The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
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European countries should not place travel restrictions on potential ISIL fighters

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/27/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 805 times Debate No: 62315
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (0)




Resolved: That European countries should not place travel restrictions on potential ISIL fighters.

Definitions: The Affirmative side reserves the right to clarify these definitions at any time.
European country: A UN member state located completely within continental Europe
Travel restriction: A law making it a criminal offense for a specific person to travel to certain countries
Potential: [in context] In possibility based on suspicious behavior
ISIL: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
Fighter: A person who fights

3 rounds
Round 1:
Aff: Definition of terms, terms of debate
Neg: Accept debate
Both parties: Declare country of citizenship/residence
Round 2: Aff constructive, Neg constructive
Round 3: Aff rebuttal, Neg rebuttal

10,000 character limit
72 hour time limit
Minimum rating of 2000 to vote
7 point voting

I am a citizen and resident of the United States.


I accept your challenge.
I am citizen of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and I live in Saipan, which is part of the United States.
Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting. I apologize for not having my Aff case ready in advance.
Whereas freedom of movement and freedom to travel are fundamental rights, and are themselves affirmed by Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Whereas countries such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China have denied their citizens those fundamental human rights, leaving them to live under oppression and injustice,
Whereas young disillusioned militants may continue to cause terror in their own countries, even if they are denied passports, as in the stabbing case in Australia,
I hereby stand resolved that European countries should not place travel restrictions on potential ISIL fighters.
Harm 1: The government will inevitably place restrictions unjustly at some point. The government cannot deal at the highest levels on a case-by-case basis with every single case of a potential ISIL fighter. Therefore, it must delegate this responsibility to a lesser organ. The lesser organ must choose on a case-by-case basis whether to impose travel bans on an individual. Without strict guidelines for whether an individual should be placed on the list and even if these are put into place, the lesser organ might easily cross the boundaries and place restrictions on political opponents. Since the banned party is not indicted, the only recourse would be to petition the legislative body to change the law, which would be quite inconvenient and unlikely, and is the reason the lesser organ was put into place in the first place.
Harm 2: Travel restrictions increase the size of government. When the legislative body delegates this power to some other organ to place restrictions on individuals, the government executes new powers it did not previously have. We have seen throughout history that greater powers given to the government only result in greater abuse of power.
Harm 3: The Schengen Zone negates travel restrictions. While a country may say that certain citizens may not travel, there are indeed no border controls due to the Schengen Zone. A Portuguese citizen could travel by car all the way to Greece, where he could be smuggled through Turkey or even across the Mediterranean Sea directly into Syria.
Justification 1: The status quo is quite good. When a suspect is convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, he is put into prison. He needs no travel restrictions because he is in prison, can't travel across the border while in prison, and can't participate in terrorist activity while in prison. When he is released, in many countries he is placed on parole. While the situation that a described above of the convict going across unguarded borders could still occur, the convict needs no travel restrictions that are not already placed on him by the conditions of his parole.

In conclusion, while travel restrictions may be a good idea, they are not necessary considering the parole situation of the status quo, potentially amount to gross violations of human rights, and are negated by the Schengen Zone. For the foresaid reasons I encourage the voter to cast an affirmative ballot at the end of this round. Thank you.


Thank you pro for your excellent argument.

First of all, there are hundreds of Europeans and Americans with their European and American passports. This means they can freely enter their own country. This is extremely dangerous for the individual could cause various harms to the country. We don't need another 9/11.

Also, the safety if millions is more important than "the fundamental rights" of hundreds. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The government has the right to impose travel bans to certain individuals should they become dangerous to the people. The citizens would rather be safe than sorry.

Finally, it is very hard to capture this individuals. They are fighting and killing thousands with an organization that has hundreds of thousands of soldiers. In order to capture these individuals, we must put ground forces in Iraq. President Obama made it clear he would not allow ground troops no matter the circumstances. So it would actually be easier to kill them with airstrikes rather than risking the lives of soldiers to capture them alive.

In conclusion, travel bans are the least the governments can do to protect their countries. They did not respect our fundamental rights. Should we respect theirs? These people should be executed, and travel bans are literally nothing compared to what they deserve.

Thanks pro for bringing this topic up and thank you to everyone who read our arguments. Good luck, pro.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank the Contender for his courteous statement.
First of all, the Contender brings up the issue of current ISIL fighters returning to the US and EU on passports that have not been canceled. This contention is off-topic because the resolution has to do with potential ISIL fighters. My definition of "potential" is found in my first round challenge. My plan would, of course, revoke the passports of fighters whom the EU recognizes are actually fighting with ISIL. They are actual fighters, not potential fighters. The Contender's first paragraph argument is off-topic and irrelevant.

Second, the Contender has not addressed my mission creep theory, found in Harm 1 and Harm 2. Normally, in policy debate, when a Neg team does not address one or more Aff contentions, it means that Neg agrees with Aff in those areas. However, the Contender clearly does not agree with me in this area, as he contends that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Such a statement is perfectly appropriate in an election such as the Scottish Independence referendum, in which the needs of 55 percent, the many, outweigh the needs of 45 percent, the few. However, if my "mission creep" contentions of Harm 1 and Harm 2 hold true, the needs of the few in this case directly affect the needs of the many.

I also disagree in principle with the Contender's statement, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. When a lion and a wolf and a lamb vote 2-1 to have the lamb for dinner, that is pure democracy. The needs of the many win over the needs of the few. When the 80 percent of a country that are of one race decide to impose severe societal restrictions on the 20 percent that are of another race, the needs of the many win out over the needs of the few. However, in a functioning government and a functioning world, the needs of the few should not outweigh the needs of the many. Rather, the few should be recognized and given a special place in society.

Of course, such a philosophy would never be used to justify giving terrorists their "rights" to an equal standing in society. Terrorists should be brought to justice, even if it means killing them without a trial in order to save the lives of the many. However, we must never deny rights to people who legitimately have them and justify our actions in the same way. This is the place where we must distinguish between potential activity and actual activity. We must make every effort against those who are actually involved, but those who merely wave ISIL flags in the streets of our countries are not actually involved; they are exercising free speech. They have not yet made any incursion on our rights. Their rights must not be denied them.

Again, we do not attempt to capture our own citizen ISIL militants on account of their right to a fair trial. If you saw someone assaulting your daughter, you would not sit back and watch because he has his right to a fair trial. You would kill him. We are engaged in the crisis of the moment in Iraq and Syria. When our own citizens are killing Iraqi and Syrian minorities, we must kill them. We can, of course, capture them and give them a fair trial, but if there is any risk to human life whatsoever, we must kill them.

Travel bans do nothing to protect countries. Actual citizen fighters must either be subdued or killed, and potential fighters who have yet done nothing wrong have their rights just like every other citizen. Those who are guilty of conspiring to fight must be subdued and put in prison, where travel bans have no effect on them.

The Contender also contends that there are hundred of thousands of fighters (ostensibly in ISIL). His only citation is Wikipedia, a site that is fundamentally unreliable for citations. Furthermore, the page itself places the upper estimates at 100,000, which is not the same as "hundreds of thousands". Moreover, the CIA has placed estimates far lower than that.

In conclusion, the Contender seems to have violated the topicality of the resolution. The resolution concerns potential fighters, based on my definition of "potential" found in my first round challenge. Actual fighters are not considered within the scope of this resolution. The contender also makes the errant statement that the safety of millions is more important than the "fundamental rights" of hundreds. This is quite incorrect in context. The Contender also dropped Harm 1 and Harm 2, and according to the etiquette of policy debate, is forbidden to introduce these again in his final speech once he has dropped them in a previous speech.

I thank and congratulate any reader who has read to the end of this argument. As this is my last argument, I encourage the voter to take everything the Neg says in his final statement with a grain of salt, because I will not have an opportunity to refute it myself. I thank the reader and the Contender again and urge the voter to submit an affirmative ballot at the end of the round. Thank you.


Sorry, I was busy for the past few days.

I did not mention some of your points because that is rebuttal, which was supposed to be Round 3.

When you say they are "potential" fighters, that does not mean they are not fighters. Potential means existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality. ( You still have to consider the fact that they are capable of threatening innocent lives. If one is thought to be a potential fighter, that person could be innocent, but he could also be very dangerous.

If the "few" was actually innocent, they should turn themselves in. I think most people would risk someone's "fundamental rights" rather than their lives. Seriously, you would let thousands die to honor several hundred's "fundamental rights?" That worries me. If the potential fighters want to complain because they have been "unfairly treated", then they can sue the government. They have options to protect their rights.

We are not killing or arresting the potential fighters, we are simply imposing a travel ban. If the potential fighters want to complain, they can complain. When you said a person waiving ISIL flags are exercising their free speech, I sort of disagree. Flags are symbolic, waiving a flag means you support what the flag stands for. Again, there is a thing called a court. If they think ISIL is innocent, then they can send a letter to the media.

I thank anyone who read our debate. I encourage all voters to vote fairly, even if it is against me. Thank you, pro!
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jascha 2 years ago
@General_Grievous I have a small piece of advice for you: Quit trolling noobs. If you want me to waste my time writing long replies, waste some time yourself and write a nice long reply and don't just dismiss my hundreds of words with 15 words. Please. I'll read it. I promise.
Posted by General_Grievous 2 years ago
Say whatever you want, but it's still just a fancy way of trying to win.
Posted by jascha 2 years ago
It is now 72 hours per round.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
could you make this 72 hours per round?
Posted by jascha 2 years ago
@General_Grievous: There is a very important distinction to be made. In real life debate leagues, the Aff and Neg sides are given a specific resolution on which to debate. The Aff and Neg must interpret the resolution in a way that makes sense in plain English (or Spanish, or Swedish, or Bengali, or whatever other language the competitor may be debating in.) The Neg has the right to raise in issue of contention with the Aff's interpretation (definitions) of the resolution. The Aff does not have the right to pervert the definitions to give himself an obvious win. (For example, in an A must be valued above B resolution, saying that the definition of A is life and B is death.) However, in every other situation of life, other than prepared-resolution events, the Aff reserves the right to clarify definitions. If a Senator raises a bill in the Senate and his colleagues misunderstand the bill, they do not win the argument by default if they take down his straw-man. The Senator rather clarifies the language and explains what they did not understand. Since I wrote the resolution myself, I reserve the right to clarify my definitions, and I have even edited the challenge to include such language to avoid ambiguity.
Posted by General_Grievous 2 years ago
These definition fights are all the same. You back up every word with a definition that no one can say is false to win the argument. No wonder no ones taking the bait.
Posted by jascha 2 years ago
The debate is supposed to take place in the other tab. If you would like to debate, please accept the challenge. I would be glad to address every issue you brought up. There are of course reasons I support the Aff side, but I would rather not elaborate on these in the comment section.
Posted by Emilirose 2 years ago
Perhaps it's you that requires some study of (European) policies.

As stated, there are valid reasons for placing tight restrictions on those travelling to potentially fight with ISIS. The first being protection of ones own country/citizens. Thousands have traveled from Europe to fight in Syria and Iraq, this in itself provides a good basis for restriction.
Posted by jascha 2 years ago
I am fiating it through the European States. Of course, I have no say in the governments of European States. But I also do not have enough power, even as an American citizen, to make a lasting change in American politics. When a new debater comes on here and contends that the US should throw a nuclear bomb on ISIL, we do not dismiss his argument by telling him that there's no way his plan is getting through Congress. Nor do we tell him that it would be a waste of time to debate on this in Congress since Congress has better things to do with his time. In the same way, though I am not a citizen of a European country, this does not mean that I cannot use my free speech to engage in a harmless debate about their policies. However, I have asked my opponent to disclose his country just so we're all on the same page. If you are not familiar with fiat in the context of policy debate, you need to look this up.
Posted by Emilirose 2 years ago
"I am a citizen and resident of the United States", so what difference is it to you what European countries do or don't do? They have an obligation to act responsibly and ensure the safety of their citizens. Europe has recently experienced a significant problem with fighters travelling to join ISIS; and other terror groups.
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