Mark Martins at Harvard Law School

Mark Martins at Harvard Law School

Jack Goldsmith notes at Lawfare:

Last Monday Harvard Law School conferred its medal of freedom on one of its graduates, General Mark Martins, Commander of the Rule of Law Field Force -Afghanistan.  The Harvard National Security Journal has just posted the speech, with slides, that General Martins gave for the occasion.

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Benjamin Davis
Benjamin Davis

I well recognize that Harvard Law School may wish to honor one of its own and from the tone of the event that is described one can imagine the bonhomie in the room.  I also recognize that the military generals take on their tasks at the request of the civilians to whom they are ultimately responsible.  And those civilians are in turn put in place by our choices in our elections. With that having been said, after reading his speech and viewing the slides I did have a certain number of qualms.  It is in the nature of a general’s speech to not question the mission – at least publicly – and so we can understand why the tone is in the manner it is.  For me though,  I think  the tone is a bit too self-congratulatory for the United States, a bit too optimistic about the likely outcomes, and a bit too encouraging of amnesia by those listening.  I have seen these kinds of things done before so I take this opportunity as a lowly citizen but also a Harvard grad to step away from what must have been the ambient bonhomie in that room. I step away for… Read more »