I find it interesting that people can't conceive of the attacks having a primarily religious motive. But otherwise this is just more of "it happened before I can remember, so I don't bother to remember anything about it." Grump grump.
I think this question is trickier than we are led to believe. What would we expect the answer to be? One student says "I don't know why that particular day," which I think is fair given the question's emphasis on the date. But there is certainly no consensus on the reasons behind the attack: some might say religious ideology, others political, still others would find the cause in the psyychology of the individual perpetrators.Certainly students know very little about anything before 15 minutes ago, but this video is not a good demonstration of that.
Also should be noted that this YAFTV is not some bastion of intellectual objectivity; they only want more of their 9/11 so they can get back to the business of warmongering.
Should the blog not have put this up? You're right about the trickiness of the question, but I think it's a little instructive that the big moment of this generation is a complete blank for most. I think the video indicts us more than them. And it never occurred to me that the YAF was a youth conservative org until I went to their page. What does it say about them that they made or distributed the vid.Actually, I'm just glad there was something on CM today when I looked.Does anyone want to grade some of my essays? Anyone?
The question is a bit tricky, especially when asked in a way that suggests that there is a single right answer (Like Charlie, I'm not sure exactly why we were attacked on 9/11, and I'm not sure anybody else is either, though some explanations -- including some of the ones the students interviewed cited -- are more plausible/likely to be at least one piece in the puzzle than others. There are also, as usual, some clearly wrong answers, e.g. it wasn't a secret operation by the Mossad). But it's still a reasonable question, and the proposed solution to students' inability to answer it -- incorporating what now is, for most college students, an historical event into the curriculum -- is a perfectly reasonable one. My only concern is that professors at both extremes of the political spectrum (and/or non-professors who increasingly try to dictate curriculum at all levels) would be tempted to present the question, and the answer, as simpler than it is. But a class that truly explored the question in all its complexity, perhaps by bringing in the work of scholars in different disciplines and highlighting not only how they try to answer the question, but how they go about trying to answer it, could be an excellent one, and a very appropriate addition to a core curriculum, especially right about now, when many young people who grew up in the shadow of 9-11, but are too young to truly remember it, are entering college. tl;dr: hey, even conservatives sometimes have good ideas.
P.S. to Hiram: sorry; no. I've got my own grading/commenting to do. I'm told drinking helps (though it just makes me fall asleep -- so, not so well in my case).
"even X sometimes have good ideas."And a stopped clock is sometimes right.
Suppose I'm walking across campus tomorrow. Someone suddenly appears, shoves a microphone in my face, and asks, "Why was Pearl Harbor attacked on December 7, 1941?"
You can always answer by giving them a re-enactment of the Battle of Pearl Harbor, thusly:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ccuWFidUYI
Bubba. It depends. How old were you when it happened? Its also impossible to tell because it would have to be asked to a college student in 1955. Do you think a college student from that era would have a better or worse guess than these students?
It's easier to give a snappy answer for Pearl Harbor, though. One can just say that the attack happened because Japan wanted an empire in the Pacific, and saw America as being in its way. Osama bin Laden gave at least three written reasons for 9-11: (1) He didn't like America's economic sanctions of Iraq made after the Gulf War in 1991. (2) He didn't like America's continuing support for Israel. (3) He didn't think America was paying Saudi Arabia a fair price for oil, which he thought should be over $200/barrel. Religion was also a motivation, certainly for the hijackers who carried out the 9-11 attacks. If any of this is wrong, sorry, but I'm just going by what he wrote.
Well, given the political bent of the organization that produced the video, I imagine they were going to edit the piece to ridicule anything that wasn't a simplistic "They hate freedom, democracy, and our way of life."
or "muslins [sic] are evil"