[eDebate] Topic idea: Intelligence Reform

Steven D'Amico stevendamico
Fri Apr 4 15:12:23 CDT 2008


Noah,

Great idea. You ask what the core ground is, and the short answer is:
politics.

I think any discussion of a intelligence reform needs to take into account
an affs ability to outweigh a politics DA. Affs on intelligence are likely
uni-directional and strong links to good politics scenarios. Espeically
early in the year with elections, and late in the year with a new presidents
first term agenda on the line.

Given intelligence reform is a debate of subtlety, I worry about the
likelihood of a Adv versus a Polyx da. I think this is a fine debate to
have, I just want us to be sure the aff impacts are big enough.

Then again, terror impacts are huge, cross apply the wallace evidence.


Damico
On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 12:50 PM, Noah Chestnut <noahchestnut at yahoo.com>
wrote:

> We have a unique opportunity this year as topic papers are not due until
> next week (see Gordon's earlier post from this month).  Too often we
> complain about topics because we could not get involved in their formation
> since we were busy prepping for CEDA/NDT.  This excuse no longer applies.
>
> I'm looking for people who want to work with me to write a topic paper
> about intelligence reform.  If you are interested e-mail me back at
> noahchestnut at gmail.
>
> Below I will outline some of the reasons for why I think this could be a
> great topic for all participants in the community.
>
> First, the topic should be thought of as dealing with both the producers
> and consumers of intelligence.  The intelligence community (which is a
> term of art that includes a variety of actors ranging from the CIA to the
> State Department) is responsible for producing intel.  Political decision
> makers (Congress and the Executive) are the primary consumers of
> intelligence.  This topic should focus on not only the mistake made in
> creating actionable intel, but also the errors in the political process' use
> of that intel.  Taking a step back, this topic asks not only how did 9/11
> happen, but also how did Iraq happen?
> Second, the literature is both recent and developed.  I would be hesitant
> to introduce this topic in 2002 or 2003, but there has been over six years
> for scholars, professionals, intellectuals, columnists, reporters, and
> congress people to hash out this topic.  One of my problems with this
> previous topic was that the phrase constructive engagement was not all that
> relevant in the literature concerning the Middle East.  Reform has a lot
> of meaning in this literature which guarantees that negatives will have
> counterplans and disads that are grounded in the literature, not artificial
> debate constructs (such as the plethora of add a condition cp's that we saw
> at the NDT).
> Third, it is a great election year topic.  Intelligence reform will
> clearly play a role in the upcoming elections as both candidates will be
> continuously pressed as to how they will manage the global war on terror.
> In addition, this is an important issue for the first 100 days of the new
> president since this is not a topic that can be delayed, such as healthcare
> or immigration.
>
> Now, I'll answer some anticipated frequently asked questions:
> "Won't this topic just devolve into different ways to solve a terror
> advantage?"
> No.  While confronting terrorism will play a large role in this topic,
> intelligence reform raises questions about US primacy, diplomacy, human
> rights, relations with allies, relations with adversaries, governmental
> structure and the perception of this nation.  This is not close to an
> exhaustive list of the possible debates that you may hear.  I also don't
> think that this topic needs to be worded so that aff's have to defend the
> current war on terror.  Topical aff's could ban rendition or even the CIA
> (a proposal floated around by qualified scholars).  This leads me to the
> second criticism.
>
> "What will the hippies say?"
> Come on, the negative k ground on this topic is pretty fantastic.  I
> shouldn't have to elaborate.  The aff ground is also good.  There are
> obviously aff's that can revolve around banning a poor intelligence
> practice, but there are also affs that can attempt to politicize an aspect
> of intelligence and hold it democratically accountable.
>
> "What about novices?"
> This is one of the easier topics to get novices involved in.  The topics
> are salient and you could get debaters started by reading the 9/11
> Commission Report and the Iraq Study Group (two texts that every one of us
> should have read by now).  More of this discussion should occur when
> resolutions are being discussed.
>
> "How do we create a fair balance of ground?"
> I am still not sure of how I would want this topic to be worded.  Let's
> say the topic is:  Resolved: The United States Federal Government should
> enact substantial intelligence reform.  I am not sure what the core DA is
> to that topic.  The problem for me is that the verb in this resolution is
> enact, which is too vague.  I think a better resolution would use a more
> specific verb.  For now, that verb is reform.  Even with reform, I am not
> sure that the negative has amazing disads to the topic.
> One possible solution would be to specify an agent in the resolution.  Make
> the aff defend Congress so the negative has its internal reform cp and da's
> to increasing congressional oversight.  In the beginning of the year this
> will provide stable ground, while after a month or so, negatives will start
> innovating as they always do.
> I believe that with more research, we can write a resolution that benefits
> both affs and negs.
> More to follow later.  Regardless of what you think about this topic, get
> involved and think of what you want to debate next year.
>
> Noah
>
> ------------------------------
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>
>
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