Responding to Terrorism: Policy Options
Lesson Overview: This lesson poses the question, "How should the U.S. respond to international terrorism?" Students will analyze the issues that frame the current debate on U.S. policy on terrorism, gain an understanding of the perspectives of other countries, identify the leading values and trade-offs in the current policy debate, and articulate their own views on how we should proceed.
About the Options: The Policy Options presented in this material are not intended as a menu of choices. Rather, they are framed in stark terms to highlight very different policy approaches and the values that underlie them. As a closing activity, students are expected to define their own option.
Pre-Lesson Assignment: In this lesson, you will be breaking your class into six groups. Four of the groups will present a policy option (one for each group.) A fifth group will represent several countries in the United Nations with differing views on the issues. The sixth group will serve as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, receiving presentations from the others groups and asking questions of them. It is recommended that you distribute the appropriate handouts and assign the readings the day before the lesson.
the Classroom: Understanding Conflicting Policy Options
Option Groups (4) - Their task will be to review their assigned option, identify the values that underlie it and its pros and cons, and then develop a short presentation to give to the class. They will be addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Group 6). This presentation should make the best possible case for this option.
U.N. Countries - Assign a fifth group the role of representatives of several countries with differing views on the issues. They should review the U.N. Members-Issues of Concern and PBS Web links provided. Their task will be to review each of the options presented in the material and develop individual statements reflecting the concerns of their assigned countries. They will be asked to present their concerns to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following the Options presentations. Have them use the following questions as a guide.
Senate Committee Members - Assign the remaining group the role of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Their task will be to review each of the options presented in the material and prepare challenging questions to ask of the advocates of options after their presentations. After all of the options groups have presented their assigned options and the international representatives have presented their views, the Senate group will ask questions of each of the options groups in order to clarify the options.
Their Own Views
Finally, encourage your students to communicate their views to elected officials and policymakers. Between August 28 and September 25, 2006, students can share their thoughts on policy options online with other students in a "Sept. 11, Five Years Later" discussion at http://www.newzcrew.org. You may encourage your students to participate in this forum, powered by content from the Online NewsHour.
This lesson is excerpted from Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy (© August 2002, Choices for the 21st Century Education Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University. All rights reserved.) The policy options that appear in this lesson are abridged.