Small Wars Journal

Defending Hamdan: Opening Remarks

Defending Hamdan: Opening Remarks - Mike Innes, Complex Terrain Laboratory. Opening post of a CTLab symposium on the Hamdan trial.

I first came across Brian Williams - or rather, his work - a few years ago when I was starting to research sanctuary concepts and practices in the war on terror. Plumbing the depths of the International Studies Association's online paper archive, I stumbled across one that was unforgettably titled "Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-2005. Waging Counter-Jihad in Central Eurasia." It was an anomaly among IR papers, written by an historian, offering a deep contemporary narrative of Al Qaeda - and a page turner, written with great style.

Since then, I've had the great privilege to work with Brian on several occasions, including his work in two books that I've edited, with a third forthcoming. He was one of the first scholars I contacted when I was thinking about putting together CTlab. He is, perhaps, the most generous scholar with whom I've ever dealt. It was thus no great surprise, when I asked him if he'd consider drafting a blog post about his recent field research in Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, that he instead provided a detailed, 5000 word account of his role in the Hamdan trial...

Much of this has been mired in misunderstanding, hysterics and partisan politics. It made sense to leverage from Brian's generosity a unique opportunity to engage with these problems in an open, informal forum. We also wanted to explore the enabling potential of digital spaces in CTlab's development and offerings. About a month ago we starting polling potential participants, and here we are today.

Our multidisciplinary cohort of invited scholars, including representatives from across the disciplines - history, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, law - is truly global, based in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. They've published extensively and widely, and a fair number of them are inveterate bloggers. With that, I'd like to welcome our participants, as I cede the ether to them.


John Matthew Barlow (History, Concordia University)

David Betz (War Studies, King's College London)

Christian Bleuer (Political Science, Australian National University)

Craig Hayden (Int'l Communications, American University)

Kevin Jon Heller (Law, University of Auckland/University of Melbourne)

John Horgan (Psychology, Pennsylvania State University)

Thomas Johnson (Cultural Studies, Naval Postgraduate School)

Jason Ralph (Politics & International Studies, University of Leeds)

William Snyder (Law, University of Syracuse/Maxwell School)

Marc Tyrrell (Anthropology, Carleton University)

Tony Waters (Sociology, California State University, Chico)

L.L. Wynn (Anthropology, Macquarie University)

More at CTLab.