Serving in Afghanistan

I was just starting my solo law practice when I learned of the Sept. 11 attacks. I knew I had to do something, so I immediately began trying to join the military. It actually took several years to convince them that an old knee surgery would not prohibit me from serving. In 2005, I was finally commissioned as an officer in the Georgia Army National Guard.

In 2006, I volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, and I closed my practice. I was determined to serve there because that’s where the 9/11 terrorists originated. It was my responsibility to train Afghan judges, create a court and help establish the rule of law. I also organized humanitarian missions where we fed and clothed Afghan children.

People often ask me why we’ve been in Afghanistan for 10 years. What they don’t understand is that we’re not just waging war. We are trying to build a nation. Until you’ve been there and seen it with your own eyes—the abject poverty, the utter lack of education and the absence of a functional legal infrastructure—things that we all take for granted—you can’t begin to understand the enormity of the task.

I am proud of what our military has accomplished in Afghanistan. My service there was a life-changing experience for me. I know that I made a difference.

My time in Afghanistan made me realize how fortunate we are to have our legal system, so when I came home I looked for different ways to contribute to it. I restarted my solo litigation practice and became a mediator and a part-time magistrate court judge.

My most gratifying work, however, is serving as a member of the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission. I know all too well the importance of an effective and trustworthy judiciary because I have seen what happens to a nation without it.

Scott D. Delius has a solo civil litigation practice, is a part-time Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge and is a mediator with Miles Mediation and Arbitration Services. A captain in the Georgia Army National Guard, he serves as the command judge advocate for the Guard’s 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Columbus. Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him to the Judicial Nominating Commission in January 2011.