Iraq presents one of the most difficult moral conundrums faced by U.S. foreign policy in a generation. Those who opposed the original intervention in Iraq on moral grounds are tempted to conclude that, since it was immoral to go in, it must be immoral to stay. That approach, however, fails to distinguish between the ethics of intervention and the ethics of exit.
Gerard Powers, who has directed policy studies at the institute since 2004, will speak about the central moral issue of the war-the nature and extent of U.S. responsibilities to the Iraqi people-and what the U.S. owes Iraq if we are to have moral clarity about when and how the U.S. exits Iraq.
Powers also is coordinator of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, which links scholars and Catholic leaders from countries torn by war in an effort to enhance the study and practice of conflict prevention, conflict management, and post-conflict reconciliation. He is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on the theology, ethics and practice of Catholic peacebuilding and "Peacemaking: Moral and Policy Challenges for a New World" (1994).
From 1998 to 2004, Powers was director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. From 1987 to 1998, he was a foreign policy advisor in the same office, specializing in European affairs, religious liberty, and the ethics of the use of force.
Powers has been an adjunct faculty member at the National Law Center of George Washington University and the Oblate School of Theology. He has a J.D. and M.A. in theology from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. from Princeton University. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he attended University School in Hunting Valley.