The following message is sent on behalf of the Steering Committee of Historians Against the War. Beth McKillen, who wrote it, is a Steering Committee member who teaches history at the University of Maine in Orono, where a HAW chapter is in formation with support from the Graduate Student History Association.
November 17, 2008
Fellow HAW members:
The election is over but the need for antiwar activism is not. Given the current economic crisis, it is more essential than ever that the new presidential administration move quickly to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States simply cannot afford to continue to float a $600-700 billion dollar defense budget if it hopes to deal in a creative fashion with the long chain of economic problems currently confronting the country, ranging from bank failures and plants closings, to job losses and home foreclosures. Yet, as you know, President-elect Obama has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq only to send them to Afghanistan instead. The time is ripe for a systematic reevaluation of the costs of U.S. empire.
With that goal in mind, Historians Against the War wishes to announce a new initiative. We would like to encourage HAW members to create inclusive local HAW chapters at their universities or in their communities designed to bring together undergraduate history majors, graduate history students, history professors, K-12 history teachers, and other historically-minded scholars and activists. The goals of such chapters would be several. First, such chapters would be designed to foster intellectual and political discussion across the traditional boundaries that often divide students and teachers and that sometimes isolate historians from their communities. Secondly, they they would be charged with planning local HAW events that would bring historical analysis to bear on current foreign policy crises and on the linkages between U.S. empire and the current economic distress. Finally, we hope that these groups will prove a source of ideas and energy for HAW itself.
If you are interested in building such a chapter, please contact Beth McKillen at Elizabeth.McKillen@umit.maine.edu.
The HAW Steering Committee