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Experience April/May 2024

Governing the Ungovernable World of War

Seth D Kramer


  • What role does the rule of law play when war erupts and leaves disorder and devastation in its wake?
Governing the Ungovernable World of War
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At its most basic level, lawyering is about bringing order to chaos. The implementation of the rule of law in human endeavors has been a civilizing force throughout history.

Resolving disputes between business partners, dissolving marriages, prosecuting criminals, compensating people for negligence—these are all examples of chaotic events where part of a lawyer’s role is to help promulgate a system that will bring order to the chaos.

War is one of the most chaotic events imaginable.

It should then come as no surprise that the law has attempted to supply that order, in a multitude of ways.

The theme for this issue is the law and war, and we offer a lot of fascinating reading on the topic that you won’t find anywhere else.

Douglas Church uses a historical framework to set the stage for how we got to the legal framework for war that the world uses today. Then David Kaufman provides a comprehensive guide to the definitions and terms of art used to describe and analyze war and armed conflict. Very pointedly and lucidly, the article serves as a valuable resource to more fully understand world events.

The law has an impact on subjects even on the periphery of war. Asaf Lubin presents an interesting and unconventional way to look at the law of espionage. And Mona Ali Khalil passionately lays out the problems with the UN Peacekeeping system and what needs to be done to fix it.

Francis Morrison writes about the significance of his own experience with the selective service system and the need for a new version of mandatory national service. And Keshab Giri has an informative take on women in war historically, culturally, and presently.

In this year of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, Kevin McGoff shares a touching and heartfelt story about visiting the beaches in France that served as backdrop to the allied invasion of Europe in World War II. And Stephen Terrell talks about how war seemed cool when he was young—but then he grew up.

In addition, in his The Weakest Link column, Kaufman writes about the need to be streetwise as opposed to streetstupid. Norm Tabler provides his own take on the traits needed to be worthy of the title of curmudgeon.

Our frequent contributor Leasha West walks you through what happens when you or a loved one suffers a hospital stay so long that your Medicare benefits run out. That’s when lifetime reserve days kick in, and you need to be sure you understand it so you don’t get hit with big expenses.

In our tech column, Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene tackle the artificial intelligence revolution and how it will affect legal profession and you as a lawyer.

Finally, we have our playlist, this time highlighting songs with a war theme. Jeffrey Allen and I have compiled an intriguing list that we think you’ll enjoy—and want to add a few songs of your own. Please email your suggestions to me at [email protected]. Then watch the next issue of Voice of Experience, the monthly electronic newsletter of the Senior Lawyers Division, for these additions suggested by you, our readers.

I hope you find the issue as interesting as I did.