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Monday, October 27, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 10/27/14: 38 Organizations Support Diplomacy with Iran

Historians Against the War was among 38 organizations signing-on to the following letter to Congress on October 23, opposing efforts by some members of Congress to effectively sabotage peaceful negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.


Dear United States Senators and Members of the House of Representatives: 


We are organizations representing millions of Americans advocating in support of diplomacy to secure an agreement which ensures that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon. We write to express deep concern with inaccurate and counterproductive rhetoric from a handful of Members of Congress regarding possible outcomes of the current negotiations.


Particularly irresponsible are threats to oppose any comprehensive agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program that initially suspends US sanctions on Iran through lawful executive action. Congress' authorization of the President's power to suspend and re-impose US sanctions on Iran is clear and unmistakable in each piece of legislation it has passed on the subject. Use of these provisions by the President to implement the initial phase of an agreement that ensures Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon would reflect an affirmation, not a subversion, of Congress' will.


Suspending select sanctions on Iran – in the manner authorized by Congress – in the early stages of implementing such an agreement would allow the administration to immediately snap these measures back into place in the event of non-compliance by Iran. We agree with the administration's view that, beyond the essential consultation role played by Congress throughout the present negotiations, it will ultimately fall to Congress to authorize any permanent sanctions relief under an agreement. This is the best arrangement for the United States to uphold its terms under an agreement while ensuring that permanent sanctions relief is conditioned on Iran's compliance with its own obligations.


Separately, we are disappointed to hear some Members of Congress also threaten to oppose any agreement that does not completely "eliminate" or "dismantle" Iran's uranium enrichment infrastructure. It is troubling that these members would fail to support a workable agreement which verifiably ensures that Iran would not be able to quickly amass material for nuclear weapons and would ensure that any such effort would be promptly detected and disrupted by the United States and the international community. A naïve insistence on complete Iranian capitulation on enrichment will likely lead to the fracturing of the international sanctions regime, an unrestricted and unmonitored Iranian nuclear program, and yet another war in the Middle East.


We look forward to remaining in touch on this important issue.


Americans for Peace Now

Arms Control Association

Brave New Films

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Center for International Policy

Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness


Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Council for a Livable World


Daily Kos

Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Exchange

Historians Against the War

Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

International Civil Society Action Network

J Street

Just Foreign Policy


National Council of Churches

National Iranian American Council

National Security Network

Peace Action

Peace Action West

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Progressive Democrats of America

Roots Action

Tikkun Magazine's Interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United for Peace and Justice

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society


U.S. Labor Against the War

Vet Voice Foundation


Win Without War

Women's Action for New Directions

Monday, October 20, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 10/20/14, including links to recent articles of interest

Note: In addition to the article links below, here are two links recommended by individuals active in HAW:  (1) a petition for Columbus Day to be renamed Indigenous Peoples Day; announcement of a "One Book, Many Communities" initiative of Librarians and Archivists for Palestine, starting with discussions of Susan Abulhawa's novel Mornings in Jenin in January..

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted October 17
A detailed article comparing Congressional resolutions and letters on the Gaza war with evidence provided by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other sources.

By James W. Loewen, History News Network, posted October 17
James Loewen is the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America, among other books.

By Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch.com, posted October 16
The author served with the State Department in Iraq and has written extensively about the experience

Interview with Andrew J. Bacevich, Aljazeera America, posted October 15
Andrew Bacevich is a professor of history emeritus at Boston University.

By William J. Astore, TomDispatch.com, posted October 14
The author is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who teaches history at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

By Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog, posted October 14
The author is a visiting professor in Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

By Juan Cole, History News Network, posted October 12
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan; the article contains much historical background on events in Yemen.

By William Loren Katz, CommonDreams.org, posted October 11
The author has written numerous popular books on U.S. history.

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, History News Network, posted October 10
The author's An Indigenous People's History of the United States was published by Beacon Press this month.

By Conn Hallinan, Portside.org, posted October 9
Traces the emergence of rival centers of power in global affairs

The above list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, benefiting from suggestions by Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, and an anonymous reader.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 10/9/14: Links to recent articles of interest

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By William Pfaff, TruthDig.org, posted October 7

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted October 7

By Paul R. Pillar, The National Interest blog, posted October 6
The author spent 28 years with the CIA and now teaches at Georgetown University in security studies.

Interview with Daniel Ellsberg by Barbara Koeppel, CommonDreams.org, posted October 6

By Philip J. Cunningham, Informed Comment blog, posted October 6

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post, posted October 3
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston Univesity, is now a fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

By Scott McConnell, The American Conservative, posted October 1
Subtitle is "Netanyahu tries a terrorist bait and switch, like the one that worked against Saddam."

By the National Security Archive, posted October 1
Includes links to the relevant documents

By Robert F. Worth, New York Review of Books, posted September 16
Review essay on books by Juan Cole and Shadi Hamid

This list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to Frank Brodhead, Mim Jackson, Rosalyn Baxandall, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included above.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

[haw-info] Vietnam Commemoration---Important Sign-on Letter

From: Historians Against the War Steering Committee

Next year, the United States Government will be commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War The following letter has originated with John McAuliff, Tom Hayden and David Cortwright. They are especially interested in receiving support from historians. Text is pasted in below. If you would like to sign it, you can use this link.


Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee

2000 M Street NW, Suite 720
Washington, DC 20036

Lt. Gen. Claude M. "Mick" Kicklighter
Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program
1101 Wilson Blvd. Ste. 810
Arlington, Va. 22209

Dear Gen. Kicklighter,

We write on behalf of many veterans of the American peace movement during the Vietnam era with a deep concern that taxpayer funds and government resources are being expended on a one-sided, three-year, $30 million educational program on the "lessons of Vietnam" to be implemented in our nation's schools, universities and public settings.

We believe this official program should include viewpoints, speakers and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

We support the announced purpose of honoring our veterans for their idealism, valor and sacrifices, assuming that the full diversity of veterans' views is included. As you know, anti-war sentiment was widely prevalent among our armed forces both during and after service, and was certainly a factor in bringing the war to a close.

Our current Secretary of State, John Kerry, was an important example of GI anti-war commitment. He served with distinction, was wounded in battle, eloquently testified in Congress and joined with Vietnam Veterans Against the War to return ribbons and medals in protest at the Capitol.

No commemoration of the war in Vietnam can exclude the many thousands of veterans who opposed it, as well as the draft refusals of many thousands of young Americans, some at the cost of imprisonment or of exile until amnesty was granted. Nor can we forget the millions who exercised their rights as American citizens by marching, praying, organizing moratoriums, writing letters to Congress, as well as those who were tried by our government for civil disobedience or who died in protests. And very importantly, we cannot forget the millions of victims of the war, both military and civilian, who died in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, nor those who perished or were hurt in its aftermath by land mines, unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange and refugee flight.

These are serious official historical omissions which cause a flawed understanding of lessons we need to absorb as a country

Your official commemoration should be an opportunity to hear, recognize and perhaps reconcile or heal the lasting wounds of that era. If the US government cannot provide a bridge for crossing that Vietnam divide, how can we urge reconciliation in other parts of the world where sectarian tensions are on the rise? We believe, as did such a huge proportion of the US population decades ago, that the Vietnam war was a mistake. No commemoration of the war can ignore that view. How else can we as a nation hope to learn the lessons of Vietnam, to avoid repeating that mistake over and over again?

The commemoration can also provide a model for international reconciliation by respecting the growing ties between the US and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Whether current reality is seen as a hopeful illustration of moving beyond old conflicts or as evidence the war was unnecessary, the commemoration should not reopen wounds with new friends in Indochina by conveying a one-sided view of our shared history.

Please consider that our government is restricted by laws and precedents from subsidizing "viewpoint discrimination", in the phrase of respected constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine law school. Dean Chemerinsky cites the US Supreme Court decision, Rosenberger v. The University of Virginia [1995] where the Court found that students at a state-supported institution could not be denied the same benefits that other student groups received simply because of the nature of their views. Other laws and regulations going back to the 1950s forbid the government from using appropriated funds for self-aggrandizing propaganda or "puffery." In 1987, the US Government Accounting Office [GAO] investigated and chastised the State Department for funding propaganda pieces on Central America to influence public opinion in the United States.

As we observe the fiftieth anniversary of the war and the concurrent anti-war movement, we would like you to consider the following:

[1] an immediate meeting to explore the differences and similarities of our perspectives;
[2] a voice for peace advocates in reviewing and preparing educational materials;
[3] a mechanism for attempting to resolve factual disputes as to the war's history;
[4] invitations to peace advocates, as appropriate, to public conferences and dialogues sponsored by your agency;
[5] an exploration of your possible presence at the fiftieth anniversaries of the teach-ins and first march against the Vietnam War next spring.

Thank you for your consideration.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

[haw-info] Possible HAW New York City group/Protest at NY Senators' offices on Monday, October 6

I am interested in forming a HAW chapter in the greater NYC metropolitan area.  If you are a HAW supporter in New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey who  would like to be on a contact list for possible actions, information sharing, alerts, etc., please write me back.  Our first chance for a joint activity is to form a contingent at the Jewish Voices for Peace protest outside the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand this Monday, October 6, see below.  I will be there with our banner--let's stand up for Palestine, and stand up as historians!

Looking forward to hearing from many of you, and please feel free to forward to any other historians you know, let's make this contingent as big as possible,

Van Gosse

780 Third Ave (between 48th and 49th Sts)
Monday, October 6
11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (for as long as you can)

Let's tell our Senators and the broader community:
Israel's ongoing human rights violations are absolutely unacceptable!
US financial support for Israeli human rights violations is entirely unacceptable!

Among Israel's more recent human rights violations and war crimes are:

  • Arbitrary raids
  • Arrests and detentions of Palestinians— sometimes for months or years— without trial
  • Mass confiscations of Palestinian lands and home demolitions
  • Bombings and assassinations of civilians in Gaza, in homes, mosques, beaches, hospitals and UN schools

We demand that our Senators hold hearings to apply to Israel the provisions of US law (Foreign Assistance Act, Leahy Law) that require Congress to cut off US aid to a country's armed forces that have committed a "gross violation of human rights."

Our actions will include:

  • Holding signs with our messages on a picket line
  • Simulating a mock check-point
  • Reading the names of the Palestinians killed by the IDF in Gaza
  • Music from the great Dave Lippman and the irresistible Rude Mechanical Orchestra (invited);
  • Street theatre of all types
  • A rally at the end of the day
  • Handing out our leaflets and talking to passersby—and more!

CO-SPONSORED by Jewish Voice for Peace/NY and Jews Say No! ENDORSED BY Adalah NY; CODEPINK NYC; Defense for Children International Palestine; Direct Action Front for Palestine (DAFP);Granny Peace Brigade; JVP-Westchester; Middle East Crisis Response; Palestinian Rights Committee of Upper Hudson Peace Action; Palestine sub-committee, National Lawyers Guild; Northern Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice; SJP SUNY New Paltz; WESPAC Foundation; WE WILL NOT BE SILENT (list in formation]

Van Gosse
Department of History
Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster PA 17604-3003

For scholarly, political, and musical writings go to:

For all kinds of useful material, including Portside and the Radical History Review, go to the website of the Post-Capitalist Project: