The Instigator
RaeTulo
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
effy
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

President Obama's plan for increasing troops in Afghanistan is in the US's best interest.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
RaeTulo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 814 times Debate No: 11238
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

RaeTulo

Con

I'll first clarify the resolution, offer a burden to the pro side, and then allow my opponent to post his or her arguments in agreement to the resolution.

President Obama's plan for increasing troops in Afghanistan: Anything relating to Obama's plan for putting 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan.

Burden: Best interest is defined as the concern for one's benefit. For the pro side to win this debate, he or she must prove that president Obama's plan for increasing troops in Afghanistan is more beneficial than not, to the United States.
effy

Pro

Ok, first of all, I am anti-war. But in this case, I think it is certainly in the best interest to send in the troops. President Barack Obama announced a 30,000 strong troop surge to "seize the initiative" in Afghanistan and finally end the brutal eight-year war. If this is what it takes to bring it to an end, I see no alternative.
Debate Round No. 1
RaeTulo

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for joining the debate.

I will now post my own arguments.
The plan for increasing troops is not in our best interest because...
1. The timeline is insufficient.
2. It puts an even larger economic strain on our government.
3. The number of troops is insufficient.
4. The part of the plan that addresses fighting on the border region of Pakistan is doing more harm than good.

1. The timeline is insufficient.
For over 200 years, many countries have tried and failed to achieve similar goals to the ones Obama has set for us with his plan for increasing troops. We cannot achieve these goals in 18 months. President Karzai himself said his forces would need our support until at least 2024. He decided that that is how much assistance his country will need before the responsibility can be handed over to the Afghan forces and be effectively enforced. We cannot achieve that kind of security for Afghanistan in 18 months, especially when the man who will be in charge of keeping Afghanistan secure after we leave decides that we should be there longer. We don't have the money or the resources to be there until 2024, and we don't have 200 years to spend trying to stabilize Afghanistan.

2.It puts an even larger economic strain on our government. as of January 2010, the government debt in the US was 12.3 trillion dollars. The cost of one serviceman in 2008-09 was 1.1 million dollars. Take that times 30,000.
Spending 30 billion dollars to add to that debt is not in our best interest. The impact of this debt is monumental, because according to the World Bank, the US dollar is at a 14 year low against the yen, meaning that our dollar is $1.44 lower in value than the Japanese Yen. This is bad, because according to the president of the world bank, "The United States' days as an unchallenged economic superpower are numbered."

3. The troop levels are insufficient. McChrystal set a standard for our number of troops, and that was that we need 50,000 troops. He later announced that 40,000 is the minimum amount, for failure that is.

4. According to Obama's plan, we've been launching unmanned drones into Pakistan to try and kill off Taliban members and leaders. The problem with this is that these drone attacks are killing innocent pakistani civilians. According to a Pakistani general, for every one militant killed in a drone attack, 10 civilians are killed. So, the culture that these civilians were taught tells them that they need to get back at the people killing their families. They are required under tribal code to seek revenge on the attackers, and that's the United States. To fulfill this revenge, they are recruiting to the Taliban, to grab hold of a nuclear arsenal within Pakistan, which could be used to attack our soil, and kill our civilians.

"Ok, first of all, I am anti-war. But in this case, I think it is certainly in the best interest to send in the troops. President Barack Obama announced a 30,000 strong troop surge to "seize the initiative" in Afghanistan and finally end the brutal eight-year war. If this is what it takes to bring it to an end, I see no alternative" [pro]

I appreciate my opponents argument, which says that the plan is in our best interest because it will bring the war to an end.
However, my opponent seems to assume that pulling out of the war will be in our best interest.
This is not true, because if we pull out of this war, we are promoting not only the war on terrorism, but an illegitimate government.
It is not beneficial for us to leave in 18 months, because we will not have fulfilled our goals. That will give the Taliban momentum to attack us, and leave their government illegitimate.
effy

Pro

An increase in troop strength for the war in Afghanistan is not a popular notion, but it isn't meant to please anyone. In fact, any wartime decision thrust on the war fighters in the field based solely on the political ramifications of the decision at home is suspect at best.
The Obama administration has taken considerable heat for having taken the time to carefully consider the strategy and feasibility of US armed conflict in Afghanistan.
The former Vice President has called it "dithering," and many critics say that the president has taken a lot of time to come up with the same answer former President Bush would have come to in days. This is erroneous. During the time President Obama has been considering his decision on Afghanistan, his cabinet has been busy including our allies.
His staff at the Department of Defense has had the opportunity to truly lay out a definitive purpose for action, one that includes measurable steps forward with the ability to know when progress is being made. It is simply not possible to leave the strategy to the vague and immeasurable concept of "winning the war on terror."
The idea that a war on terror can be won is of the same fallacy as making a military operation "safe." It is the definition that has been missing. Just as it is impossible to remove any possibility of injury or damage during a military operation, so it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of terrorist activity from the world. By its nature, terrorism is unstoppable, as any single individual with a grudge can foment terror through violence.
It is, therefore, a most reasoned approach for the president to gather his experts and ask the really hard questions from beginning to end. Why are we fighting in Afghanistan, who are we fighting, what do we hope to gain, and when are we done?
It is in this careful analysis that there is hope, grim as the situation is that there can be an end to this strife, but it requires something the US has rarely been able to provide-dependable, clear political and economic support for a defined military path forward.
The three arms of power for a nation state must be in harmony if its projection of power is to be effective. Going into a war with the goal of "bombing them back to the Stone Age" is a failed proposition from the start. In many cases, the very targets of the war are already living a life of bare sustenance with veritably nothing of value to destroy.
This is particularly applicable to an enemy that is not a nation state. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have no country; therefore they aren't hindered by the destruction of infrastructure, threats against its political efficacy, or even threats to the well being of a population. Rather, theirs is a war of ideology, and more importantly, the destruction of differing ideologies.
When the enemy considers the death of those fighting the war on its behalf a cause for celebration, then the normal concept of warfare has been drastically skewed.
Having said this, there are still fundamentals of warfare that remain applicable. Mass on the battlefield is still an important tenet of conflict, regardless how fleet the opposing forces are. War is truly an ugly business, one the American public has rarely considered on a personal basis.
Amongst themselves, war fighters distill their craft to its essential elements: killing people and breaking things. This is increasingly difficult to apply as the media, embedded with our fighting forces, has the ability to beam back the violence nearly live to the American population, with its concomitant generation of outrage.
It is both saddening and heartening to hear a president willing to say the words "capture or kill" when discussing Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. There are those who say there are enough forces there already, and others who hold that another 30,000 is insufficient. Again the president has evaluated the situation and has determined a little of both to be correct.
The additional 30,000 troops do not make a drastic increase in combat capability, but an incremental one. The additional 30,000 troops will allow US forces the leeway to continue to engage the enemy and still be able to increase the focus on training and preparing the Afghans to fight on their own.
The president has made it clear that the US will not remain in Afghanistan forever, thus the announced target date to begin withdrawing troops. While he has come under fire for doing so, it is essential to our allies and specifically the Afghans to understand that they have a limited time in which to step up and assume responsibility for the defense of their country, and they better take advantage of it.
At the same time, it is but a target date to begin the withdrawal process, it by no means is an idication to the Taliban or Al Qaeda that in July of 2011, that regardless the situation on the ground, the US is leaving. That would be folly, and the president was careful in his word usage to make that clear.
Likewise, our NATO allies were specifically mentioned in the president's announcement to spotlight the notion that this is the first time in the history of NATO that the coalition has actually used article five for the collective defense. He made it clear more is expected of NATO nations as this is a global threat and most geographically juxtaposed to NATO nations.
Finally, much has been discussed about the concept that we have erred by sending the fighting force to Afghanistan since we believe that Al Qaeda leadership is resident in the border regions of Pakistan. This belies the nature of politics and allegiances.
The president is focused on nurturing a positive diplomacy with our allies the Pakistanis, a prudent stand considering they are a nuclear armed nation. Naturally progress in getting Pakistan to take action in the border regions has not been as successful or rapid as the US would like, but the region and its own instabilities make it slow going on that front.
Americans like to envision the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan the same away we see the borders between the US and Canada and Mexico: they aren't. The tribal population of that region has little interest in nor allegiance to either national government.
They live as their ancestors did, moving nomadically from region to region based on the survival needs weather and food and water availability foist upon them. They have greater respect for local "warlords" than the central government because it is these "warlords" that have given them the greatest protections and assistance in the past.
The US must respect the Pakistanis efforts to enter those areas from the Pakistan side and focus on moving from the Afghan side, this pincer like process holds the greatest possibility, if not the only possibility, of success.
In all, the president has made a somber, carefully evaluated decision that Al Qaeda and the Taliban pose a grave threat to the world, and the quelling of that threat is in the Strategic National Interest of the United States.
Once the decision is made by the National Command Authority that this effort affects US National Interests, it is passed to the military for execution. As Gen McCrystal eloquently put it: "There may be those who question whether we can do it, those who question whether we should do it, but no one may question whether we will do it."
Though he asked for between 40,000 and 90,000 additional troops, he and the troops will do their job with the additional 30,000.
I simply ask... Would it not affect the economy more leaving this to drag on to 2024? Troops will be withdrawn by 2011, that has been clearly stated, is it not worth that little bit extra to bring an almost immediate hault rather have this continue another 14 years?
Debate Round No. 2
RaeTulo

Con

Considering my oppenent has decided to drop the ball, and use a copy paste method of a case written by Donald Rosenberry, I should consider dropping the debate. But I'll assume that my opponent had the same arguments in mind and found this case to represent her thoughts well.

"His staff at the Department of Defense has had the opportunity to truly lay out a definitive purpose for action, one that includes measurable steps forward with the ability to know when progress is being made."
As my opponent quotes, she refers to the idea that the framework for this plan (specifically, the timeframe) will be based around checkpoints, where we look at conditions on the ground. As Obama said, we will extend the timeline if need be, to even extend our progress.
However, what we need to see is that, even if we are using these checkpoints and looking at ground conditions, we are not addressing the idea that for the past 200 years, many other countries have tried to accomplish the same goals that Obama has set for us. Obama states that "Afghanistan is not Iraq," meaning that this will not be an open ended war, but by repeatedly extending the timeline based on ground conditions, that is exactly what we are implying to the Afghans if we follow through with this. We don't have 200 years to spend fighting this war, and even if we don't keep this open ended, we most certainly don't have the time, money, or resources to even lightly extend our timeline. When president Karzai of Afghanistan announced that his forces would need our assistance and support until 2024, we have to realize that we cannot achieve our goals in 18 months, when the man in charge even disagrees.

"so it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of terrorist activity from the world. By its nature, terrorism is unstoppable, as any single individual with a grudge can foment terror through violence."
This tells us that terrorists cannot ever be completely stopped. This is TRUE! And this is exactly why Obama's plan is NOT in our best interest. We are fighting in this endless war on terrorism, in order to "...prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country. But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. That is why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border."
What Obama fails to see is that by using the strategies we're using, we're actually promoting terrorism. If we're not promoting it, then we're definately contributing to the Taliban's side of this war. By using unmanned drone attacks within Pakistan to kill off Taliban leaders and members, we're killing innocent civilians in a 10:1 ratio. These innocents are required by tribal code to seek revenge on those who are killing their families and friends. THE UNITED STATES. To fulfill this revenge, they are recruiting to the Taliban, and planning to attack the United States with a loose nuclear arsenal within Pakistan. This is NOT in our best interest.

"The Taliban and Al Qaeda have no country; therefore they aren't hindered by the destruction of infrastructure, threats against its political efficacy, or even threats to the well being of a population."
This is VERY true!! The Taliban and Al Qaeda will only move back up to other places in the world and create new havens. Yemen, especially, is is hot spot for terrorists because of the two cold wars going on right now. So, if we move them out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it's doing two things...
1) Motivating them only to move out of these places and find new havens.
2) Giving them incentive to attack us.
Neither of these are in our interest or achieve our goals.

"Mass on the battlefield is still an important tenet of conflict, regardless how fleet the opposing forces are."
DUH!!!! Excuse my rude tone, but HELLO! That's exactly what I said in my first round. Obama suggests we put 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. HOWEVER, General McChrystal has set the minimum amount of troops to be 40,000. If we want to set ourselves up for failure, that is. So yes, mass on the battlefield is important, and Obama's plan is simply not achieving this.

"Likewise, our NATO allies were specifically mentioned in the president's announcement ."
How is this beneficial? They're sending 10,000 troops. Even then, it's not helpful! The NATO forces, first of all, are not our troops! They aren't required to fight with our interest in mind, or anyone's interest but their own. They don't have to fight towards the goals we have set.

Crossfire questions:
Obama's plan calls for moving the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, however..
If this means that these terroristic groups will be moving to other havens where they can just as easily plan attacks,
how is this achieving public safety for our citizens or our allies' citizens, which is in our best interest?

General McChrystal set the amount of troops that would set us up for failure to be 40,000 troops. If he says that
even 40,000 troops will be insufficient, how will we achieve our goals with only 30,000?

How will Obama's plan strenghten Afghanistan's forces enough to
1) allow them to keep the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of the country when we leave?
2) keep the Opium production to a minimum in Afghanistan to lessen Taliban funding?
How will we achieve this through Obama's plan in 18 months, with an amount of troops that McChrystal considered to be less than the amount that would set us up for Failure?!
effy

Pro

Just to state, yes, I used a source I found online to put forward my argument, but...
I am going to happily forfeit the debate for a few reasons.
1 - I didn't mean to accept the debate to begin with.
2 - I am anti-war
3 - I am not a U.S citizen, so my argument is pretty biased
Debate Round No. 3
RaeTulo

Con

My opponent has dropped the round without refuting any of my arguments or answering my crossfire questions, and therefore, my points still stand stronger.
Vote con!
effy

Pro

effy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
RaeTulo

Con

It is a shame that my opponent has forfeited the debate.
This could have been a really good debate.
effy

Pro

effy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by redbrave70 7 years ago
redbrave70
The troop surge has worked and improvements are showing in Afghanistan
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Vote Placed by redbrave70 7 years ago
redbrave70
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Vote Placed by Korashk 7 years ago
Korashk
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