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Ethical Considerations: Law, Foreign Policy, and the War on Terror

25th Annual Morgenthau Memorial Lecture

Alberto J. Mora Alberto J. Mora

Dan Rather Dan Rather

For a study guide relating to this talk, click here.


JOEL ROSENTHAL: Good evening. Welcome to the 25th Annual Hans Morgenthau Memorial Lecture on Ethics and Foreign Policy. I am Joel Rosenthal, President of the Carnegie Council. This, as many of you know, is my favorite event of the year, and I am just delighted to be sharing it with all of you.

This year we have chosen to honor the memory of Professor Morgenthau by featuring a man who embodies and exemplifies ethics in public life, Mr. Alberto Mora. His story and his biography are outlined in the booklet that has been distributed.

Like Professor Morgenthau, Mr. Mora came to the United States to escape oppression and to fulfill a dream of freedom and opportunity. And, like Professor Morgenthau, he has spent a good deal of his life devoted to public policy—always speaking truth to power and providing a moral voice at a time when cynics and skeptics have held sway. Our Council is the voice for ethics in international policy, and tonight you will hear one of its most important voices in Mr. Mora.

Tonight you will also hear from another strong voice for ethics, Mr. Dan Rather. Mr. Rather is the world's journalist, a man whose moral compass was set in Wharton, Texas, and who has brought that solid, unwavering, hardworking, hometown virtue to the world.

Now, most of you have become used to the lights, cameras, and microphones that have become part of the furniture here. Our dream here at the Carnegie Council is becoming a reality. We are becoming an ethics studio for the world. People around the world now watch, listen, and read about what happens in this room through the magic of the web, podcasts, and the like. My sense is that most of them are looking for guidance, for ideas, for positive examples. Serving this worldwide audience is a great responsibility and a very large opportunity.

We are enormously grateful to Mr. Rather for being with us tonight to help us in this effort. This has been an especially busy time for him. His new show, "Dan Rather Reports," will premier on November 14 on HDNet, and we all look forward to tuning in to that.

I thank you all for coming, I thank Mr. Mora for giving us so much of his time and his energy, and I thank Mr. Rather for agreeing to preside with us this evening. Thanks.

DAN RATHER: Thank you very much for that overly generous introduction of the introducer. I think most of you know what honest Abe Lincoln said about introductions such as that one. He said, "Never take time to deny it. The audience will find out the truth soon enough for themselves." And so it will be with you. It is an honor to be here.

Our speaker tonight is a man who faced a test of duty and was not found wanting. As U.S. Navy General Counsel, the Navy's chief civilian lawyer, Alberto J. Mora believed that his greatest allegiance was to the Constitution and laws of the United States. When he acted on this conviction, he found himself in a battle with superiors in our government.

Keep in mind that, as the General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, the equivalent rank in the military would be a four-star admiral. Keep that in mind as we talk about what happened and as you listen to Mr. Mora later.

In 2002 Mr. Mora learned from Navy investigators that detainees at Guantánamo Bay were being subjected to harsh treatment, beyond the bounds of what was allowe

Read More: Torture, Human Rights, Just War Tradition, U.S. Foreign Policy, War on Terror, United States


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