Decisive Victory to Continue the War on Terror at Intelligence Squared US Debate: “It’s Time to End the War on Terror

Against the Resolution Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, and Richard Falkenrath, Homeland Security Policy Adviser to Pres. Bush, 2001-2003, Win Debate Over Peter Bergen, Co-Director of New American Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, and Juliette Kayyem, former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs and Boston Globe National Security Columnist

Debate to be broadcast on NPR stations nationwide and to be telecast on WNET/Thirteen on 9/17

NEW YORK – September 8, 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. According to the final votes, 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. (See full numbers below)

The resolution, “It’s Time to End the War on Terror,” was supported by Bergen and Kayyem, who argued that the United State’s enemies have been largely defeated, and that the War on Terror is an out-of-date mindset. Hayden and Falkenrath, however, defined the War on Terror differently, arguing that the United States still needs the legal tools afforded by the War on Terror, and therefore it’s not time for the war to end.

This latest intellectual matchup was IQ2US’s 51stdebate and launch of its fall season presented in partnership with Slate.

ABC News Nightline’s John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

Key Excerpts Against the Motion:


“Two successive American Presidents have defined us as being at war with Al Qaeda. The American congress has defined us as being at war with Al Qaeda, and the American court system, only a few blocks from here, has defined us as being at war with Al Qaeda... Now, we could discuss troop levels in Iraq, the rate of withdrawal from Afghanistan - a whole bunch of other details about this war, but that’s not the point I think Richard and I want to make. The point that we want to make is the legal construct, the legal belief, that we are a nation at war. That we are nation in conflict, and we have a right, because we are in that status, to use the legal tools and the legal authorities that a nation at war is allowed to use. We are supporting to keep all available tools on the table. To keep a menu of options, from law enforcement to diplomacy, or armed conflict in order to keep you safe.”


"War on Terror ‑‑ war is a legal state, as Mike said.  It exists in law. It is decreed by Congress and, in fact, they did decree it in this case with the authorization for the use of military force, passed by Congress on Sept. 14, signed by President Bush on Sept. 18, and still in force today.”

Key Excerpts for the Motion:


“[Our opponents] may claim that at at some point we may decide that we no longer need to define it as a War on Terror – but we aren’t there yet. I would submit to you, the audience: If the death of the founder and leader of Al Qaeda isn’t the point where we can’t say that the War on Terror is over, and then add to that the destruction of almost all of its entire top leadership, its absence in the revolutions across the Middle East, its inability to mount any kind of attack on the United States for a decade isn’t the point to end the War on Terror, when will that point be? We say its now.”


"Whether the war on terror ended as we started to change, it's just a learning process over 10 years, to effective counterterrorism -- effective counterterrorism tools.  That happened over the course of a 10 year period.  So the reason why not to call it on -- a war on terror is because I don't -- I mean, because we know what the war on terror meant.  Now, they can now claim it was just a legal device. " 

"But I lived that time.  We all lived that time.  We all served in government.  Three of us served in government during that time.  So I've just, you know, sort of asked people to remember as -- as we have been discussing, what that meant.  It's not an indictment on everything that happened or the changes or whatever else.  It is just simply today we have effective counterterrorism measures. " 

Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted with the following:

41% of audience agreeing with the resolution

28% of audience against the resolution

31% undecided

After careful consideration of the points by the audience, Richard Falkenrath and Michael Hayden won the debate: the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.

46% of audience agreeing with the resolution (+5%)

43% of audience against the resolution (+15%)

11% undecided (-20%)

To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and postdebate, please visit our Facebook page at:

The showdown at NYU’s Skirball Center in New York City (566 LaGuardia Place) puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.


• To view transcripts and videos, download audio or video clips or learn more about Intelligence Squared US, please visit:

• NPR will air the debate on stations nationwide and the podcast will be available to download. Please check with your local NPR stations for additional details or visit:

• WNET/Thirteen will air this debate Saturday September 17 at 4PM


Rethink your point of view with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), Oxford-style debates live from New York City.

Based on the highly successful debate program based in London, the Intelligence Squared Foundation has presented over 50 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From global warming and the financial crisis, to Afghanistan/Pakistan and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues.

Since its inception in 2006, the goals have been to provide a new forum for intelligent discussion, grounded in facts and informed by reasoned analysis; to transcend the toxically emotional and the reflexively ideological; and to encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.

The Rosenkranz Foundation initiated the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series and continues to provide major support.

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