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A Nation Goes to War

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, post-secondary

On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by a terrorist group known as al Qaeda. Al Qaeda’s members are based primarily in the region known as the Middle East, or West Asia, which typically includes the countries between Egypt and Afghanistan. In 2002, the United States President George W. Bush and the United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair were concerned that one of these countries, Iraq, was developing dangerous weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the United States or the United Kingdom. Bush and Blair asked the United Nations Security Council to call for Iraq to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors to verify that the leader of Iraq, President Saddam Hussein, was not in possession of weapons of mass destruction. When Iraq did not comply, President George W. Bush and his administration, with the approval of Congress, declared war on Iraq on March 20, 2003. Chief White House Photographer Eric Draper documented the moments that led up to the declaration of war.


1. Who was the Chief White House Photographer for George W. Bush? When did he start taking pictures of the President? [Answer: The Chief White House photographer was Eric Draper. He started taking pictures of the President-elect in Midland, Texas, at the end of 2000 and early 2001, before his Inauguration.]

2. What did George W. Bush say is the hardest decision any president has to make? [Answer: President Bush said, “the toughest decision a president makes is to send…somebody’s boy…or somebody’s daughter into combat…the consequences of combat can be awfully devastating.”]

3. What did Chief White House Photographer Eric Draper say was the most intense moment during his entire time at the White House? [Answer: When George W. Bush met up with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the South Lawn of The White House to discuss the start of the Iraq War.]

4. Who did George W. Bush ask to follow him onto the South Lawn of The White House after he made the decision to go to war? [Answer: His dog, Spot.]


5. What do you think was being discussed in the Situation Room before George W. Bush left the room visibly upset? [Answer: The Situation Room is used when there is a national security crisis. This time his administration, including, at least, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Advisor, where making the final decision to officially declare war on Iraq. The President was probably upset because during war there are always causalities on both sides and he made the decision to put the American troops into battle.]

6. If you were the President of the United States, what would be some reasons you would use to decide to go to war? [Answer: Presidents in the past have taken into account the national security of the U.S., the security of our allies around the world, and attacks by a nation or a terrorist group.]

terrorism noun
photography noun
George W. Bush noun
Iraq War noun
congress noun