A Series of Webquests
By Laura Thompson
Historical Context – On a sunny Tuesday morning, New Yorkers looked skyward as the shadow of a passenger jet darkened the sky. They watched in horror as the plane, never slowing, crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. Millions of television viewers nationwide would watch in horror as a second plane slammed into the second tower. Thus would begin a new era in America history—the post-9/11 world.
Driving Question: Construct a plan of action for the US government that will effectively counter future terrorist threats. Remember your plan must consider legal and moral bounds.
The following documents present information about the relationship between America and the Arab world between 1975 and 2011. Examine each document carefully. In the space provided, answer the question or questions that follow each document.
Document 1 - Associated Press Photo (available at: http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/200911/iran-hostage-crisis-tehran-embassy-oral-history). Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran. For 444 days, Americans waited to hear that the hostages had been freed. View the photo near top of page.
Why would the Iranian captors parade the hostages in front of cameras?
Document 2 - http://www.wku.edu/library/onlinexh/sanders/pages/world/iran_hostage_crisis.html. President Jimmy Carter would face much criticism for the way he handled the hostage crisis. Examine this political cartoon.
Describe some of the important elements in the picture above. Explain what message the artist was trying to convey.
Document 3 - http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/ronald_reagan.html#ixzz1OnP0vivH. The presidency of Ronald Reagan would bring a resurgence of American patriotism and nationalism.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
Document 4 - J. Gilmore Childers and Henry J. DePippo, “Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information Hearing on "Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years After the World Trade Center" February 24, 1998 (available at http://web.archive.org/web/20071227065444/http://judiciary.senate.gov/oldsite/childers.htm).The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993.The attack was planned by a group of conspirators. In March 1994, four men were convicted of carrying out the bombing. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property and interstate transportation of explosives. In November 1997, two more were convicted. This is an excerpt from a Senate hearing in 1998.
As you know we are here to discuss the trial of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center. The trial of four of the conspirators began approximately six months after the bombing. After a six-month jury trial each defendant was found guilty on all counts. Last fall Ramzi Yousef who was a fugitive during the first trial was also tried and convicted for the World Trade Center bombing. Each defendant was sentenced to a total of 240 years' imprisonment.
The defendants' respective roles in the terrorist plot – and their participation in the World Trade Center bombing – were reconstructed using over 1000 exhibits and the testimony of more than 200 witnesses. In the end the evidence overwhelmingly established that Ramzi Yousef, Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmud Abouhalima, Ahmad Ajaj, and Abdul Rahman Yasin conspired to bomb targets in the United States and that as part of their terrorist scheme they participated in the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Should people who commit such crimes be tried in military or civil courts? Explain.
Document 5 - http://stevebeckow.com/accountability/911-essays/. This is a picture of the second plane as it smashed into the South Tower of New York's World Trade Center. Examine the photo of the WTC Towers.
We live in a time of real-time news. Explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of this technology.
Document 6 - USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) (available at: http://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html). The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the "Patriot Act") is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The Act dramatically increased the powers of the federal government; enabling law enforcement agencies the ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied. The excerpt below reminds us that race is not always a determinant…
SEC. 102. SENSE OF CONGRESS CONDEMNING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ARAB AND MUSLIM AMERICANS.
(a) FINDINGS.—Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and Americans from South Asia play a vital role in our Nation and are entitled to nothing less than the full rights of every American.
(2) The acts of violence that have been taken against Araband Muslim Americans since the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States should be and are condemned by all Americans who value freedom.
(3) The concept of individual responsibility for wrongdoing is sacrosanct in American society, and applies equally to all religious, racial, and ethnic groups.
(4) When American citizens commit acts of violence against those who are, or are perceived to be, of Arab or Muslim descent, they should be punished to the full extent of the law.
(5) Muslim Americans have become so fearful of harassment that many Muslim women are changing the way they dress to avoid becoming targets.
(6) Many Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have acted heroically during the attacks on the United States, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New Yorker of Pakistani descent, who is believed to have gone to the World Trade Center to offer rescue assistance and is now missing.
(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and Americans from South Asia, must be protected, and that every effort must be taken to preserve their safety;
(2) any acts of violence or discrimination against any American be condemned; and (3) the Nation is called upon to recognize the patriotism of fellow citizens from all ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds.
Explain racial profiling, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Document 7 - http://www.laprogressive.com/law-and-the-justice-system/cia-crucified-captive-in-abu-ghraib-prison/. During the Iraqi war, the military faced intense scrutiny for what would become known as "enhanced interrogation." In this picture we see an Arab prisoner blindfolded and attached to electrical wires.
What are the moral obligations to enemy combatants captured and taken prisoner in the theatre of war?
Document 8 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8493391/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Blackout-during-raid-on-bin-Laden-compound.html. This photo was taken while President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other key staff members watch American Special Forces raid a residence in Pakistan. This raid would result in the death of the "World's Most Wanted Terrorist", Osama Bin Laden.
Take a stand—was the death of Osama Bin Laden justified?
Construct a plan of action for the US government that will effectively counter future terrorist threats. Remember your plan must consider legal and moral bounds.