The Instigator
bigdave
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
voxprojectus
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Event at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
bigdave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,025 times Debate No: 55947
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

bigdave

Pro

The death of the US Ambassador at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than was any attack on the US Department of State property under Bush 2. Detriment shall be defined in international diplomatic terms where the death of an Ambassador is the worst detrimental action, followed by death of DOS personnel, followed by death of embassy nationals, followed by death of foreign nationals.
voxprojectus

Con

While I accept your challenge, and while I accept it, I take great issue with your terms.

Why is "detriment" measured essentially by "highest level official killed in an attack"?

I would argue that if a hundred lower-ranked non-ambassador officials are killed in an attack that is debatably more detrimental.

Alternately, US standing could have little to do with who is killed in a given attack. Hypothetically, if a universally beloved diplomat is killed in an attack and the result is nothing but an outpouring of support and renewed relations with other countries, that would really be a raising of our standing, would it not?

Therefore, if the terms of this debate are "An ambassador getting killed is the worst thing for US standing" and I'm not allowed to diverge from that line of reasoning, it's un-winnable for me. However, if I'm allowed to challenge your notion of what constitutes "detriment" and offer my own measures of the US's standing, we have ourselves a debate.

Will you accept this on new terms that are winnable for the both of us?
Debate Round No. 1
bigdave

Pro

I was compelled to put up this debate after seeing many statements on debate.org about the "13 benghazis under Bush ". which I traced back to an article footnoted as (1). The persons puting forth these statements seemed to reduce Benghazi by stating in effect "Oh Yeah, well Bush was worse!" This debate is not to be Bush v Obama. This debate must be stripped of any and all partisan political stances and focus only on the facts of each case. Allow me to explain that I NEVER voted for Bush, and I was an early supporter of Obama. However this assertion of "13 Benghazis under Bush" is patently fallacious.

In this debate I have attempted to quantify the term "more detrimental to US standing" by use of international diplomatic norms. If CON wishes to argue on this quantification, then have at it.

If CON wishes to show that " if a hundred lower-ranked non-ambassador officials are killed in an attack that is debatably more detrimental." , then CON must show in which of these "13 Benghazis" there was a loss of "a hundred lower-ranked non-ambassador officials"

The incidents listed as "13 Benghazis under Bush "were:

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece.
March 18, 2008. Sana"a, Yemen.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey.
September 17, 2008. Sana"a, Yemen ( list from (2)

In no instance was the Department of State property overrun. In three cases there were NO fatalities. In 7 of the remaining 10 cases, the fatalities were foreign nationals, and the deaths generally did not occur on Department of State property. The international community looked to the host nations for response. America suffered little if any loss in international standing over these events.

In Benghazi, not only was the compound overrun, but a US Ambassador and 3 other Americans were killed during an attack that lasted for several hours. The death of an Ambassador, and the overrunning of a DOS compound without sufficient US response during an event of several hours duration is what was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident.

We will take up the remaining 3 cases in round 3.

1) http://thedailybanter.com...
2) http://thenewstalkers.com...
voxprojectus

Con

I mean no disrespect when I say this, but this argument feels very "bait-and-switch" to me.

I signed on to debate whether or not standing of the US state department was hurt more by Benghazi than any state department "incident" under the Bush administration. I sought to question whether or not something as simple as human casualties could be used to determine our standard.

Now suddenly the debate is supposed to simply be about how many deaths physically happened in each incident, which is not really up for debate. We go into this debate knowing how many deaths were caused in the Benghazi incident, as well as any other attacks under the Bush administration. That's just fact. What I thought we were here to question was whether or not any of those attacks hurt our reputation or relations with other countries as much as Benghazi.

It is worth noting that I only threw out the hypothetical "100" number to make a point, I am not for a moment alleging that many have died in any attack.

I'm going to have a hard time trying to work around what I think is a massive disconnect between your assessment of standing and the severity of these attacks, but I'll do my best.

Let's start with "Overrunning". In what way is it worse for our standing if a given facility is overrun? Debatably, if occupiers were to hold onto a facility over the long term and prevent diplomatic relations from occurring. Not only is that not the case in Benghazi, but according to Gallup, our relations with Libya got even better following the attack.

--Libya"United States relations are today cordial and cooperative, with particularly strong security cooperation only after the 2012 attack on the US liaison office or mission in Benghazi.[1] Furthermore, a Gallup poll conducted in March and April 2012 found that Libyans had "among the highest approval" of US leadership in the entire Middle East and North Africa region.[2]--

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org... (wikipedia)

Soooooo... I guess the biggest question is: In what way was our State Department Standing hurt by this attack at all?

I will visit the attacks under Bush in the 4th round, but I think you'll be hard pressed to prove that every attack under Bush resulted in better relations between countries afterwards.

If nothing else, this will be an inevitable draw since diplomatic relations seem to be rarely, if ever, hurt by these kinds of incidents.
Debate Round No. 2
bigdave

Pro

There is NO bait and switch. The debate is as proposed that "Event at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident".

As stated prior by PRO "In this debate I have attempted to quantify the term "more detrimental to US standing" by use of international diplomatic norms. "

In international diplomatic norms, an embassy and associated missions are held in a special status. The grounds are considered to be "property" of the embassy's nation. Often these grounds are protected by host nationals who guard the host nation soil adjacent to the diplomatic property. Generally, the killing of a host national is considered a "local" issue to be handled by the host nation. ( An example here would be to look at the German embassy in Washington DC. This embassy may have American guards outside the embassy for enforcement of local laws. Should one of these Americans be killed, the case would fall to Washington police, not Germany. Additionally Germany's international standing would probably be unaffected).

In 10 of the "13 Benghazis under Bush", the deaths were either ZERO, or were foreign nationals. The enforcement response in these cases was a matter for the host nation. US international standing was unaffected ( as per the German example above).

Now to look at the remaining three cases.

May 12, 2003 at Riyadh. Nine Americans were killed. This may appear worse than Benghazi except that the attack was not on a Department of State property. The Vinnell Corporation had set up a training program for Saudi military, and the attack was on the compound housing the trainers. None of the Americans was a DOS employee. Impact on US standing was minimal.

Next is the March 2006 attack in Karachi. A US diplomat was killed, but not on Embassy soil. "On March 2, 2006, a suicide car bomb killed four people and injured thirty outside the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, which is about 20 yards from the consulate. Among the dead was David Foy, an American diplomat and three Pakistanis. " (1)

Finally there is the September attack in Sana'a. The was no breach of the compound. One American guard was killed.

"PRESS BRIEFING STATEMENT
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack
September 17, 2008

This is a vicious attempt to try to breach the security of our Embassy in Sana"a. Fortunately, it did not succeed. The Embassy security upgrades that we have been putting in place over the past seven, eight years were, during this attack, effective in stopping the attack, along with the response of the Yemeni forces as well as the response of our American Embassy personnel.

Sadly, there was a loss of life. There " at current count, there is one U.S. Embassy guard, a Foreign Service National, a Yemeni national, who was killed during the attack. Several Yemeni security forces " personnel were killed in the attack. " (2)

and later

"U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
September 17, 2008

Statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Attack on Embassy Sana"a

Fast action by Embassy security personnel and host nation Embassy forces, aided by the Embassy"s security systems and its emergency procedures, were vital in limiting the harm to Embassy employees and to the public who regularly visit the Embassy. This callous attack reminds us that American and locally-employed staff at our embassies serve the United States in many dangerous environments worldwide, often at great personal risk. We are proud of the work that they do.

I extend my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were tragically killed or injured in the attack. Their sacrifices reinforce our commitment to remain vigilant and ready to defeat the forces of global terrorism." (3)

So "13 Benghazis under Bush " are now ZERO.

(1) http://news.bbc.co.uk...
(2) http://archives.uruguay.usembassy.gov...
(3) http://archives.uruguay.usembassy.gov...
voxprojectus

Con

I don't think I can have this argument.

You are fighting against a specific popular Meme which I have neither referenced nor used to back up any of my argument. Apart from absurdly criticizing me for pointing out that your statement above and subsequent discussion of death tolls seems to have little connection to US standing you haven't addressed anything I've said.

If you had started this debate presenting the point "There were 13 Benghazis under Bush" and then taken the CON position, it would make infinitely more sense.

But since I hate to bail on an argument, I'm going to blithely ignore your points about how many people were killed or that Benghazi was briefly over-run and continue to have the argument you offered me to begin with: Has Benghazi hurt US standing more than any incident under Bush?

No. I re-iterate my point that relations with Benghazi have improved following the 2012 attack, and even seemingly in response to that, and as a new point I would like to question your assessment of the value of American life over "Foreign Nationals" in terms of assessing our standing.

I would argue that any attack in which foreign nationals are killed rather than US personnel are more likely to result in outrage at the US.

If the US has an embassy in, say, Spain, and there's an attack on the US embassy, and the US manages to hide or protect all Spanish people on the property while bravely sacrificing US life to do it, that could only be GOOD for relations between Spain and the US. On the other hand, if US officials are perceived as having cowered, perhaps allowing foreign nationals to die so that their own lives might be saved, that is going to cause great detriment to our standing with that country.

Lastly, I point out again that this is really a zero-sum game. There is no empirical way to measure detriment to standing in relation to a single event. We can both have fun speculating, but there's nothing concrete to back up what either of us says. Your sources only show numbers on loss of life or officials reactions, but say nothing about the United State's overall standing in relation to any attack that happens.
Debate Round No. 3
bigdave

Pro

The debate is that the "Event at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident"

I have herein listed the events under Bush that are being compared to Benghazi. The list stated in round 2 was not only complete and exhaustive, but was also taken from what I would consider "anti Bush" sources to wit The Daily Banter and The News Talkers. Even CON must agree that this is the complete list for comparison to Benghazi.

Pro has then analyzed each of the events under the Bush DOS, and shown them to have virtually no detriment to American
standing in the world.

Now CON has stated that, according to WIKIPEDIA, "relations with Benghazi have improved following the 2012 attack"
Pro points out that American standing in the world is not equal to American standing with just the single country of Libya. US relations may have improved with Libya, but deteriorated on the whole in the universe of all countries.

CON has wrongly stated that "I think you'll be hard pressed to prove that every attack under Bush resulted in better relations between countries afterwards." PRO does not have to show improved status under Bush as the debate is on the magnitude of the detriment,

Pro has shown that there was little or no detriment under the "13 Benghazis under Bush" Pro will show the detriment following Benghazi.

One way would be to inspect foreign news sources. Look at the BBC stating on May 10, 2013 "After Benghazi revelations, heads will roll" (1) the article indicates that the international press had "not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal.....But the evidence is there in black and white. ..... There's also a vague sense (Obama is )"soft on terror". This is now very serious, and I suspect heads will roll. The White House will be on the defensive for a while."

Another way to quantify international reaction to Benghazi would be to look at political cartoons from other countries. Pro offers here a collection titled "Benghazi Cartoons From Other Countries: Hint " They See Obama and Hillary as a Joke." (2)
The author continues " Obama is now as big a joke to the rest of the world as a certain North Korean leader."

Pro now offers a Benghazi timeline from CNN " September 11-12, 2012 Attack Timeline as released by the Pentagon:
September 11: (Events listed in local Benghazi time)
9:42 pm - Armed men begin their assault on the U.S. Consulate.
11:30 pm - All surviving U.S. personnel are evacuated from the consulate. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and State Department computer expert Sean Smith are killed in the initial assault.
5:15 am - Attackers launch assault on a second U.S. facility in Benghazi. Two former U.S. Navy SEALs acting as security contractors are killed. They are identified as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty." (3)

Where international standing fell was due to the White House insistence on an anti Muslim video being the trigger for the attack and then reversing itself. "September 20, 2012 - After days of repeating that the video mocking Islam caused the attack, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says: "It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials." U.S. officials also back away from the theory that a protest led to the attack. (4)

(1) http://www.bbc.com...

(2) http://www.varight.com...

(3) http://www.cnn.com...

(4) http://www.cnn.com... ( but not from DOD timeline)
voxprojectus

Con

I am forfeiting this debate. I lose many debates and enjoy it just fine, as well as winning one or two along the way. This one seems miserable to me, and I'm not entirely sure why. I hope maybe on a different topic some day we can come to some sort of interesting conversation that holds me better. Best of luck!
Debate Round No. 4
bigdave

Pro

PRO regrets that CON has decided to quit the debate.

PRO set out to prove the premise "Event at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident".

To do so PRO has first listed the events that occurred under Bush 2. These 13 events were shown to have little or no detrimental effect on America's international standing. Several events were minor with no loss of life. None of the events led to a loss of control of Department of State facilities. Many of the events did not even involve DOS personnel or property. Most of the events were of short duration, some lasting under one minute. Where necessary the United States took quick and decisive action in response to the "13 Benghazis under Bush"

Thus through either the attacks being minor and ineffective, or the attacks not involving the Department of State, there was little or no detriment to US standing.

Where necessary, swift and effective action by the US demonstrated an American resolve to act against violations of international law.

Contrasting all the above against :

1. The attack on Benghazi had a duration of several hours ( under Bush,most of the events were of short duration, some lasting under one minute.)

2. The attack on Benghazi resulted in the death of a US ambassador ( under Bush, no ambassador was killed )

3. The attack on Benghazi resulted in the overrunning of US DOS property ( under Bush, no US DOS property was overrun)

4. The world saw little or no response from the US following Benghazi.

PRO has provided several sources showing a degradation of US standing following Benghazi notably from, of
all places, the British!

Thus it can be seen that PRO has demonstrated and proved the premise "Event at Benghazi was more detrimental to US standing than any Bush Department of State incident ".
voxprojectus

Con

I urge you to vote PRO
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
@voxprojectus. Of course human life matters, however this debate was about international standing of the USA. My point was that Benghazi was perceived by the international community as a demonstration of America's failure to project competency in international affairs.Many people hide behind the so called 13 Benghaazis under Bush as a way to avoid what is happening. Look no further than events in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, China, Ukraine and the Mexican border. The USA needs to have diplomatic professionals replace the political hacks we have now.
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
@voxprojectus.... I will address your comment AFTER the voting period.
Posted by voxprojectus 3 years ago
voxprojectus
while i conceded the debate because I wasn't enjoying it, i should clarify that I still do not think Benghazi was objectively worse than other attacks. human life matters, hence the meme my opponent hates so much.
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
@ Osiris_Rosenthorne .... Please refer to the debate itself. Pro states "This debate is not to be Bush v Obama. This debate must be stripped of any and all partisan political stances and focus only on the facts of each case. Allow me to explain that I NEVER voted for Bush, and I was an early supporter of Obama."
Posted by Osiris_Rosenthorne 3 years ago
Osiris_Rosenthorne
Yeah, Bush didn't have to put up with idiotic tea party being completely dysfunctional as public servants. If America wants to know what's damaging their credibility, they should look no further than the Republican Party.
Posted by barnesec 3 years ago
barnesec
What are the point values for DOS employees? ;) I don't think there's really much of a debate here, more a matter of counting
Posted by The_Immortal_Emris 3 years ago
The_Immortal_Emris
I don't think I can be trusted to debate this one.

I agree it was severely detrimental to our international standing, but not because the attack happened or due to the administration's handling of the event, but rather due to the misinformation storm perpetuated by the GOP and right wing media.

Basically my overall perception of the media system prevents me from having the debate structured as it is.

If we had a debate which explored why the Benghazi affair hurt our standing internationally, I would be able to weight in.

I appreciate you're asking, though!
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
@ The_Immortal_Emris .... would you like to debate this issue as stated? But you must exclude your worldview and debate only the facts of this debate,
Posted by The_Immortal_Emris 3 years ago
The_Immortal_Emris
You're right, but only because the year and a half long political witch-hunt foisted on the American people by the propagandists in the radical right media and the GOP.

The discussion surrounding Benghazi has been an international embarrassment for the right wing and America in general, as the remainder of the world believes the conservative voters support the idiocy of their representatives.
Posted by bigdave 3 years ago
bigdave
discomfiting.... Why have you declined?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Rhodesia79 3 years ago
Rhodesia79
bigdavevoxprojectusTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the more convincing argument and Con forfeited.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 3 years ago
1Historygenius
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Reasons for voting decision: Yup
Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 3 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded, therefore vote goes Pro.
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 3 years ago
Cold-Mind
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Reasons for voting decision: Respect for Con, for admitting defeat.