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Summary: We indeed should have stopped 9/11 somehow or other. But is that enough to prove the resolution? This brief says otherwise.
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It deeply moves Americans. Muslim extremists try to justify it. Postmodernists aren’t sure what to do with it. And we debaters debate it.
9/11 was a tragic incident in America’s history where a group of Muslim terrorists (known as Al-Qaeda) hijacked a few of our planes and flew them into several significant buildings. In doing so, they killed many innocent lives and rocked the hearts of millions of others. In this resolution, the affirmative has been known to use this a prime-time example of how we should have struck first. The argument goes like this:
- A) Bill Clinton told the world that he could have stopped Osama bin Laden.
- B) The next day, Al-Qaeda struck America.
- C) Coincidence? I think not.
- D) We should have stopped him with preemptive warfare.
The key to defeating this example is to hone in on the details. Sometimes debaters run applications by generalizing them, such as the syllogism above. For many debaters, their weak spot lies in the specifics. Did we know where Osama bin Laden was? Are you aware that before 9/11, FFA officials reported problems in their airport security? Were those issues ever resolved? Did Bill Clinton launch attacks on Al-Qaeda before 9/11?
Those questions highlight your opportunity to bring home the bacon. To win the round, you employ an age-old strategy. Whether you’re fighting for your life or just debating someone, you always need to find a person’s weak spot. When dealing with 9/11, you’ll do just that. How? You’ll look at the real evidence. Show things that were not pointed out. You can even use phrases like, “My opponent never mentioned…” or, “My opponent never told us this.” And don’t be afraid to “sow a few seeds” in the judge’s mind during CX.
I’ve mixed and matched two kinds of argumentation: some more evidence-based and some more logic-based. Both kinds are feisty – they put forth a battering ram that shatters the possibility of preemption. It might be worth it to try both styles in a debate round. And whether you’re a detail oriented debater or a logic buff, there should be something here for you. Don’t be afraid to tweak the end rhetoric, either. I’m personally a realist debater, but if you’re more emotional, make it move the hearts of your audience. If you’re more aggressive, write scary impacts that challenge your opponent. Whatever you do, have fun.
This brief isn’t very complicated. That’s because with 9/11, there really isn’t that much to do to take it down. You don’t have to spend 5 minutes talking about the ins and outs of how the bombastic Bill Clinton could have taken out the terrible terrorist. To be honest, I don’t think it’s that strong of an application. There are weak spots in it. Defeat ‘em and move on.
One last note: remember that when dealing with a tragedy like this, never use a political persona. Don’t get up there and just say, “WRONG!” Treat this event with deep respect. Innocent people died in 9/11. The judge will angrily throw tomatoes at you if you get up to the podium and talk super-hyped like a lawyer. Be slow and compassionate. 9/11 was a somber day in history and you shouldn’t disagree. With all the tragedy involved, however, your opponent cannot win it.
We indeed should have stopped 9/11 somehow or other. But is that enough to prove the resolution?
This brief says otherwise.
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As a native Coloradan senior with almost six years of experience, Thomas has been in the top 8 competitor positions well over 50 times, winning numerous awards in both speech and debate. Out of more than 1800 competitors nationwide, he has consistently presided in the top 2% of speechranks listings. When he’s not working on speech and debate, you can find him studying Christian theology, composing music, drinking smooth coffee, or belting out lines from theater productions.