“This house believes 9/11 was justified…”

If you’re in Dublin tomorrow evening, you might do worse than get along to this controversial debate at Dublin University Philosophical Society. If you do go and you have the time, let us have your thoughts on what passed there.

  • harpo

    “This house believes that 9/11 was a legitimate form of resistance of American pressure to the Islamic world.”

    And at the same time next week we bring it closer to home with a debate on the following motion:

    “This house believes that the La Mon House bombing was a legitimate form of resistance to British pressure on the Irish world.”

  • Pete Baker

    Frankly, Mick, I’m astonished that they think that particular motion is even worthy of debate.. But the decision to give a platform to individuals such as Anjem Choudray, again, is beyond belief.

    Here’s a relevant report, by Henry McDonald in the Observer, on the views of that particular extremist.. from this time last year.. when the idiots at the Philosphical Society gave him a similar platform.

    The report also notes that “Earlier this year [2004] the former Fine Gael leader and current EU ambassador to Washington, John Burton, pulled out of a similar debate at Trinity over the presence of extremist speakers on the platform.”

  • Mick Fealty

    Ad hominem Pete?

  • Pete Baker

    That the Philosophical Society are idiots, Mick?

    A slight play on the ‘useful idiots’ quote.. amended, as appropriate, in this case.

    As for Choudray, I refer you to his comments in the Henry McDonald article.

  • I have done a lot of debate and although not the worst motion I have ever heard it is certainly well up there. It is a motion that should be debated and would be interested on hearing any points that came out of it.

  • This beggars belief. What a joke.

  • Pete Baker

    btw Mick

    You didn’t accurately quote the actual motion –

    “This house believes that 9/11 was a legitimate form of resistance of American pressure to the Islamic world.”

  • “This house believes that 9/11 was a legitimate form of resistance of American pressure to the Islamic world.”

    I am sure it will be interesting.

    Fair play to Dublin University Philosophical Society for having the guts to run with this controversial motion.

  • Mick O’Tick


    “”This house believes that 9/11 was a legitimate form of resistance of American pressure to the Islamic world.””

    Understanding that Slugger is a great forum for debate on most issues, specifically NI, I am outraged and disgusted, that you would even give this so-called debate the time of day!

    Sure, now go ahead and try and justify your impartiality. Fucking ridiculous!

  • Pete Baker

    Actually, MO’T, it’s valid to point out what the idiots are doing.. again.. and that’s what Mick has done.

  • Mick O’Tick


    “If you do go and you have the time, let us have your thoughts on what passed there.”

    What exactly do you think could possibly come from such a debate, besides unjustified hatred againstthe U.S.?

  • Mick O’Tick


    “Actually, MO’T, it’s valid to point out what the idiots are doing.. again.. and that’s what Mick has done.”

    I understand to a point, but just giving the c**nts a forum here gives them hope.

  • ch in texas

    Has the horror of that September day faded so much that the murder of 3,000 innocents is a matter of friendly debate? All I can do is shake my head and wait for the pros and cons of shoving people into ovens. Shame on the so called society but thanks to Slugger to alerting us to the evil in our midst.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick O’Tick, there’s nothing like a bit of free speech to see where people stand.

    If they were truly brave, the society would have a motion such as “The Black and Tans were a a considered and measured response aimed at combatting terrorism practiced by a bloodthirsty minority”. I wonder how many people in Dublin would be happy to permit a motion such as “the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings were a legitimate use of force to demonstrate a point to the Irish government”.

  • SlugFest

    M O’T,

    I don’t see why you’re attacking Mick here.

    Three people I knew, one of whom was a dear friend, died on 9/11. I watched the planes go down not on TV, but rather out my office window. The idea that anyone can justify the mass genocide that went on that day chills me to the bones.

    However, as an American (which is, God knows, not to say that all Americans believe this), I believe people have a right, within a reasonable venue, to voice their opinions, no matter how vehemently I disagree with them.

    What’s more, considering how 9/11 forced many Americans to start paying attention to worldviews, rather than remain in an insular environment, it’s important that they are now made aware of those who are trying to justify the events of that day.

    The fact that the DUPS is hosting such an event is questionable and egregious; the fact that Mick called our attention to it is not.

  • Mick O’Tick


    “I don’t see why you’re attacking Mick here.”

    I’m not so much attacking Mick as I am of him giving this debate the time of day.

    “I believe people have a right, within a reasonable venue, to voice their opinions, no matter how vehemently I disagree with them.”

    As do I, but it’s the so-called “reasonable venue” that I have a problem with.

  • Mick O’Tick

    Comrade Stalin

    “If they were truly brave, the society would have a motion such as “The Black and Tans were a a considered and measured response aimed at combatting terrorism practiced by a bloodthirsty minority”.”

    I’m sorry, if who were truly brave? Irish society?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, I meant the society hosting the debate.

  • SlugFest

    M O’T,

    I’m not at all familiar with the DUPS — don’t know what sort of lectures/debates they’ve hosted in the past, don’t know where they’re coming from, so i can’t speak to what their motives are. Methinks perhaps they’re of the Dublin 4 sect and they’ve allowed themselves to believe that they are intellectually superior enough to engage in such a topic in a detached manner. Believe me, I’m sickened by it, yet i still believe in free speech, no matter how painful it is for me to here.


    It’s an important debate to be had for the simple reason that people in Ireland and other democratic countries are voicing the opinion that the attacks were justified.
    How do you deal with hate and misguided ideas if not by shining a light and exposing them for what they are?

  • Nic

    Don’t see what the fuss about DUPS holding such a debate is.. anyone interested in world politics gets that sort of discourse in magazines like “Foreign Affairs” and “Foreign Policy” all the time – influential people debating the pros and cons of various forms of physical and economic brutality in order to further what’s known as “western” interests.
    Indeed, several learned and calm people were able to “do the math” on why a military invention in Iraq resulting in over 10,000 civilian deaths plus military casualties plus untold environmental damage through the use of chemical and radioactive weapons was “a legitimate form of resistance to Islamic terrorism”. Something along the lines of “10,000 dead in the minus column versus 100 000 future victims of Hussein spared in the plus column” paraphrases what passed for reasoned debate at that time.
    Plus: the essence of debate is surely to test ideas, no? Refusing to engage the “enemy” idea is cowardice of the sort no “westerner” should contemplate (“post 9/11” natch).
    In fact, if I may bring it all back home, it is fundamentally a lack of willingness to engage violent republicanism and defeat it intellectually – starting with John Hume cowardly conceding the debate before it began and building up to the weaklinkg Blair’s “constructive ambiguity” and the scarlet pimpernel Ahern’s trying desparately not to take a position – that has done most to inflate the Sinn Fein bubble to the ridiculous level it is now at.
    I say, bring them all on, I ain’t afraid.

  • ch in texas

    Nic, You’ve somewhat changed my mind from my no debate stance. As an American the topic may be too close to the bone for me, however we have to do a better job in the arena of ideas. These fanatics can’t continue to go round with their beliefs unchallanged from the liberal West. Your’re right, bring’em on.

  • Pete Baker

    The only thing individuals such as Choudray crave is a platform. The debate side is a minor irritant to people like him. Worth noting that his organisation, officially, was disbanded some time last year – something the Philosophical Society appear not to be aware of. Its founder Omar Bakri Mohammed left the UK in August and is currently prevented from returning.

    And yet the supposedly Philosophical Society has provided Choudray with a platform to espouse his views, not just last year.. but now this year as well.

    So much for debate shining a light on ‘misguided views’.

    And I’d rather not speculate as to who is presenting the other side of the argument from that list.

  • Brian Boru

    This is an absolutely disgraceful debate and I am certain that the Irish people feel the same.

  • ch in texas

    BB, I agree, but why did he get the invite? I know the reception he’d get here.

  • Mick O’Tick

    Pete Baker

    “The only thing individuals such as Choudray crave is a platform.”

    Yes, and the unfortunate naivety of the DUPS is only to willing to give him one. It is the open-armed invitation to radical fundamentalists like him, that eventually lead to roach-like infestation.

  • Mick O’Tick


    “How do you deal with hate and misguided ideas if not by shining a light and exposing them for what they are?”

    You mean like unionists in NI? Ha! Just taking the piss.

  • D’Oracle

    The topic wording pushes the envelope a bit but then the whole idea of college debating socs isnt just a prosaic blooding of the next generations leadership techniques but also to annoy a lot of people and to really enjoy stirring it

  • Yours, etc.

    I suppose Professor Ward Churchill will be there to participate in the debate, right?

  • Shay Begorrah

    This is funny stuff and from it I suspect that the kids at DUPS would kick our asses in a debate.

    Neither the UK or America is any position to offer up criticism about the targeting of civilians by ersatz airpower and it nauseates me to hear this simple minded and dangerous relativism.

    I can honestly say that the September 11th attacks appalled and horrified me but then again my philosophical position allows me to say the same things about the equally unnecessary and much more deadly Dresden and Hiroshima bombings, not to mention Vietnam and every little pre-post-colonial scuffle Britain found itself engaged in right up the incredible and immoral mess that is Iraq.

    The deaths in New York were dreadful, like all killing, but utterly in keeping with the law of the biggest bomb that the US of A and Britain have long held to.

    Stand back, take in the bigger picture and wise up.

  • ch in texas

    Shay, You’re equating the firefighter with the arsonist….moral relativism. The US and UK don’t target civilians, the Islamofacists do, the more the better.

  • As someone who worked in the World Trade Center, I have some interest in what this monster has to say.

    Will the next debate at this university will be ” This house believes that the activities at Aushwitz-Berkenau were justified ” ?

  • The premise to be debated is itself based upon a deliberate falsehood.

    “This house believes that 9/11 was a legitimate form of resistance of American pressure to the Islamic world.”

    There was no resistance to America on 9/11/01.

    That mass murder was deliberately arranged by a consortium of high-level CIA, Mossad, and Republican paramilitaries/tacticians.

    Then they got their War in Iraq.

    Then they got their endless War on Terror, to justify anything else they wanted.

    Unnecessary and not even in the long-term interests of the planners and profiteers.

    Check out http://www.communitycurrency.org for what we have been doing here in San Francisco.

  • Rebecca Black

    Before condemning too loudly we should wait to see what the result of the debate is.

  • Conor

    i dont see why its a ‘disgraceful debate’. its disgraceful that Bush pissed off to Iraq instead of pursuing Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

  • Conor

    ch in texas.

    how the hell do the british army and the US army not target civilians?! stop being so american would you. i’ll remind you of a massacre that happened on the 30th January 1972 when the British Army opened fire and killed 13 innocent men, averaging the age of 17 on the streets of Derry.

  • They could have chosen a better topic for their ‘Annual Islamic Debate’, not least because 9/11 happened four years ago, and because the debate is unlikely to go beyond a framework which dictates that the only thing that need concern Irish people about the Islamic world is that it is a source of terror.

    The motion for debate is stupid. Since when was mass murder a legitimitate response to anything?

    Furthermore, even if there was a decent motion,I see no reason why Anjem Choudhury should be given a platform to spout his vile and moronic nonsense at the expense of someone half-sensible.

    But sure I might wander in….

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´The US and UK don’t target civilians, the Islamofacists do, the more the better.´´

    Read the article in today´s Guardian about Falluja for an alternative view:


    That said, nothing could ever ever ever justify the monstrous 9-11 attacks. Though an acquaintance here in Spain, who is Spanish with no Moslem or Arab background or links, said recently that he wouldn´t have cared if twice has many people had died on 9-11. To me his attitude is just as incredible and disgusting as that of those who justify the war in Iraq and its consequences…

  • esmereldavillalobos

    So, Godwin’s law takes 13 posts to come into effect on this thread. Ho-hum.

  • Butterknife

    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States includes the rule protecting free speech from Congress. It is this that likely inspired the movie speech of the president in The American President (1995):

    America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

    Is it not better to give a voice to those in society that feel they have no recourse but to resort to acts that are repugnant to society, e.g. some may say this is what the IRA and/or Sinn Fein wants. Only then will the old chestnut of One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter be dealt with.

    For the record earlier blogs that include words such as ‘fucking’ etc are not aids to the argument, but rather insult the spirit of it and only gives ammunition for the blogger’s enemy.

  • barnshee

    “This house believes that Dublin and Monaghan bombings were a legitimate form of resistance of Irish Republican pressure to the Nothern Protestant”

    No problems with that either??

  • Just for the record, the society’s common name here is “The Phil”. The “outcome” of the debate will be interesting, but only because it gives the undergrads of the Phil a chance to get into Friday’s papers around the world by endorsing the resolution. Whether they’re foolish enough to take it is the only bit worth noting.

    The debate is meaningless. The debate behind the debate is how far a group of privileged Irish kids will go in flaunting their adolescent rebellion against the US. Staging the debate at all gives part of the answer. Selecting the only Irish pundit likely to lose the debate to the al-Qaeda junior varisty squad is another. The only question remaining is whether they want to make the editorial page of the New York Times this weekend.

  • The Phil aren’t stupid. They are the oldest student society in the world and have been milking press attention from their ‘radical’ platforms since day one.

    But they’re not immoral either. The worst thing you can say about anybody’s opinion is that it’s false. That it’s wrong. The proposition is false, not evil or sick or revolting, but false. It cannot be backed up by fact, practical ethics or retrospective consequences. That should be clear to anyone who understands thought or philosophy.

    Furthermore, simply as a semantic point, the title of a debate is not a dogmatic label, it does not imply the thoughts or views of anyone in either the society or even the audience, merely the panel. People disgusted at the Phil for hosting this discussion miss the point. It’s a debate. As an illustrative example, the EXACT same debate would be had if the proposition was “This House Believes 9-11 Was An *Injustifiable* Act of Reprehensible Terror”, only the two sides would swap seats.

    And it would get less press.

    They have also extended this skill for stirring up trouble with many pro-British/Unionist propositions to rile up exactly the same sense of indignation and pack their coffers for contentious debates among diehard nationalists. The examples offered here in a “I don’t see them debating THIS!!” manner are much milder than previous debates I’ve attended and as such don’t really bear much weight.

    And incidentally, I’m not fond of the Phil. They are smug, pretentious and lacking many of the analytical faculties I’ve recommended to you, but trying to present them as stooges to Al-Qaeda is ridiculous. They will put down *easily* the rabid foamings of Choudray and his ilk merely because it is in their interests to do so, and as an organisation they are actually very conservative. You don’t go to the Phil if you want to see an actual debate about geopolitics and moral equivalency. You’ll just see ad hominem attacks, ranting on both sides and lots of sentimental gesturing.

    And purely on a personal note as someone who takes comedy seriously, the ‘humour’ they pepper into their speeches is so far from funny the EU would demand it was relabelled if it they sold it in supermarkets.

    I won’t be going in any case because it’s my birthday and I’ll be eating cake.


  • SlugFest

    I’m with Richard Delevan on this one. Took a bit of time checking out their website last night — seems to me they’re just a bunch of snot-nose kids whose so-called status more likely came from mummy and daddy’s purse strings than from any intellect or hard-earned work in the classroom.

    That said, I think it’s time for Americans to recognize the fact that they’re not the only ones who have grieved for the loss of loved ones taken too soon and too violently. Since 9/11, we seem to be arrogant in our grief … we still don’t seem to get that the reason why the world opened their hearts to us immediately following that day is because virtually every country, in some fashion or another, has been through it before. Maybe not all in one day, but really, why should the 3,000+ people who died in America that day be treated any differently than the 3,600+ people who died from the Troubles (feel free to replace with violent, unnecessary death of your choice)? Why are we still throwing tamtrums asking the world — in this very blog — ‘how dare you bring up such a painful subject’ (quotemarks used to represent a general phrase/thought, and not anyone’s quote in particular) when this actual website is used, ideally, to debate a 30-year conflict that brought about the deaths of far too many?

  • Jack Weldon

    Wake Up Ireland! It was an inside job!

    Jack in Seattle (USA)

  • I dont in anyway support the motion of this debate but I would welcome the opportunity to find out why people did. For too long have people been unwilling to at least hear a side they dont agree with. If said side is reprehensible or not worth listening too then stop listening

  • 6countyprod

    Question: Was 10/11 justified?

    Answer: Jordanians: “Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!”

    Yeap, that’s a pretty good response to the 9/11 perpetrators as well!

  • PaddyReilly

    Those of us who have been through proper Universities and Debating Societies know that it is traditional to announce debates with a proposal that no-one seriously agrees with. The first debate I ever went to was “This house believes that motor cars should be banned”. Thus those who talk of a disgusting debate are only showing their ignorance. It’s rather like Swift’s modest proposal.

  • ch in texas

    Conor, My Americianism just bubbles over sometimes 🙂 When I said US and Brit forces don’t target civilians, I was rebutting Shay who equated 9/11 with American bombing in WW II. Let’s leave out Dresden for a minute. Someone mentioned Fallujah and targeting civs. If we had wanted to, we could have vaporized that city by remote control. Instead, we sacrificed our young men and women to fight street by street, hand to hand, to help MINIMIZE civ casualities. I talked to men who were there, and it was a very tough fight, room to room sometimes. But we respect life, which the enemy sees as a weakness. Al Qieda on the other hand, relishes innocent blood spilled. I makes me sick when people equate the two to stick it to the Yanks.

  • Paddy, the worst debate motion I ever had was ‘This house prefers wallpaper to paint”. That was indeed a thrilling and enthralling debate during which one the teachers at our school fell asleep.

  • Brian Boru

    I understand from reports today that Anjam Choudary, an Islamic extremist at the debate, has said that 911 style terror attacks in Ireland are justified because of US refueling at Shannon airport. Jail him for incitement, and then deport him.

  • Mick O’Tick

    Well, it seems as though I wasn’t the only one that felt this Choudhury didn’t deserve his platform.


    The goal, through his rhetoric is, designed to threaten the Irish people with violence, as being justified by your governments willing participation in aiding the US airforce.

    Now sure, some of you liberal thinking students may still justify the platform, but can most of you now see why this guy shouldn’t have been allowed there in the first place?

  • Pete Baker

    It’s the standard tactic of extremists like Choudhury.

    Reflect back to a specific audience their own fears and, in particular, their own political prejudices.. and wait for the cheerleaders to say – I told you so!

    Having been given a platform, again, by The Phil’s useful idiots – in their desperate attention-seeking – he was never going to do anything else.

  • SlugFest

    Paddy Reilly,

    “Those of us who have been through proper Universities and Debating Societies …”

    Spot on, old chap, spot on. Bravo for distinguishing yourself from the philistines who didn’t have access to ‘proper’ universities.

    “The first debate I ever went to was ‘This house believes that motor cars should be banned’.”

    Indeed. I for one can see no difference between a banal chat about motor cars and an emotionally-charged debate about the justification of mass genocide … it must be only those churlish fools who confer more weight to the latter.

    “Thus those who talk of a disgusting debate are only showing their ignorance.”

    A man after my own heart … when in doubt, always refer to another’s ignorance.

  • swordfish

    You sad fools…

    Have you not heard of:


    PhD’s, lecturers from MIT, American freedom fighters are distributing a free video to highlight the fact that the north, south towers and building 7 were all professionally demolished.

    They are not saying by whom, how could they. They are simply presenting evidence that is compelling and if you have the balls to receive it then your world view will change.

  • ch in texas

    Does anyone have a report on the outcome of this so called debate? One admonition I took from this thread is that we Americans tend to want to “own” 9/11. I have to plead guilty. It was great food for thought. That’s why even though I’m a red-state conservative, I love reading Slugger.