Lawfare

Happy Birthday Lawfare

By Benjamin Wittes
Thursday, September 1, 2011, 9:26 PM

(by Benjamin Wittes, Robert Chesney & Jack Goldsmith)

One year ago today, Lawfare published its inaugural post, announcing a new web site devoted to "that nebulous zone in which actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation interact with the nation’s laws and legal institutions." Lawfare came together on a bit of a lark. None of us quite knew what we were going to do with it, other than having a vague sense that blogging was a form that we were all missing out on and that the web lacked a blog devoted to the serious discussion of law and security. We certainly never imagined the overwhelming reaction the blog has elicited.

In its year of existence, Lawfare has received 368,000 visits. While its readership is overwhelming from the United States and, more generally, from the English-speaking world, its traffic includes people from 191 countries. Its readers include judges, practitioners in and out of government and on all sides of many debates, congressional staffers, academics, NGO and law firm lawyers, active duty military personnel on deployment abroad, and journalists. More than the size and diversity of the readership, however, we have been amazed at the degree of care with which people read it and the high quality and speed of the feedback, criticisms, and suggestions we get on a daily basis. The response has dramatically vindicated our inchoate sense of a year ago that the debate had room for a site that attempted to address difficult issues with care and factual and legal seriousness.

We are all very moved by and grateful for the enthusiasm the blog has generated and particularly for the energy of those who have not merely read it but engaged actively with it--expressing views, raising issues, and sending tips and material that warrant our attention.

In the coming year, we are planning a significant expansion. In addition to the already-flourishing book review section--feel free to email Book Review Editor Kenneth Anderson (anderson.lawfare@gmail.com) if you want to review a book--and our recently-launched news roundup, we have other exciting changes we will be announcing over the next few months: new partnerships, new projects, new sections, new contributors.

In the meantime, keep reading, and keep spreading the word. Lawfare is waged only by word of mouth, so please encourage others to visit the blog; if you haven't already done so, please "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We, meanwhile, will redouble our efforts to make Lawfare an ever-growing oasis of useful analysis.