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Has the war on terrorism in the United States broken international law?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 686 times Debate No: 71305
Debate Rounds (3)
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The War on Terror (WOT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), refers to the international military campaign that started after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.[34] The United States led a coalition of other NATO and non-NATO nations in the campaign to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant extremist organizations.

U.S. President George W. Bush first used the term "War on Terror" on 20 September 2001.The Bush administration and the western media have since used the term to argue a global military, political, legal, and conceptual struggle against both organizations designated terrorist and regimes accused of supporting them. It was originally used with a particular focus on Muslim countries associated with Islamic terrorism organizations including Al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations.

Since then, the federal agencies such as the CIA, FBI and NSA have been using their time and money effectively to stop any similar situation such as the 9/11 from happening again. They have arrested thousands of "suspects" living in the United States who appeared as a danger to the National Security, and they were treated with various torturing techniques such as water boarding, slapping, walling, hooding, and even much more brutal techniques. Apart from arresting, the NSA has been spying on its own citizens for significant information on terrorism. So, what do YOU think? Has the United States broken international law fighting the war on terrorism?



As the opposition side has done nothing but elaborated his rhetoric, I shall start by defining the terms, then setting a yardstick (and BoP). After this, I shall refute the opposition's case, then present my constructives to support the baseline that throughout the many years of the Global War on Terror, the United States has violated the international rights of many countries.

The opposition side attempts to provide a definition of the "Global War on Terror" that started after the 9/11 attacks. This is an unjust definition. By attempting to set the yardstick of events that would happen post-9/11, the opposition is forgetting that 9/11 was a retaliation of a greater campaign that the United States has been launching since the early post-WWII periods. The opposition is forgetting the attacks by Afghanistani Mullahs in the 1950s against Americanized Afghanis. The opposition is forgetting about the events that happened in 1958, when US troops landed in Lebanon to prevent Lebanon from being incorporated into the United Arab Republic. These events are too large to be forgotten. Instead of accepting the opposition's post 9/11 yardstick, I shall like to extend the yardstick a much more pragmatic and realistic definition. The "War on Terror" henceforth would be defined as an intervention by "Western" or "Willing" nations to meddle with internal affairs of other nations on the basis of safety for their own people. Such interventions take place everywhere in the world, and if the yardstick is to be set in the Middle East only, then we would see a debate which is very regional and ultimately, unproductive.

Then we come to this notion of international law. International law should be defined as the "legally binding documents" that "restrict the powers of state to deal with other states" in the language(s) of human rights, conduct in war etc. Examples of these documents include the UDHR, the Geneva Convention, and other treaties that the country/countries have given their consent to.

The BoP of the opposition is to henceforth show that in the entirety of this "GWoT", the United States has abided to the rules of conduct as defined by the agreements that it has consented. We are not talking about individual rights in the United States. We are, on the other hand, talking about the conduct of US soldiers abroad, and generally, the actions of the US government.


a.) CIA, FBI Case

The opposition says that "the CIA, FBI and NSA have been using their time and money effectively to stop any similar situation such as the 9/11 from happening again". However, this makes no relevance to the debate whatsoever. So what if the Patriot Act has resulted in a said deficiency of attacks on American land? The US gov. may have broken the trust of certain American citizens because of this, but the conclusion to that does not support our debate. We are talking, as defined via our yardstick, of international relations. And apart from this, the examples have no substantiation whatsoever. Because of this reason, I believe that their case cannot stand.


a.) The War in Iraq

The War in Iraq is the first and foremost example of any breach in international law. Since the Iraqi Invasion was typified by a usual impulsive decision on the behalf of the US, the US failed to recognized that such invasions were to violate the UN Charter.

The United States must be remembered as one of the first, if not the first, UN member. The UN Charter was signed in San Francisco. The United Nations was set up to "maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace". The United States, being the country in which this agreement was ratified in, and whose Abrams tanks still preach this message, then have the audacity to breach it. The War in Iraq was based upon a certain impulsiveness which Bush had, to go to war with any nation in the interest of patriotism. However, Bush probably forgot that his nation is an organization that "is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members". Why was Bush in the right to some? Some advocates of the Iraq War says that Saddam Hussein was already oppressing his people (I dismiss the arguments about WMDs). However, the invasion caused huge sociological problems for the Iraqi community. Previously oppressed, the Islamic Shia radicals let out their rage on the Saddamist-leaning Sunni populace. However, this was also supported by the fact that both groups hated the American invasions. But "for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples", the United States has done poorly to impose democracy on the Iraqi people.

If we were to think about it, why is America not violating international relations? If we were to look at our yardstick, would we not see that America has violated the UN Charter simply by invading Iraq? But let us elaborate on this point abit. The United States has no obligation whatsoever to intervene in Iraq. Yet they have done so: they have not provided any citations whatsoever to justify this attack, and the International Community supports them for merely one reason: they're America. The War in Iraq was a complete ignorance to the UN Charter. This is one of the many invasions that created huge breaches in international rights of countries.

b.) The War in Syria

The War in Syria was another example of the United States supporting certain groups in the Free Syrian Army which led to violations of international relations. 3,000 tons of weapons that the FSA has was sent by the United States to aid these moderate rebels. Airstrikes have also been launched to support Kurdish and possibly FSA forces. However, I shall show why this is a breach in international relations.

In 2014, Steven Sotloff was beheaded by the Islamic State. Mr. Sotloff's death was very abnormal: he was bartered of by some elements of the Free Syrian Army that the United States allegedly supported. However, these moderate Islamists have also taken many other hostages. Accordingly, "the Geneva Conventions prohibits the taking of hostages" for it is inhumane and immoral. Whoever supports taking these hostage-takers (especially of their own country-men) has no dignity and audacity left to even govern. However, the two Japanese hostages who were executed in Syria were also bartered of by these "moderate Islamists" that the United States supports. Airstrikes in Syria have had Obama forgetting that "every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory".

The violation of international law cannot ever be clearer. How can the resolution remain negated when the US has supported hostage-takers, who have been kidnapping both US and Japanese citizens to behead and murder? The US has legally bindings documents that states that it cannot support any group that violates the Geneva Convention whatsoever. Chapter 113B of the US law shows that terrorism (acts that involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State) is to be punished with the death penalty. Am I suggesting that Obama be killed as a terrorist? No, not at all. But he has to realize that his country is supporting groups that murder American citizens abroad: this cannot be justified. America, on this intent, has broken the international sovereignty of Syria, who is also a member of the UN and should be regarded as having the same charter rights as the United States of America.

One more case will be presented in the next round.

The resolution remains affirmed!
Debate Round No. 1


Ahleegator forfeited this round.


you broke debate laws by FF
Debate Round No. 2


Ahleegator forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by TBR 3 years ago
The thing is you are very new. New users have high forfeit rates. I also have little ability to judge where your capabilities are.

Its a good topic, one I would like to debate, I just don't want to be stuck in a forfeit debate after I put in the time to build an argument.

Its late right now. If the topic is open in the AM, I will accept and work on it tomorrow.
Posted by Ahleegator 3 years ago
@TBR Well, I hope so because it seems like an interesting topic. The actual question, however, here is (if you didn't get it) whether the United States has surpassed all the laws to stop terrorism by spying and torturing civilians?
Posted by TBR 3 years ago
Are you serious about the debate? Are you going to make it to the end?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF