What follows for the next several pages is a listing of the thirty pieces of evidence I will present to my students for them to sift through and use as a basis for preparing their arguments for the switch-side debate. To guide them through this activity, and to assist Toni Coughlin’s class in its judging of the debate, I have designed the following five-level rubric based on the California Assessment Program Scoring Guide for History and Social Science, keeping in mind that the goal of such a rubric is designed not only for evaluation—especially students’ self-evaluation—but also understanding. After all, “the absence for a criterion for an outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.”
Rubric and Judging Guide for Debate Activity
Level One: Minimal Achievement
Students simply repeat one or two fact without being accurate. Students deal only briefly and vaguely, if at all, with the concepts of cause of effect. Students show little or no historical knowledge of the Persian Gulf War. Students rely entirely on the information that has been provided.
Level Two: Rudimentary Achievement
Students provide only basic facts with only some degree of accuracy. Students show some understanding of the concept of cause and effect. Students show a limited historical knowledge of the Persian Gulf War. Students rely primarily on the information that has been provided.
Level Three: Commendable Achievement
Students relate only the major facts under discussion with a fair degree of accuracy. Students show a good understanding of the concept of cause and effect.. Students show an adequate historical knowledge of the Persian Gulf War. Students make use of previous historical knowledge with a far degree of accuracy.
Level Four: Superior Achievement
Students offer accurate analysis of the documents provided. Students show an excellent understanding of the concept of cause and effect. Students show a thorough historical knowledge of the Persian Gulf War. Students make use of previous historical knowledge with a strong degree of accuracy.
Level Five: Exceptional Achievement
Students offer accurate analysis of the document provided and others they have found on their own. (Note: Toni Coughlin’s class, which will be sitting as judges in this debate, will have been provided ahead of time with the thirty pieces of evidence.) Students show an excellent understand of the concept of cause and effect both in history and in epidemiology. Students show a thorough knowledge of both the Persian Gulf War and relate that knowledge to other historical events. Students extensively use previous historical knowledge to provide an in-depth understanding of the issue being discussed and possible future situations.
EVIDENCE A: “Specialist First Class Dean Lundholm, of the National Guard’s 649th Military Police Company, was assigned to guard duty at the Hafar Al Batin POW camp near the Iraq-Kuwait border. He was in the shower when a Scud landed. Amid the wail of activated chemical warfare alarms, he dashed naked, holding his breath, through the open air to where his protective gear was stored. Soon after, he fell into a three-day coma. Now he is diagnosed as having Gulf War Syndrome.”
EVIDENCE B: “The veterans we interviewed talked about alarms sounding continuously during war, and in fact some units had complained about the alarms sounding so much that they received instructions to take the batteries out or to disable them.”
EVIDENCE C: “These Department of Defense explanations are inconsistent with the facts as related by the soldiers who were present, and with official government documents prepared by those who were present and with experts who have examined the facts. . . .To my mind, there is no more serious crime than an official military cover-up of facts that could prevent more effective diagnosis and treatment of sick U.S. veterans.”
EVIDENCE D: “Brigadier General Ronald R. Blanck, M.C., U.S.A., commander of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. . . .discounts Reigle’s report as `almost entirely based on interviews. It has absolutely no basis in any science whatsoever . . . adding that scientists and clinicians ‘trying to look for causes have not found it of very much use.’ “
EVIDENCE E: “Charles Jackson, M.D., Environmental Physician at the VA Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, described one patient with classic Gulf War Syndrome symptoms and noted that he was a member of Construction Battalion 24 which was stationed at Al Jubayl in the Gulf: “We have given him the diagnosis of Gulf War Syndrome and Chemical-Biological warfare exposure. He had none of these symptoms prior to the Gulf.’ “
EVIDENCE F: “Corporal Richard Turnbull [an 18-year veteran] had been based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, during the Gulf War, and was present on January 20, 1991, during an Iraqi Scud missile attack. ‘Within seconds of the warhead landing, every chemical-agent monitoring device in the area was blasting the alarm,’ he said. “We were put into the highest alert for twenty minutes, and then we were told it was a false alarm caused by the fuel from aircraft taking off.’ “
EVIDENCE G: “By the time of the invasion of Kuwait, the Pentagon knew Iraq had developed CBW [chemical and biological warfare] weapons and that its biological warfare program was the most advanced in the Arab world. Large-scale production of these agents began in 1989 at four facilities near Baghdad, and Iraq had developed delivery systems, including aerial bombs, artillery, rockets, and surface-to-surface missiles.”
EVIDENCE H: “Documents released to the Gulf War Veterans of New England [as part of the Freedom of Information Act, twenty of which I will use with the students] this week confirmed dozens of chemical exposure incidents in the Persian Gulf War.”
EVIDENCE I: “Never has a public been so well served in terms of information.”
EVIDENCE J: “ . . . according to the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, attempts to resolve the Persian Gulf crisis militarily are immoral. We especially condemn the decision by the United States to launch air attacks against military targets in Baghdad and other civilian areas, and we remind the U.S. government that putting civilians at risk cannot be tolerated. . . . We have unleashed forces for destruction and hatred which we cannot begin to imagine. . . . This war is an affront to all humanity, especially the poor. It is an assault on the created order and cries to God for justice.”
EVIDENCE K: [CNN News reporter Peter] Arnett was “helpful to the government of Iraq and harmful to the United States. He reported hearsay evidence . . . and did little to investigate Iraqi claims.”
EVIDENCE L: “Why did a majority of the people living in the central part of North America think it in their interest to send half a million soldiers 6,000 miles away to the Persian Gulf? The simplest answer is one word: oil. To quote one of the better placards at a peace march, “If Kuwait exported broccoli [which President George Bush said publicly he hated], we wouldn’t be there now.”
EVIDENCE M: “The Gulf crisis showed that the declinists underestimated U.S. strength in both hard military and soft coalition-building power resources.”
EVIDENCE N: ` . . . unclassified satellite imagery confirms that smoke from coalition bombings drifted directly over U.S. troops. It also says that troops were sometimes told by commanders to ignore frequent chemical alarms, and so failed to take proper precautions, occasionally even turning alarms off.”
EVIDENCE O: “Most Persian Gulf veterans who have complained of health problems after service have been successfully diagnosed at their local VA medical centre.”
EVIDENCE P: “We consider it quite likely that many of the Desert Storm veterans suffering from the symptoms described in the [National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment Workshop] report may have been infected with a microorganism, possibly an aggressive pathogenic mycoplasma. This type of infection can produce chronic symptoms long after exposure.”
EVIDENCE Q:”An 18-member IOM [ Institute of Medicine] committee says that the lack of coordination and oversight that they found was understandable early in the study of possible health effects.
“Following briefings on Gulf War operations and military documents about chemical and biological warfare (and, for one member, a classified briefing on Iraqi chemical warfare capabilities and plans), the committee expressed the belief that ‘the illnesses that have been reported are not the result of chemical, biological, or toxin warfare, or accidental exposures to stored weapons or research material.”
EVIDENCE R: “In fact, the National Defense Medical Centre in Ottawa refuses to recognize Gulf War syndrome as an illness.
“Fred Mifflin, parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister David Collenette, responded that the veterans had been defence department doctors and now had ‘no difficulty whatsoever.’ ”
EVIDENCE S: “In fact, theories abound as to the precise cause of the veterans’ problems. Some experts says that they could have been caused by the smoke from burning oil fields in Kuwait; exposure to depleted uranium used in Iraq. But the fact that those claiming ailments were based in different countries spread over a wide area has led many veterans to single out the distribution of anti-paralysis drug, known as pyridostigmine bromide, to Gulf War troops. The drug, which was used as a safeguard against the possible Iraqi use of chemical weapons, had not been approved for that purpose before the war. Earlier this year the U.S. Senate veteran-affairs committee denounced the military’s use of the drug. Observed committee chairman Jay Rockefeller; ‘Soldiers were made sick by a drug they were forced to keep taking.”
EVIDENCE T: “There were 35 soldiers in vehicles struck by depleted uranium [which is used for its enhanced armor penetrating ability] during friendly fire incidents (22 who may retain DU [depleted uranium] fragments). Approximately 32 other soldiers potentially were exposed to DU while fighting a fire in a munitions storage area and from servicing vehicles hit by DU munitions; but, these troops when tested have not had elevated urine uranium levels. Troops directly exposed to DU munitions are being closely followed by VA [the Veterans Administration] and DoD [the Department of Defense] and have not had problems with unexplained illnesses.”
EVIDENCE U: “No cases of acute pesticide poisoning are known to have occurred during Operations Desert Shield/Storm.”
EVIDENCE V: “At 3 A.M. on January 19, 1991, Petty Officer Sterling Symms of the Naval Reserve Construction Battalion in Saudi Arabia awakened to a “real bad explosion” overhead. Alarms went off and everybody started running toward their bunkers, Symms said. A strong smell of ammonia pervaded the air. Symms said his eyes burned and his skin was stinging before he could don protective gear. Since that time, he has experience fatigue, sore joints, running nose, a chronic sever rash, open sores, and strep infections.”
EVIDENCE W: Former U.S. Army Sergeant Randall L. Vallee served in the Persian Gulf as an advanced scout. . . . ‘I was in numerous Scud missile attacks when I was in Dhahran . . . It seemed like every time I was back there we’d come under fire.’
“Vallee has been afflicted by at least a half dozen serious medical conditions that started shortly after the Scud attacks. He had been in ‘perfect health’ before his Gulf War service.”
EVIDENCE X: “’Within seconds of the warhead landing on January 20 [,1991], every chemical-agent monitoring device in the area was blasting the alarm. We were out into the highest alert for twenty minutes,’ says [British Gulf War veteran Richard] Turnball, ‘and we were told it was a false alarm caused by the fuel from aircraft taking off.’
“Before he went to war, Turnball said, he was in top condition, worked out every day, and was an avid scuba diver. Since his return, he has had twenty-four separate chest infections, and he has been forced to give scuba diving because he ‘can’t take the pressure below a few feet.’ Turnball can no longer run or swim or even take long walks. He said he has been put on steroids and uses two inhalers to help ease serious respiratory complications.”
EVIDENCE Y: “Dr. Vivian Lane has never been to the Persian Gulf and is not a wife or mother of a Gulf War vet. The forty-three-year-old former squadron leader and former chief medical officer the Royal Air Force base in Stafford, England, said she because seriously ill after treating a half dozen ‘very sick’ British soldiers upon their return from the Persian Gulf. Dr. Lane says she was forced to move in with her elderly parents after she could no longer care for herself. Her parents, now in their eighties, are sick and suffering from lesions ‘very similar’ to the ones she is suffering from, she says. ‘Nobody in this country can tell us why or what they are.’
“From December 1990 through June 1991 Dr. Lane treated at least six veterans who had the syndrome. Since that time, the aviation medical specialist, a former athlete, has been in great pain. She remembers waking up at four o’clock in the morning ‘with a terrific, excruciating crushing type of chest pain and abdominal pain. When I got to the toilet, I didn’t know whether to sit on it or stand over it. It just got worse from there. I managed somehow to get myself down to the medical center on base. All I remember was the excruciating chest pains. Next thing I know, I’m in intensive care. My parents had been brought to my bedside because everyone thought I was going to die. They didn’t know what was wrong with me.’ ”
“I think it would be foolish to concentrate only on trying to find a single syndrome or unique illness. We need to look more broadly at whether there are any other medical illnesses that might be occurring at an unexpectedly high frequency. So far we have not identified that
“Senator Donald Riegle, a Michigan Democrat, suggested the mystery illness was caused by accidental bombing of Baghdad chemical war weapon sites during the allied war that began five years ago.
Riegle said traces of chemical war agents released by the allied bombing might have drifted over U.D. troops, causing the Gulf War syndrome. The Pentagon discounted the theory, saying an explosion of chemical war agents at Baghdad powerful enough to drift more than 500 miles over U.S. troops would have killed thousands of Baghdad residents.
“The new Institute of Medicine report released this month [January 1996] suggested combat stress might have caused some of the illnesses. It said 37 percent of the first 10,200 soldiers examined had some psychiatric condition, most commonly depression or post-traumatic distress syndrome.”
“This independent Advisory Committee will help ensure that we are doing everything possible to determine the caused of the illnesses being reported by Gulf War veterans and to provide effective medical care to those who are well.”
“After five years of examining more than 62,000 Gulf War veterans, U.S. officials say there is no clinical evidence the 1991 conflict caused a mysterious new medical syndrome.