Thursday, July 22, 2004


The purpose of this law of war and just war theory blog is to give me a place where I can post comments, analysis, and links arising both out of the global political situation today as well as my research into historical and philosophical aspects of these subjects. It will not be limited to law of war and just war theory, but will also include international law and politics, as well as war and conflict, generally, and some domestic US law and politics relevant to the international topics. There is nothing comprehensive about this, and I won't even pretend to update on any regular basis. However, I hope that it will provide me with a space to keep a sort of running notebook and commentary on these topics, and perhaps, if this site attracts any readers, a place for considering these issues. I have strong views on many topics within these subject matters, and this is one place where I will not be shy about sharing them, this being My Blog, after all. But feel free to respond with comments or contact me by email.

My background in this subject? I am a law professor at Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC, where I teach a variety of international law courses (mostly these days on international business and finance). I am also a research fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. I am a lawyer by training; for several years I was general counsel to George Soros' charitable foundation, the Open Society Institute, and before that I was director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division. I've been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, where I taught human rights and the laws of war. I am on the editorial boards of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence and the Journal of Human Rights. I served as legal editor of the first edition of Roy Gutman and David Rieff, Crimes of War (WW Norton 1999), and I recommend the website associated with that book. Together with Tod Lindberg, editor of the Hoover Institution journal Policy Review, I run a small seminar group that meets irregularly throughout the academic year and considers a wide variety of laws of war related issues. I chair the board of the Media Development Loan Fund, a nonprofit venture fund that invests in independent media worldwide. I am a board member of the U.S. Constitutional Law Association, the US affiliate of a worldwide scholarly organization on comparative constitutional law (although I am not a constitutional law scholar except in such areas as the intersection of national security, war, and constitutional law). This year I have volunteered to teach a course on ethics and warfare to high school students at my daughter's school in Washington DC, the National Cathedral School for girls; it is the second year I have done it, and I have enjoyed it a great deal.

I write on the laws of war, human rights, and just war theory extensively in various journals, and am working on a book tentatively titled, 'This Time of Damned Algebra': The Just War Tradition and Its Rivals. I will post links to various of my own writings in these areas as I manage to get them up on a web page. One place to find a slowly growing body of my publications is at my school web page; you can find a (more or less) complete list of my publications at my Washington College of Law bibliography page. You can also find a few of my publications in downloadable .pdf format here at my faculty web page, and also in downloadable .pdf format at my author page at SSRN.

UPDATE (Saturday, November 27, 2004): After writing this introduction back during the summer, I am tentatively ready to start blogging on these topics. I have been thinking about how to distinguish between kinds of posts - some are intended to be expository, others theoretical musings, and others editorials, and for now I will mark each blog that way, maybe adding categories later. I want to thank my students at NCS, both last year's class and this year's, for helping me think through some of these topics; I will be teaching just war theory as a seminar at Washington College of Law in spring 2005, and I look forward to that class as well.