Dear HAW Members and Friends,
We are writing on behalf of the Steering Committee of Historians Against the War to encourage you to plan teach-ins or other public events on your campus or in your community during Fall 2010. President Obama has said that US policy in Afghanistan would be reviewed at the end of this calendar year. This autumn may offer the opportunity for renewed public debate on the Afghanistan war and on US foreign policy more generally.
If you plan such an event, or if you have already planned one, please let us know and we can feature the events on the HAW website. HAW is in the process of putting together a possible speaker’s list and a how-to kit to facilitate the organizing of these events. They are not done yet, but for an idea of previous resources, please see http://historiansagainstwar.org/teachin.
The Steering Committee encourages the partnering of scholarly speakers with antiwar veterans’ organizations in staging these teach-in events. The partnering of academic speakers with antiwar veterans, who have first-hand experience based on their deployment in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, will strengthen the presentations and increase understanding of the current US military actions in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Two links to antiwar veterans groups and other peace organizations are below, and a list for a HAW speaker's bureau will be ready for friends and supporters shortly.
Iraq Veterans Against the War-(IVAW) searchable list of regional and local contacts: http://www.iraqveteransagainstthewar.com/chaptersandregions
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) searchable list of local and regional peace organizations: http://unitedforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=27
We thank you for your interest. We look forward to your response and to assisting you with this important endeavor.
Inquiries and event announcements can be sent to:
Matt Bokovoy, Staughton Lynd and Carl Mirra for the Historians against the War Steering Committee
HAW Statement on the Afghanistan War
1. Whatever views we hold on the initial US military intervention in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US, it is now clear that the US/NATO presence in this country has become an occupation, increasingly resented and opposed by large sections of the population.
2. Despite the relief that met removal of the totalitarian Taliban government by US and NATO forces, the new government, chosen under the direction of the Bush administration, has distanced itself from the people, is rent with corruption, and barely governs anything. Outside of Kabul, warlords and criminal elements operate with impunity, the opium trade grows, violence -- including violence by the occupation forces -- proliferates, and the Taliban is resurgent.
3. The support for fundamentalist warlords and the corrupt Karzai regime demonstrate that the purpose of US policy in Afghanistan is not to support the self-determination of the Afghan people, but to extend the bankrupt global war against terror deeper into Central Asia, and to strengthen US geopolitical power in this region. The US/NATO war on Afghanistan is not a "good war" in contrast to the "bad war" on Iraq.
4. The current consensus in higher political circles, including both major party candidates for president, that the war in Afghanistan must be escalated will only deepen the regional crisis and suffering of the Afghan people. The historical experience of other outside powers trying to control Afghanistan (most spectacularly, the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989, invading from next door over a wide common border) suggests that even a greatly escalated US/NATO war effort will only multiply the deaths and the suffering.
5. The US and NATO should immediately begin withdrawing their military and political assets from Afghanistan so that the Afghan people can have room to decide their own future. Continued US/NATO action in the country is a large part of the problem and cannot be the solution.
6. We call for regional agreement among Afghanistan's neighbors to guarantee Afghan stability, to preserve the ethnic and religious diversity of the country, to assure the full participation of women in social life, and to provide space for all of the people of Afghanistan to fully exercise their right to self-determination.