Thursday, July 02, 2009

Some Questions for Independence Day

I promised over at Bridging Differences that I'd repost here some Questions for Educators this Independence Day. We talk a lot there about preparing students to be Citizens in a Democracy. And not just any democracy, but the one bearing the biggest burden of all in terms of defending freedom for both ourselves and others.

Six million Jews and others were killed and abused in concentration camps; it fell to us to defend them. Little has changed in 60 years.

So, a couple questions to check your civic awareness:
* Who is Ali al Sistani? What does he mean to US-Iran relations, and to world peace?

* Which sect of Islam more closely embraces the US view of the proper relationship between religion and politics?

* What battle gave the US its independence? Who commanded?

* What is the US Chain of Command down to the forces in Iraq?

* At the start of the Gulf War, our army was about the worlds sixth largest. After the troops came home, we cut it by more than a third. How does our army’s size today, fighting two wars, compare to that of the 70’s and ‘80s?

* How many divisions did the US have on Sept. 11?

* When the US pulled out of Vietnam, we were winning the war. Can you name the title of one of these highly influential books on that national challenge?
-- The “war in the corridors” review by writer and President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb. The book details “the efficiency of the system in sustaining an increasingly heavy commitment based on the shared conviction of six administrations that the United States must prevent the loss of Vietnam to communism.”
-- The National Book Award winner which followed the military and USAID career of John Paul Vann, and therein much of the intricacy of the war on the ground.

* What is a combat brigade team? Does the current Defense plan provide for more or fewer in the future?

* The US’ newest bomber is 20 years old. How many do we have? We also fly the B52. How old are these airframes, and how many are in service?

* What US President effectively ended the scourge of Piracy for 200 years? How?