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Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 29, 2005

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

A mother's anti-war protest draws attention

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1.gifA recent poll found that support for the president's handling of the war among those who know someone who has served in Iraq is double that of those who do not know anyone who has served there. Poll the class and find out who has connections to those fighting in Iraq. Then poll the class and find out who supports the war. Do the results mirror the results in the published poll?

2.gif Ask students to follow for a week of newspaper reports about war action in Iraq and stories about activities in the United States supporting and opposing the war. Have them write a report about what they read and ask them to evaluate whether the coverage was balanced.

3.gifBad news from Iraq causes support for the war to fade. News of progress in Iraq helps people feel good about our efforts there. Have the class evaluate today's war news and determine if it will help or hurt the support for the war.

Few people noticed when Cindy Sheehan set up camp near President George. W. Bush's ranch outside Crawford, Texas, in early August. But by the time she packed up and began a bus tour across the country at the end of the month, she was a controversial celebrity. The California woman's son, Casey, was killed in Iraq last year and she was determined to talk to the president about the war. She wanted to ask him to pull out troops immediately. President Bush would not meet with her and that refusal transformed her vigil into a movement.

Her antiwar tour is headed for Washington, D.C., and is expected to arrive there at the end of September.

Is criticizing the President okay?

A poll commissioned by the Associated Press found that 87 percent of respondents said critics should be free to express their opposition to the war. Some people were startled that such a question was even asked of Americans. Is it okay to disagree in public with the government in a time of war?

What if we did pull out of Iraq now?

At the same time, most Americans disagree with her call for immediate withdrawal of the troops. What do you think would happen in Iraq if the United States suddenly pulled out? How would the world view the United States? Do you care how the world sees this country?

Which camp is more patriotic?

Sheehan's vigil outraged some people who support the war, including some families who also lost sons or daughters in Iraq. Some vilified Sheehan, accusing her of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Is that what she is doing? Are her critics being un-American in attacking her and others who oppose the war?

Can one voice make a difference?

When Sheehan arrived in Crawford, she was virtually alone and obscure, just an American who wanted to talk to her president face to face. But her cause soon was taken up by others who gathered at Camp Casey. And that sparked a national debate about the war in Iraq. Does this demonstrate that one person really can make a difference?

What would you do?

The president chose not to meet with Sheehan, instead traveling to Republican strongholds to make speeches about the need to stay in Iraq and in that way honor the deaths of fallen soldiers. Months ago, the president actually did meet with Sheehan who was a member of a group of parents of soldiers slain in Iraq. What if everybody who lost a loved one in Iraq demanded to see the President? What kind of precedent would that set? As President, would you meet with a war protester, knowing that the outcome would be unpleasant?

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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