Michael Blake on the U.S.’s moral responsibility in leaving Afghanistan

Submitted by Kate Goldyn on
A handover ceremony as U.S. troops prepare to leave Afghanistan. Afghan Ministry of Defense Press Office via AP

Professor Michael Blake reflects on why the U.S. must not shirk at the moral responsibility in leaving Afghanistan, after a nearly 20-year presence of American military.

There are significant moral costs at stake in either remaining in or withdrawing from Afghanistan. As a political philosopher whose work focuses on international affairs, I have tried to understand how ethical reasoning might be applied to such cases.

The first, and most important, ethical question might be: Is the United States justified in withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan?

A second question might involve asking about how the moral wrongs that are likely to emerge in Afghanistan should weigh upon the American conscience. Should American political leaders regard these wrongs as, in some fashion, their responsibility?

More broadly, is it sometimes possible that, in doing the best available thing, we are nonetheless guilty of doing something morally wrong?

Read the entire article on The Conversation: “Why the US won’t be able to shirk moral responsibility in leaving Afghanistan.”