Welcome to the Blogosphere, Just Security!

by Kevin Jon Heller

Just Security is officially up and running. The lineup of contributors is amazing: the Editors-in-Chief are Steve Vladeck and Ryan Goodman; the Executive Editors are Mary deRosa, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer, Fionnuala Ni Aolian, and Beth Van Schaack; and the Founding Editors are too numerous too mention but all extremely well known. (I won’t play favorites by naming some of them.) Here is Steve and Ryan’s description of the blog:

Welcome to Just Security! We are delighted you found your way here, and we hope that you will return regularly. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re interested in the topic that defines our blog: U.S. national security law and policy (or you’re related to one of us). We thought we’d open things up by saying a few words about this project in general, as well as our plans for today and beyond.

We have assembled an extraordinary group of some of the most important and influential minds on U.S. national security law and policy. They include former top attorneys from the Department of State, Department of Justice, and National Security Council; outstanding civil society attorneys from the United States and abroad; some of the most prominent law professors in the field; and other leading voices.

Our Board of Editors will provide both immediate reactions to and more reflective analyses of important U.S. national security issues. We hope to become a ready resource for decision-makers, analysts, and practitioners who address difficult U.S. national security law issues, and an invaluable reference for those simply trying to stay abreast of the daily developments in this ever-moving field.

Just Security is obviously intended to be the progressive counterpart to the very conservative — though always excellent — Lawfare, and there is little doubt the blog will be successful. It’s a must-add to one’s RSS reader.

I do, however, feel compelled to register my objection to one aspect of Just Security: the absence of comments. (Which is also one of the worst aspects of Lawfare.) The blog touts three ways it will “engage with [its] readers”: letters to the editor, which may or may not be published; Facebook; and Twitter. None are capable of genuine dialogue — although I suppose that letters to the editor can at least create some give-and-take, depending on how quickly and how often they are posted. Facebook, however, is useless; I have regularly left Facebook comments on Lawfare for a long time, and I have yet to receive a single response. And we all know that it is impossible to make substantive points via 140-character tweets.

I understand why blogs don’t want comments, moderated or otherwise. All blogs attract trolls, and dealing with trolls is no fun. But I think the occasional nasty comment is a small price to pay for the genuine dialogue that comments make possible; I have had some amazing debates with readers here at Opinio Juris over the years, and those debates would not have happened if our blog followed the Just Security/Lawfare model. I hope Ryan and Steve will reconsider.

http://opiniojuris.org/2013/09/23/welcome-blogosphere-just-security/

3 Responses

  1. Lawfare is “very conservative”???  I would call it “centrist” (for Washington) smack dab between Think Progress and AEI.  

  2. Lawfare is centrist? I guess we could describe the blog as “statist” instead of conservative, but not a single member of the blog — with the exception of Steve — adopts or accepts the progressive critique of US national-security policy. When the blog offers critique, which is rare, it is almost always to argue that the Obama administration isn’t being tough enough on national-security issues.

  3. It’s only “centrist” if “Liberal” is located at the farthest left side of Mirabeau’s geography of the assembly, severing the Left traditions that should (and often do) subsume Liberalism. To call it centrist is to accept the shrinking of the parameters of “acceptable” political discourse as defined by mass media pundits that began with the temporary triumph of the Neoconservatives and crystallized with the hegemonic achievements of Neoliberal ideology. 

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