Talk:American History Lecture Thirteen

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Patriot Missile Notes

It's worth noting that the patriot missiles were not 100% effective, as the current text of the lecture implies. Studies after the first Gulf War indicated that the Patriots destroyed fewer than 44 percent of the Iraqi Scud missile warheads, the figure both the Israeli Government and the missile's manufacturer, the Raytheon Corporation, had offered immediately after the war.[1] This does not mean the missile system was a failure; the results from the first war were encouraging enough to keep improving the system, which was deployed in Iraq after 2003 and has saved lives there. --DinsdaleP 12:11, 9 December 2008 (EST)

No, that's not worth noting. No one would expect a 100% success rate. A 44% success rate is still extraordinary, and out of all the Scud missiles fired only one actually hit and killed an Americans.--Aschlafly 10:23, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I'm not trying to downplay the usefulness of the patriot system, as my last sentence showed. It just seemed that the way the lecture was describing it, every scud fired at the alliance was intercepted by a patriot, and that was not the case. The choice of phrasing is yours. --DinsdaleP 10:39, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I appreciate your comment (one that liberals incredibly harped on at the time), but don't see anything misleading about the lecture. If you can quote a particular phrase, that might be helpful. Everyone knows that a missile, and particularly anti-missile weaponry, would not be 100% effective.--Aschlafly 10:52, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I have no need to push this point - that's your discretion, and I was only offering the observation. --DinsdaleP 11:24, 10 December 2008 (EST)

9/11 Notes

People inside the two main World Trade Center towers never made it to the rooftops - the access doors to the roofs of those building had been locked. Also, each of the hijacked aircraft had an assigned target - the plane that hit the Pentagon was intended for that target, while the one that was brought down in Shanksville, PA, was the one intended for the White House. --DinsdaleP 12:24, 9 December 2008 (EST)

Dinsdale, you need to support your claims. Widely publicized evidence is to the contrary.--Aschlafly 10:21, 10 December 2008 (EST)
Sure thing. My source for the WTC rooftops being locked is the official U.S. Government 9/11 Report, which states the following on page 297:
"Doors leading to the roof were locked.There was no rooftop evacuation plan. The roofs of both the North Tower and the South Tower were sloped and cluttered surfaces with radiation hazards, making them impractical for helicopter landings and as staging areas for civilians. Although the South Tower roof had a helipad, it did not meet 1994 Federal Aviation Administration guidelines."
That doesn't support your claim that people did not escape to the roof. They did.--Aschlafly 12:05, 10 December 2008 (EST)
As for the Flight 93 target, I was relying on reports like this from 2002 that this came out of interrogating al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. If you can provide links to some of the reports you mentioned that indicate otherwise, I'd like to read about the other accounts. Thanks. --DinsdaleP 11:21, 10 December 2008 (EST)
You can't be serious about relying on that. The plane that crashed into the Pentagon first few on a path towards the White House, then abandoned that path and diverted toward the much easier-to-find (and probably less desirable from the terrorist hijackers' evil perspective) target.--Aschlafly 12:05, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I put my comment out there because of what I had read from reputable sources, as opposed to hearsay. As for why the plane headed for the White House and then changed course, the most likely explanation is the simplest - the plane was flying on a heading to the city, not the White House, and once they arrived and got a visual bearing on any number of prominent landmarks in the capital, they adjusted their course to head for the Pentagon.
I agree that the Pentagon was a less desirable target overall than the White House or the Capital Building, but the fact that Flight 77 turned on a clear day to hit the Pentagon when other targets were easily visible supports the idea that they were following a strict plan, and leaving the White House to Flight 93 per that plan.
al Qaeda was interested in symbolism over substance; instead of targeting the WTC, they could have done a lot more economic damage to NYC by taking out the George Washington Bridge, or psychological damage by targeting a nuclear plant like Indian Point. The WTC and Pentagon had specific symbolic importance to them, though, which is why those targets were selected. --DinsdaleP 12:27, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I'm looking forward to reading from the sources you consider more credible. --DinsdaleP 12:34, 10 December 2008 (EST)

Current Economic Downturn

Since the lecture is touching on the current recession, it might be valuable to touch on some of the insights from the prior lessons in this series regarding economic booms and busts. Instead of trying to focus on the causes of the current situation, it would be interesting and valuable to simply pose questions like the following to the students as honors homework questions, so they can practice applying the insights they've learned from history to analyzing current events:

  • Q1 - Are economic downturns like the current one inevitable as part of a natural expansion/contraction cycle, or are they preventable?
  • Q2 - If you were to advise President-elect Obama based on the lessons of American History, what would you recommend that he do, and why?
  • Q3 - Does American History teach us that more or less regulation of the U.S. financial system is needed? Why?
  • Please include one or more examples from the lectures in this class with your responses.
It's just a suggestion, but letting the students apply their new historical insights to interpreting a significant current event that affects them and their families seems like a practical way to wind up the course. --DinsdaleP 13:04, 10 December 2008 (EST)