Historians Against the War Statement on the U.S. Occupation of Iraq
(September 21, 2003)
As historians, teachers, and scholars, we oppose the expansion of United States empire and the doctrine of pre-emptive war that have led to the occupation of Iraq. We deplore the secrecy, deception, and distortion of history involved in the administration's conduct of a war that violates international law, intensifies attacks on civil liberties, and reaches toward domination of the Middle East and its resources. Believing that both the Iraqi people and the American people have the right to determine their own political and economic futures (with appropriate outside assistance), we call for the restoration of cherished freedoms in the United States and for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
American Historical Association Denounces the War in Iraq (March 13, 2007)
In an unprecedented step, the nation’s oldest and largest professional association of historians, the American Historical Association (AHA), has ratified a resolution condemning government violations of civil liberties linked to the war in Iraq. The resolution urges members “to do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.” In electronic balloting whose results were announced on March 12, some three-quarters of those voting supported the resolution, which was originally proposed by members of Historians Against the War (HAW), a national network of over two thousand scholars on more than four hundred campuses. The resolution had gained earlier acceptance from members attending the AHA’s annual meeting in Atlanta on January 6, 2007, and from the AHA Council, which decided to send the resolution out for ratification because of its sensitive nature.
“The outcome indicates the deep disquiet scholars feel about damage done to scholarly inquiry and democratic processes by this misbegotten war,” said Alan Dawley, Professor of History at The College of New Jersey and a former winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize, who was the initial mover of the resolution.
The American Historical Association was chartered by Congress in 1889. Past Presidents include two United States presidents who were also historians, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. President John F. Kennedy was also a member. According to current members, there is no instance in its 118-year history when the AHA has dissented from U.S. foreign policy. Staughton Lynd, a prominent supporter of a defeated 1969 resolution opposing the Vietnam war, comments: “Back then we asked historians not only to oppose the Vietnam war but to protest harassment of the Black Panthers and to call for freeing political prisoners. This resolution focuses on government practices that obstruct the practice of history. It asks the American Historical Association only to encourage its members, as individuals, in finding ways to end the war in Iraq."
In the weeks leading to the vote, many of the nation’s leading historians, such as Eric Foner of Columbia University and John Coatsworth of Harvard, both former AHA Presidents endorsed the resolution.
See more of Josh Brown's Life During Wartime