The Instigator
Daffy
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
AgencyOfMan
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

In a time of war, the US should always institute a draft.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 831 times Debate No: 25644
Debate Rounds (4)
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Daffy

Pro

I would like to propose the following resolution:

In a time of war, the US should always institute a draft.

Just to clarify, I do not mean that we should institute a full-fledged draft like the one used before WWII. I would expect that the amount of people we draft up would be proportional to the needs of the conflict in question. Another limitation imposed by resolution is the limitation of the standing army during times of peace. The standing army should be limited to a number proportional to that needed for the defense of the homeland.

I expect some analysis in the answers given and some attempt at addressing my arguments. Please be explicit in addressing each argument. That being said, I hope someone will humor me and accept this debate. Looking forward to it.

The first round is for acceptance and questions regarding the resolution itself.
AgencyOfMan

Con

In accepting this round I agree to all commentary on how the debate ought to be had but I seek clarification on the resolution and the analysis offered on the resolution, hopefully answered in the first affirmative.

The agreed resolution is, "In a time of war, the US should always institute a draft." Yet there are two points in it that the affirmative needs to address. First, if the word "should" implies a moral choice, societal impacts, or one based on military efficiency. Second, if the word "always" means a draft would be called into affect to fill even a one soldier quota when regardless of expected volunteer rates.

The next points to be clarified are the two clauses and one stipulation attached in the analysis of the topic.
The first clause needs to explain the difference between a "full-fledged draft" and the "draft" suggested in war time.
The stipulation attached to the first clause suggests proportional recruitment but does not explain means of doing so giving vastly differing and subjective possibilities.
The last clause suggests a similar proportional homeland defense but no means of determining again.

I look forward to my opponents response and wish him good luck in this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Daffy

Pro

I thank AgencyOfMan for accepting the debate.

The word "should" is used in a very general way. You can argue it in terms of morality, military efficiency or whatever. I think it"s important to weigh why military efficiency is more important than morality though or explain why military efficiency is important to using force ethically.

Let"s assume that proportionality will be determined by military commanders and the Pentagon. We won"t need 30 million troops to fight Cuba, for example. The size of the standing army needn"t probably be more than .1% of population. Having 300,000 troops would be enough to serve as a deterrent to all nations as it is within the top 20 in size. However, the size of 300,000 would not be enough to wage war because it"s a relatively small number and using that 300,000 for war would leave the homeland unguarded. These things make it a disincentive for war without a draft but also enough protection for an emergency conflict (which are unlikely anyway).

The word "always" implies that, yes, we would implement a draft even if we only needed 1 person for a war. That example is kind of extreme, though.

That taken care of, here are few compelling reasons on why we need to limit the standing army to a minimum and always implement a draft in a time of war.

1) This would increase the political cost of war

It"s assumed on the affirmative side that people generally don"t want to be forcibly put into military service. This gives a strong incentive to think twice before advocating/voting for a war. If the government must implement a draft at every proposal of war, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify wars to the American people. This is completely opposite to the status quo where the volunteer army is used at a moment"s notice without much political cost. Although the families of the volunteer army feel the cost of current wars, society at large rarely does. Vietnam serves as a great example of a war that the US could not continually justify to the vast majority of the people. The war ended even though most Americans still harbored anti-communist sentiments and this is mostly due to the shared human cost.

An increase in political cost makes politicians pursue other options for a longer period of time before a full-scale war. This also limits the power of defense lobbyists who feed on perpetual war for profits. The politicians can more easily resist the lobbyists if the political capital gained from lobbyists (ads, campaign funds etc.) is less than publicly advocating war. Nevertheless, those conflicts that have just cause (like WWII) would be easy to pursue.

2) There will be more equity in service

It"s a terrible state of affairs when those making the policy judgments on war don"t have to be affected by its costs. Those who join the military are disproportionately from the middle class or lower middle class and it"s the opinion of the affirmative side that this is inherently wrong in a democratic society. The inequity in the military can be solved by having the higher socioeconomic classes forcibly participate in military conflict. If the harms of war are more spread out in society, the political efficacy of everyone will increase. Those sectors of society who are generally apathetic to the costs of war will have to face the consequences when their brother or father is drafted into the military for a war they don"t know the cause of.

A more equitable society is inherently desirable as it enshrines one of the basic tenets of democratic society " equality. That all must share in the burden of securing the rights offered by the state is as democratic as the rights themselves.

3) A standing army is expensive

The huge expense of a standing army arises from the fact that we are at peace for the majority of the time. A well-equipped and well-trained army usually has little productivity and is just a drain of resources. The benefits arising from a standing army are too few to outweigh the huge costs. The cost also comes in terms of lost productivity. The increased labor force in the US would help increase the GDP and consequently, the standard of living. We must also consider the cost in terms of what that money could potentially be doing. For example, money invested in military research may actually serve as a greater deterrent to other countries and help the world in terms of positive side benefits of those technologies. It is the opinion of the affirmative side that this drain of resources is unacceptable.

Implementing a draft in every war will make wars less frequent and more justified. America"s reputation will improve seeing as the major harm to America"s reputation worldwide is its willingness to engage in war rather frequently. I believe these are strong reasons to affirm the resolution.
AgencyOfMan

Con

AgencyOfMan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Daffy

Pro

Hopefully my opponent will respond to my arguments and present his own arguments in the next round. If not, I hope I qualify as the winner.
AgencyOfMan

Con

AgencyOfMan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Daffy

Pro

I think pro wins by default. Thanks for voting.
AgencyOfMan

Con

AgencyOfMan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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