“Was blind, but now I see”

Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy points to this remarkable essay by a “human shield’ whose experience in Iraq changed his mind. I have to give the author credit for being able to change his mind in the face of new information and willing to say so in public. Still, how could anyone really have doubted the totalitarian nature of the Iraqi regime?

Stories like this one are one reason I get so unreasonably upset about political and journalistic (including bloggic) mendacity. After a while, it creates a situation in which intelligent people can entertain doubt about the most transparently obvious facts. Only an unbending commitment to “saying the thing that is” can keep us sane in a complex world.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com