A Priest's Plan For U.S. Troops To Leave Iraq

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Below is an excerpt from "On Faith," an Internet feature sponsored by The Washington Post and Newsweek. Each week, more than 50 figures from the world of faith engage in a conversation about an aspect of religion. This week, the panel members were asked: Some political leaders say we need to get out of Iraq now. Others say we are obligated to stay and try to restore civil order and authority. What's the moral position? Is there one?

My prescription for a way out, I freely admit, is based on policy considerations, not necessarily a moral compass. My sense is that the best -- or rather, the least-damaging -- course would be to initiate a gradual pullout of U.S. forces, to be replaced by an international force. The United States would be morally obligated, in my judgment, to finance these forces as well as to pay reparations to the people of Iraq.

-- Randall Balmer, Episcopal priest, Ann Whitney Olin professor of American religious history, Barnard College; visiting professor, Yale Divinity School

To read the complete essay and see more "On Faith" online commentary, hosted by Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn, go tohttp://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith.

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