Monday, March 12, 2007

The launch last week of the Stanley Foundation paper, The Cost of Confusion

I mentioned earlier the new paper by Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First, and me, on counterterrorism policy - it can be downloaded free from SSRN, here. The Stanley Foundation held several excellent events last week to showcase the paper. One was a dinner at Nora restaurant in DC - one of my very favorite restaurants in DC, by the way - with a handful of people to discuss it. Then a larger lunch discussion at the Stimson Center in DC, with Elisa and me, and Ben Wittes, formerly of the editorial page of the Washington Post and now a visiting scholar at Brookings, moderating. Ben did a great job of moderating, because he led an active discussion on what the areas of agreement were but also what the areas of disagreement were. Understanding both the agreements and disagreements is crucial - in this paper, but also with respect to other papers in this series. There were many excellent comments - those by Stephen Rickard of the Open Society Institute stood out; he is always impressive, even when I don't agree with him.

But I came away from these events more convinced than ever that now, not November 2008, is the time to be proposing new ways of approaching counterterrorism policy. And, as readers of this blog, if you exist, are aware, I do not say this as an opponent of the Bush admininstration's overall policy.

My thanks to David Schorr and the Stanley Foundation for putting on these events, and for sponsoring this very interesting project on foreign policy. And especially to Elisa Massimino, for being willing to take risks in her institutional role in human rights to try and seek where we could find agreements.

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