Mercyhurst hosts discussion panel on Afghanistan

Ashley Barletta, News editor

On Oct. 21, a panel discussion titled “Contemplating Afghanistan: The past, the present, the ethical challenges” took place in the Waterford Room in Ryan Hall. The ethical questions surrounding the U.S.’s withdraw from Afghanistan were considered by panelists throughout the discussion.

The Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society, or ELIES, was established in 2008 because of a grant given by Emily and John Costigan. It was named after Emily’s mother, Evelyn Jacobson Lincoln, a 1930 Mercyhurst graduate. To learn more about ELIES, visit the university website.

“The Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society does programming throughout the year to address the ethical questions facing the campus community locally and globally. Most of the programming of the institute is in the form of panels, speakers, and symposia,” said Verna Ehret, Ph.D, and director of ELIES.

A group of students were the catalyst for this discussion to be held. There were a slew of different perspectives on how the U.S. removed its troops from Afghanistan.

Jacob A. Mauslein, Ph.D, assistant professor of Intelligence Studies, said, “I think that the panel was an fantastic opportunity for the public to hear about the situation in Afghanistan from a variety of perspectives that are either misunderstood or lost in the news cycle.”

According to news sources, the decision to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan began with former President Trump. The Trump Administration negotiated an agreement with the Taliban to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, dropping U.S. troop levels by roughly eighty percent.

President Biden decided to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan completely because of how many American lives were lost during what he refers to as “America’s longest war” according to news sources.

On the other hand, it was risky to do this because Afghans no longer have the U.S. to help defend them from the Taliban. Now, the Afghan government has collapsed and the Taliban has failed to comply with the agreement made with the U.S.

The panelists who discussed the ethics of this situation were Mauslein of the Department of Intelligence Studies, Julia Morgan, Ph.D, of the Philosophy Department, and Brian Ripley, Ph.D, of the Political Science Department.

“Even though I was among the presenters, I feel I learned just as much from my co-panelists as those in the audience,” said Mauslein.

There was also a showing of the film “Mankiller: Activist, Feminist, Cherokee Chief ” on Nov. 4. This was held at 7:30 p.m. in the Mercy Heritage Room and followed by a discussion led by Ben Scharff, Ph.D, chair of the History Department.

“We are not only political beings, we are relational and moral beings, and that is why we had representation from the Multicultural Community Resource Center (MCRC),” said Ehret.