I am very happy to be a member of the American Historical Society and even happier that they have decided to tackle this current administration head on with a resolution titled "Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession."
Here is the resolution (which will be voted on by its members):
Whereas, The American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct emphasizes the importance of open inquiry to the pursuit of historical knowledge;
Whereas, the American Historical Association adopted a resolution in January 2004 re-affirming the principles of free speech, open debate of foreign policy, and open access to government records in furthering the work of the historical profession;
Whereas during the war in Iraq and the so-called war on terror, the current Administration has violated the above-mentioned standards and principles through the following practices:
- excluding well-recognized foreign scholars; condemning as "revisionism" the search for truth about pre-war intelligence;
- re-classifying previously unclassified government documents;
- suspending in certain cases the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus and substituting indefinite administrative detention without specified criminal charges or access to a court of law;
- using interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, Bagram, and other locations incompatible with respect for the dignity of all persons required by a civilized society;
Whereas a free society and the unfettered intellectual inquiry essential to the practice of historical research, writing, and teaching are imperiled by the practices described above; and
Whereas, the foregoing practices are inextricably linked to the war in which the United States is presently engaged in Iraq; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the American Historical Association urges its members through publication of this resolution in Perspectives and other appropriate outlets:
1. To take a public stand as citizens on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession; and
2. To do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.