Canada Should Never Have Become a Member of the Military Coalition Against ISIS
Debate Rounds (4)
I recently argued this in the Ontario Pro-Con Debating Forum and I was wondering if I could get a fresh perspective on the argument from you fine people.
The definitions of the terms are rather straightforward, thus I don't feel I need to define them.
First round acceptance only please. Second is for posting main arguments as well as for my opponent to cross-examine me. Third round I answer and cross-examine my opponent, then they answer. Fourth round is for concluding arguments/summaries.
PS: I'll post in the comments if I forgot anything.
PPS: Have a nice day!
I.) Canada is spending copious amounts of money on this modern-day crusade that could be put to better use.
II.) Canada will be largely ineffectual as a military force.
III.) The threat ISIS poses to Canada is not serious, it simply seems to be.
I.) Unnecessary expenditure
Canada is spending exorbitant amounts of money on this endeavor for no good reason. Although the federal government has not released the exact amounts the airstrikes will be costing taxpayers, it is reasonable to estimate that they will total around $347 million based on information released after Operation Mobile in Libya which utilized the same forces and support. This is not including the $28 million Canada has already contributed in humanitarian aid. Imagine what better use $347 million can be put towards. For example, the large sum could be put towards 30000 undergraduate scholarships for Canadians. The large sum could raise 188 children from birth to adulthood. The large sum could be put towards helping 13 times as many Syrian and Iraqi refugees as Canada is currently contributing to! There are many who may say that national security, the safety of Canadians, must be put above all else. To those people I say, exactly! The budget available to Public Safety Canada is $1.2 billion. Of the 1.2 billion, roughly $30 million is devoted to national security: the funding for counter-intelligence, identifying internal threats, and fighting homegrown terrorism. 30 million! The amount dedicated to the ISIS airstrikes is 13 times that; an entire order of magnitude larger! CSIS has already cautioned the Canadian government that ISIS fighters, if at all, are likely to strike from within; they would be Canadians, not foreign nationals. Why therefore are we neglecting the security of our good Canadian citizens to bomb a country across the Atlantic? Bombing, I might add, that may not be largely effective in the first place?
II.) Ineffectual airstrikes
Yes, dear people, the bombing of ISIS by Canada will not be the magical cure to terror in the Middle East. This is largely due to faulty military intelligence and the fact that airstrikes are not the right form of attack against such an enemy. It had been revealed to the Daily Mail early in October that leaders in the coalition are not receiving adequate intelligence on positions of ISIS troops and placements. Syria and the Iraq of today lack the complex network of spies and informants used by Western forces in the earlier Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Thus, coalition airstrikes rely completely on images taken by drones and satellites. Pentagon officials have admitted that they are unsure of the occupancy of many targeted buildings; they could be filled with ISIS fighters, but are more likely empty or even occupied by civilians. This is even more worrying when considering that airstrikes are completely wrong in combating this type of foe. The coalition boasted in early October of destroying three Humvees, two tanks, and a bulldozer over a weekend. This may seem a great victory to the conventional strategist and newsreaders, but ISIS is no conventional foe. ISIS is at its core an angry mob, its strength relies on the ferocity of its foot soldiers. To this enemy, capturing and using tanks and large guns are more of a show of strength than true strategies in combat. The coalition boasts of destroying tanks and large guns, but in nearly half a year they have succeeded in only killing 500 enemy fighters; a small dent in an army 10000 strong and growing by the thousand every month. The West has faced enemies like this before, largely in Iraq and Vietnam. Wars where the enemy were never truly eradicated.
III.) Why is it OUR problem?
Finally, is ISIS really such a large threat to Canadian safety that such drastic measures are required? The past few months have been a constant stream of news reports of ISIS brutality and political rhetoric about the necessity of stopping them. However, authorities on national security don"t seem to share the alarmist attitudes about the threat of ISIS. CSIS director Michael Coulombe has gone on record in front of the House of Commons Public Safety Committee saying "We have no information indicating an imminent attack"We"re telling people they should go about their daily lives." Addressing concerns about the multiple Canadians have traveled abroad in support of ISIS, Coulombe has said that they worked mainly as propagandists or fundraisers; I quote "I don't want people to believe that we have 80 returnees who were hard fighters in Iraq and Syria, because that is not the picture we have at the moment." Even if one is worried about the minute amount of danger posed by such individuals, the RCMP has responded by saying they are kept under scrutiny. Addressing the exactly 130 Canadians overseas fighting with ISIS and the 80 who have returned home, Coulombe has stated "It's a firm number that we're aware of. And yes, we know where they are." He was joined by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson who stated "It"s nothing for Canadians to worry about."
Although it is painful for Canadians to seemingly not contribute to the global effort to combat ISIS, people must be aware that we are addressing the problem incorrectly with airstrikes. Bombing buildings and encampments kilometers away is not going to ensure our safety, and neither is throwing money at the problem. We should be instead focusing on securing Canadians and doing all we can for those displaced by the conflict. I finish with a recent quote from Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the former UNAMIR Forces Commander, "I watched the Rwandan genocide unfold. We're making the same mistakes in Iraq."
Thank you very much!
A. It is the responsibility of strong nations to police the common global laws, of which ISIS is in direct and egregious violation.
B. Isis is a particularly heinous threat to global security, which directly impacts Canadian national security.
C. Trusting others to deal with the threat ISIS poses to Canadian interests is counterproductive.
A. Legal Responsibility.
Canada is a signature member of the United Nations. The United Nations has adopted a doctrine called 'Responsibility to Protect.' In it, as a condition of sovereignty, a state has the responsibility to protect it's citizens from war crimes. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of every citizen in a sovereign nation to do the same. This was adopted by consensus of almost every nation on the planet during the 2005 world summit, including Canada(1). It also extends the responsibility of protecting citizens from war crimes and the like to other nations beyond the sovereign borders of where the crimes occur. Because Canada is a nation of laws, the responsibility to protect global citizens from warcrimes applies to Canada. Canada is failing it's legal responsibility if it fails to act to prevent atrocities and warcrimes. ISIS has taken hostages, executed civilians, and has been observed executing attacks on civilian populations, all of which are violations of international law(2). It has shown a disrespect for observers and reporters, deliberately targeting them in several instances(3), making it clear that these violations will continue.
B. Threat to National Security.
ISIS poses an ongoing threat to Canada's National security. It's example that violence can be used with impunity to achieve it's objectives is a message to other terrorist organizations, both domestic and international, that they can do the same on Canada's soil. ISIS is not an organization that is native to Iraq, but an outside force. Their actions could be done anywhere, or be repeated anywhere. While ISIS's particular ideology is focused on the geographical region in the middle east, they are not hesitant to execute attacks outside of this area if it is in their interest to do so, disrespecting and even blatantly defying sovereignty of other states for no other reason then to send a political message(4).
C. Why others can't be trusted to do the job.
Canadian interests are just as complex as any other nation's, and if Canada is not allowed to express those interests and ensure that other more powerful nations are not held in check, then it is likely that Canadian interests will be disregarded to the detriment of global peace and security.
1. 2005 World Summit Outcome
2. Principle VI of International law.
3. ISIS " major threat to media freedom in both Iraq and Syria.
4. Brussels Jewish Museum killings: Suspect 'admitted attack'
On issue I, Unnecessary Expenditure, you claim that Canada is spending money for no good reason. You claim that the money would be better spent in humanitarian aid. Are you familiar with the actions of militias in African countries shattered by warfare? Warlords and militants would go into the camps, steal the food, and sell it. Aid in unstable countries often is subjected to theft, preventing the people who most need it, the civilians, to get it. To prevent that you then have to deploy ground troops. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of not being involved in the Coalition?
You state that alternatively this money could better be spent on shoring up Canada's borders and bolstering Canadian national defense. National defense is a strange creature. It costs a certain amount to maintain a ready force, but active operations are much more expensive. This is where the order of magnitude expenditures come from. By increasing national defense, you add capacity to spend more money, money that may be beyond Canada's means. Is it not best, therefore, to keep capacity within Canada's capability?
I concede that providing 30000 Canadians access to undergraduate scholarships is a very worthy cause, but global security for those Canadians would be much more valuable. You state that it would raise 188 children to adulthood, but the actions of the Canadian Airforce could easily prevent several orders of magnitude larger loss of life by preventing ISIS from operating with Impunity. Isn't it better to save lives already here rather than provide for the additional of more?
For the actual effectiveness of the strikes, I move on to issue II.
On issue II, Ineffectual Airstrikes, you claim that it is not the best way of dealing with ISIS fighters. You are right in that Airstrikes do not defeat ground troops alone, but it does restrict their movement. Furthermore, airpower assists troops already on the ground be that much more effective. It also allows tracking of individuals attempting to escape, which is vital to modern operations. While the news brags about bombs being dropped on tanks and large guns, the truth is that the most critical operations are those where a single bullet isn't fired. Those aren't bragged about in the news because it's not flashy, but consist of the majority of the operations that will be executed. This isn't about the complete elimination of the enemy either. In most warfare some remnant of the enemy exists after the conflict ends. This enemy may or may not be intact at the conclusion of the conflict based on too many variables to tell. This is independent of victory or defeat of either party in any conflict. Furthermore, the Coalition is only there because of the particularly heinous acts perpetuated by ISIS. While maybe that aircraft can't kill them all, an aircraft flying overhead could be a determining factor in if a cell of ISIS fighters feel safe enough to execute genocide against an entire village.
On issue III, Why is it OUR problem, you claim that ISIS is not a threat to Canadian safety. While it is true that ISIS will not be attacking Canadian soil in mass anytime soon, global terrorism as it stands is a new idea that is evolving as we watch, and if ISIS is allowed to gain their objective uncontested, then it sets an example for other organizations to participate in acts of a similar manner. Isn't it better that we learn to fight it before it reaches Canada's shores? Furthermore, if we defeat the ideology where it stands, would it not help improve global security by teaching people that violence is no longer the path for change?
You claim that Canada should be focusing on doing all you can for those displaced by the conflict. What of those who are calling for Air Support? What of those who want us to stop ISIS from killing their loved ones? What do you say to them? Do you say sorry about your children, but we will only support you once you are displaced? If the role were reversed and Canada were invaded by a foreign religious fundamentalist terrorist organization killing civilians in the thousands, would you want people to devote resources to feed you, or to stop the killers?
Keeyan forfeited this round.
"Aaaand I've accidentally forfeited. My sincere and profuse apologies to Nevearo; your arguments are really good and you seem to be taking this debate seriously (unlike so many of the trolls on this site). I just got hit with a LOT of work right now (in real life), and I hope to have a rematch some time in the future when I actually have time. Apologies to all! Have a nice day!"
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