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The HAW organizing committee is distributing
the following statement on the February 15 and 16 actions. Please pass
Historians Against the War join people gathering around the world
today to urge the United States and its "alliance of the willing"
to step back from the brink of war. As historians, we are particularly
disturbed by the misuse of history by those arguing in favor of starting
a war. This misuse has taken many forms. Unwarranted analogies–comparing
Germany in the 1930s to Iraq today, comparing Colin Powell urging war
to Adlai Stevenson urging peace–abound. The actual history of
U.S. involvement in Iraq, particularly our patronage of Saddam Hussein
throughout the 1980s, is forgotten or dismissed as irrelevant. The lessons
of history are rarely as easy to draw as some policy makers would want.
History does not repeat itself. But time and time again, war unleashes
forces that those who wage it never envisage. For most of the last century,
when our country has gone to war, these nightmares have been confined
to lands far away. After 9/11, in all likelihood they will also be visited
The statement we made last month is even more urgent today: "We historians call for a halt to the march towards war against Iraq. We are deeply concerned about the needless destruction of human life, the undermining of constitutional government in the U.S., the egregious curtailment of civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad, and the obstruction of world peace for the indefinite future."
Onward to February 15 and 16!