The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Is there inherent danger in becoming to dependant on technology in war?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 922 times Debate No: 17274
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




Technology has changed the face of war; but has it been entirely for the better? This is not a question of whether it has increased the scale of warfare (in other words created more collateral damage); but solely referring to the aspect that developing technologies can actually harm our ability to fight an 'inferior' adversary.

Pro will take the side of debating that technology, as much as it is increasing our military abilities; it is also decreasing our success on the battlefield.

Con will take the side of debating that technology prevents our forces from being exposed to excessive and unnecessary violence.

First round is for acceptance.


Hello I'd like to thank Fogofwar for creating such a marvelous debate, and I am more then glad to accept. I do have a few concerns and questions.

The opponent solely refers to the term "technology" in warfare, but I ask him/her what kind of technology does he/she refers to? Medical technology, weaponry technology I would like for the opponent to make it a little bit more clear if possible. I will make the assumption the opponent refers to all technology, not just weaponry or medical etc.

I understand that I have the burden of proving that technology such as medical and weaponry affects warfare for the better. By protecting our forces from being exposed to dangerous and unnecessary violence. I will also like to ask the opponent when he/she refers to "our" forces does she/her refer to the forces of the United States? I am solely trying to make sure of my position and exactly what we're debating.

I expect the opponent to respond to my concerns somewhere in round two. I will let the opponent make his opening contentions.

Thanks and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


The topic is in regards to all forms of technology in general; however, keep in mind that one must make arguments for the use of technology as a whole; and not just in one field; i.e. medical technology has given opportunity to save lives; therefore ALL technology is not dangerous.

In regards to the term of "our" forces; I will refer to all advanced nations as a whole, predominantly referring to the western powers; i.e.. NATO and ISAF. As I am Canadian; I will be presenting facts from within the Canadian Forces; so I do not see it fair to limit this to a single nation. Technology plays a key factor for all advanced civilizations the same; and be they the USA, or China for that matter; it still has the same effects.

For this debate; my point will be that there is inherent danger (permanent threat) to technological advances within the military; and not that such dangers cannot be overcome; just that they will always exist.

I will proceed to begin with my opening statement:

Our fascination with war is evident in our everyday lives. The most popular video games are those that depict us as soldiers in the modern battlefield; but do these games; and the movies in which we watch; our imagination as a whole, really paint an accurate portrayal of what the future of warfare will be? When we think of the 21st century battlespace; do we not picture something like Halo; or Gears of War? An iron clad warrior; using high tech exoskeletal armour to manoeuvre amidst the chaos of rampant man and machine?
If the reality of our current involvements in the 21st century have taught us anything; it is that the future of warfare will be fought in small-scale urban settings. These small-war environments, such as those witnessed in Afghanistan; as well as in the recent conflict in Georgia, between formed militaries, demonstrate the varying technological differences among opposing forces in the battlefield. By using these examples; we can see that it is likely that the Western powers will have a substantial technological advantage over our opposition. So, the question becomes; will this technological advantage be our saving grace; or our demise?
In 1964, a French author named Jacques Ellul described the downfall of human freedom through technology. He claimed humans have become too reliant on technology. He said it was not a question of getting rid of technology, but an act of freedom, of transcending it.

"Technological ethnocentrism, coupled with an obtuse reliance upon technology at the expense of acknowledging the human factor's influence upon the battlespace can be a force's demise." -Captain Ray van deer Berg, MMM CD

BATTLESPACE: In order to accurately assess the technological involvement in war; we must first serve to define the battlespace. The battlespace has been, for years, defined as a three-dimensional area of operation. In it, width, depth and airspace. This battlefield has been continually growing with the advent of new technology. The submarine has introduced a new dimension; beneath.
In order to accurately assess the modern 'battlespace' we must also include such spectrums as radio frequency, and ever more important today, cyberspace. This alone can prove to be a technological detriment to our forces.
Never-the-less; one must also consider the human factor. From the leadership instilling morale among his troops; to the medic treating a wounded child. The human factor has always been; and even with the technological advantage, always will be, the most important element in warfare.
To understand how this affects war; and to better grasp the idea of what a technologically inferior opponent will do to even the playing field, if you will, we must first consider what has been proposed by the two most important texts in military stratagem: Sun Tzu's the Art of War, and Carl von Clausewitz, On War:

Sun Tzu: Of his five elements of war were:

5. Doctrine

We see three of the five elements of war are the relationship of the human factor in war. Without morale; our troops do not have the will to win; even if they are at a technological advantage. Without Doctrine; there is no plan on how to win. Without command; there is no one to lead the troops; also morale will diminish.

Clausewitz: Considered the most influential mind in military history; his work On War still serves to this day as the most important text in military study. It is actually mandatory reading for virtually all leadership schools in civilized militaries. Clausewitz defined war as "the continuation of politics by other means". By this he served to show that war is constant; every action we take will result in shaping the future of conflict. In essence; even a defeated enemy will rise again; for you may kill a force; but you will never kill the people's spirit.
This can be seen in both world wars. Germany had the technological edge in both wars; yet still failed. In many cases; forces pulled through out of sheer determination against overwhelming odds. Canada won the battle at Passchendaele against an entire German trenchline with a company of 60 men. Most of the fighting was hand to hand with hatchets, bayonets and 'knuckle duster' trench knives. Another example of this would be the Viet Cong; who proved the US could not defeat a technologically inferior opponent driven through sheer determination.
The determination of the spirit to thrive against all odds; even in the face of death; will always be the major factor in motivating a technologically inferior rival to stand against what would appear to be utter annihilation. To this; Clausewitz succeeded in demonstrating the mind frame of what would become terrorism.

CYBERSPACE: The threat from cyber warfare may not bleed like human soldiers; but the effects could prove equally devastating. Imagine if a single person can hack into a complex network; and shut down power to entire regions? Because all data communication systems are so completely integrated and co-dependent, a small breach may cause the loss of connectivity between entities, or, even worse, the loss of confidence in the system. Imagine still if larger groups can collaborate to attack weapons systems, or intelligence. Further still; as wikileaks has shown; cyber warfare can span into the realm of propaganda by a means of defeating our spirit by losing support from the home front. Again, Vietnam was an example of this occurrence.

INTEL: Afghanistan has seen the largest employment of military intelligence for Canada since the second world war. Despite this; and the vast technological improvements in modern intelligence; from Satellites; to UAVs, etc., the Taliban has found ways around this technology.
Much of our collection platforms have been designed to detect large; conventional or nuclear formations. While these performed well during conventional efforts throughout the Cold War era, 21st century imagery intelligence (IMINT) sensors like satellites or UAVs cannot determine a person's intentions, look through rock to find weapons caches, or assess likely targets as considered by our adversaries. They cannot tell if a school is being used to manufacture IEDs; nor can they tell if a farmer is digging a hole for water drainage, or to plant an IED. Signals intelligence (SIGINT) satellites can detect the most sophisticated technological radios, radars and other electronic systems, but they cannot intercept land-lines; and are useless against under sea fibre optics. Better yet; the most sophisticated signal interception satellites in the world cannot intercept spoken word among two insurgents in a mosque.

DRONES: Use of drones makes targeting fighters in urban crowds impossible without catastrophic consequences. Our forces must continue to be put in harms way.

CONCLUSION: The technological advances can serve to aid us; but cannot be depended upon. The need for independence from machine is paramount.


MusicLove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I see my opponent appears to no longer be active....


MusicLove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


This is unfortunate.


MusicLove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


MusicLove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit