We are engaging in an intellectual exercise that will not have world-shattering consequences and we are doing it in spite of that. Obviously this is the condition of most people who write: throwing a letter into the ocean in the forlorn hope that it will be picked up. But for intellectuals to write and speak in the full knowledge of their limited influence is, at least on first sight, a curiously pointless undertaking. And yet, it's the best that we could hope for.But if I'm proud of any of my non-academic contributions, it is still this: during the discussiosn that led up to the Iraq War I said "no". I said it in a reasonably prominent forum at a time when almost everyone else - including many of my friends and peers - was saying "yes".
让我开心的是Judt提到了如果一个国家可以distort law 来实现自己别的政治目的，那么其他国家也可以这么做。去年在counter terrorism的课上老师问我们，如果你们是当时美国总统的legal advisor, 他问你是否可以进攻伊拉克，你会怎么建议？把自己真的放进legal advisor的角色之中（哪怕就那么短短的几分钟）都已经能感受到一种压力了。有同学说这感觉很难，因为在那种情形下我心里知道总统可能希望我的回答是yes. 我说 I would suggest no because once you started to instrumentalize the law, other States could do the same when similar or not so similar situations arise. 老师说，then you will be fired. 我无语...不过后来老师说，legal adivsor不是decision maker, legal advisor的责任是把所有可能的法律后果说清楚，至于怎么做决定不是你可以控制的,也不应该是你操心的。所以我们老师采取的也是一种非常modest的态度，正是因为知道法律的有限，才不任意妄为地去曲解法律，否则法律只会沦为强权的外衣（而且是可以随时丢弃的外衣）而不能在它有限的领域内发挥作用。但是有的lawyer已经把自己当做decision maker, 为了用法律为政治辩护，甚至放弃了法律本身对于逻辑的要求。