Is There Nothing Wrong with Being Wrong?
What struck me were three things. First, how is all this one-sided analysis of geopolitics relevant in a geography class? Sure, politics and human activity have impacts on geography, but in the two or three geography classes I had as a kid, there was little analysis of the politics behind lines on the map.
And can someone explain how the relative size of WMD arsenals and tobacco production is relevant? Was there a Tobacco War I missed in my history classes? This kind of discussion is certainly relevant in a history or social studies class, but geography?
Second, I am amazed at the errors of fact Mr. Bennish so boldly stated. Take his screed on the establishment of Israel:
Bennish: How did Israel and the modern Israeli state even come into existence in the first place?By investing a New York Minute and putting your inner Googling monkey to work, you can find that the Arabs initiated this nearly century-long cycle of violence almost thirty years before the recognition of Israel. And the Arabs did it not because Jews were trying to seize land from Arabs - they did it because Jews were buying land from Arabs (and doing a damn fine job of making a life on those lands the Arabs were incapable of exploiting).
Student: We gave it to them.
Bennish: Sort of. Why? After the Israel-Zionist movement conducted what? Terrorist acts. They assassinated the British prime minster in Palestine. They blew up buildings. They stole military equipment. Assassinated hundreds of people. Car bombings, you name it. That's how the modern state of Israel was made. Was through violence and terrorism. Eventually we did allow them to have the land. Why? Not because we really care, but because we wanted a strategic ally. We saw a way to us to get a hook into the Middle East.
If we create a modern nation of Israel, then, and we make them dependent on us for military aid and financial aid, then we can control a part of the Middle East. We will have a country in the Middle East that will be indebted to us.
In addition, if you read any reputable history of the region, you'll find that the U.S. steadfastly resisted taking sides with either the Arabs ot the Israelis until the Soviets decided to support Egypt and Syria in the Six Day War. For those of you that don't already know, Israel was established in 1948, and the Six Day war was in 1967.
And then there are his comments about U.S. troops in Columbia:
Bennish: Why do we have troops in Colombia fighting in their civil war for over 30 years. Most Americans don't even know this. For over 30 years, America has had soldiers fighting in Colombia in a civil war.Perhaps most Americans don't know about it because it isn't true. One can hardly fight a "war" with 800 "instructors and advisors." And if the Congress authorized the military "presence" as a matter of public law reported by the media, how is it Americans don't know about it? There seems to me to be only two explanations of this: either he's lying to strengthen his point, or he's just plain ignorant.
Finally, the reaction of the school district amazes me.
"After listening to the tape, it's evident the comments in the class were inappropriate," [Tustin Amole, spokeswoman for Cherry Creek Schools] said. "There were not adequate opportunities for opposing points of view."That's certainly a true statement, given the transcripts and policy that were cited. But, doesn't the school district take issue with discussing topics that aren't relevant in a course, or if the topics were relevant, having a teacher that is either distorting or unforgivably ignorant of the facts?