Episode 29: Military Commissions, Military Officers in the Cabinet, the Laws of War, and More

August 1, 2017

This week’s episode certainly has a military theme.  Professors Chesney and Vladeck start off with a surprisingly (or is it disturbingly?) lengthy discussion of the writ of mandamus litigation currently pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in connection with military commission proceedings.  It’s like sitting in a Fed Courts class, except with worse jokes (doesn’t matter who your professor is, she or he surely was funnier than this). Then again, the topic turns out to be rather important for the larger questions surrounding the ability of the military commission system to move forward, so maybe it’s worth it.  Maybe.  Stick around, though, and you’ll be treated (again, probably not the right word) to an overview of the IHL/LOAC issues that were on the table at the recent Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict, which will give you a bit of perspective on the sort of questions that law of war experts think are especially interesting these days.  That’s followed by a civil-military relations discussion, one that pays particular attention to the origins and evolution of the statute that forbids serving military officers from holding certain civilian government positions (a cheap ploy to bring the recent Trump administration personnel moves within the scope of the podcast? maybe so, my friend, maybe so). Last, and least, the good professors wrap with a spoiler-packed review of Game of Thrones Episode 3, which aired a few days ago. One of these guys thinks that Tyrion’s reputation for strategic acumen is super-overrated…

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