Resolution on US Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession
AHA Staff, February 2007
Editor's Note: At its January 7, 2007, meeting, the AHA Council accepted the resolution on U. S. Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession, but because the resolution came into the Association too late to be published in the December 2006 issue of Perspectives prior to the business meeting where it was passed, and because of its intrinsic importance, the Council believes its acceptance should be ratified by a majority of those voting in an e-mail ballot of the membership.
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:
- To take a public stand as citizens on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession; and
- To do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.
[Members participated in a discussion forum from February 15-28, 2007.]