Escalating violence in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of 24 US soldiers since Saturday, and the Pentagon just reported that IED attacks are taking place at an unprecedented rate. (The number of planted bombs is “at an all-time high,” Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell told the Washington Post, defying American efforts to stanch the vicious sectarian bloodshed in Baghdad that has the country on the cusp of civil war.) Unsurprisingly, the latest CNN poll reports that 66 percent of Americans currently disapprove of the job the President is doing in Iraq.
Why is the United States still occupying Iraq? How and when can we withdraw? How does the Iraqi occupation relate to the current crisis in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon? What are the prospects for a new war in Iran or Syria? How and why is the Bush Administration expanding the powers of the Executive Branch? What are the domestic effects of the administration’s commitment to a prolonged “war on terrorism?”
Historians Against the War (HAW), formed in 2003 to oppose the Iraq invasion, is urging professors and students nationwide to organize National Teach-Ins from October 17 to November 7 to address these questions. There are currently more than thirty events planned coast to coast with many more in the works. The exact formats and themes will reflect the specific identities and issues of each respective institution but the common bond will be a revulsion against this war, an accounting of the multilayered costs it has exacted, and a renewed commitment to bringing the troops home.
Check out HAW’s website if you’d like to organize something yourself. The group is currently lining up speakers, offering suggestions on logistics and planning, and faciliating connections between student groups and national organizations such as Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Parents and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Click here to see if there’s a teach-in near you, and sign and circulate HAW’s statement against the war. Any historian, historically-minded scholar, teacher, or student of history is eligible.