The Instigator
rwebberc
Con (against)
Losing
43 Points
The Contender
SnoopyDaniels
Pro (for)
Winning
45 Points

Despite the recent NIE, the US would be justified in taking military action against Iran

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,712 times Debate No: 621
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (28)

 

rwebberc

Con

Despite the recent National Intelligence Estimate stating that Iran has ceased its nuclear weapons program as of 2003, President Bush still claims that Iran is still a threat. After the debacle of the Iraq War, you would think that sabre rattling would be the last thing on the White House's mind. Does anyone else out there believe that Iran poses a threat to the US, and if so would we be justified in invading them? I welcome any takers.
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

I have just one question. If the intelligence comminity has been wrong for the last few years about Iran's nuclear program, why should we suddenly believe them now? What changed right before the release of the NIE that suddenly merited our trust? Unless you can present a reason for us to believe that the intelligence we have is suddenly accurate, then we must logically conclude that it is not. In other words, the burden of proof is on you.

But, let's just assume for a moment that this NIE report has any credibility. There are several justifications for attacking Iran:

1. We have caught the Revolutionary Guard in the act of supporting the insurgence in Iraq, and in some cases, actually participating in combat against our troops. This constitutes an act of war. It is actually incredible that we haven't already attacked Iran. It just demonstrates the nearly limitless patience of the American people (or, more likely, the ineptitude of certain factions within the government).
2. Iran is a notorious hotbed for terrorism. Iran funds Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as other terrorist organizations. Not only that, but the Iranian government provides safe haven for terrorist organizations. We will never eliminate terrorism as long it is institutionally recognized by a state government.
3. The NIE report still maintains that they WERE refining nuclear material for the purpose of weapons. Moreover, it does not say that they have stopped refining, only that they have stopped refining for weapon development purposes. In other words, the NIE report says "They're not as dangerous as we thought they were because they say they're not refining for weapons purposes." Are we seriously supposed to believe that? This is tantamount to a terrorist organization, notorious for bomb threats, saying "We want to obtain dynamite, but only for mining purposes." We would be the biggest FOOLS in history if we believed them.
4. To top it all off, Ahmadenijad is notorious for his violent, radical, inflamatory speach. We could make the mistake that Neville Chamberlain made prior to World War two and assume that it's just propaganda, tough talk, or we can learn from history, take him seriously and prevent World War III.

The real question is, why WOULDN'T we be justified in using military force against Iran?
Debate Round No. 1
rwebberc

Con

Let me address your issues one by one:

First of all, there is no credible evidence that the Revolutionary Guard is a significant present in Iraq, other than hearsay. We would be no more justified in invading Iran on this basis than we would in invading our ally Saudi Arabia, where multiple studies have shown that 50% of foreign insurgents in Iraq come from.

Once again, allies of ours such as Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from, also back and harbor terrorists.

Thirdly, Iran is surrounded by nuclear states such as Israel, Pakistan, India, China, and Russia. Why should they be demonized for developing nuclear weapons when the United States, the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon, has a stockpile of thousands?

Finally, if it's Ahmedinajad who's your problem, then what you're talking about is regime change. Iran has a more open public forum than any other nation in the Middle East except for Israel. All across Iran, citizens are voicing their displeasure with Ahmedinajad and the dissent is growing by all accounts. What makes Iran different from Nazi Germany is the competing centers of power. In a recent article published by the New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh quoted an anonymous former defense official with close ties to the administration who said that the President believes that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." The problem with that logic is that bombing a sovereign nation rarely ever gains you any favor with its citizens. Invading Iran would actually strengthen Ahmedinajad's power, not weaken it.

We must consider what "justifies" one country invading another. Simply because we think Iran might be trying to get nuclear weapons, as you have suggested by casting doubt on the National Intelligence Estimate, doesn't mean we are justified in invading them. The UN Security Council, who is charged with the maintenance of international security, certainly wouldn't see it that way, as we saw when Colin Powell tried to use that same reasoning for the invasion of Iraq. According to Article 2 Section 4 of the UN charter, the use of force against any state in the absence of an acute and imminent actual threat is illegal. Iran does not pose any imminent threat to the security of the United States and the problems we have with Iran can be resolved through diplomacy instead of bombs, therefore any invasion would be unjustified.
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

http://afp.google.com...
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
http://www.guardian.co.uk...
http://www.breitbart.com...

These are just four of the many articles that describe Iran's role in Iraq. What exactly do you consider "credible evidence?" Do you want video footage of a troop of Revolutionary Guards entering Iraq? Do you want Ahamadenijad to come out and say it? Do you want me to buy you a ticket to Iraq so you can see for yourself? Since none of these things are possible, you're just going to have to take the "hearsay" from officials in the Department of Defense. Is there any evidence against such a claim? If not, then I don't see how you have any basis on which to doubt that claim.

There is a huge difference between insurgents originating in a country, and actual uniformed military personel of a country attacking and aiding insurgents in attacking our boys. But you bring up a good point. Maybe we should give Saudi Arabia a good kick in the pants while we're at it. Unfortunately, we're slaves to their oil, no thanks to the Democrats.

I agree COMPLETELY that regime change would be prefferable to military action. Unfortunately, nobody has offered a plan to do so. If such a plan did exist, and was at all viable, I would back it 100% over a military option. No such plan exists that I know of, and until you or anyone else comes up with one, the military option is all that we have.

"According to Article 2 Section 4 of the UN charter, the use of force against any state in the absence of an acute and imminent actual threat is illegal"

This is impossible, since the U.N. is a very loose confederacy. We are not obligated to follow any of its laws, and reserve the right to do so when national security is at stake. It is a very stupid security doctrine to wait until something is an imminent threat before dealing with it. Again, WWII poses a relevant example. If Neville Chamberlain had used military force to stop Hitler's rise to power, WWII would never have happened. Instead, Great Britain waited until the Germans were ACTUALLY bombing their cities to do anything serious about it.

"Iran does not pose any imminent threat to the security of the United States"

This is what we are trying to establish. How can you use your own conclusion as an argument to support your conclusion?

"and the problems we have with Iran can be resolved through diplomacy instead of bombs, therefore any invasion would be unjustified."

If it were true that our issues with Iran could be solved diplomatically then I would agree that we would not be justified in invading Iran. However, you cannot reason diplomatically with a radical religous lunatic like Ahmadenijad. Diplomacy must be based on trust in order to be effective. Until there's a regime change, we must at least leave the option of military force open. Diplomacy must also be based on leverage. Strangely enough, we now have exactly the kind of leverage we need to conduct diplomacy, namely, our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the possibility of a successful democracy in these two countries. However, we stil lack a trustworthy partner in Iraq with which to conduct discussions.
Debate Round No. 2
rwebberc

Con

"There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said." That's a direct quote from the Washington Post article you provided. This is in stark contrast to the "Act of War" which you cited earlier.

"Strangely enough, we now have exactly the kind of leverage we need to conduct diplomacy, namely, our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the possibility of a successful democracy in these two countries." Our presences in Iraq and Afghanistan are quite the opposite of diplomatic leverage. As of October 2007, there are nearly 180,000 United States troops stationed in Iraq, plus another 30,000 around the Middle East. The US military has already eased its recruiting standards in order to fill its ranks, allowing high school dropouts, older adults, and even criminals to enlist in the armed forces. An invasion of a nation such as Iran would require significantly more personnel than did the invasion of Iraq. Iran is larger, more populous and has a rougher terrain than its neighbor to the west, and the current US forces would be spread too thin for such a large scale undertaking.

"If Neville Chamberlain had used military force to stop Hitler's rise to power, WWII would never have happened." This is another debate in itself. However, it is completely irrelevant. I have already explained why the situation in Iran is dissimilar to the one in Pre-WWII Germany. Ahmedinajad is not the "religious lunatic" you make him out to be, nor is he even a religious leader. That post goes to Ayatollah Khamenei, who is the Supreme Leader of Iran as well as the head of their armed forces. Khamenei was one of the first Muslim leaders to condemn the attacks of 9/11, saying that "Mass killings of human beings are catastrophic acts which are condemned wherever they may happen." By labelling Iranian leaders as nothing more than religious zealots, you are simplifying the situation and painting an inaccurate portrait of the person you claim to be so "notorious".

So if Ahmedinajad doesn't pose a legitimate threat to the US, then it must be the weapons, right? Not according to the people who know best. In an interview in late September with Newsweek magazine, the president of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who recently toured Iran's nuclear facilities, said that Iran posed "no clear and present danger" to anyone. He also stated that Iran is at least five to eight years away from developing the technology needed for nuclear weapons, if that is indeed their goal. There are many other nations in the world who could also acquire nuclear weapons in that time span based on their current nuclear capabilities. Should we invade them? Why don't we just invade any politically unstable Muslim country who pursues nuclear weapons against our wishes and is known to have terrorists within its borders as well as having funded them in the past? That sounds an awful lot like Pakistan, one of our principal allies in the War on Terrorism.

Diplomacy is the answer. Iran is a very politically diverse country. What unites Iranians is a sense of nationalism. If we continue to belittle them in their quest for nuclear capabilities, then that is the prism through which Iranian nationalism will be seen, and we will be unable to stop them. Declaring that Iran cannot have nuclear weapons while we sit on thousands of them smacks of paternalism, and Iranians will naturally be defensive in response. We must tell Iran that we want to have relations with their country, we want them to join the WTO, we want them to be a respected nation wordwide. But we must tell them that this cannot happen without ending their support for terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons. While Iran's hard liners such as Ahmedinajad may reject this notion, it will no doubt produce a fiery debate among the populous, who want their nation to become a greater player in the global market. If we put that possibility on the table and Ahmedinajad rejects, it will add to the already present thought that the current government has mismanaged Iran's foreign policy, and a regime change would be imminent.

Clearly this is a hypothetical solution, as is invasion. But as I have previously shown, Iran does not pose a significant enough threat to warrant an invasion of their sovereignty. Is human life so disposable that President Bush can risk the safety of hundreds of thousands of our nation's soldiers along with the lives of millions of innocent Iranian citizens simply because he doesn't want to admit another member to the nuclear arms club? Is peace so simple that it can be achieved through the mere means of bunker-busting bombs and cruise missiles? Of course not. We must be diplomatic in our approach of the Iranian nuclear program, not trigger-happy. The path to peace with Iran must be paved by diplomacy, not war.
SnoopyDaniels

Pro

http://www.cnn.com...

Even if they aren't directly attacking our troops, they are supporting insurgents who are. They're providing weaponry and expertise, and crossing the Iraqi border to do so.

"Our presences in Iraq and Afghanistan are quite the opposite of diplomatic leverage."

Clearly you have no grasp of diplomacy. If someone comes up to you with a gun and says "give me all your money", are they going to put their gun away and leave just because you ask nicely? Obviously not. This is because you would be in no position to make any demands, and he would not in any position to make concessions. On the other hand, if you pull out a gun yourself, you would then be in a position to make demands such as "Put your gun away and nobody will get hurt." Our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq are most certainly diplomatic leverage. Diplomacy cannot take place if you don't have a military (in other words, a gun).

"I have already explained why the situation in Iran is dissimilar to the one in Pre-WWII Germany."

Really? Is it competing centers of power? How does that invalidate the whole analogy? No events in history are EXACTLY the same as events today, but that doesn't mean that we can't draw comparisons and learn from it. Why don't we talk about the similarities? Both Hitler and Ahmedinejad said over and over again that they want to exterminate the Jews. Both Hitler and Ahmedinejad said that they want to establish an empire. Both Hitler and Ahmedinejad toned down their rhetoric when talking to foreign media. Foreign media fell for both of them. Both of them were ignored by the only people who could have stopped them. The only real difference is that Ahmedinejad is more dangerous, because he literally believes that he is ordained to usher in Armageddon, which he himself has admitted, and even trumpeted.

"Ahmedinajad is not the "religious lunatic" you make him out to be, nor is he even a religious leader."

I can't debate someone who is so divorced from reality. Have you listened to him talk AT ALL? Have you ever watched the film "Obsession?" They said the same thing about Hitler before he killed 6 million Jews and 12 million others. How do you explain the statement "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury."? How do you explain the empassioned chanting of "Death to Israel, Death to America" at the conclusion of his speaches? How do you explain his denial of the holocaust? You can't be serious.

Diplomacy may be the answer, but if it doesn't work, we would be justified in attacking Iran. I personally think regime change is possible, and that violence will not be needed.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 9 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
"Ahmedinajad is not the "religious lunatic" you make him out to be, nor is he even a religious leader."

Those were your words, not mine. Those words say that Ahmadinejad is not a religious fanatic!

How does this not have relevance in this debate? If there were a potentially murderous lunatic running free, would you just allow him to run free until he actually kills someone, or listen to what he's saying and stop him before people actually die? It has everything to do with this debate.

The only thing outrageous about his visit to Columbia is that they actually let him speak!! This is not a "right wing characterization," it's an obvious conclusion from simply listening to the guy's own words. If you're going to say that the situation before WWII is relevant, you're going to have to give some reasons why.
Posted by rwebberc 9 years ago
rwebberc
I'm not saying that Ahmadinejad isn't a hard-line fundamentalist or even somewhat of a fanatic. But that has no relevance in this debate. You say that's why we can't reason with him, but I would think you of all people should know that simply because someone is deeply religious doesn't mean they don't neccessarily respond to reason. I took issue with the fact that you were comparing him to Hitler because of his religious fanaticism. You are taking the characterization painted by right wingers and running with it. When Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia U. and was antagonized by the crowd as well as his introducer, the Iranian Jewish community wrote an open letter criticizing Columbia, calling his treatment "outrageous". Ahmadinejad has been vetoed numerous times by the ACTUAL religious leader in Iran, the Supreme Leader. Stop fearmongering by comparing him to Hitler and actually look at situation we are facing here, not the one faced by Chamberlain 70 years ago.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 9 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
I realize that it was a personal attack, but one DOES have to be completely divorced from reality to think that Ahmadenijad is NOT a religious radical. It's just terribly frustrating. It just goes to show that proof does not equal persuasion. If someone can't recognize that Mr. Mahmoud is a religious radical, what evidence can I present to convince them of ANYTHING? Does he need a sign on his back that says "religious radical"? I'm sorry, I truly am, but I don't know what to do with someone at that point.

After Christmas vacation we'll see about doing a debate on WWII Germany versus Iran. I'm going to be gone for a week so we can't start one now. For now, I can only say that historical events don't PERFECTLY match current events, but we can nevertheless take lessons away from them. I would never say that the situation are identical, only that they are similar enough to merit concern, if not outright action.
Posted by rwebberc 9 years ago
rwebberc
If you want to debate why the situation in Iran is completely different from Pre-WWII Germany I would love to hear your argument.
Posted by Ahking 9 years ago
Ahking
SnoopyDaniels - I find this to be in bad taste:

"I can't debate someone who is so divorced from reality."

This is a debate. How are you even to know what the reality of Iran is? Really think about it.

That's why we don't make personal attacks.
Posted by adamh 9 years ago
adamh
This was a good debate. Both did a good job defending your positions.
Posted by SnoopyDaniels 9 years ago
SnoopyDaniels
I have just one question. If the intelligence comminity has been wrong for the last few years about Iran's nuclear program, why should we suddenly believe them now? What changed right before the release of the NIE that suddenly merited our trust? Unless you can present a reason for us to believe that the intelligence we have is suddenly accurate, then we must logically conclude that it is not. In other words, the burden of proof is on you.

But, let's just assume for a moment that this NIE report has any credibility. There are several justifications for attacking Iran:

1. We have caught the Revolutionary Guard in the act of supporting the insurgence in Iraq, and in some cases, actually participating in combat against our troops. This constitutes an act of war. It is actually incredible that we haven't already attacked Iran. It just demonstrates the nearly limitless patience of the American people (or, more likely, the ineptitude of certain factions within the government).
2. Iran is a notorious hotbed for terrorism. Iran funds Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as other terrorist organizations. Not only that, but the Iranian government provides safe haven for terrorist organizations. We will never eliminate terrorism as long it is institutionally recognized by a state government.
3. The NIE report still maintains that they WERE refining nuclear material for the purpose of weapons. Moreover, it does not say that they have stopped refining, only that they have stopped refining for weapon development purposes. In other words, the NIE report says "They're not as dangerous as we thought they were because they say they're not refining for weapons purposes." Are we seriously supposed to believe that? This is tantamount to a terrorist organization, notorious for bomb threats, saying "We want to obtain dynamite, but only for mining purposes." We would be the biggest FOOLS in history if we believed them. See Neville Chamberlain and World War II.
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