9/11 Debate Guide

9/11 Debate Guide
Since the attacks of September, 11 2001, America has struggled to find the right balance
between safety and freedom. Some say the government has become so zealous and
intrusive in its efforts to stop terrorism that our freedoms have been compromised.
Others believe law enforcement and the military should be given wide latitude to prevent
terrorism. This week you and your partners will research and conduct debates related to
this important and timely topic.
Debate topics
1. Are current airport security procedures overly intrusive or are they necessary for
2. Was the procedure of waterboarding performed on Khalid Sheik Muhammad
3. Was the killing of American citizen Anwar Al-Walaki without a criminal trial
4. Are drone strikes (in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and other places) morally
justifiable and wise policy?
5. Should Guantanamo Bay be closed within the year?
Debate format
. Opening Statement 3 minutes for each team. Please be sure to practice so that your
opening is neither too short nor too long.
What is an opening statement?
Your opening statement is similar to an introductory paragraph in a persuasive
essay. One person in your group will perform this like a speech. Pretend that no one in
the class knows anything about your topic at all. This is where you explain all of the
background information.
 The first part of your introduction should be a brief historical background on your
topic. What are some of the problems that led to the issue you are talking about?
How long has it been going on for? Why is it important?
 The second part of your introduction should clearly explain what the problem is in
your topic. Why is there a controversy around your topic? Who is involved and
who does it affect?
 The third part of your introduction should be similar to your thesis statement.
What is the answer to your problem? Explain how you plan to prove your
problem here!
Rebuttal Period 8 minutes. This is the freewheeling section of the debate. The teams
will contest points, emphasize the strengths of their argument, and try to poke holes in the
ideas of the other team.
Question Period 5 minutes. The students and teacher will direct questions to both sides.
To be successful in a debate you must:
1. Turn in an outline of your main ideas and arguments. The outline should be about 1.5
pages single-spaced. In order to save the trees of the world, please refrain from
making your outline longer than 2 pages. A copy of the outline must be turned in to
Mr. Pena on the day of the debate.
2. Use internal citations (MLA format) in your outline. Also, quote them when you
debate. For example, “according to CNN 28 people died this year from drone
3. All members of your team must participate relatively equally.
4. Make sure you are well prepared
5. Meet with Mr. Pena prior to the debate.
Your Outline should be in this format:
Argument 1:
Evidence 1:
Evidence 2:
Evidence 3:
Argument 2:
Evidence 1:
Evidence 2:
Evidence 3:
Argument 3:
Evidence 1:
Evidence 2:
Evidence 3: