Analyze the challenges of protecting civilians in war
April 7, 2003
Web posted at: 12:14 AM EDT (0414 GMT)
After students read "U.S. troops encircle Baghdad, tighten grip on Iraq" present the following:
1. Who currently controls all roads leading in and out of Baghdad? What important site did coalition forces capture this weekend? Why is the capture of the airport important to the coalition? When U.S. forces took control of the airport, which had previously been named "Saddam Airport," they changed its name to "Baghdad Airport". Why is this name change significant?
2. According to the story, what is the biggest complication for U.S. troops as they move into Baghdad? Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks says that, "the risk is increasing to the civilian population because of decisions made by regime leaders." What do you think he means? What does it mean to "surgically destroy" a regime? Do you think it will be possible to destroy the regime of Saddam Hussein without some civilian casualties? Explain.
3. What is an "armored raid"? Why is the U.S. going to conduct more armored raids in the city of Baghdad?
4. Point out to students that, as U.S. and coalition forces move into the city of Baghdad, they encounter more civilians. Why does this present a problem for the coalition? Discuss why civilian casualties are harmful to Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as to the message the coalition is trying to convey to the rest of the world. Direct students to observe media war coverage to learn more about the ways that coalition troops try to minimize civilian casualties. For example, how do coalition forces communicate with Iraqis they encounter? What the troops do to promote their own safety as well as the safety of local residents they meet? To what extent do students think these measures protect both the troops and the people they are trying to liberate? Discuss.
5. Write this quote from U.S. General George S. Patton on the board: "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men." Ask students to reflect on the weapons and individuals that they have seen in this conflict so far. Then have students write essays in response to Gen. Patton's quote. Do they agree or disagree with him? Who or what do students think will "win" this war?