Stranger Fruit

Academic activism

David H. Price writes:

In San Jose, on Saturday evening, November 18, 2006, the rank and file members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) attending the Association’s business meeting approved resolutions condemning the occupation of Iraq and the use of torture. …

The first resolution condemns the American occupation of Iraq; calls for an immediate withdrawal of troops, the payment of reparations, and it asks that all individuals committing war crimes against Iraqis be prosecuted. This statement passed with little debate or dissent.

The second resolution condemns not only the use of torture by the Bush administration, but it denounces the use of anthropological knowledge in torture and extreme interrogations. The AAA’s statement stands in stark contrast with the American Psychological Association’s ambivalent policies which provides psychologists working in military and intelligence settings with some cover should they wish to assist in extreme interrogations or torture. One of the concerns underlying this resolution comes from reports by Seymour Hersh that CIA interrogators consulted anthropological works such as Raphael Patai’s book, The Arab Mind, to better design culture-specific means of torture and interrogation. This resolution passed unanimously with little debate.

Comments

  1. #1 grigory
    November 22, 2006

    How can the United States have the hubris to withdraw from Iraq now? A “regime change” in the senate and congress does not abrogate national responsibility for the mistake that has been made… yes, soldiers are dying, and the american electorate is opposed to the war that they supported just a few years ago … but it’s worse to leave the country now when the lid is already about to blow off. The American presence there certainly catalyzed the ongoing civil strife, but the violence will only be exacerbated by a withdrawal … leaving Iraq right now would actually be worse than reinstalling Saddam. I’ve been against the war from the start, but I don’t think the fickleness of the American public should determine the ultimate fate of, say, the Kurds. Just my opinion.

  2. #2 John Lynch
    November 23, 2006

    > … the hubris …

    That word does not mean what you think it does.

    > when the lid is already about to blow off.

    Already has blown off.

    > I’ve been against the war from the start, but I don’t think the fickleness of the American public should determine the ultimate fate of, say, the Kurds. Just my opinion.

    “Stay the course” as the death tolls for Iraqi civilians and US soldiers rise. “Stay the course” for how long? Until there is peace in the Middle East? Are US forces actually a perturbing factor in the system or are they actually preventing violence? Take a guess at which answer is probably neared the truth.

    Oh, and by the way, you missed the whole point of the extract I quoted. Have a read of it again.

  3. #3 grigory
    November 23, 2006

    Sorry!
    you’re right that I got it all wrong. Also, I don’t know why I misused “hubris”… I was drunk! (seriously)

  4. #4 grigory
    November 23, 2006

    Hello again… I’m sober this time, and humbled. I think I meant to say “audacity” instead of hubris. I’m just a lowly high school student… I guess I’m not ready to tangle with the big boys after all. One more thing, though:

    “Are US forces actually a perturbing factor in the system or are they actually preventing violence? Take a guess at which answer is probably neared the truth.”

    Well that’s just it, isn’t it: it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen. It seems to me that they should stay there until some kind of international force can be deployed. I don’t think you can really say which one is closer to the truth. Neither can I, but my intuition tells me that things will get much worse… there might be a Kurdish genocide, for example. Iran and Syria will move in to fill the power vacuum. It’s not inconceivable that Turkey might find an excuse to invade the Kurdish areas. So as unpleasant as it is for me to side with Mr. Bush on this one issue, I think it has to be “stay the course” until there can be a) an iraqi government that can maintain control or b) an international force in place to prevent an all out massacre. I’m sorry to say that America should pay whatever price is to be paid for the mess that they have created. Accountability has to last longer than one election cycle…