In the video we watched together, In Memoriam: New York City: 9/11/01, we saw some awful images - maybe they were new for you, maybe not.
I'd like you to answer a couple of questions:
1. Pretend you don't know anything about what's happened in the six and a half years since 9/11/01 - just pretend. How would you want America to respond to this attack that left 3,000 dead and over 15,000 wounded?
A few things to think about when you answer this question: Would you respond militarily by attacking Al-Qaeda? Would you respond diplomatically by trying to isolate Al-Qaeda economically and help eliminate the sources of poverty? Would you work to improve America's image within the Arab world? Or is there another alternative? What could Americans have done at home to make a difference? (include some of your notes from the video here).
2. Question #2 - Do you believe that the Presidential candidates will be able to do what they say about Iraq? Why or why not?
Alternate question #2 (in case you don't like the first question #2) - Should we remain in Iraq and stabilize the country, withdraw gradually, or leave as quickly as possible? Why?
The Iraq War is now coming up on its 5th year anniversary and few see an end in sight. Click here for the latest opinions on the war from Gallup Poll : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCAaYzFdrm0 (it's very short -only 1:30 long).So far, almost 4,000 American soldiers have been killed and over 15,000 injured. The war has cost over $3.1 trillion dollars, and America is in the middle of a recession. Gas prices are predicted to hit $4.00 by Memorial Day (a little over 2 months away) and oil prices keep hitting new historic high prices ()$108 a barrel just the other day - 3/11/08). Americans are divided over the war and how to finish the war.
Obama, Clinton and McCain are debating what to do with Iraq and Afghanistan - should I stay or should I go now? Many Americans think that by leaving too early we will leave Iraq as a breeding ground for terror (much like Afghanistan turned into one in the 1990s). Others feel like we need to increase the number of troops. Others feel like that we broke Iraq, we need to fix it.
John McCain: "A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units."
Hillary Clinton: "The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. " http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/
Barack Obama: "Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda." http://www.barackobama.com/issues/
Each of your answers to the questions should be a minimum of 100 words.
This song, "Belief", by John Mayer fits this conflict between America and radical Islam so well:Is there anyone who / Ever remembers changing there mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls / Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time
Everyone believes / In how they think it ought to be
Everyone believes / And they're not going easily
Belief is a beautiful armor / But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water / You never can hit who you're trying for
Some need the exhibition / And some have to know they tried
It's the chemical weapon / For the war that's raging on inside
Everyone believes / From emptiness to everything
Everyone believes / And no ones going quietly
We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for
What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand
Belief can / Belief can
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand
Belief can / Belief can
I felt that this picture of the parents of Marine Sgt. Robert Courtney, killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq on October 30, 2004, fit the song well("what puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand?"). For every number that we hear on the news... "3 American soldiers killed by a mortar attack in Fallujah..." there is a whole group of people behind that one person who was killed or wounded. This is the human cost of what is being done in Iraq and Afghanistan.