Libya Debate

Weekly Debates

The Society’s task Thursday night was not dissimilar from the one placed before Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, and JCS Chairman Mullin by Congress the day before. “Resolved: The crisis in Libya required U.S. humanitarian intervention.”

Affirmation keynoter Vice President Dulik opened with testimonies of what he described as the cries of pain and horror of the people of Libya. He emphasized the plight of civilians but warned the Society not to create a false choice between Iraq or Rwanda. The negation keynoter, Mr. Myers, warned that setting something—even humanitarian concerns—above a nation’s sovereignty sends the wrong message to other countries, particularly enemies of the U.S. He also questioned whether intervention that facilitated rebel leaders’ ascension to power would be any better than the Qaddafi regime.

We were honored to have several alumni back with us for the evening including former Amanuensis Mr. Nardino (’00), former Librarian Mr. Kass (’02), and former Amanuensis Dr. Flahive (’99)! What a great night they chose because the floor portion was some of the best debate we have had all semester. For those of you not present, the debate can best be summed up by the following:




The negation painted the affirmation as sushi-eating, latte-sipping liberals whose emotional appeals for humanitarian aid are bankrupted by our inaction in other parts of the world like the DRC and Sudan. The affirmation, on the other hand, painted the negation as heartless isolationists who care more about national coffers than human lives. However, both sides caught the other in contradictions. On the affirmation, President Iacono, for instance, began his speech with an anecdote about the “moral penalty” of public drunkenness—if you know him, you know why this is funny. On the negation, Mr. Sam Haass (SFS ’14) claimed that we had no evidence of impending massacres in Libya—if you read the news, you know why this is funny.

Unlike Congress, the Society was given an opportunity to vote, and it affirmed the resolution 35-20-1.

As this was our final Merrick debate of the season, the tally of the night’s debate was even more critical:

  • Mr. Downes—5
  • Mr. Walker—4
  • Mr. Cantirino—3
  • Mr. Myers—2
  • Ms. Green—1

Which brought our Merrick totals to:

  • Mr. Cantirino—28
  • Mr. Walker—28
  • Mr. Henderson—22
  • Mr. Downes—22
  • Ms. Green—13
  • Chancellor Wagner—8
  • Ms. Wood—4
  • Mr. Sassoon—4
  • Mr. Desnick—3
  • Mr. Myers—2
  • Mr. Spagnuolo—1
  • Mr. Medina—1
  • Mr. Manchester—1

Congratulations to the 136th Annual Merrick keynoters, Mr. Cantirino, Mr. Walker, Mr. Henderson, and Mr. Downes!

Please join us next Thursday, April 7, as we discuss, “Resolved: Bring back Healy Pub!”.



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