NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra feature stories can help students identify and interpret key issues
in current events. This activity anticipates one class period, but the follow-up
essay might be assigned as homework or in another period.
Up: Use initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much
your students know.
Activity: Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the
questions on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
Students can write a 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views
and send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Violence Could Delay Iraq Elections, 9/27/04
1. What is happening in Iraq right now?
2. How can you tell whether a country
is a democracy or not?
3. If Iraq were to hold elections, what would need to
happen to make them legitimate?
Comprehension Questions: (click here for printout)
1. Why are the upcoming elections in Iraq important?
election, to be held by Jan. 31, 2005, will create a national assembly, which
in turn will pick a new government to replace the one headed by interim Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi. The assembly will also oversee the writing of a new constitution.
election is a key milestone in the nation's path to democracy, and the first time
Iraqis will choose their own representatives. The elections are also vital to
a U.S. exit strategy from Iraq.
What did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld say about the elections?
say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths
of the country, but some places you couldn't, because the violence was too great,"
Rumsfeld said Sept. 23.
What did former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright say about the elections?
predecessor, Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of State under President Clinton
and is an adviser to the Kerry campaign, questioned the value of elections in
Iraq if they cannot be held nationwide.
contended Allawi's statement that 15 out of 18 Iraq provinces were ready for elections
was "kind of like deciding that California, Texas and Florida won't participate
in our election."
Who might feel left out if elections were not possible in the most violent areas?
most violent regions of Iraq are in Sunni Arab areas north and west of Baghdad.
If voting is not held there, it could anger the Sunni minority, which already
feels alienated after losing the power and privilege it enjoyed under Saddam Hussein.
Who is John Abizaid and what did he say about the elections?
Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. troops in the Middle East, has said he expects
Iraqi and possible international troops to do the job.
he warned that voting may not be possible in parts of Iraq where the violence
is too intense.
don't think we'll ever achieve perfection and when we look for perfection in a
combat zone we're going to be sadly disappointed,'' he said on NBC's Meet the
compared the situation in Iraq to the disputed U.S. presidential election in 2000
that put George Bush in the White House following the Florida ballot fight that
ended up in the Supreme Court.
don't think Iraq will have a perfect election. And if I recall, looking back at
our own election four years ago, it wasn't perfect either,'' he said.
Activity (more research might be needed):
1.Why is it important that Iraq have successful elections?
Do you think Iraq can have fair elections? Why or why not?
What percentage of Iraqis must vote in order for the results to be legitimate?
What role should the United States play? What role should the United Nations play?
a 300-500 word essay on either of these topics providing clear examples. Send
your completed editorial to NewsHour Extra (email@example.com). Exceptional essays
might be published on our Web site.