In San Jose, the members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) approved resolutions condemning the occupation of Iraq and the use of torture. The events of Saturday's meeting do represent a "noteworthy democratic moment in the history of American anthropology and in higher academia's struggle to retain some control over the knowledge it produces", anthropologist David Price writes in The Counterpunch:
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.
The resolutions were co-written by Roberto González, an associate professor of anthropology at San Jose State University, and Kanhong Lin, a graduate student in anthropology at American University.
UPDATE 2 (11.12.06
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