The more and more I think about this whole incident from a perspective of someone outside the debate community I find the entire incident both hillarious and ridiculous.
How arrogant is the debate community to feel that a high profile private intellegence firm actually gives a fuck enough to forge a peice of intellegence in order for some college kids to win a tournament.
This entire thing highlights a serious flaw with the debate community: highly inflated self importance.
I find is amusing that so many debaters participate in what can almost be described as "groupthink" in the sense that they believe debate somehow has political significance outside of the debate community.
It is also rather funny that the debate communities initial reaction was to threaten Friedman, claiming that they would tarnish his reputation in DC and telling him that he would cause the next pearl harbor.
Friedman put it well when he stated: "The idea that college debaters constitute a uniquely significant constituency that must be taken more seriously than others is funny. I am 56 years old and have spent many years in DC and have never once heard a reference to college debaters as an important group. Apart form being insulting in tone and content, he was hilarious in demanding unique attention because of his position in debating. I had never heard of this debating meet, no one I knew had the slightest awareness of it and the idea that we had somehow developed our article to influence the meet (or whatever the writer was babbling about) was not just insulting, but silly. "
A couple other worthwhile quotes
"I have been challenged by several governments and threatened by a significant number of non-governmental organizations--some violent--in the nearly ten years of my business. Those were major problems. College debating coaches are not. It is not that as a human being you are insignificant. Far from it. However, that being involved in college debating somehow raises you beyond the normal run of mankind, certainly reduces your in importance in my mind. It is simply too pompous to tolerate. Like hang gliding, basketball and helping the poor, college debating is worthwhile activity and those engaged in it (as I was so long ago) should be commended. But you guys are taking yourself much too seriously."
I think Friedman got it right when he said "he should get a life--get a date, get drunk, rob a gas station. In other words, get a life and stop taking yourself so seriously. You are just not that important no matter what your parents told you. "
People take debate way to seriously.