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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

What Do We Owe the Iraqis?

Banner what do we owe the Iraqis?

Andrew Bacevich, Boston University
Rev. Bryan Hehir, Harvard University / Archdiocese of Boston
Rev. Paul McNellis, S.J., Boston College

Moderator: Alan Wolfe, Boston College

Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Time: 5:00 - 6:30 PM
Location: Cushing 001

What is America's moral responsibility to the Iraqi people? The fifth anniversary of American military action in Iraq is rapidly approaching, and discussion of troop withdrawal dominates presidential primary debates. But what do American citizens owe the Iraqis? What does continued American action, reconstruction or withdrawal mean for our moral responsibility to a country that we invaded and to which we introduced radical change? Three distinguished professors will discuss the religious and moral implications of the American presence in Iraq.

headshot of Andrew Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University.  A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American diplomatic history from Princeton.  Before joining the faculty of Boston University in 1998, he taught at West Point and at Johns Hopkins. Bacevich is the author of several books, to include The New American Militarism:  How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005) and American Empire:  The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy (2002).  He is the editor of The Long War:  A New History of U. S. National Security Policy since World War II (2007) and Imperial Tense:  Problems and Prospects of American Empire (2003).  His essays and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of scholarly and general interest publications to include The Atlantic Monthly, The Wilson Quarterly, The London Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Nation, and The New Republic.  His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times among other newspapers. Bacevich is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

headshot of Rev. Bryan Hehir

Rev. J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also the Secretary for Social Services in the Archdiocese of Boston. Prior to assuming these positions, Father Hehir served as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA from 2001-2003. Before that he served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops in Washington, D.C. and served on the faculty at Georgetown University. He also served as faculty and later Dean of Harvard Divinity School. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1984. His research and writing focus on issues of ethics and foreign policy, Catholic social ethics and the role of religion in world politics and in American society. Hehir’s publications include: “The Moral Measurement of War: A Tradition of Continuity and Change”; “Military Intervention and National Sovereignty”; “Catholicism and Democracy”; “Social Values and Public Policy: A Contribution from a Religious Tradition”; and “The Moral Dimension in the Use of Force."

headshot of McNellis

Rev. Paul W. McNellis, S.J. is a member of the Philosophy Department at Boston College, where he has been teaching in the Perspectives Program since 2000. He was formerly director of the political philosophy program at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. McNellis completed his undergraduate degree in Asian Studies at Cornell University, holds additional degrees from Fordham University and the Gregorian University and a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Boston College. Before entering the Society of Jesus in 1977, he worked as a journalist in Vietnam and with Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia, where he was awarded the Chevalier du Sisowath by the government of the Khmer Republic for humanitarian service to refugees. From 1970-71 he served as an infantry officer with the US Army in Vietnam.