The Instigator
ChosenWolff
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
Preston
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points

If the Taliban are terrorists, then the United States are as well

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
ChosenWolff
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/1/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,473 times Debate No: 58416
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (9)

 

ChosenWolff

Pro

Official Resolution: If the Taliban are terrorists, then the United States are as well

This is an intresting concept I've been meaning to get to, on a philosophical argument I've been studying for awhile. The BOP will reside on me proving, that if the Taliban were to be considered terrorists, then the United States would also have to be considered terrorists. The opposition must be of the belief that the Taliban are terrorists. Usually, the BOP only constitutes in a policy debate, proving something is net good. Using an affirmative statement in this manner, will give me the responcibility to show the United States are definitely terrorists if the Taliban are considered so themselves. Any takers? Use R1 for acceptance and your clarification of the word terrorist.

Preston

Con

I accept:
Definition Of Terrorist: those who commit violent acts, intended to create fear (terror); and deliberately target or intentionaly disregard the safety of non-combatants with an overall goal to oppress individuals through violence.
Debate Round No. 1
ChosenWolff

Pro

I. Terrorism is Objective

A lot of people try to disregard all arguments by saying they're subjective. Augustine of Hippo disagreed with these people, and I have for a long time myself. Defintions are not interchangable. They simply aren't. The phrase, "If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck" holds true in all scenarios when objectifying a term. I am setting this up as a clear establishment for the rest of the debate, and attemps by the opposition to subjectify a definition should be disregarded.

I also want to make sure this doesn't become a semantics debate. When I say United States, I am not talking about the nation in general, but actions undertaken by it. Which means don't troll and say "only the millitary did that". Not everyone in the taliban has a gun either.

II. Those who commit violent acts

The Taliban are regularly noted for killing citizens, blowing bridges, and organizing civilian attacks. Violence will follow this defintion, "behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something". Both the US and the Taliban use violence in war to acheive their objectives. The US sends soldiers to fight and kill, therefore, are considered violent.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

III. Intention to Create Fear

The Taliban attempt to create fear by forcing religion on Afghan youth, organizing bombings, and killing innocents. The US, create fear in other ways. We project military strength, use flame warfare tactics in combat, and have several intimidation technologies for the purpose of avoiding combat. This also answers the last clause of the definition, that the goal is to suppress individuals. These being their enemies.

http://www.foreignaffairs.com...

IV. Deliberately or Intentionally disregard Civilian safety

Simple. It's no secret that the Taliban disregard and kill civilians to achieve their means. The US, during Vietnam, was estimated to have killed over 5000 innocent civilians deliberately around bases. These were suspected to be Viet Cong. None the less, 5000 innocents died for an order that wasn't entirely thought out. Additionally, it is believed that at least 1/2, and some claim more, of the civilian deaths in vietnam were a result of napalm and reckless total war. Unless our military commanders are idiots, they knew this would happen. Another example would be drones. Most of our major drone commanders have issued public statements, that they are well aware civilians will most likely die in certain strikes. Yet, they are allowed to fire if there is less than a 100% chance that the missile will hit a civilian. In other words, an operator may launch a drone strike even if there is a 40% calculated chance of hitting a civilian. As a final example, during Nixon's secret executive bombing of Cambodia, it is believed that 50,000 to 150,000 civilians were killed by plane strikes alone.

http://www.yale.edu...
http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com...
https://www.hawaii.edu...

Preston

Con

I will not argue points I or II because they areimpacts from war in general, I wont ever really argue point II but this is where your argument becomes flawed. In your 3rd point you state "We project military strength, use flame warfare tactics in combat, and have several intimidation technologies for the purpose of avoiding combat." and this is where my argument will come from. keep in mind it also contradics point II.

The United States does not intentionally disregard Civilian Safety;

The Taliban has disregarded and intentionally harmed civilians. However the united states has not intentionally been disregarding citizens safety. Lets look to the US Rules of engagement from 1992, where it states "REMEMBER:
1 THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AT WAR
2 TREAT ALL PERSONS WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT
3 USE MINIMUM FORCE TO CARRY OUT MISSION
4 ALWAYS BE PREPARED TO ACT IN SELF DEFENCE"

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Notice at no point does it say "Kill, Murder, mutilate, rape, assault, stab, slash, destroy, raze" all things the Taliban participates in doing. Even in Vietnam they would ask civilians if they were for the usa and not kill needlessly. while atrocities occurred, the united states held its ground. At one point the usa pressed charges against soldiers that murdered innocents. they have improved and now have much better polices and rules of engagement.

Drones are completely different, they evaluate risk just as businesses do when making layoff decisions, they abandon or abort missions to avoid hurting civilians. And on top of it all, pilots often are not there and act in the moment when these tragedies occur. But don't worry the USA is moving away from drones and people do not want to pilot them Yahoo reports "As of January 2013, after the first round of the Air Force Academy's assignment process, only 12 individuals had volunteered for the 40 available training slots, a figure that works out to 30 percent."

http://news.yahoo.com...


The Usa has been acting to rid them selves of things that are meant to mame or kill. "the Department of Defense was discreetly destroying portions of its land mine stockpiles, including a cache at Anniston Army Depot, where nearly 126,000 mines remain.

"We do demilitarization at all our facilities," said Justine Barati, a spokeswoman for Defense Department's Joint Munitions Command, which manages the nation's military ammunition plants. The military has destroyed 634,206 landmines at storage sites worldwide in the past 10 years, Barati said.

For decades, activists have called on the United States to completely swear off the use of antipersonnel mines — land mines that are designed specifically to kill or maim human beings, as opposed to stopping tanks or other large vehicles."

http://www.annistonstar.com...

Now this is where your 3rd point turns, The USA has developed smart mines, they are able to deactivate themselves after wars and are able to be located by the military so that civilians are safer."The Washington Post puts Bush’s land mine move in a much harsher light, saying it “represents a departure from the previous U.S. goal of banning all land mines designed to kill troops. That plan, established by President Bill Clinton, set a target of 2006 for giving up antipersonnel mines, depending on the success of Pentagon efforts to develop alternatives.“

http://defensetech.org...

the USA is in fact acting to protect while, steadily improving its self for safety and, the Taliban is acting to instill fear and terror.
Debate Round No. 2
ChosenWolff

Pro

I. Code Bound

This was the argument I was expecting the opposition to make. The US is bound by a code to respect citizens lifes, yet, this begs the question, why do civilians keep dying under the US military? This is the real question we need to ask ourselves. Just because someone says they wont do something, doesn't mean you should take them for their word? At least one citizen gets killed by a US bomb, weapon, attack, or operation a day. So obviously the military code of conduct exists, doesn't mean it's being followed, or being enforced to its fullest extent.

Think of it this way. If Bobby says he's religious and against murder, yet goes out every sunday and kills baptists, does that mean he's not a murderer? The fact is, that the US millitary and US department of state, are funding and ordering operations that they know, or are either deliberately ignoring, that will kill civilians. This is a fact, and one my opponent has been unable to refute. Let's look at Israel for example. The US funds 10's of billions for guns and training to the US military. Most of this then goes into missle operators or missiles themselves. These are launched monthly across the borders at the PLA, Hamas, or Hezbollah. Everytime Israel has launched a missile, a morally grey target has died. This is, essentially, a proven contention on how the US, under the same guise as the Taliban, are terrorists.

Someone who says something, but does another, is a hypocrite.

II. Taliban Contentions

I want to bring up a couple of contentions regarding the Taliban (Afghan), who I will remind the audience, are not designated terrorists by the US state department. The Taliban, function a lot like the US. They have an embassy, a army, a political branch, and even a prime minister. The only difference between the Taliban and the US, is that the US is a nation, and the Taliban aren't. Saint Augustine, who I believe I already brought up, explained this theory in detail.

His theory, was that the strongest determines who's right and wrong. Which is why we have several quotes on the matter....

"A tiger and a cat both eat fish"
" If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck"
"All men were born of the same flesh"

Essentially, Augustine argued the same thing. He stated, that there are pirates and emperors. Pirates, steal from small villages or towns. Emperors, steal entire lands. Yet one is labelled as a deragatory "pirate" and the other is labelled as a exemplary "emperor". Which led Augustine to explain his theories on false equations in matters of societal terminology. Augustine's theory holds 100% true to modern terrorist designations. Both the US (as well as every other nation on earth) and the Taliban fit the description for terrorists, yet the US, the stronger of the two, picks which one will be styled a "emperor", and which one will be styled a "pirate". Which is funny, because there is really no denying this truism.

III. New Technology

I am glad my opponent brought this up. I was expecting him to do this. The US, is actively working to reduce its collateral damage in war. Therefore, we can't call ourselves terrorists, can we? The problem is, the Taliban are also trying to reduce their collateral damage. The Taliban (afghan) haven't funded one terrorist attack on foreign soil since Obama's relection. Additionally, they have opened up a embassy in Qatar and trained diplomats to talk with other nations. So both the United States and the Taliban are working to reduce collateral damage. Which are my two contentions for this argument.

http://www.bbc.com...

[P1] The US are trying to reduce collateral damage
[P2] The Taliban are trying to reduce collateral damage
[C1] Both the US and Taliban are equal in the matter of not wanting to cause collateral damage
[P1] The Taliban are not deliberately trying to kill civilians, yet are labelled terrorists
[P2] The US are not deliberately trying to kill civilians, and are not labelled terrorists
[C2] Either the US are terrorists or the Taliban aren't

That's the whole reason I made this debate. To prove how "silly" we use the word "terrorist", because by the definition my opponent gave me, every single nation on earth should either be labelled as terrorists, or labelled as hypocrites.

Thanks for the debate! Vote for the Chosen one!

Preston

Con

First I would like to extend my condolences to Wolff, seeing as his amazing debate was removed :(

But back to business, I disagree with this analogy with bobby, instead the analogy would be like this, Bobby holds up the sky so it doesn't fall and crush everyone, he also says he is against murder, however every once and a while the sky will lurch and kill someone. Is bobby a murderer? NO, there is no intent to kill. So in my next two points i will address the difference in INTENT between the Taliban and the United States.

I: Augustine's analogies do not apply;
Augustine's analogies are broad in and of themselves, it is irrational to say anything that kills people are terrorists because terrorists kill. What you need to see is that every detail must be the same for something to match, so when we compare the USA to the Taliban differences arise, the first of which was/is intent to kill. The definition of terrorist called for a group or individual to be intentionally disregarding the safety of innocent civilians. thus because differences exist Augustine's analogies hold no weight.

II: Contradictions;
My opponent in round one took the BOP on himself to prove the resolution provided my definition. Last round he claimed the Taliban are cutting collateral like the USA. This however proves I am correct, my opponent doesn't prove that "If the Taliban are terrorists, then the United States are as well" he gives evidence the Taliban aren't terrorists at all. Which doesn't fulfill the BOP he claimed he would fill, thus the vote should go in favor of the negation.

III: Intent;
My opponent did not actually show that the Taliban are cutting collateral however that's not true, on July 8th they bombed a building in eastern Afghanistan killing four NATO troops, 10 civilians, and a police officer. They are not cutting back but instead continuing to kill innocents, with intent. My opponent has not shown how the United States has shown the intent to kill and thus this point flows to me.

http://www.theguardian.com...

Vote Neg!
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Preston 2 years ago
Preston
read the debate, if anything the definition says the opposite and that's what I argued
Posted by YamaVonKarma 2 years ago
YamaVonKarma
Oh I know. And you also gave the definition of terrorism. Said definition paints the U.S. as terrorists. Or they at the very least endorse terrorism.
Posted by Preston 2 years ago
Preston
you should know you actually have to read it and give an rfd, not look at the first two points
Posted by YamaVonKarma 2 years ago
YamaVonKarma
Hmmm... I'll make it a tie for now and use the day to think about this more.
Posted by Preston 2 years ago
Preston
YamaVonKarma I was supposed to give a definition, look at wolff's first post, he states " Use R1 for acceptance and your clarification of the word terrorist. "
Posted by Preston 2 years ago
Preston
Chosenwolff is actually my imaginary friend.
Posted by wrichcirw 2 years ago
wrichcirw
Oh...this is a one-point system. In which case I would have awarded the win to PRO.
Posted by wrichcirw 2 years ago
wrichcirw
RFD:

https://docs.google.com...#

Conclusion

Relatively short debate, pretty easy to determine the victor.

PRO"s S&G can use a lot of work. Regardless, his argumentation is clear enough - atrocities in Vietnam, continual drone strikes, and other air campaigns all conform to CON"s definition of "terrorism", which by itself proves PRO"s point, and CON never really countered this directly, meaning that PRO"s BoP is upheld no matter how many smart mines the US makes.

Any proof that the Taliban is actually a benign organization also works in PRO"s favor, as it dramatically lowers the threshold in which "terrorist" is defined, meaning that it would be very easy to classify the US(CIA) as a terrorist organization. CON attempted to argue that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization, which goes against round #1 stipulations that forbid CON to do this. Not quite conduct, but most certainly not a kosher argument.

Had I scored this, I would have tied it - args PRO, S&G and sources CON. The Augustine arguments were really poorly formed, IMHO, and sources would have helped a lot in regards to figuring out exactly what Augustine said. Conduct was fine on both sides, so I leave it a tie.
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
Technically, but I am looking to test out an argument rather than snipe.
Posted by YamaVonKarma 2 years ago
YamaVonKarma
Con has already given pro this debate, by giving the definition of terrorism.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by KhalifV 2 years ago
KhalifV
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes a valid comparison between the Taliban and united states. Pro exposes the disregard for code.Con did have a relatively good argument from intentionality, but in such a case we must be terribly incompetent at not killing innocents. Con did not address pro's first two contentions.
Vote Placed by NathanDuclos 2 years ago
NathanDuclos
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate, however 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' did not get put into the mix. . . .
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given the definition provided by Con, Pro's examples matched perfectly what the term "terrorist" entails. This was shown specifically with the example of the 5,000 lives taken by U.S. forces. Con provided strong arguments that I feel were based on an American's perspective of things, somewhat pushing the idea that because we have laws protecting against such things - that they don't happen. This is a poor strategy for Con. The act of disarmament, the attempt to show how the emperor example doesn't fit, and the failure to even address Pro's first 2 contentions were reason enough to give Pro the win.
Vote Placed by Seido 2 years ago
Seido
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Having looked through the debate, ChosenWolff didn't persuade me to believe that the United States is a terrorist organization. The United States' purpose is not to make people fear it and oppress people while ignoring civilians in the process.
Vote Placed by Kc1999 2 years ago
Kc1999
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: This argument essentially came down to examples, in which I believe Pro excelled in. He provided us with a clear cut case about an example of "US Terrorism" in Vietnam, and even went further to label it as intended, clearly meeting the definitions that were given. Con introduced interesting arguments on the intention of terrorists, but Pro ultimately refutes that with the "duck" analogy. Good read and GJ to both.
Vote Placed by Domr 2 years ago
Domr
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Con had put out a definition of a terrorist that was not questioned by Pro. It said "commit violent acts, intended to create fear" Pro stated in R2 the US creates fear, by "projecting military strength"...Not by committing violent acts. Therefore by the agreed upon definition of a terrorist, the US does not apply.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con's main argument was basically that the USA, in all its seemingly terrible acts, had a "greater good" in mind that exempts their actions from the label of terrorism. However, Pro showed clear examples of the US military carrying out missions, particularly in the Vietnam War, that *exactly* match the definition of terrorism. All of Con's attempts to differentiate USA's acts from the Taliban's acts are ultimately refuted by Pro. Thus, he successfully affirms the resolution. Very interesting debate.
Vote Placed by Mray56 2 years ago
Mray56
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Most of pros argument did not match the definition of terrorism. Quote "intentionally". Pro has not provided sources that prove the US has intentionally killed citizens. Disregard for civilian safety and intentionally commiting acts of genocide are completely unrelated to eachother. they are separate definitions. As con had stated. con also provided sources to prove his point. Pro also never provided sources to PROVE that the US is intentionally creating fear, only an article that expresses the opinion of a professor. sources from pro were rather weak. "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes" This should have been the center of contention for you Pro. However, you did not recognize this. You did briefly but failed to provide proof.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 2 years ago
wrichcirw
ChosenWolffPreston
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: see comments. PRO"s S&G can use a lot of work. Regardless, his argumentation is clear enough - atrocities in Vietnam, continual drone strikes, and other air campaigns all conform to CON"s definition of "terrorism", which by itself proves PRO"s point, and CON never really countered this directly, meaning that PRO"s BoP is upheld no matter how many smart mines the US makes.... Had I scored this, I would have tied it - args PRO, S&G and sources CON. The Augustine arguments were really poorly formed, IMHO, and sources would have helped a lot in regards to figuring out exactly what Augustine said. Conduct was fine on both sides, so I leave it a tie.