ANALYZING U.S. POLICY IN IRAQ
Activities and Critical Analysis
By Lisa Iverson
all social studies courses
Time: 3-5 class periods-teacher may adapt depending on allowed length
President Bush has announced a new U.S. strategy in Iraq. How does this
new plan compare to ideas suggested by the Baker-Hamilton Commission and
The Iraq Study Group, also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission released
a 160 page report containing an overview of the current situation and
79 recommendations for Iraq. The bipartisan, ten-person panel released
its assessment on December 6, 2006, calling the situation in Iraq "grave
President Bush evaluated the commission's report as well as the suggestions
of others. He announced his new plan for Iraq on January 10, 2007.
Student teams will analyze the recommendations of experts and evaluate
the pros and cons of each. Each student team will be assigned a recommendation
for further investigation and submission to the class. It is the goal
of each student team to convince the class to vote for their proposal.
After discussing, questioning, and analyzing the various opinions and
recommendations, each student will create an Iraq foreign policy recommendation
based on the proposals discussed in class.
will compare their proposals to the one announced by President Bush on
January 10, 2007.
These recommendations may be for classroom use or sent to President Bush
or a local newspaper.
*Initially student teams are assigned a recommendation by the instructor,
but at the close of the discussion/debate, students are free to formulate
their own opinion and write a one-page recommendation based on the research
and proposals discussed in class.
the timeline of U.S. involvement in Iraq.
2. Evaluate President's new policy in Iraq
3. List the various options available to policymakers in Iraq.
4. Examine and analyze the various views regarding current policy in Iraq.
5. Research the options recommended by experts.
6. Compare policy options to the president's new plan for Iraq.
7. Present policy recommendations to the class for discussion.
8. Debate/Discuss options with each group recommending a different strategy.
9. Provide a written policy recommendation for Iraq. (Individual students
write a one-page policy based on the class research and discussion)
10. Option: Submit proposal to President Bush for consideration or local
To make these lesson plans better
Correlation to National Standards
1. Human Timeline of key events. Students create human timeline. Students
receive a slip of paper containing a key event in Iraq. Students are asked
to place themselves in chronological order forming a human timeline. After
all students are lined up, they state their event and "place"
in history and the teacher directs discussion reviewing the key events
in order. As students state their event, teacher places on overhead. When
all students have spoken, the students return to their desk and write
down key events in order so they are provided with a timeline for reference.
Instructions: See timeline events handout. Instructor prints timeline
containing key events, cuts into strips, and randomly distributes to students.
RESOURCE 'A': TIMELINE
OF IRAQ EVENTS
of Iraq policy and summary of Baker report provided by teacher.
Instructions: Instructor may summarize key points of Iraq Study Group
Report or disburse the three page Executive Summary to students to review
and summarize key points and discuss as class. Instructor informs students
they will examine the opinions of experts and draw their own conclusions
about what course to take in Iraq. May read three page summary as a class
or assign individually.
LINK to the Iraq Study Group Report
of President Bush's new plan for Iraq provided by teacher
Instructor may summarize the key points of President Bush's new plan for
Iraq or have students read the transcript of his address to the nation.
Instructor informs students they will compare the recommendations of experts
with the new plan.
LINK to President
Bush's address to the nation
Views, Differing Strategies. Student Groups Investigate Options.
Instructions: Instructor divides students into six groups and assigns
each group a different strategy to investigate. Each group receives an
Iraq strategy handout to complete in order to prepare for the discussion/debate.
RESOURCE 'B': SIX OPTIONS
FOR IRAQ assign one to each student group
RESOURCE 'C': IRAQ
STRATEGY HANDOUT for each student group
Discussion/Debate. Should the be U.S. policy in Iraq? How does this compare
to the president's new plan?
Instructions: Following the rules of debate, student groups present
arguments to convince their classmates to vote for their option. While
groups present, other students may take notes for their policy paper assigned
after the debate.
*Instructor acts as mediator.
6. The Students
Decide. The Vote.
Instructions: At the conclusion of the debate, the students individually
cast their vote for the option they would choose. Debrief with students
and discuss if opinions were altered due to the discussion.
7. Policy Paper.
Instructions: Each student writes a one page policy paper detailing the
policy option they believe is the best course for Iraq. Describe specific
reasons and rationale for the suggested policy. These papers may be submitted
to President Bush for consideration.
Instructions: Instructor completes rubric provided for each student.
Students will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
RESOURCE 'D' RUBRIC EVALUATION
(1) Individual Participation-Students will receive points on a scaled
rubric based on their individual participation.
(2) Group Participation-Students will receive points on a scaled rubric
based on their individual participation.
(3) Delivery of Research: Students will receive points on a scaled rubric
based on their research and submission of research for class discussion.
(4) Recommendation Report-Students will receive points on a scaled rubric
based on their final written report. The grade for this piece will be
based on research, recommendation, grammar/spelling, citation of sources.
Suggested Classroom Timeline for 60 minute class periods
Introduce Baker-Hamilton Report-summarize or read three page summary as
Introduce President Bush's new plan for Iraq
Human Timeline U.S. and Iraq
Students are placed into groups and receive role for option in Iraq
Day 2 and
3 (optional Day 4 depending on class and depth of debate)
Students are given evaluation rubric
Students research, read expert opinions from NewsHour, instructor guides
Day 4 or
Discussion/Debate or allow one more day to prepare
Assign policy paper
proposal to President Bush, or newspaper to help sway public opinion
news media coverage and keep a news journal of opinions and coverage
regarding Iraq plan
why latest recommendation is taken more seriously than earlier criticism
assess foreign media coverage of Iraq
speakers may include Iraqi veteran, local expert of Iraq situation or
foreign policy expert
a proposal from the perspective of a Sunni, Shia (Shiite), and Kurd
debate teams from the perspective of Sunni, Shia, and Kurd-one group
provide a recommendation based on what they would want
to National Standards
explanations, please consult
Continuity and Change
III. People, Places, and Environments
IV. Individual Development and Identify
VI. Power, Authority, and Governance
IX. Global Connections
X. Civic Ideals and Practices
the Author: Lisa Iverson M.S. is a social studies educator at Cascade
High School in Turner, OR. She serves on the Oregon Council for the Social
out more about opportunities to contribute to this site, contact Leah
Clapman at email@example.com.