“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”
- The Huffington Post
January 11, 2012
Last night, I attended an Intelligence Squared Debate in New York. As expected, the debate was spirited and lively. How could it not be? The motion was “The UN Should Admit Palestine as a Full Member State.” As is the norm with almost all debates on the Arab-Israeli conflict, emotions were high and sparks flew.
January 11, 2012
At last night’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held at NYU’s Skirball Center, the motion was: “The U.N. Should Admit Palestine as a Full Member State.” The Oxford style of the contest—one side defends the platform, the other side opposes it, and they are judged purely on their respective success at doing what they are supposed to do, not what is “right” or how the motion fits into a larger context—made for an evening that at once obscured the larger difficulties of the Middle East conflict and highlighted that conflict’s intractability.
January 11, 2012
After an hour and a half of trying to soften an increasingly furious—and personal— debate over Palestinian membership in the United Nations on Tuesday, moderator John Donvan gave up and wearily asked his panelists for closing statements. Aaron David Miller started off. “I realize in the last 90 minutes that perhaps one of the most astute things I’ve done, the best decisions I’ve made, was to leave the Arab-Israeli negotiating table,” he quipped. The audience laughed. Onstage, the rest of the panelists looked pained.
January 02, 2012
Israel’s occupation of land in the West Bank and Gaza, the status of Jerusalem, and the rights of Arab refugees have roiled the Middle East for almost half a century. Four longtime engineers of the peacemaking efforts in the Middle East will tackle these questions at the next Slate/Intelligence Squared U.S. live debate on Jan. 10.
December 13, 2011
On January 10th, New York's premier live debate series, Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), returns for the first debate of its spring 2012 season with the divisive proposition: "The U.N. Should Admit Palestine as a Full Member State."
November 23, 2011
At a debate last night hosted by Intelligence Squared US, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock argued that "we want the TSA and others to recognize that the current threat to passengers and airliners comes almost exclusively from one source..." Countered former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff: "The problem with using racial and religious profiling is it takes you down a road to looking at people who you don't need to look at and avoiding looking at people that you should look at..."
November 11, 2011
This fall's second to last Intelligence Squared debate took place last night at the Skirball Center. Speakers debated the motion that "Afghanistan is a lost cause." Prior to the debate, the audience was polled on their opinions of the motion. The results showed 46 percent of the audience voted in favor of it, 23 percent voted against and 31 percent was undecided. Speakers took a strong voice against corruption and ineffectiveness of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's administration.
October 11, 2011
I recommend that you listen to the full debate on NPR or watch it on Bloomberg television this week. For now, trust me that each of the four debaters has a fascinating biography. On the For side, young Zeba Khan is a religious Muslim from Toledo, Ohio who attended a Jewish day school for nine years and speaks Hebrew, and Maajid Nawaz, a former Muslim radical, spent 12 years in an Egyptian jail before having a change of heart. He now spends his time in counter-Islamist social activism...
September 11, 2011
On September 7, 2011, Intelligence Squared held a debate at New York University on whether it was time to “end the war of terror.” Given the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, the issue of whether the war this country is fighting remains vital or has run its course is a useful one to discuss. The spirited debate featured discussion of legal issues that are important ten years after the war on terror began.
September 09, 2011
What does "The War on Terror" mean? Is it the legal authority granted to the president by Congress to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against the people, countries or organizations that "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11 attacks? Is it taking your shoes off at airport security, or seeing something and saying something?
September 08, 2011
Is it time to end the 'War on Terror'? That was the motion under debate on Wednesday night in New York City, as the Intelligence Squared Debate series brought experts from inside and outside the government to try and convince the audience that it is either time to declare the open-ended war against "terrorism" over, or that doing so would cripple the US government’s ability to protect its citizens.
September 08, 2011
As the war on terror—or whatever we’re calling it this week—approaches its tenth anniversary, much of the popular analysis is founded on the premise that, following Osama bin Laden’s death and numerous other setbacks for the terrorist group, the threat from al-Qaeda has been radically reduced, perhaps even eradicated. As White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said today, al-Qaeda “has taken it on the chin.”
September 07, 2011
Former CIA director Michael Hayden and the Boston Globe's Juliette Kayyem hold opposing viewpoints on the value of continuing the War on Terror. They both join Morning Joe to discuss why the U.S. should and why the U.S. should not end this era.
September 07, 2011
While the GOP contenders debating last night in Simi Valley, Calif., were engaged in a long discussion of the HPV vaccine and Rick Perry's unusual views about Social Security, the participants in the live Intelligence Squared U.S./Slate debate at New York University were battling over perhaps the most pressing question of this 9/11 anniversary week: Is it time to end the war on terror?
September 07, 2011
As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it is necessary as a society to analyze the effects of the War on Terror. How has the war served our national goals of liberty, prosperity, and safety? Furthermore, if the war has ceased to benefit these goals, is withdrawal sensible?
September 07, 2011
Last night audience members at the Intelligence Squared US debate “It’s Time to End the War on Terror” gave a decisive victory to the debate team arguing against this resolution. Michael Hayden and Richard Falkenkrath convinced 15% of the audience to change their minds over the course of the evening, thus winning the Oxford style debate.
August 16, 2011
At this edition of the lively Intelligence Squared debate series, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen and Harvard professor–terrorism specialist Juliette Kayyem argue in favor of ending the War on Terror. On the other side, Homeland Security adviser to President Bush Richard Falkenrath and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden respectfully disagree with the motion.
August 13, 2011
Is it time to end the war on terror? That's the provocative question that will be discussed on Sept. 7, when Intelligence Squared U.S. hosts a live debate at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in Greenwich Village.
April 05, 2011
In the latest round in America’s premier debate series, Intelligence Squared Debates (IQ2US), Peter Galbraith, a diplomat, author and academic joined Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, in support of the motion, while arguing against the motion were Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Advisor of Middle Eastern Affairs in the George W. Bush administration and Eliot Cohen, who also served as Counselor to the Dept. of State under Condoleezza Rice.
March 28, 2011
If only we had political leadership worthy of our military. That's the one sentence take away from my recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan (under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations, headed by Max Boot, their senior defense analyst, two of their military fellows and about 10 DVs -- military parlance for distinguished visitors).
November 30, 2010
Zeba Khan was born and raised in a middle-class home in Toledo, Ohio, and for nine years attended the local Jewish day school, The Hebrew Academy, going to morning minyan every day. She graduated in 1993. She says she would have continued on with her Jewish education but the school only went through sixth grade. “I knew Hebrew better than most of my classmates,” she recalled in a recent interview, “and I wanted a bat mitzvah.”
November 29, 2010
As an American Muslim, I’ve come to recognize, sadly, that there is one common denominator defining those who’ve got their eyes trained on U.S. targets: MANY of them are Muslim—like the Somali-born teenager arrested Friday night for a reported plot to detonate a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon.
November 26, 2010
Since 9/11, al Qaeda has not succeeded in launching another terrorist spectacular in the United States. But it has succeeded in provoking a spectacular debate about aviation security. Several weeks ago—and even earlier at some airports—the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) initiated full-body scans and enhanced pat-downs, including inspections of private parts, that in some quarters are fueling outrage.
November 24, 2010
As Americans fly this Thanksgiving holiday, critics of new security measures are arriving at airports in kilts. Subsequent pat downs will be quite enhanced, indeed. Pre-flight screening has moved from safety to comedy. Before it devolves into tragedy, airline employees and government officials should start profiling terrorists. America must focus its finite capabilities on those who crave the destruction of planes and the people who ride them.
November 23, 2010
Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford-style debate series, an initiative of The Rosenkranz Foundation, hosted a debate last night on the motion, U.S. Airports Should Use Racial & Religious Profiling. Given the recent news of stepped up TSA security procedures at airports, the debate was well-timed and shed light on the complications around keeping America’s skies safe. At the debate’s conclusion, the side arguing in favor of using racial and religious profiling in airport screenings won the debate, though the crowd at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts was closely divided.
November 11, 2010
Four experts in the region and in international and military affairs considered whether the time was right to pull U.S. troops out of the war torn country. In the end, the team arguing against the motion moved more of the audience to their point of view, thus winning the debate.
September 18, 2010
Earlier this week, I debated General Michael Hayden (USAF, retired), former director of both the CIA and NSA, and Marc Thiessen, former Bush speechwriter and current columnist for the Washington Post, as part of the "Intelligence Squared" Debate series from New York. I was joined by Stephen Jones, an accomplished attorney best known for defending Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber.
September 15, 2010
Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford-style debate series, an initiative of The Rosenkranz Foundation, kicked off the fall season with a lively debate on how the United States should treat accused terrorists. The highly engaged and energized crowd in New York heard four experts debate the motion “Treat terrorists like enemy combatants, not criminals.”
June 16, 2010
I attended the Intelligence Squared debate on Cyber Warfare on June 8, in Washington, DC. Those of you who read my blogs regularly know that I am an avid podcast listener (I have a one-hour commute each way to work). One of the podcasts in my regular rotation is the Intelligence Squared debates.
June 10, 2010
I mentioned back in April that I was going to be out of DC on June 8 -- but that if I had been around, I would have been sure to attend the Intelligence Squared debate at the Newseum on the motion that "The Cyber War Threat Has Been Grossly Exaggerated." Well, the results are in, and the "against the motion" side won big.