Sunday, August 26, 2012
LD 2012 Due Process Critical (K) Arguments
This is the last in my topic analysis series for the LD 2012 Sep/Oct resolution about extending due process protections to non-citizens accused of terrorism. For other related posts in this series and other LD topics see the Lincoln Douglas page selector at the top of this blog.
Critical Debate in LD
In the past, there have been strong prohibitions about using so-called policy-style critical arguments in Lincoln Douglas debate. I personally have copies of a league manual which specifically bans, for example, any debate which involves a criticism or suitability of the resolution itself. Nevertheless, the various committees of the NFL have taken a concerted effort to update and reorganize its District Tournament Operations Manual which includes the "rules" for the various debate categories. With few exceptions, many of the procedural rules dictating the kinds of arguments which are acceptable are absent. Nevertheless, local districts tend to operate under their own paradigms which means, at the end of the round, all that matters is what the judge accepts within the context of that one round. In my district for example, only a very limited number of judges will accept critiques or theory arguments in LD so its usually better to play it safe and not use those arguments. Still, since it is possible to argue a kritik in an LD round in my district (once in a blue moon), I feel it is worthwhile as a coach to at least prepare my students for those kinds of debates and I do have some that write critical cases and use them from time to time even though these tend not to be full-blown policy-style "kritiks". Most critiques can be worked into a conventional value framework.
A Critique of the Resolution
The resolution in the case is begging to be critiqued. As we have noted at the outset of this topic analysis, there are well over 100 definitions for terrorism. If the Affirmative and Negative are unable to agree on an acceptable definition, there is a chance the debate can breakdown into debate about definition and the substantial issues intended by the resolution framers will not be debated. While it is unlikely to happen in most districts and tournaments, it can happen and that would be bad for education and debate. Additionally, critical arguments are typically run based on the language of the Affirmative case. The Affirmative will use, for example, gendered language, or other language which indicates flawed presumptions which are critiqued by the Negative. The rhetoric of terrorism is a trigger in an of itself for such criticisms and there is no need to wait for the Affirmative case to be heard, since it is linked directly in the resolution.
Let me now clarify, I am not criticizing the wording of the resolution in any way. I doubt there is other language that could have been applied that would still allow the intended debate. I suppose the wording could be reworked to say due process protections should be extended to non-citizens but the Affirmative ground would have exploded to include virtually all deportable immigrants as well as those being held outside of the U.S. Such an expansion of ground would have given Negative fits. I point out the critique of the resolution to show how the clever Affirmative debater can begin to build Critical Affirmative cases and use the ambiguity and language of the resolution as basis for a condemnation of the language used in the status-quo.
Some Good Critiques
This resolution provides many links to three principle critiques which can be run as full policy-style kritiks or critical arguments (both Aff and Neg) with a value/criterion framework Those critiques include the Security K as discussed during the Target Killing resolution last season (see post here), the Terrorism K and the Fear of Death K. I like these critiques because they are easy to understand for both judges and debaters.
1. The Security Kritik is based on the idea the language of securitization creates enemies which then become the justification for continuing the mechanism of security. The implication is individuals are demonized and the Security apparatus is justified in perpetuating its existence.
2. The Terrorism Kritik shows how the rhetoric of the War on Terror creates a binary world of good in opposition to evil and eliminates the neutral ground. Of course evil must be destroyed as well as those which support it justifying extraordinary actions by the protector of righteousness.
3. There are several flavors of the Fear of Death Kritik but the interesting one for me centers around the idea that humankind's acknowledgement of and fear of death results in the kinds of conflicts seen in the War of Terror.
As always, many other critical arguments are possible. I will not present actual examples as I feel debaters need to get their hands on the critiques and work with them to suit their own needs. I have explained in my article on Applying Kritiks in LD one possible way to do that. Either that or find the Ks in evidence repositories for a fee or trade with others who are willing. What I will give you is below.
I have looked through several dozen sources and found a few I think can provide good links for this resolution and potential cases. The links can then be used as evidence to provide the connection between the status-quo or your opponent's case, and the arguments of the critique. In two examples, I extract text to demonstrate a few links.
9/11, Spectacles of Terror, and Media Manipulation: A Critique of Jihadist and Bush Media Politics
Douglas Kellner, 2003
Interestingly, Bush Administration discourses, like those of bin Laden and radical Islamists, are fundamentally Manichean, positing a binary opposition between Good and Evil, Us and Them, civilization and barbarism. Bush’s Manichean dualism replicates as well the Friend/Enemy opposition of Carl Schmidt upon which Nazi politics were based. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and “the Terrorist” provided the face of an enemy to replace the “evil Empire” of Soviet Communism, which was the face of the Other in the Cold War. The terrorist Other, however, does not reside in a specific country with particular military targets and forces, but is part of an invisible empire supported by a multiplicity of groups and states. This amorphous terrorist Enemy, then, allows the crusader for Good to attack any country or group that is supporting terrorism, thus promoting a foundation for a new doctrine of preemptive strikes and perennial war.
The discourse of Good and Evil can be appropriated by disparate and opposing groups and generates a highly dichotomous opposition, undermining democratic communication and consensus, and provoking violent militaristic responses. It is assumed by both sides that “we” are the good, and the “Other” is wicked, an assertion that Bush made in his incessant assurance that the “evil-doers” of the “evil deeds” will be punished, and that the “Evil One,” will be brought to justice, implicitly equating bin Laden with Satan himself.
Why Right is Might: How the Social Science on Radicalisation suggests that International Human Rights Norms actually help frame Effective Counterterrorism Policies
by Tom Parker, 2012
A salient characteristic of the Bush administration’s ‘dark side’ approach to the Al-Qaeda threat was a profound lack of interest in the actual character and motivations of Al-Qaeda’s leaders and their supporters. As presidential adviser Karl Rove put it with unconscious hubris: “Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies.” Rather than follow Sun Tzu’s much referenced maxim “know your enemy”, President George W. Bush preferred to mischaracterize Al-Qaeda’s followers, as when he told a joint session of Congress in September 2001: “They hate our freedoms.” This was hardly an accurate summary of the grievances that bin Laden had itemized in two very public declarations. Such willful ignorance led to a number of semantic blunders in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, none greater that President Bush’s ill-judged use of the word “crusade” to underscore America’s resolve in meeting the challenge posed by Al-Qaeda. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine reacted presciently to Bush’s choice of words, commenting to reporters: “We have to avoid a clash of civilizations at all costs. One has to avoid falling into this huge trap, this monstrous trap, conceived by the instigators of the assault."
The dehumanization of ‘the other’ is, of course, a well-reported staple of warfare, so much so that anthropologists Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson labeled dehumanization “the fifth horseman of the apocalypse”. In his seminal work Faces of the Enemy, the philosopher Sam Keen coined the term “hostile imagination” to describe the process by which states dehumanize enemy forces by developing caricatured stereotypes that have a transformative impact on public attitudes and thereby create the space for violence and atrocity to unfold. The German Marxist Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) member Ulrike Meinhof offered the French journalist Michéle Ray a classic example of a dehumanizing narrative to justify the targeting of state officials: “Of course we say the cops are pigs. We say the guy in uniform is a pig, not a human being. And that’s how we have to deal with him.” In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, it is possible to trace evidence of this process of dehumanizing the ‘other’ at work in both the western and Muslim worlds – for example, in President Bush’s marked tendency to describe Al-Qaeda in abstract terms: “We're not fighting a nation; we're not fighting a religion; we're fighting evil.” However, for the purposes of this paper it is enough to note that ‘hostile imagination’ is inimical to a nuanced understanding of the opposing side.
Humanitarian action and the ‘global war on terror’: a review of trends and issues
Edited by Joanna Macrae and Adele Harmer
HPG Report 14 July 2003
PSA/BISA Joint Conference on the topic COMMUNICATING TERRORISM
March 29-April 1, 2010
University of Bradford (UK) and CERI Sciences Po (Paris)
Communicating ‘terrorism’: The effects of the US governmental discourse on terrorism in creating a new global enemy
Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol 2, No 2 (2008)
An Argument for Terrorism
By Richard Jackson
The Construction of Arabs as Enemies: Post-September 11 Discourse of George W. Bush
Debra Merskin 2004
The Popularity of the ‘New Terrorism’ Discourse
By Desiree Bryan on June 22, 2012
The Ghosts of State Terror: Knowledge, Politics and Terrorism Studies
Richard Jackson, Aberystwyth University
Paper prepared for the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, 2629 March, 2008, San Francisco, USA.