Monday evening, we headed over to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square (exterior pictured at left) to hear remarks by Alan Greenspan.
I say "hear" because the store's 4th Floor event space was so packed we weren't able to see the former Federal Reserve Board Chairman. I was disappointed that the session turned out to be more book-signing than speech. But, it was interesting to hear him speak about his youthful interest in baseball and his time as a musician. He also did some Nixon-bashing.
Yesterday evening, we went to a forum at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus called "Exit or No Exit? Morality and Withdrawal from Iraq." It was sponsored by the university's Center on Religion and Culture.
Nearly every seat in the auditorium was filled for this session featuring four prominent ethicists -- two who favor a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sooner rather than later, and two who maintain the United States has a moral duty to keep troops in Iraq until the country is reasonably secure (since the U.S. caused the instability).
To my mind, the most compelling of the speakers was Jean Bethke Elshtain (pictured at right). She was in the later category. Professor Elshtain spoke about her work on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (which I did not know exists).
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the forum came when the moderator posed this question from an audience member:
"Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to stay in Iraq until the democracy there is stable -- or would it be permissible for U.S. troops to exit with a dictator in place who brings stability?"
The crowd sighed with resignation. The speakers were uncertain.