Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Enhancing the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding

Exit or No Exit from Iraq? September 18, 2007

Held at Pope Auditorium on the campus of Fordham University in New York City, a follow up forum on the ethics of exit from Iraq by the United States and its allies was held. As the results of the “surge” in U.S. involvement become apparent, a panel of distinguished ethicists examined the moral principles that should govern when and how the United States disengages from Iraq.

This forum built on a major 2005 Fordham Center on Religion and Culture conference, “The Ethics of Exit,” which examined the conditions for a just withdrawal from Iraq.

Among the items that were considered were the 2005 insurgency that was overshadowed by a deepening civil war marked by extraordinary sectarian violence. Neighboring countries were taking sides among the warring factions; reconstruction had stalled; civilians from Shiite and Sunni urban communities had become refugees and Internally Displaced Persons; and, Iraqis associated with the U.S. presence faced special dangers. Al Qaeda had established a growing presence while public opinion had taken a decisive turn against the war.

Panelists were:
• Michael Walzer
Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, author of Just and Unjust Wars and Arguing About War

• Sohail Hashmi
Associate Professor of International Relations and
Alumnae Foundation Chair in the Social Sciences at
Mount Holyoke College; editor of Islamic Political Ethics
and author of The Islamic Ethics of War and Peace

• Jean Bethke Elshtain
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity
School and author of Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World

• Gerard F. Powers
Director of Policy Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies,University of Notre Dame;
former Director, Office of International Justice and Peace,
U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Panel was moderated by Trudi Rubin, foreign affairs columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer, who had covered Middle East, Russian and Eastern European politics for thirty years.

This forum was sponsored by the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Here is a brief article on the forum by Beth Griffin of the Catholic News Service.

Here is the transcript of the conference (PDF document).