Jack’s September question: Do I consider counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan to be “lawfare.” The BLUF (“bottom line up front”), an expression used by each of the U.S.
Khost, Thursday, November 18, 2010 -- Having outlined, in theory as well as in practice, the military’s and ROLFF’s proper counterinsurgency (COIN) role in Afghanistan, it is time to blog more pointedly—to “drill down,” as the great 101st Airborne Division Rakkasan soldiers I am with today in Khost might say—on the term “lawfare.” Inaugurating this website in September, Ben Wittes defined lawfare initially as “the use of law as a weapon of conflict.”
Kandahar City, Wednesday, November 17, 2010 -- Counterinsurgency (COIN) theory—for that is what my last post describes—is only that: theory. The current reality in Afghanistan is that the rule of law remains mostly just a worthy goal. To evaluate whether COIN operations here are, as Jack Goldsmith writes, a “weapon of war . . . that is in no way derogatory towards the rule of law,” one should review with a cold eye what is being done and how things are going.
Kandahar, Tuesday, November 16, 2010 -- Whether contemporary U.S. counterinsurgency operations (COIN) and legal institution-building are “an attractive form of lawfare,” as Jack proposed in his 8 September post, is a question of both theory and practice. A good deal of theory on these matters can be found in the U.S. military’s 2006 COIN manual and other recent professional literature.
Kabul, Monday, November 15, 2010 -- Jack Goldsmith invited me more than two months ago to write in this space about our military’s involvement in efforts to build the rule of law in Afghanistan. In his initial post, Jack wondered what I thought about referring to those efforts as “lawfare.”
I apologize for the lateness of my reply and, in advance, for its cumulative length. Adapting T.S. Eliot’s famous line, if I had had more time and if Afghanistan were simpler, I would blog more briefly and more promptly.