The Instigator
y0ungDuB
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Jonathan21
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

President Obama's plan for increasing troops in Afghanistan is in the United States' best interest

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,129 times Debate No: 11381
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (7)

 

y0ungDuB

Pro

I will let my opponent state his/her case first.
Jonathan21

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for yielding the floor. May this be an enlightening debate.

First, a discussion on the proposition that my opponent has brought up. The proposition is clear that it is not a debate on the case of Afghanistan itself, but rather the specific proposal brought by President Obama. I would argue that it is impossible to discuss this proposition without talking about the merits of American troops being in Afghanistan right now.

Second, a discussion of the specifics of the Obama plan should not go unnoticed in this debate. According to CNN.com the American troop involvement as of January 2009 was 36,000 troops. (http://www.cnn.com...) Obama planned to add 12,000 marines in his plan, bringing total American involvement in the conflict to 48,000 troops (if you can find better/more recent numbers I would like to see them). This is sizable increase of troops in terms of the percentage deployed.

Now on to my actual arguments.

First of all, America is not in an economic position to be undertaking any of these foreign expeditions, let alone increasing their commitments. America, like much of the rest of the world is in the grip of one of the largest recessions in history. This is no time to increase spending on expeditions thousands of miles away when the President has far greater domestic concerns, like trying to balance the budget. America is currently twelve trillion dollars in debt (http://www.usdebtclock.org...) and is looking for ways to combat impending economic disaster. Yes, cutting back in Afghanistan would only be a drop in the bucket, but it would at least be a start. Certainly escalating the amount of troops sends a bad message to taxpayers who are being forced to endure tough times while their fellow countrymen are sent abroad on expensive missions.

Second, the United States and it's NATO allies have embraced a strategy of "clear, hold and build." This strategy would be fine if Taliban forces could not just melt into the mountainside or into a crowded marketplace, allowing for profitable insurgency even if the US troops numbered 100,000. It simply is not a matter of numbers in Afghanistan. 12,000 more troops will allow for slightly more land taken, but it will not be enough to create a viable nation-state in Afghanistan. The Obama plan outlines no new framework, only allocates more resources to Afghanistan.

Third, the United States and it's allies have failed to show any substantial improvement to Afghanistan. Yes, the Taliban is no longer in power and it's better for all involved that it isn't. Yet, the replacement Hamed Karzai who has been in power since 2004 has thrown away much of his credibility both internationally and domestically. The point here is that it doesn't matter how many troops that the US bring to Afghanistan they need to build a nation-state from a country that was merely drawn into existence by British empire in the late 18th century. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) Afghanistan needs to be built up, economically, politically and socially and I fail to see how adding troops to this situation will do anything but exacerbate an already tense situation.

I feel that this is a good start to my side of the debate, and would love to hear what my opponent thinks of my position.
Debate Round No. 1
y0ungDuB

Pro

First i would like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. Now to clarify i will be going over actual troops being deployed, case constructive

CLARIFICATION
President Obama, White House Press Release, December 1, 2009,
http://www.whitehouse.gov...-
afghanistan-and-pakistan
"We will meet these objectives in three ways. First, we will pursue a military strategy that
will break the Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity over the next 18
months. The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of
2010 -- the fastest possible pace -- so that they can target the insurgency and secure key
population centers. They'll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces,
and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help
create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans."

so from this we can see that we will be deploying 30,000 troops along with at least 10,000 NATO troops

----CASE----

1) Increasing troops will give needed reinforcements to help stabilize the country of Afghanistan.

According to the Boston Globe, August 26, 2009
due to years of neglect the United States is basically "starting over' in its battle against the radical Taliban movement and its Al Qaeda allies. Acknowledging that public support for the war is waning, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US operation needs "12 to 18 months to turn this thing around.
Agence France Presse, September 8, 2009, p. online
The United States has a new Afghan war strategy that will "turn the tide" against the Taliban, but requires more troops to join the eight-year-old conflict, a US senator said Tuesday. "I feel very strongly, having just been there in August, that we see now how to turn the tide in our favor, and in the favor of the Afghan people, and against the Taliban," said independent Senator Joseph Lieberman. "That requires more personnel -- military and civilian -- and the sooner we do it, the sooner the Afghans will be able to take over themselves and Americans and our allies will come home," he told reporters.

What this point is saying is when we send in the extra 30,000 troops to support the already existing ones in Afghanistan it will allow us to turn the country around and get to the point where we can begin to pull out our troops out of Afghanistan and there for leave the country in a better state as it was then.
2)Afghanistan being stabilized will be key to national security of the united states and to stop a nuclear Pakistan from being a major threat.If we look into Obama's speech you will see that he says this
Remarks of President Barack, Obama December 1, 2009, "The people and governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are endangered. And the stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan, because we know that al Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them. These facts compel us to act along with our friends and allies. Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future. To meet that goal, we will pursue the following objectives within Afghanistan. We must deny al Qaeda a safe-haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government. And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's Security Forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future. "Based on this we can see that it is in our intention to Deny safe havens of al Qaeda from Afghanistan and Pakistan.Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. October 26, 2006Stability in Afghanistan and in South Asia more generally is closely linked to the policies that Islam�abad pursues over the next few years, including actions that limit the Taliban's ability to operate on Pakistani soil, peace efforts with neighboring India, exploration of trade and investment opportunities in the region, and a return to democratic politics. The U.S. needs to pursue these objectives with equal vigor to help Pakistan address the roots of violent extremism and begin to contribute to greater stabil�ity and peace in the region and beyond.Hilary Clinton December 2nd, 2009 "It is also in Pakistan where, after all, they (Al Qaeda terrorists) have found safe haven and where we have a nuclear-armed country facing increasing challenges to its writ of authority," "We have made a commitment to provide more assistance to Pakistan that is going to be accountable and transparent, but which we hope sends a message to the people of Pakistan that there is a better future," Commenting on President Obama's revamped Afghan strategy, the top US official said the new policy demonstrated that the US is committed to take on the continuing threat from not only those who want to destroy Afghanistan, but Pakistan also.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 6, 2009, p. C1
"Our presence in Afghanistan is, in part, a holding action while we seek to stabilize Pakistan and persuade its military to focus more on fighting internal jihadist than on archenemy India. Were Afghanistan to revert to Taliban control, the blowback would be felt inside Pakistan, where terrorists would be immeasurably strengthened."

3) Sending reinforcements would help train civilians of Afghanistan to learn to defend their country on their own and stabilize their country without the help of the United States.
ACCORDING TO Jackie Northam, who is embedded with a U.S. Special Forces unit AUGUST 11 2008
U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan are involved in an ambitious project to turn thousands of Afghan soldiers into commandos. The effort to create an elite fighting force is part of the broader counterinsurgency strategy that U.S. military officials say is key in helping stabilize Afghanistan. Special Forces, which have been constantly rotating through Afghanistan since they helped overthrow the Taliban in 2001, launched the commando program in the early spring of 2007. By Keith Knutson December 6, 2009 lacrossetribune.com The Afghan army will be taking the lead in some of the country's prprovinces by the end of 2010. Effective police training will also be in place.
Michigan's U.S. Senator Carl Levin points out there are plenty of young Afghan men willing to serve. Our general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, is looking to train 400,000 Afghan soldiers.
FROM THIS I REALLY CANT SEE HOW MY OPPONENT CAN THINK OTHER WISE we need to see that the whole point of this counterinsurgency is to try to protect the united states from a THREAT now to clarify that we will strengthen the afghan corrupt government which my opponent is making the biggest issue.
http://www.whitehouse.gov...
"Second, we will work with our partners, the United Nations, and the Afghan people to pursue a more effective civilian strategy, so that the government can take advantage of improved security.This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check areover. President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We'll support Afghan ministries, governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable."

I would like you to take not of one of his sources of evidence is from wikipedia which is not reliable and cannot be held as reliable info. Because of this i
Jonathan21

Con

First off, I'd like to thank my opponent for putting the specific troop deployment in his argument. It is helpful in clarifying the proposition

While my opponent puts forward some convincing arguments, I'd like to note that he has left my points largely alone.

In refutation of my opponent's points.

1) This argument is a logical fallacy. Adding more troops does not make for an easier pullout at a later date. The obvious historical example here is Vietnam. There were many, many plans that were put forward by the United States High Command that were supposed to end the war quicker by adding more troops. Yet it did not work out that way. For reference (http://www.pbs.org...). And although the situations are clearly not exact parallels, the similarities are too obvious to ignore. Simply put, placing 30,000 more troops into a country the size of France is not going to be a magic cureall in this situation. Will it help? Absolutely, but I remain steadfast in my belief that it will not be the key in resolving the situation in Afghanistan.

2) We all want to see a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Yet I disagree with the President that this will somehow neutralize Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Fighting an insurgency is a very difficult thing to do. The Taliban or Al-Qaeda are capable of laying dormant in both Afghanistan and Pakistan only to emerge and strike with great force. Certainly the mission in Afghanistan has some effect on Al-Queda's effectiveness, yet if there is other countries that will harbour these terrorists, simply removing them from Afghanistan will not have the desired effect that President Obama is going for. Again, I fail to see how this specific policy will lead to American success in Afghanistan. If the key to maintaining Al-Queda is in Pakistan, then the problem needs to be dealt with in Pakistan, not in Afghanistan.

3)I empathize with General Stanley McChrystal a fine officer if there ever was one. Certainly I agree with my opponent - any successful strategy for Afghanistan has to include the ability for the Afghan people to protect themselves. Yet, the United States has been in Afghanistan for nine years now. There has been ample time to train this proposed Afghan army. Yet as this (http://www.charlotteobserver.com...) article points out, there have been huge efforts to train up an Afghan army and police service, but they are fundamentally unreliable. McChystal's plan (http://www.washingtonpost.com...) calls for an Afghan army of 240,000. Simply put, this is an impossible task. This would more than double the size of the current Afghan army, an army that the United States is having trouble filling out at this lower number. To suggest that they can build a reliable army of those numbers is simply impossible.

Lastly, this whole mission is ostensibly about the stability of Afghanistan. Yet we know two things 1) Obama wants to have a point in the near future where most American troops will be pulled out of Afghanistan and 2) That Afghanistan is to be a functioning democracy. While the first point has been discussed quite a bit in our debate the second has not. The last Presidential election in Afghanistan was a disaster. Not only was there violence at voting stations, there was low voter turnout and widespread accusations of corruption (http://www.washingtonpost.com...). Simply put this is not the start of a functioning democracy. This is the 2nd Presidential election held since the invasion in 2001 and there has been no sign of a burgeoning Afghan democracy. Democracy cannot be built overnight – that much is historically clear. But for a territory that the United States has had troops in for nine years now, the progress has been startlingly low and I don't see any signs that this measure as proposed by President Obama will change the tide.
Debate Round No. 2
y0ungDuB

Pro

Now i am going to be addressing the points my opponent made and show you the fallacy he has made.

1) he says that adding troops does not make for an easier pullout date. And brings Vietnam. First we need to see that the nature of this war compared to Vietnam are completely different and i am sure everyone can agree on that issue. Next we also need to realize that this troop surge is not meant to flood Afghanistan with troops. Actually we are sending the 30,000 to train afghan soldiers and stabilize their government. The president of Afghanistan said himself that he is willing to comply with the United states. Thus keeping Afghanistan stable and able to protect themselves without the United states. Next i would like to state that the troops will not all be taken out in 2011 like my opponent will have you believe all it is is a guideline
2) Now my opponent brings up how Al-Qaeda and the Taliban may simply wait out until we leave. First i would like to state that for this reason we will train the afghan soldiers to deal with this problem. Not only that but again the date we pulling troops out is a guideline and can be changed if needed. Next he brings up the real problem is Pakistan but if you look at my case i show you specific quotes from the president himself as well as other that state that the troop surge will actually focus and try to protect Pakistan. My opponent also states how he doesn't see how this policy will lead to success in Afghanistan. To address this we need to see that all this policy is is a step in the right direction.

3) My opponent states that since the nine years the united states has been in Afghanistan little improvement on training troops has happened as well as success. To address this issue i would like to state that back then we did not have a focus to train afghan soldiers and as of now with this troop surge it will be a main priority. This piece of evidence proves my point. The Canadian Press(CP), September 5, 2009Anthony Cordesman, a member of the team advising Gen. McChrystal on strategy in Afghanistan, reached a similar conclusion. "Between 2002 and 2008 the United States never provided the forces, money or leadership necessary to win, effectively wasting more than half a decade," he wrote in a recent column in The Washington Post. "We have a reasonable chance of victory if we properly outfit and empower our new team in Afghanistan; we face certain defeat if we do not," he concluded." So adding these troops will be effective being as in the past this evidence proves that we didn't do much. We can also see that training these afghan soldiers is successful because not only do they no the land but they also have prior knowledge of how to fight and it is being successful http://www.marines.mil... proves my point.

My opponents brought up in his conclusion that 1) obama is basically going to pull out all troops one it is a guideline and two we need to see that not all or most will be pulled out until we know we are ready. 2) he states that Afghanistan's governement is basically too corrupt but what my opponent fails to see is that the troop surge is addressing this corrupt government we are also aided by the Afghan president himself saying he will aid the united states. So from this and from my case we can turn the tide into our favor with this troop surge.

Now to my opponents case.
1) his first point talks about how the economic crises needs to be dealt with before this. I agree with my opponent that we are in an economic disaster but what we need to see is are in a war and our troops are dying everyday and this needs to be a high priority as high or higher than our economic issue because people losing money is important but it can't harm them like a gun shot can. WE also need to see that drawing out of Afghanistan would lead to even more terrorism and a Withdrawal destabilizes Pakistan which is in the United states best interest.
http://www.emorywheel.com...
"As of now, U.S. troops form the glue keeping the semblance of order in Afghanistan solvent. Should the U.S.
withdraw, the country would be sure to fall into further disarray. This would have vast security implications for the
United States. It would allow the Taliban, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in the hinterlands to regroup. More
worryingly, a US withdrawal would destabilize Pakistan — a nuclear power with weak democratic institutions.
The spread of the Taliban in Afghanistan will spread global terror and collapse Pakistan"
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
content/article/2009/09/03/AR2009090302862.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns
The strategic importance of Afghanistan is difficult for critics of the war to deny. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, which
began in state-sponsored terror academies there, are not yet generally regarded as a myth. The spread of Taliban
havens in Afghanistan would permit al-Qaeda to return to its historical operating areas. This would allow,
according to one administration official to whom I spoke, "perhaps a hundredfold expansion of their
geographic and demographic area of operation." And Taliban advances in Afghanistan could push a fragile,
nuclear Pakistan toward chaos.

2) his second point brings up how the 30,000 or even 100,000 wouldn't be enough to "take over" Afghanistan. just cross apply what i said earlier about how the plan isn't to just completely wipe out Afghanistan it's for several other purposes.

3) his third point states that basically the afghan government is too corrupt and we have seen little to no improvement in the past. Again cross apply my arguments from above that state that the focus is to fix the afghan government as well as get support from their president in the making. Also cross apply my evidence stating why we have seen little to no improvement in the past.

So overall we can see that the troop surge is in the united states best interest and it does address my opponents points as well as his attacks. Thank you
Jonathan21

Con

I feel that I have made all the points necessary to win this debate.

This war is a risk that will add economic hardship to the United States.
This is a plan that adds nothing except for more troops to the situation.
This is a conflict that will not resolve the situation in Afghanistan
My opponent has done nothing to prove that things are changing on the ground in Afghanistan

Yes, we can debate all day whether or not Afghanistan is a fight worth undertaking. Yet under this plan, in this situation this is a mistake that President Obama should not undertake.
Debate Round No. 3
y0ungDuB

Pro

In my opponents last speech he stated that the war is a risk that will add economic hardship to the united states. Even though i agree with my opponent that it will had more to the economy i would like to state that the protection of the American people should be valued first and the economy second. Now from this we should spend and send money to our money on our military and stop wasting countless american dollars on useless things, which would help the economy. Now im not saying that we should only put the war first im just saying that the economy can be fixed by other means and we need to spend money to protect us.

Next he stated that this is a plan that adds nothing but more troops to the situation. But again if you looked to my case and my arguments i clearly state what we are doing which will in turn help the United States because not only are we trying to eliminate threats but we are also setting up an environment in which our leaders can go to sleep to at night.

He then said that this a conflict that will not resolve the situation in afghanistan btu overall you can see that it will with my evidence and my clear logic.

Next he stated that i have done nothing to prove that things are changing in afghanistan but my refute to this is that the reason why i havent is because in the past 8 years we have clearly not had a goal and we didn't achive anything. Now with this plan and through the evidence i have shown we can clearly see that changes will happen and we will be a better and safer United States.

Lastly he sated that this a mistake President Obama should not undertake but clearly we can see it is. Yes it's not perfect but any plan isn't. We need to see that this is a step in the right direction.

Voters

I would like to say that overall we can see that President Obamas plan is in the united states because it is a step in the right direction and it is going to and trying to solve the most major problems that we have in our current war in Afghanistan. Next we can see that the major argument from my opponent is basically that because nothing has happend in the history with this war that it won't work. But clearly we can see that in the past nothing has happend because we didn't have a set goal in mind. And also through the evidence i showed, i proved with expert testimony the same thing. So now with this plan and the things it will seek to control it is in the United States best interest and because of that i urge you to vote PRO. THANK YOU
Jonathan21

Con

I'd like to apologize for my brief comments in the previous arguments, I was sick and unable to post. That being said, I will summarize my arguments in this final stage.

1) The expansion of the conflict in Afghanistan is a financial burden that the United States should not undertake. The United States is heavily in debt and is running a large budget deficit. Expanding the war in Afghanistan is not the way to bring financial stability back to the United States. One could argue that this expansion of troops in Afghanistan is not a significant enough cost to have any impact on the deficit, but the sending of thousands more troops does not come cheap. This is a cost that needs to be included in any calculus in deciding whether the President's plan for adding more troops to Afghanistan is a good one

2) Slippery Slope. Afghanistan is a messy conflict for the United States and it's allies. President Obama has clearly identified Afghanistan as a place where his policies will differ from that of former President Bush. Yet increased troop commitment makes his planned withdrawal harder, not easier. If the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan is the President's overall goal and he has made this overture several times - there needs to be a winding down of the Afghanistan mission not an increase in the mission. This is a slippery slope that could easily be fallen down.

3) No new changes. The Afghanistan plan that is proposed by President Obama does not include any radical changes to the plan that has been in place for almost ten years. This plan has been a failure. Afghanistan is not a functioning democracy and the Taliban forces still harass American troops across the country. The populace is becoming tired of having what they see as invaders in their lands for a significant length of time with no apparent improvements. The President's plan, more or less, is a continuation of the previous plans that have proved to be ineffective in a country that is the size of France and is showing no signs of being transitioned into a country that can exist without US troops in the country.

4) Afghanistan is a lost cause. As much as it pains me to say this, I feel that Afghanistan is a lost cause unless something radical is undertaken. American troops have been in the country for nine years and we are no closer to establishing Afghanistan as a functional nation state. Maybe if there was a more aggressive approach to nation building then this whole situation would be moot. Yet there are still weekly attacks on American solders and there was massive violence during the Afghan election. These are not the hallmarks of a stable country and if it cannot be brought about in nine years of having US troops in the country I highly doubt that adding some more troops will magically cure the myriad problems within Afghanistan
Debate Round No. 4
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Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
'would like you to take not of one of his sources of evidence is from wikipedia which is not reliable'

Meh. Many of the most popular subjects are extensively revised and reviewed by editors, so I wouldn't say that. Having said that, it's usually better to use the source material provided by wikipedia instead of the article itself.
Posted by y0ungDuB 6 years ago
y0ungDuB
Good job good debate. Thanks for taking this serious one of my opponents made the debate really distaste full and i'm really new at this so this was the best most professional round so far so thanks.
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