The Instigator
dragonb95
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
guesswhat101
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Drone Warfare does more good than harm

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
guesswhat101
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,937 times Debate No: 32006
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

dragonb95

Pro

Hello readers. Today we will be debating whether drone warfare does more harm than good. I will be taking the pro position, and will be debating that drones indeed do more good than harm. If you accept, you will be stating the cons of drones. The burden of the proof is equal.

Round 1-Acceptance Only
Round 2-Arguments (no clash)
Round 3-Clash
Round 4-Clash and Conclusion

I hope you accept!
guesswhat101

Con

Hello! I will debate that drones do more harm than good. I look forward to the debate, good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
dragonb95

Pro

Let us begin!

Arguments

1. Drones can be used to gather information.

As we all know, humans have their limitations. Thusly, war has its limitations when it is fought only with humans. Drones have target mechanisms, and they never miss, making it easy to kill targets. Also, drones can record video of the terrain, which can give the side with the drones a massive advantage (The Daily Banter). Drones cleared the path to killing Osama bin Laden.

2. Drones save the lives of United States soldiers

Judge, the answer here is plain and simple. Drones are pieces of metal and wire. They have no life, and when one is shot, all that happens is that a machine ceases to fly around in the air. They can easily be replaced for a cost. When a soldier dies, a life is lost, and lives are priceless. Since using drones poses no risk to the aggressor, United States lives are saved by drone warfare.

3. Drones are very effective.

First off, using drone warfare, eighty three percent of people that are killed are people that are meant to be killed. This means that there is a very low civilian casualty rate of 16 percent. Normal warfare has a civilian casualty rate of forty six percent. Clearly drones are more effective in killing who needs to be killed. Secondly, it is the only high efficiency method for killing terrorists. There are three other methods I will cite here as inferior to drones in killing terrorists. I would be surprised the proposition could name another method more effective than drones. One, sending a hit squad. Though sending a hit squad may result in less civilian death, it endangers the lives of United States soldiers, and creates diplomatic crisis, because it would be considered an invasion by the other country. Two, missiles and bomb strikes. The problem with missiles and bomb strikes is that it gives the target more time to escape. Three, local support. This has the same issue as missiles and bomb strikes (nytimes). A third way that drones can take their time with strikes because there are no humans in the cockpit. With other operations the emphasis is speed, however since this is not the case, there is much scrutiny over each strike. 100 military personnel scrutinize each strike that is ordered, making sure it will be fool-proof and have no errors. Former national security advisor Jones says, quote “many times at the eleventh hour we waved off a mission simply because the target had people around them” end-quote. Each drone has seven joystick pilots, seven system operators, five mission coordinators, 66 CIA supervisors, 34 video crew people, and 18 intelligence operators. Drone strikes are not just manned by one man with a drone strike. Much time and effort goes into making a drone strike effective, efficient, and without much civilian loss.

Note, my argument on effectivity can be split in to three different arguments for refutation.
guesswhat101

Con

Arguments:

1. Drone killings are inhumane

By using drones, the U.S. distances delegates the killing of the target (and more) down to the push of a button (figuratively) sometimes thousands of miles away. Almost like in a video game, the people operating these drones can become desensitized to their robbing of human lives because of their distance from the battlefield. By only viewing situations to the monitor, operators can simply point and shoot with no regrets. This also leads to a broadening of places where the U.S. can attack with their drones. Take for example Yemen. We're clearly not in an official state of war with the country of Yemen yet we have killed more than 1000 people there [1] Crude? Yes. Effective? Well....

2. Not as effective as believed

While it may be true that the Hellfire missiles shot from various drones are accurate, that doesn't mean these drones are effective. Huge estimates range from 1.76 [2] to 83 percent strike accuracy. These figures range greatly however as a quick glance at the Civilian Casualty category at http://en.wikipedia.org... reveals. Even so, it is plain to see that American drone strikes have been used to kill terrorists even when there are civilians and even children around. A case was filed against the U.S. by a public rights group in the UK in the United Nations Human Rights Council, revolving around the deaths of a family, many of which were only children [3]. Children are often killed in attacks as well as civilians but an exact number is not known. Many a times, civilians nearby were too afraid to "check out" the scene of the attack where they could help the injured and get an accurate body count. Often, it was the U.S. drones preventing them from approaching the area [4]. This is a clear case of human rights abuse and obviously goes against the stereotype that the drones are quick killers, precisely killing their targets before disappearing into the sky.

3. Abuses of power

Drone strikes aren't the work of one man and I won't go spouting the conspiracy theories on how "Obama can kill anyone at anytime!". However, Obama and his administrators do have a lot of power with these remote-controlled war machines, power that can be hard to keep in check [5]. Also, drones are becoming more and more powerful. They are also being produced not only as a foreign aide in disputes but are also poised to enter the domestic scene. Even today, drones are able to listen in to conversations, take detailed photos, and more, all from a safe distance, while the victim doesn't realize anything. The FAA estimates that in 20 years, drones could become commonplace in America [6].

4. Other options

When the U.S. needed Osama Bin Laden dead, they didn't go sending in some drone. No, Obama chose Seal Team Six to do the job to make sure Osama would be killed. Risking American lives? Yes. But it's not like the men in our military are being forced overseas against their will. They know the risks. Sending in a team when a suspect is found insures the fact that the person that the U.S. kills is the suspect they are after for. Also, if it's the wrong guy, the U.S. knows this, rather if a drone strike had taken the suspect out, the U.S. might've mistaken a mangled body for their suspect. Also, the lessening of drone strikes would relieve the terror that many civilians live in, as drones buzz above their head day and night while they go about their daily lives fearful that it could end at any moment [7].

[1] http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com...
[2] http://dronedata.wordpress.com...
[3] http://www.reprieve.org.uk...
[4,7] http://www.guardian.co.uk...
[5] http://www.nytimes.com...
[6] http://reason.com...
Debate Round No. 2
dragonb95

Pro

Refutations
1. Drones are inhumane.
This point has nothing to do with the topic, which is "drone warfare does more good than harm. No where in this point is there an example of drones doing bad things. Even to entertain this as if it had relevance to the topic, there is nothing wrong with us killing terrorists in Yemen, because they are terrorists. Also, as to it being like a video game, there is no evidence that it leads to "killing sprees" because you are in safety. In fact, as I have mentioned in my arguments, hundreds of people are monitoring each strike to make sure it goes according to plan.
2. Not effective
Here he talks about civilian deaths. As I have said, though, the civilian deaths are very low compared to other kinds of war. The tiny amounts of civilian casualty are justified by the high efficiency rates. All kinds of war have civilian casualties. If there are civilian casualties, we must make sure that terrorists are being killed, and as I have shown in my points, terrorists are killed by drones.
3. Abuses of power
Again, this point does not relate to the topic. Even if in 20 years drones are common in America, this doesn't have anything to do with "The United State's Use of Drone Warfare". They haven't used drones this way yet, so this is irrelevant.
4. Other options
First of all, drones did lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. They scouted out the terrain and were able to find hishouse. Secondly, a hit squad risks American lives, and also puts us on worse relations with the country we invade.
guesswhat101

Con

Refutations:

1. The point that drones can gather information accurately and safely is true. However, this is about drone warfare, not drone espionage. Also, it is not the drones that are highly accurate, it's their weaponry which can be carried just as easy by a manned fighter. [1]

2. Once again, you are right by saying that a drone is not a person and no life is lost when they are shot down. But drones are ridiculously expensive, we have already spent 12 billion on the Reapers alone, so couldn't this 12 billion be spent better somewhere else? That's only one type of drone too and that's the government numbers which are traditionally understated. Also, drones have made us believe that we can win the "war on terror". With these media-glorified tools of destruction, we have continued to terrify the populations in the Middle East such as those in Pakistan (see my prior argument, the last sentence of section 4). People there are terrified because of the drones and this is bad for two reasons. One, it leads to generations of citizens who might be friendly towards the U.S. to instead hate us for our constant presence in their country. Second, when we do finally leave whatever country we get involved in, we hope that the local government will be stable and be harsh on terrorists and actively seek them out [2]. That won't happen if their people are mad at us over our use of drones. What does this all have to do with soldiers dieing? War is continued needlessly as thousands of soldiers are killed and future conflicts are a possibility where even more soldiers will die.

3. I've already covered my views in my initial argument regarding drone effectiveness but I'd like to point out once again that the effectiveness of drones is highly varied because of several reasons. First off, there is no universal opinion on what a militant or terrorist is. The U.S. might believe someone to be a terrorist while other government or sources believe otherwise. Also, as I have stated before, rescuers are too terrified to visit the site of the drone attack right away which can lead to disputed body counts. This hesitation is because there have been reports of drones continuing to circle the area even after their attack, sometimes shooting at the site when people tried to help [3].

[1] http://nation.time.com...
[2] http://www.pewglobal.org...
[3] http://www.guardian.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 3
dragonb95

Pro

Counter Refutations
1. Drones gather information
My opponent said that this point is irrelevant. Drone warfare is a bucket term that includes all uses of drones in wars. And yes, it is true that the same can be done with manned planes. However, we are discussing drones. It doesn't matter if the same can be done with manned planes. Drones do it very well without risking anybody's lives.
2. Drones save soldier's lives.
My opponent agrees with me and then goes on to say that we should value money more than lives. This is completely shameful. We are saving lives. End of point. As to the tangent my opponent goes on afterwards, I'm not sure what you are really saying and how it is relating to this discussion.
3. Drones are effective.
First off, my opponent says there is no universal opinion on what a militant or terrorist is. Okay, how about this. A terrorist is someone plotting against a America and poses a serious threat to our well being via hateful attacks, and a militant is a soldier on the other side. It doesn't matter if the other side says they aren't a terrorist. That's why we are in a war against them. We can't believe them when they say that their citizens aren't terrorists when the US government says that they are. He refutes only this part of my argument and nothing else.

Vote for pro, vote for saving our soldier's lives.
guesswhat101

Con

Counter Refutations:

1. Drones are inhumane
My opponent says this is irrelevant yet he himself decides to define elements of the prompt later in his counter refutations, section 1. If the U.S. is going to act as the police of the world and intervene in overseas affairs, then the least they can do is take humane actions.

2. Not effective
What pro doesn't understand about the civilian casualty rate is that it is hugely varied. He is deciding to use one source supports his viewpoint. He does not recognize how varied the estimates are as I demonstrated earlier. I would like to point out again why they are so varied as I have earlier. The drones that make these strikes on terrorists tend to hover over the area after they have finished and have in past, shot at their destroyed target after the initial strike to scare samaritans away. I don't see how anyone could support this and how this helps our goal of stopping terrorists for reasons I will get into later.

3. Abuses of power
This point relates to the topic because it's about drone warfare and this is one of the consequences of drone warfare.

4. Other options
While drones might've helped take pictures of his compound, that was it. Drones did not lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden ( http://www.guardian.co.uk... ). Also, a hit squad doesn't damage the relations as much as a drone strike which is viewed negatively by many especially in Pakistan ( http://www.cfr.org... )

One last thing, my opponent said my tangent earlier in my refutation of his point on saving American lives was confusing so I will attempt to clarify it here. Known as the blowback theory, one of the reasons we are still at this war is because the longer we are in involved in a country such as in the Middle East, the more aggravated the country's population gets at us. Take for example child soldiers. There wouldn't be children killing our troops if we didn't turn the country against us by our unwanted presence. Now, as I have said and cited sources earlier for, drone warfare greatly effect relations with countries that we are trying to be friendly with so that together, both of us can catch the terrorists we are after and after the U.S. leads, the local government will enforce rules favorable to us. This does not happen if the country's people hates us, This simply 1. creates more terrorists who can take American lives 2. prolongs the war on terror and more American lives are lost 3. invites the possibility that we might have to return to this country at a later date and lose more American soldiers. Added to this, because we have this new toy (drones), we want to stay in the war longer, believing that now that we have drones, we can now end this war. This causes us to stay in these countries longer and therefore, lose more American lives.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Reni-1_3 4 years ago
Reni-1_3
Just saying, Drones is only the first step to new technology. They may be a little out of season now, but if we stick with the same brute force and mass killings, there won't be much left of humanity. Technology is getting better, and again, drones is just the first step.
Posted by 4saken 4 years ago
4saken
Regarding Pro's arguments, I agree with him that drones are good at gathering information (despite Con's refutation, espionage is a part of warfare) and drones save the soldiers' lives. However, I find the third point kind of irksome. Drone strikes are special operations, therefore it should be compared with other SOs, not normal warfare. And I am not convinced that sending a hit squad is inferior to drone strikes. Pro said that sending men in can cause a diplomatic crisis, then sending a drone shooting missiles at people is not?

Regarding Con's arguments, I don't agree that drone killings are inhuman (there are a lot of other long-ranged weapons out there) and I consider the fear of abuses of power baseless. But Con convinced me that drone strikes are not as as effective as believed. Moreover, making civilians live in fear is a big minus point.

In conclusion, both side have problems in their arguments but I think Con's are a bit more convincing.
Posted by hilton16 4 years ago
hilton16
First of all I'll like to say this was a very interesting debate. And i couldn't stop for once reading it over and over. Now it comes to this, I've thought drones does more good than bad because of how the media portray it to me. But after this debate my stand as completely change. I'll go to say that "Con" has better conduct. "Pro" only cared much about America and the soldiers. "Pro" state and i quote "Vote for pro, vote for saving our soldier's lives." so is this merely about our soldiers lives? what about those people that we killed. the citizens of that country and the so-called terrorists.

"A terrorist is someone plotting against a America and poses a serious threat to our well being via hateful attacks" that US has it ways of categorizing continents...only to go after them. This is just the way for the government to get around the system. To get the people on their side.

Middle East-Terrorists
African-Dictatorship and Corruption
Asia-Communist

Spelling and Grammar, it was a tie. I saw several spelling errors and grammars.

Convincing Arguments: "Con" had a better arguments. He states and this are very well true..

Drone killings are inhumane

Not as effective as believed

Abuses of power

Now Pro argument was solely base on the benefit of the US,and the soldiers; but not knowing the risk of this machine and the cost. Using Drone is not only being use by the US gov't for terrorists but against civilians if you didn't notice. The US gov't don't give a "damn" of it kills other countries citizen. It only cares about the safety of its citizens and posterity. Now i live in the US and i am an American citizens so don't think i am standing for the different origins. But this is true.

Sources: "Con" used the most reliable sources. And i check and read almost all of them. And i did the same with "pro"

I'll like to bring this to my conclusion by saying this was a critical debate and you put your time and energy into it. And i enjoy. My vote i
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by THEVIRUS 4 years ago
THEVIRUS
dragonb95guesswhat101Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: This was close. However, Con was slightly more convincing. The last paragraph of Con's last round was the seller
Vote Placed by 4saken 4 years ago
4saken
dragonb95guesswhat101Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had more convincing arguments (see more in my comment) and he is the only one giving sources.
Vote Placed by hilton16 4 years ago
hilton16
dragonb95guesswhat101Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Look at reason in comment