Friday, December 23, 2011

Bacevich on the Legacy of the Iraq War

In a discussion of whether the U.S. war in Iraq has been worth the cost, Andrew Bacevich writes:
The disastrous legacy of the Iraq War extends beyond treasure squandered and lives lost or shattered. Central to that legacy has been Washington's decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.
More from Bacevich is here. The Council of Foreign Relations' Roundtable "Was the Iraq War Worth It," is here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"On the Frontlines: Gender, War, and the Post-Conflict Process"

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Naomi Cahn: On the Frontlines: Gender, War, and Post-Conflict Process just published by Oxford University Press. According to Bond, the book
is remarkably compelling and likely to have a significant impact on the way that scholars and activists working in post-conflict societies conceive of their fundamental mission. Several key themes provide a conceptual anchor throughout the book. These include: (1) the notion of gender centrality as a more effective and compelling alternative to gender mainstreaming; (2) the relevant international norms and the extent to which they have been successful in addressing the gendered aspects of post-conflict processes; (3) the importance of consulting with local populations, and with women in particular, before advancing any post-conflict agenda; and (4) the inadequacy of focusing disproportionately on civil and political rights, whether through accountability mechanisms, rule of law initiatives, or other avenues, to the exclusion of socio-economic rights and needs. The authors deftly weave these themes throughout the book in a way that guides the reader through a complex and persuasive analysis.
Of particular interest, is
the authors' resistance to gender essentialism. Women's victim-status has dominated the post-conflict literature in ways that often reinforce gender essentialism. In some ways, this is understandable given the gendered nature of sexual harms suffered by women in areas of armed conflict. The analysis, however, must extend beyond victim-status to engage questions of women's participation in conflict and their involvement in the recovery effort. The authors' approach reinforces the complexity of women's experiences before, during, and after conflict.
The rest of Bond's post is here.  More on the book is here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Available for Order at a Discount in the UK

UK readers (and others) can order War Time at a 25% discount from the Book Depository.  They advertise free shipping worldwide, however they show an April release date, and the book should be available from US vendors in February.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"A Permanent State of Remote War"

William J. Astore, retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), has a post today on the remoteness of American wars from the American people:
America’s wars are remote.  They’re remote from us geographically, remote from us emotionally (unless you’re serving in the military or have a close relative or friend who serves), and remote from our major media outlets, which have given us no compelling narrative about them, except that they’re being fought by “America’s heroes” against foreign terrorists and evil-doers.  They’re even being fought, in significant part, by remote control—by robotic drones “piloted” by ground-based operators from a secret network of bases located hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the danger of the battlefield.

Their remoteness, which breeds detachment if not complacency at home, is no accident.  Indeed, it’s a product of the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were wars of choice, not wars of necessity.  It’s a product of the fact that we’ve chosen to create a “warrior” or “war fighter” caste in this country, which we send with few concerns and fewer qualms to prosecute Washington’s foreign wars of choice.
Astore goes on to argue that  wars of choice have led to "a state of permanent remote war" that "has weakened our military, drained our treasury, and eroded our rights and freedoms."

The engagement of the people with a nation's wars has been central to ideas about warfare.  War theorist Carl von Clausewitz wrote of the people as both an engine and a restraint on warfare.  Clausewitz's "wonderful trinity," describes the nature of war as "composed of the original violence of its elements, hatred and animosity, which may be looked upon as blind instinct; of the play of probabilities and chance, which make it a free activity of the soul; and of the subordinate nature of a political instrument, by which it belongs purely to the reason."  The trinity is often reduced to those Clausewitz thought to embody these elements:  the people, the military, and the government.

The emotional element of war, centered in the people, can help motivate a nation to warfare.  But the people can also rein in warfare.  When the costs of war are too great, the people are thought to lose their will to fight, hampering the nation's ability to pursue war.

But what happens if the people are never in engaged in a war in the first place? This where Astore's point is so important.  The remoteness of the American people from American wars, he argues, enables the nation's wars of choice.  The absence of the people -- the embodiment of the emotional element Clausewitz thought was a central feature of warfare -- means that the people do not tire of the costs of war.  The people's remoteness and isolation from war undermines their traditional role as a restraint.

Astore writes: 
As Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it recently to Time:  “Long term, if the military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country can't tolerate.”
One of the consequences of this development appears to be our current "permanent state of remote war."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Endorsements and Availability

Oxford University Press has posted blurbs for War Time:
"For over a decade since 9/11, U.S. forces have been waging war. Yet is the nation itself 'at war'? In this timely and provocative book, Mary Dudziak shows why this question has become so difficult to answer-and warns of the dangers inherent in our failure to do so." --Andrew J . Bacevich , author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

"War Time turns our notions of both 'war' and 'time' upside down. This thought-provoking book forces us to realize that war is not an exception to 'normal' peacetime, but rather that wartime has become the norm. The implications of perpetual wartime are profound, for law, politics, and daily life. Mary Dudziak has again brought her keen cultural, historical and legal insights to bear on a subject of critical importance."--Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, University of Minnesota

"Taking law as her focal point but ranging much more widely, Mary Dudziak's provocative meditation on what we mean in speaking of a 'time' of war invites readers to reflect on how we think about war itself. It should change our understanding of what-and when-war 'is' for Americans."--Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"War Time is one of those rare books that can entirely reorient how one thinks about the world. By showing the reader what Americans have meant-and have come to mean-by 'wartime,' Mary Dudziak shows us assumptions about war and peace that govern political and legal thought without anyone noticing. This is an intellectual tour de force, and beautifully written to boot."--H. Jefferson Powell , George Washington Law School
The book will ship from OUP in January, and from other vendors in early February. Besides Amazon, it's listed at Powell's, Barnes and Noble, and Indie Bound.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Roundtable: Pearl Harbor: 70 Years Later

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations has posted an excellent Roundtable for the seventieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor:  
Japan’s surprise attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was a dramatic event that resulted in the destruction and decapitation of eighteen U.S. vessels and 188 planes, as well as the death of over 2,400 Americans. The experience was spectacular and horrifying. Yet the impact of the military operation far transcended the immediate damages it inflicted on the strategically valued harbor. Throughout the years afterwards, the “day of infamy” would yield far-reaching influence on politics, diplomacy, society, and culture in the United States, Japan, Hawai’i, and other parts of the world. is proud to present a roundtable on the Pearl Harbor attack as we approach its seventieth anniversary. We have asked four historians—Emily S. Rosenberg, Greg Robinson, John Gripentrog, and Yujin Yaguchi—to reflect on this fateful experience and address its broader significance. The contributors offer insight on a wide range of issues, concerning politics, diplomacy, memory, popular culture, racism, and education. We hope this forum will aid readers in grasping the complexity of this important event.
The entries are:

Emily Rosenberg,  Forgetting Pearl Harbor

Greg Robinson,  Pearl Harbor and Japanese Americans: Another Sort of Infamy

John Gripentrog, Pearl Harbor: The Road to Irreconcilable Worldviews

Yujin Yaguchi, Remembering Pearl Harbor in Hawai‘i: A Reflection on an Annual Workshop for U.S. and Japanese Secondary School Teachers

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kuzmarov on Militarized Policing

Jeremy Kuzmarov, University of Tulsa, has an interesting post on History News Network.
The images of militarized police units organized in platoon formation pepper spraying and beating peaceful demonstrators at UC Davis and at the Occupy encampments across the country have been disturbing to witness, though they provide a potent symbol of the times. While staffed with people from working-class backgrounds, the police in American society have long served as “protectors of privilege,” as Frank Donner put it in a 1990 book, upholding the power of the wealthy 1% by frequently crushing labor protest, spying on and harassing civil rights and antiwar activists, and enforcing the War on Drugs primarily in ghetto communities.
As much as racial profiling and brutality have been deeply rooted in the history of American police institutions, so has their militarization, owing in part to the influence of overseas police training programs.
Read the rest here.

Kuzmarov is the author of "The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs" (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009) and the forthcoming, "Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century" (Massachusetts).

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Growing 'Civilian-Military' Gap, and its Consequences

"A smaller share of Americans currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces than at any time since the peace-time era between World Wars I and II," according to a new report from the Pew Research Center (hat tip New York Times).
During the past decade, as the military has been engaged in the longest period of sustained conflict in the nation’s history, just one-half of one percent of American adults has served on active duty at any given time.1 As the size of the military shrinks, the connections between military personnel and the broader civilian population appear to be growing more distant.
 The data reveals is "a large generation gap." According to the report, "more than three-quarters (77%) of adults ages 50 and older said they had an immediate family member –a spouse, parent, sibling or child – who had served in the military."  In contrast, for people under 50, "57% of those ages 30-49 say they have an immediate family member who served. And among those ages 18-29, the share is only one-third."

Military service is now more concentrated in certain families:  "Veterans are more than twice as likely as members of the general public to say they have a son or daughter who has served (21% vs. 9%)."  And overall, what the report calls a "military-civilian gap" is more pronounced among younger people. 
This suggests that the gap between veterans and the general public in the share that has family connections to the military may be a relatively new phenomenon. With the shrinking size of the military in recent decades there are now fewer connections between the military and the civilian world. This is reflected in the relatively small share of young adults (39%) with an immediate family member who has served in the armed forces.
The Pew report suggests that various political opinions are correlated with connections to family members who have served in the military, but there are deeper implications of the disconnect between Americans and American war-making.  The more distant and isolated Americans are from their nation's wars, the less they are politically engaged with American war policy.

Legal scholars argue here and elsewhere that the tendency of presidents to initiate military action without congressional authorization can only be reined in if Congress insists on playing its constitutional role.  But Congress will never play a more meaningful role in American war politics if the people aren't engaged.  The Pew Report helps us to see what appears to be a growing distance from the costs of war, potentially reinforcing contemporary political disengagement.

In War Time, I take up this point in the Conclusion:
In Iraq and Afghanistan, war...spread across borders as American drones fired on targets in Pakistan and elsewhere.  Death and destruction were the province of soldiers and of peoples in faraway lands.  The experience of wartime for most Americans largely devolved to encounters between travelers and airport screeners, as the Transportation Security Administration adopted intrusive new practices.  At home, wartime had become a policy rather than a state of existence....

As war goes on, Americans have lapsed into a new kind of peacetime.  It is not a time without war, but instead a time in which war does not bother everyday Americans.
I argue that keeping the war powers in check requires a politics of war, and that requires a citizenry attentive to the exercise of military power.  Our ideas about "wartime" play a role in the current disconnect, as a cultural framing of wartimes as discrete and temporary occasions, destined to give way to a state of normality, undermines democratic vigilance over on-going wars.

As Americans become more isolated from the costs of war, military engagement no longer seems to require the support of the American people.  Their disengagement does not limit the reach of American military action, but enables its expansion.

Monday, November 21, 2011

'The Martial Spirit' in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War

On November 28, I'm delivering a lecture at Duke Law School.  As the John Hope Franklin Chair while a visitor at Duke this fall, my initial plan was to simply draw a connection between Franklin's work and new scholarship on African Americans and war, as well as my new work on the nature of wartime.  But the more I read, the more I came to believe that engaging Franklin's work requires a rethinking of the history of American militarization.  And that became the lecture.  Here's the announcement:
On Nov. 28, legal historian Mary L. Dudziak will deliver Duke University’s Robert R. Wilson lecture titled “The ‘Martial Spirit’ in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War.” Her lecture will draw both from Franklin’s work and from recent historical scholarship on African Americans and war to place African American history at the center of American militarization.
The lecture will begin at 12:30 p.m. in room 3041 of Duke Law School, located at 210 Science Drive on Duke University’s West Campus. Parking is available at the Bryan Center. A light lunch will be served on a first-come first-served basis.

The role of militaries in enabling or undermining democracy has been on display in 2011 during the Arab Spring. In American history as well, said Dudziak, military conflict has played an important role in shaping domestic politics and culture. “African American history is often seen as peripheral to the history of war and militarization, but Franklin placed it at the center,” she said. “From one of his early books, initially titled The Martial Spirit, which detailed the growth of militias to guard against slave insurrection, to the dynamic impact of war in his sweeping survey, From Slavery to Freedom, Franklin shows us that African American history and the history of American war and militarization were intertwined, from the slave patrols, to the race discrimination in the World War II military that scarred his own family, to the military as a workplace for contemporary people of color.”
More details are here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Review

Just in from Publisher's Weekly:
Dudziak (Exporting American Dreams) riffs on the meaning of wartime and its legal implications in this brief cultural history. She examines the meaning of wartime in American history and notes that “an essential aspect of wartime is that it is temporary.” Because war is seen as provisional, Americans have been willing to accept “exceptional [wartime] policies” that enhance presidential power and erode civil liberties—a view generally endorsed by the courts. What if, Dudziak asks, “American war spills beyond tidy time boundaries” and wartime becomes “normal time”? The executive branch, she contends, has defined the war on terror along the lines of the cold war, as an ideological conflict with no boundaries. Dudziak laments that the courts generally have continued to treat wartime as temporary even though its meaning has changed. Wartime, she concludes, has “become a policy, rather than a state of existence” and need not cause us to suspend our principles. Closely argued and clearly written, this is a scholarly work with popular appeal. (Feb.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Webcast: Ben C. Green Lecture, Case Western Reserve University Law School

I will give a public lecture on War Time:  An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences at Case Western Reserve University Law School on Tuesday, October 11, at 4:30 p.m., Eastern time.  Details are here.  It will be webcast here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Rumors of War" -- Justice Jackson after Nuremberg

This event at the University at Buffalo, Tuesday, October 4, commemorates the first public address Justice Robert Jackson gave after returning from his work as Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg trial.  I will take up the way Jackson understood law and security in the context of a changing world in the years after Nuremberg, as the categories of war and peace lost their distinction, leaving ongoing tensions and, as Jackson put it, "rumors of war."  Jackson biographer John Q. Barrett, and legal historian Eric Muller will also speak.
The 2011 edition of the James McCormick Mitchell Lecture, the UB Law School’s highest-profile lecture series, revisits a significant historical moment for UB and the world—one that has been largely overlooked.

The lecture, to begin at 2 p.m. Oct. 4 in 106 O’Brian Hall, North Campus, will examine a major address by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson given at the University of Buffalo’s centennial celebration exactly 65 years ago. Jackson, who had taken a leave of absence from the high court to serve as the chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trial in occupied Germany that followed the Nazis’ surrender in World War II, spoke at UB immediately after he returned from that historic trial in 1946.

His speech touched on timeless themes: how a “warlike spirit” can overcome a nation; the quest for nations to work cooperatively in the cause of peace; the interrelationship of war and dictatorship; and the supremacy of law over the lawless forces of war and persecution.
The 2011 Mitchell lecture will feature three legal scholars who will discuss aspects of Jackson’s 1946 address, placing the speech in historical context and discussing its enduring implications. Mitchell lecturers will be:
  • John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John’s University in New York City and a board member at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y., who will discuss “Bringing Nuremberg Home: Justice Jackson’s Path Back to Buffalo, Oct. 4, 1946.” Barrett is writing a biography of Jackson.
  • Eric L. Muller, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and a legal historian with special interest in the Japanese internment cases during the World War II era, who will discuss “Nazis, Americans and the Law as a ‘Peace Profession.’”
  • Mary L. Dudziak, Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California, who will speak on “Rumors of War.”
The event will mark another anniversary as well: the 60th year of the Mitchell lecture series, whose first installment in 1951 also featured Jackson speaking on “Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Legal Landscape Ten Years After 9/11

This recent panel at Duke Law School features Duke Professors Curtis Bradley, Charles Dunlap and Neil Siegel, and me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

When we say that 9/11 changed something, what are we saying?

We are beginning a week of reflection on the events of September 11, 2001.  Some 10th anniversary events will be memorials, remembering those who perished that day.  Other events will seek to make sense of what 9/11 did – to New York, to the United States, to the world.  So often remembered as a day that “changed everything,” academic panels will be held and op-eds written about just what 9/11 changed, and what it didn’t.

But what does it mean to say that 9/11 changed something?  There is often a slipperiness in the causality.  It is sometimes assumed that the terrorist attacks set certain historical events into motion.  But if we see 9/11 as causing the politics, culture and military actions that followed, then we are giving the airplanes that slammed into buildings a powerful determinism.  We are assuming that al Qaeda did not just slaughter thousands, but drove American politics for the next decade.

The post-9/11 era has sometimes been compared with the Cold War era to understand the way security concerns can impact rights.  The Cold War era shares another feature with the post-9/11 years: a murkiness about causality.  Although library shelves are filled with studies about what the Cold War did, just how the Cold War acted in history is sometimes left to the imagination.  The Cold War is sometimes evoked as if it were a climate system – as in the “Cold War climate,” but this climate somehow nebulously drove politics and culture.  Sometimes the Cold War is treated like a “hot” war, but without attention to its different military characteristics.  Sometimes it is simply a time-span, but nevertheless retains its causal character.

Diplomatic historians devote themselves to running down the details and understanding how the domestic and global puzzle pieces fit together.  But legal scholars often employ the Cold War as a category without this precision.

Similarly, 9/11 is seen as setting into play a series of events, without attention to whether we need a causal stopping point.  This builds in an assumption that there was a direct and inevitable line from the terrorist attacks to the Global War on Terror, and to the way American domestic and military policies were formulated. This accords Osama bin Laden more power that he actually had.

The assumption that 9/11 directly caused post-9/11 American policy also obscures one of the experiences of September 11 itself: the profound confusion.  When the second plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center, the terrible shock was coupled with fear and anxiety, and the question of what on earth was going on.  President George W. Bush provided an answer:  the nation was at war.  The wartime frame provided the president with a powerful way to rally the nation.  Americans came to see 9/11 as the opening of a wartime, but this displaced competing arguments at the time about what 9/11 was, and how the nation should respond.

On this 10th anniversary, we should see 9/11 as a crisis that enabled a political moment.  In the face of this crisis, American leaders made choices.  The most important choice of all was how to frame the terrorist attacks – to call the crisis a war.

Al Qaeda succeeded in a devastating attack on September 11.  What the terrorists did not and could not do was to determine American policy and politics for the next decade.  Even if 9/11 changed the way Americans thought about the world, it could not determine the actions we would take in its aftermath.  It did not deprive American leaders of choices.

Cross-posted from Balkinization.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Exporting American Dreams -- Out in Paperback

My book Exporting American Dreams:  Thurgood Marshall's African Journey, has just been released in a new paperback edition, with a new afterword, by Princeton University Press.  Here's the book description:
Mary Dudziak's Exporting American Dreams tells the little-known story of Thurgood Marshall's work with Kenyan leaders as they fought with the British for independence in the early 1960s. Not long after he led the legal team in Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall aided Kenya's constitutional negotiations, as adversaries battled over rights and land--not with weapons, but with legal arguments. Set in the context of Marshall's civil rights work in the United States, this transnational history sheds light on legal reform and social change in the midst of violent upheavals in Africa and America. While the struggle for rights on both continents played out on a global stage, it was a deeply personal journey for Marshall. Even as his belief in the equalizing power of law was challenged during his career as a Supreme Court justice, and in Kenya the new government sacrificed the rights he cherished, Kenya's founding moment remained for him a time and place when all things had seemed possible.
And excerpts from a couple of reviews:
[A] work for the ages. Dudziak's Exporting American Dreams creatively juxtaposes the African American struggle for equality in law with the Kenyan struggle for political independence from white British colonial rule. . . . Dudziak casts Marshall as a bridge between two epochal quests for human dignity, drawing painful parallels. -- Makau Mutua, Human Rights Quarterly

[A] thought provoking and painstakingly researched journey through a crucial transformational moment in two nations' histories. . . . [W]e are invited to reflect on the potentials and core limits on liberalism, democracy, and law as paths to transformation and justice. -- Julie Novkov, Law and Politics Book Review

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cold War Civil Rights 2.0

A new edition of my first book, Cold War Civil Rights:  Race and the Image of American Democracy, is just out from Princeton University Press.  If you are a graduate student interested in civil rights during the Cold War era, I wrote the new preface for you!  Here's the Amazon link.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Available for Spring Course Adoptions

The official release date for War Time is February 6, 2012, but books should ship early enough for spring course adoptions.  (Books usually start to ship about a month before the pub. date.)

I've received queries about this, so I asked the press about what to tell teachers who want to assign the book for spring 2012 courses.  OUP advises that you place pre-orders with OUP.  That way copies will ship to you as soon as copies are available.  I'll post updates about this on the blog closer to the release date.

In the meantime, if you need more information about the book, please take a look at this site, which will be updated as more book information is available. Also, you might find it helpful to read the essay that led to the book, which can be downloaded for free from this site.  The book goes well beyond the essay, of course, and is written in a way that will (I hope) appeal to a broader readership than the law review essay.

If you need more information, please contact me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teaching 9/11

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks nears, and as teachers and scholars try again to make sense of it all, it might be helpful to look back at what happened in classrooms across the country ten years ago.  Here is a snippet from my Forward to a new issue of the Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, September 11:  Ten Years After, which has just been published.  For this excerpt, I relied on materials at the September 11 Digital Archive.  I draw from the same sources in chapter 4 of War Time.
In classrooms across the country on September 11, 2001, lesson plans were abruptly abandoned. Students and teachers gathered around televisions, sharing the sense that “history” was being made before their eyes. Patricia Latessa, a Cincinnati high school teacher, turned on the cafeteria television “and watched history unfold.” She reflected as she watched about how the scenes of airplanes flying into buildings would impact her students. “The world they knew was bifurcated, cut in half, a time before and a time after”. An unsettling day seemed to require upsetting usual practices. The British Literature teacher at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Omaha, Nebraska, burst into a French class during an exam, and turned on the television. At another high school, the principal ordered that the televisions be turned off at midday. Colin Riebel later recalled: “We, the students, revolted. We argued this was a huge part of our history and we had a right to know what was happening to our country. The school complied and let us watch the news again”.
Continue reading here.  Cross-posted from the Legal History Blog.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Forthcoming February 2012

War Time:  An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in February 2012.  You can pre-order the book from OUP or