Critical Thinking Unit 2 Guantanamo


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Part of a set of university teaching materials called "Encouraging Critical Thinking Online" by Meriel Patrick of Oxford University, made openly available for adaptation and re-use in the Intute Virtual Training Suite <http: />

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Critical Thinking Unit 2 Guantanamo

  1. 1. Encouraging Critical Thinking Online Unit 2 Gauging and Examining Popular Opinion Guantanamo Bay
  2. 2. Guantanamo Bay - Overview • A US detention camp in Cuba • Established to hold suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan • The Bush administration classed detainees as ‘enemy combatants’, and argued this legitimated holding them without charge or trial
  3. 3. Guantanamo Bay • Find and browse websites that address this issue • Note the range of views you encounter, and the key site(s) for each view • Note how prevalent each view is
  4. 4. Guantanamo Bay - Key Views • The camp should never have existed, and must be closed at once • Closing the camp is desirable, but impractical at present • The camp should be kept open: it serves a useful purpose by containing dangerous men
  5. 5. Guantanamo Bay - Key Sites • International criticism of the camp has been widespread, and allegations of human rights abuses and torture have abounded • The Guardian’s Guantanamo Bay section and a 2006 report from BBC News give an overview
  6. 6. Guantanamo Bay - Key Sites • In January 2009, President Obama signed an order for the camp to be closed within a year • However, the question of what to do with the detainees remains – This Time article outlines some of the difficulties that must be faced
  7. 7. Guantanamo Bay - Key Sites • In May 2009, the US Senate voted to block the transfer of detainees to the US, and denied funding to close the camp • In a June 2009 Gallup poll, a majority of Americans opposed closure and transfer of detainees to the US
  8. 8. Guantanamo Bay - Key Sites • Many older pieces remain online, reflecting different stages in the Guantanamo Bay debate: – USCHO discussion board thread from 2005 – Comments on a US News article from 2008
  9. 9. Guantanamo Bay - Key Sites • Blogs and opinion pieces give a range of views: – Daily Aztec article (anti-closure) – Say Anything blog post (anti-closure?) – Ethical Musings blog post (pro- closure) – Guardian editorial (pro-closure)
  10. 10. Guantanamo Bay – Discussion Questions • Which views are most widespread? – How significant is this? • Are there any discernable patterns in who holds each view? – Among experts and lay people? – In the UK and elsewhere in the world? – Among religious and secular groups?
  11. 11. Guantanamo Bay – Discussion Questions • How representative do you think the views you encountered are of wider society? – What might make people more or less likely to express their views publicly? – What might make them more or less likely to do so online?
  12. 12. Guantanamo Bay – Examining the Sites • Look at some of the websites again, and consider: – How various views are expressed – What techniques sites use to promote their views – What you find persuasive – and why
  13. 13. Guantanamo Bay – Discussion Questions • What techniques are used to promote each view? – Are arguments given? Do they work? – Is evidence presented? Is it convincing? – Are appeals to emotion or shock tactics used? Are these effective?
  14. 14. Guantanamo Bay – Discussion Questions • Do any of the sites examined feature: – Evidence of bias or prejudice? – Ad hominem arguments? – Sweeping generalisations about opponents or opposing views? – Statements you know to be false? • How does this affect your reaction?
  15. 15. Guantanamo Bay – Discussion Questions • What do you personally find persuasive? Why is this? • Was there anything you found off- putting, or that had the opposite effect from that intended by the author? • Did anything cause you to question views you’d held previously?
  16. 16. This slideshow is part of Encouraging Critical Thinking Online, a set of free teaching resources designed to develop students’ analytic abilities, using the Web as source material. For the full set, please visit Intute Training: