December 2006
By Alan W. Dowd

Teaching the History of 9/11
Kenneth Billingsley of Accuracy in Academia, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, is giving failing grades to some textbook-writers because of the way they are teaching about 9/11.

The most common approach among post-9/11 textbooks is “to be politically correct rather than comprehensive.” Others, according to Billingsley, are “minimalist.” Sadly, still others, such as Give Me Liberty! An American History, use the 9/11 attacks “as an excuse to bash America.”  

He notes that textbooks such as World Geography, which uses phrases such as “Arab terrorists” and “extremist Islamic terrorists,” have come under fire for being “too broad” and “unfair to Muslims.” 

Billingsley praises Fordham Institute’s September 11: What Our Children Need to Know for portraying the world as the dangerous place that it is and for being unafraid to promote civics and patriotism. 

USA Today reports that the US, Turkey and Iraq worked together to block Iran from re-supplying Hezbollah with sophisticated C-802 missiles during the Israeli-Hezbollah war in southern Lebanon this summer. A Hezbollah C-802 is believed to have crippled an Israeli warship in the first days of the war. 

According to US intelligence officials, in mid-July American satellites caught Iran loading C-802 missiles onto a transport plane bound for Syria. US diplomats then contacted their counterparts in Iraq and Turkey to share the information. In response, Iraqi air-traffic controllers refused to grant the Iranian plane passage through Iraq, and Turkey would grant over-flight rights only if the Iranians agreed to land and allow the plane to be inspected.  

Checkmated by the US and its allies in Iraq and Turkey, Tehran turned the plane around. USA Today constructed a timeline of the behind-the-scenes showdown:  

-July 15: US intelligence sources receive a tip about an imminent shipment of missiles from Iran to Hezbollah.

-July 19: A spy satellite photographs Iranian crews loading three missile launchers and eight crates onto a transport plane at Mehrabad air base near Tehran.

-July 20: The transport plane leaves for Damascus, but Iraq denies permission to enter Iraqi airspace. The Iranian flight crew then requests permission to fly through Turkey. But Turkish controllers grant permission only if the plane lands for inspection. The plane returns to Tehran.

-July 22: The plane’s cargo is unloaded, and the plane flies humanitarian aid to Damascus after stopping for inspection in Turkey.

As a contributing editor to The American Legion, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.