The Instigator
jman0097
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
voxprojectus
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Drone strikes in middle eastern countries are justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
jman0097
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,327 times Debate No: 34989
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (4)

 

jman0097

Pro

Rules are simple: Civil debate, anything goes, please cite sources or else they are not accountable and that is it so here are my arguments,

1. Because drone strikes save more lives than do conventional methods they are justified because even though civilians are killed it is less than what conventional methods do
2. Drone strikes do do there job, they kill militants. Thousands of militants have been killed in Pakistan and hundreds in Yemen and Somalia
3. Finally drone strikes do kill terrorists leaders so they help hinder the operations so they hinder what those terrorists groups can do
voxprojectus

Con

First, to rebut:

1. That depends on what you mean by "Conventional Methods". If you mean large bombing campaigns, sure, but why accept those as the only viable alternative? If we were to actually send boots on the ground into combat, more of our soldiers might die, but there would likely be far less civilian casualties since trained soldiers can identify hostile targets that drones or bombs can't distinguish. Morally this would be better: Soldiers sign on to die, civilians do not.

2. Why couldn't soldiers do the same? What makes drones special?

3. Drones do not have magical abilities that allow them to home in on terrorist leaders. They have the same odds of killing a high-profile target as any other means of war. But, there's a reason we didn't send in a drone to take out Osama Bin Laden: a drone would not have been able to bring the body out for verification that it was him. Drones are less effective for securing proof of high-level targets killed.

And now to introduce arguments of my own:

1. Drones are immoral. By depriving soldiers of face-to-face interaction with their targets, they are deprived of the choices that make their job potentially humane. The more we dehumanize war with machines, the more we are capable of committing war crimes.

2. Authorizing strikes in other countries that we are not officially at war with in the name of killing "militants" sets a chilling precedent. What is to prevent the US from simply declaring anyone they choose to be such a militant, and simply opting to take them out? What if we get a corrupt president who kills people who stand up against American corporations simply because it hurts their profits? It's too much power and no one should be allowed to have it.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1
jman0097

Pro

First to rebut your rebuts conventional methods are ground troops and traditional flying, that's the point. The reason why drones are better than troops are because drones can view a target for hours or days in advance, ground troops do not have such luxury.

Now to rebut your arguments, drones are not inhumane because not one an controls a drone so instead of having one soldier deal with having to kill a man by himself up close in personal they can sit at a desk with others and kill a man.

While you say drones would allow the US to go and attack any country, why would we? We would not waste money going after a country we have no quarrel with, instead drones save US troops lives while attacking those countries who are harmful.
voxprojectus

Con

1. Even if it is true that drones have more access to viewing time (which is debatable, Drones don't get as close or linger typically as they have to keep flying and cannot hover) it would be just as effective to use drones to spy and gather intelligence, then send troops in to execute orders. Trying to fire missiles FROM a drone affords way more room for mistakes.

2. It might seem more humane to the person pulling the trigger, yes, but making it so someone can easily kill without moral consequence means they may opt to kill more readily and with less humanity. If I could kill YOU right now (to win this debate I guess) by just pressing a key on my keyboard and I never had to look you in the eye, it would be very easy for me to do so. If I had to go and see you, it would be way more difficult, thus I would make decisions far more humanely.

3.You mentioned in your opening paragraph that we're using Drones to kill militants in Pakistan. Are we at war with Pakistan? Do we have some unique right to go and kill anyone we don't think is good in countries we don't like? The fact that no American soldiers are dying in these attacks keeps public attention from being focused on them. Our leaders have the option to be judge, jury, and executioner, and with no American life at stake, what is to keep them from using it with impunity. Today, maybe a terrorist who has killed civilians, sure...but tomorrow, maybe just someone who the president happens to not like.
Debate Round No. 2
jman0097

Pro

To your first point: Once again it is not debatable drones fly all over countries that is why they have access to more information. While yes they do hover people using the drones do so for days in advance allowing them to continue gathering information until they have as much as they need. Spying with drones then going in after the terrorists with ground troops risks US troops lives, and is still inefficient.

To your second: Since the drone strikes are aimed at terrorists it is not as if we are targeting civilians so by being able to sit behind a desk and kill them does not make us more opt to just kill people it allows us to kill without putting our troops in harms way

To your third: We are not killing Pakistani military we are killing terrorists within that country and others. So yes we are at war with those terrorists (War on Terror) so we are justified to be going after them

And thank you for a good debate, and good job
voxprojectus

Con

My conclusion:

Once again, the information drones gather does not need to be used by having those drones actually carrying out strikes. While moving in with troops absolutely poses more of a risk to our soldiers, it poses LESS of a risk to non-combatants.

Drone strikes may be aimed at terrorists, but they often kill others, civilians in the process. Throwing a bomb into a neighborhood that has a terrorist into it will kill 0 Americans, is AIMED at a terrorist, yet is still the wrong thing to do because of the other casualties.

We have actually killed Pakistani military officials AND Pakistani civilians. If you don't believe me, hit me up in comments after the debate and I'll be free to send some links on it. (I don't want to start linking in a debate without them at the end.) The War on Terror does not in fact imbue our officials with perfect knowledge of everyone who is a terrorist, and Drones, while protective of our brave soldiers, do nothing to make accurate killings more viable.

Thank you for the good debate as well. Whoever wins the votes, I had fun and hope to catch you in more in the future.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
Congratulations, Jman. You are now holding my record to 100% losses and 0% victories. See you again I Hope.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
I might revote, funny I noticed I accidentally wrote "marine" instead of "margin". And thanks for the feedback.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
That makes perfect sense. Thank you for explaining.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
My full vote would have been arguments and conduct to PRO, and S&G to CON. However, in recognition that IMHO CON was clearly the more skilled debater, I dropped the arguments scoring, and partially made up for it by dropping S&G as well, thus reducing a net 3 point differential to PRO down to 1 point.

I think you are easily capable of delivering a cogent and substantial case, if you had information that I would consider to be cogent and substantial. In this specific debate I did not think you possessed such a case. So, my vote boiled down to "your execution was excellent on a terrible case".

Cheers.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
Also, not to be too nitpicky here, but in the comments you say I was better with S&G, yet in the votes you said we were tied.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
I too, have no problem with those who serve voting, and I realize my arguments won't curry favor with them.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
@ragnar:

If you feel that you are "biased" because you served, I would say that that does not equate to bias, but to a more expert opinion. I wouldn't allow that to prevent your voting on this matter...rather I would consider it to be a much more justifiable vote than someone who did not serve.

This is coming from someone who served.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
1) CON: "Soldiers sign on to die, civilians do not."

This will make me award conduct to PRO. Soldiers do not sign on to die, they sign on to fight for a cause they believe in, among other reasons. I was not aware that joining the military equated to a death contract.

2) CON: "But, there's a reason we didn't send in a drone to take out Osama Bin Laden: a drone would not have been able to bring the body out for verification that it was him. "

Drones are used when identification is not required, where there is certainty that the intended target is indeed there. Identification was required in the case of OBL.

3) PRO: "Now to rebut your arguments, drones are not inhumane because not one an controls a drone so instead of having one soldier deal with having to kill a man by himself up close in personal they can sit at a desk with others and kill a man."

S&G to CON.

4) CON: "...it would be just as effective to use drones to spy and gather intelligence, then send troops in to execute orders." Good rebuttal.

5) CON: "If I had to go and see you, it would be way more difficult, thus I would make decisions far more humanely."

By this line of thinking, we should strap 100 pound boulders on to the backs of soldiers strapped in straitjackets and arm them with teddy bears to fight combatants, because it would be "way more difficult" for such a soldier to succeed in killing someone.

---

CONCLUSION:

I found the bulk of CON's rebuttals to be borderline absurd. CON clearly has a stronger argumentative voice, but in this specific debate his arguments were relatively weak. PRO wins arguments by stating that drones are more efficient, and CON's rebuttal to this was essentially to advocate making the military as inefficient as possible in order to ensure his brand of justice.

I would also award conduct to PRO and S&G to CON, but I realize that PRO did not actually rebut many of the points I brought up, so I will strike arguments and S&G, and just award
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
We're not supposed to vote on the comments page, but just on the debate rounds themselves.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
Wow, interesting to hear about your real experiences Zackwiemer. A selfish part of me hopes no one reads the comments pages since they undercut my argument pretty heavily, but hey, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
jman0097voxprojectusTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments. Overall CON was the better debater, although I found his case to be quite weak.
Vote Placed by Fictional_Truths1 3 years ago
Fictional_Truths1
jman0097voxprojectusTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither cited sources but con had much better arguments.
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 3 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
jman0097voxprojectusTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither one used sources. Con had a decent argument right up until he/she said, "soldiers sign on to die" in R1. That is such a lie. S/G was pretty bad on both sides, and neither side used sources.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
jman0097voxprojectusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct nearly went to pro for con's statements against soldiers, but it balanced out when con decided not to sneak final round sources in (had such sources been presented earlier, they would have been greatly beneficial to arguments). Argument: While I want pro to have done better than con, I'm aware of my bias on this; as it was not by any clear marine I am withholding my vote.