The Instigator
RevNge
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
TheSpoonyRealist
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Resolved: NATO presence improved the lives of Afghan citizens.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
RevNge
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,954 times Debate No: 67458
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (53)
Votes (7)

 

RevNge

Pro

This is a part of the Official Beginner's Tournament (http://www.debate.org...), where Team 16kadams and Team Zaradi face off in this debate.

First round is acceptance only, and no new arguments in the final round (rebuttals and crystallization).

I wish my opponent TheSpoonyRealist best of luck in this beginner's debate!
TheSpoonyRealist

Con

I accept. Best of luck to you mate!
Debate Round No. 1
RevNge

Pro

C1: Economic Growth

If you look up Afghanistan's GDP, it increased *faster* after NATO involvement. It was falling *prior* to NATO involvement in the region.[1]

"The economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 due to the infusion of billions of dollars in international assistance and investments"[2]

Extractive institutions inhibit economic growth as people are not incentivized to produce. Inclusive institutions--imposed by the NATO regime--allow people to have private property and there are greater incentives to work and produce. Therefore, had the Taliban been allowed to control the country, economic growth would have been much less than we have seen. Inclusive institutions have been found, throughout history, to increase economic growth. Whereas extractive institutions decrease growth. (Why Nations Fail, book). Therefore, NATO's involvement in the Afghan economic system have benefited the people of Afghanistan.

C2: Political Stability

NATO has assisted Afghan security forces in building a system which will prevent future terrorist groups from taking over the country. Preventing terrorist forces from reoccupying Afghanistan is one of the main reasons the international community has dedicated itself to assisting Afghanistan.

The governments from all around the world have been giving aid to Afghanistan, which has drastically increased economic growth and stability in the region. The UK alone has pledged to give 178 million pounds per year throughout 2012 - 2017. This aid will assist Afghanistan in "maintain[ing] its own security and prevent the return of international terrorists."
https://www.gov.uk......

As noted above, the economic security of Afghanistan has increased dramatically due to foreign intervention. This contributes greatly to the political system, which has a steady flow of income due to foreign investments. Investors prefer countries where the political systems are predictable and easy to understand. This has occurred in Afghanistan due to NATO's assistance. The stability will lead to economic growth, military stability, and a functioning political system where more people can voice their opinions. All of this, which can be traced to NATO's efforts, has helped the country and it's people.

The UK, for example, is committed towards helping the new Afghan government. A stable government is the only sure way to "secure peace and stability".
https://www.gov.uk......

In fact, Afghanistan has gone from a dysfunctional state before NATO's involvement to a state where the people can rely on their government for security. NATO merely two dozen patrols each day, whereas the Afghanistan security forces do the rest. The Afghan forces control all but 70 of the 852 bases inside the country. In previous years, NATO would complete hundreds of patrols per day and oversaw almost every military base. However, lessons from Iraq tell us that if NATO leaves prematurely instability may again ensue. It has been noted by many analysts that NATO presence helps the country, and that leaving too soon will put the country at risk. It has been recommended that NATO continues to have 'troops on the ground' in order to continue a stable government.
http://www.heritage.org......

In fact, much of the issues of stability are related to NATO leaving the country. Therefore, NATO presence increased stability in he country.
"Afghanistan's security situation is likely to deteriorate if U.S. and other foreign forces withdraw"
http://www.cfr.org......
In order for elections to be "free", NATO forces must stay in the region in order to combat the Taliban, which has been working to subvert the election processes in Afghanistan. Therefore, if anything, NATO involvement should *increase*, not decrease, in order to maximize stability.

Later when if they claim that Afghan security forces are harming the country, this notes how Afghani security forces have dramatically improved under NATO supervision and have "performed adequately".
http://www.longwarjournal.org......

"In southern Afghanistan, security has improved in Kandahar City and in the Arghandab River Valley to the west"
Also security operations in the east of the country "have decreased insurgent ability to refit and resupply for the coming summer fighting season" (above link; long war journal)

C3: Better Infrastructure

Before NATO involvement, most of Afghanistan had any modern infrastructure. In fact, most rural areas had absolutely zero infrastructure. US involvement alone has led to more people having access to clean water, electricity, an improved electrical grid, and 500 medical facilities. Including help from all of the nations put together, there are 600 medical facilities that have been created. The involvement has dramatically increased the well being of the average Afghanistan citizen. NATO is now working with the local government in order to maintain these improvements.

"In 2002, only six percent of Afghans had access to reliable power; today, more than 28% do. . . . USAID has invested more than $2 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of more than 2,000 kilometers (km) of roads, including Afghanistan"s Ring Road, which connects the country"s five major cities . . . The Afghan government and USAID have constructed more than 3,000 wells, primarily in rural communities, to provide reliable clean water for the first time to more than 615,000 Afghans, and nearly 33,000 latrines help to prevent the spread of disease . . . USAID erected two high schools for 12,000 students in Kabul City and four provincial teacher-training centers in Faryab, Nangarhar, Parwan, and Wardak, and six faculties of higher education facilities in Bamyan, Parwan, Herat, Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab."
http://www.usaid.gov......

On to you, Con.
TheSpoonyRealist

Con

C1: Introduction
I would like to start off by stating my BOP. In order for me to be successful in this debate, I need to show that the presence of NATO within Afghanistan has made its citizens comparatively worse off than if NATO had not invaded Iraq in the first place. Now, since there is no clear way to define what makes a life 'better', we must rely on comparing the various effects of NATO presence, both the positive and the negative, as if they were placed on a scale, and thus weighing them against each other. To do this, I will focus on the actions of the NATO member: The United States of America.

Before I begin however, I would like to concede one point. The GPD of Afghanistan has indeed risen over the years, however, that is inconsequential when looked at compared to the harms NATO presence has achieved since 1979.

C2: Political Stability
My opponent noted that "NATO has assisted Afghan security forces in building a system which will prevent future terrorist groups from taking over the country." Before I counter this, let me give a brief definition:

Terrorism: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Now, while the USA has successfully dispatched the Taliban from power, might I note that NATO member USA was a major part of bringing the Taliban to power? Between the years of 1979 and 1989 (Cold War Era), Soviet backed Afghan forces fought against insurgent forces backed by, amongst other nations, NATO members USA and UK. With financial support from NATO, the insurgents were able to drive back the Soviets. These same insurgents would later become the Taliban, whom NATO would begin fighting formally in 2001. Fixing a situation does not matter if NATO was the one who helped them rise to power in the first place. If I were to push a man in front of a train, I should not be praised for then rescuing him from the danger.

This is not the first time the United States has placed a terrorist dictator in power either. General Batista, a US backed dictator who rigged elections and damaged the Cuban economy to such an extreme degree that his reign led to the bloody Cuban Revolution by Fidel Castro. President (of Nicaragua) Somoza Garcia and his son who tortured and killed political opponents who FDR stated was "a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." President (of Argentina) Videla, under whom thousands of Argentines were murdered. The list of terrorist leaders goes on and on.

With this history of failures to bring peace to countries it has invaded, why should the attempt here be any different? Whether the USA directly takes action (such as in the dozens of cases which occurred in the Cold War or attempts to leave without directly asserting influence as to how the new government should be built (as was the case in Afghanistan) the result is the same. A terrorist leader comes to power whether he is backed by the USA or not, and uses violence and fear to keep said power. This is again, due to NATO intervention.

C3: Consequences of War
I will use this section to relay the effects of living in a war zone, such as Afghanistan has been since 1979 in the Soviet/USA Cold War conflict. That is 35 years and counting of constant war since the USA intervened against the Soviets. Studies show that within warzones, moderate to severe PTSD rates amongst children stands at about 77.4% while 20.5 show signs of chronic PTSD. Of course, among the general population as a whole this shrinks to a 'mere' 42% who show signs of PTSD, 67.7% who show symptoms of depression and this is of course due to many symptoms, including but not limited to: losing family members, being hurt or maimed in an IED blast, being assaulted, raped, or tortured by other means. With such high rates of PTSD, even if the war were to end right now, the effects will be felt for decades to come, no matter how nice the new roads may be.

To continue, a study done on a previous war in a Muslim country, "Conservative estimates of the number of women raped during the Bosnian war are between 20,000 and 50,000. Estimates of sexual assault rates range from 3% to 6% in Bosnian refugee women, and posttraumatic stress symptoms were found in up to 75% of Bosnian refugees. In Darfur, rates of rape are difficult to establish; however, some estimate that 10,000 girls and women have been raped each year since 2003."

This is to say nothing of the tens of thousands of civilians killed since 2001 and the hundreds of thousands who were displaced from their homes due to mass destruction of homes.

Adding onto this, the addition of child soldiers in insurgent groups has made killers out of children, and groups like the Taliban (who I will remind you rose to power due to NATO action against the Soviets) have used child soldiers before for not only suicide bombings and human shields but sexual exploitation (male children and females alike). Indeed, most of these child soldiers were not volunteers for service, rather, they were kidnapped and forcibly recruited from primarily poor families in the region. Even those children who willingly joined have stories like this to tell:

"At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry.... Later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and the fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew?... There is a great pain in my being when I recall all these things.... In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights. "

Such a horrifying violation of human rights simply cannot be ignored. If NATO presence was truly benefitting the Afghan people, then these things would not happen under their care. Not only are the people being hurt in the war zones, but one might make the case that NATO presence has prolonged the war, thus severely worsening their lives.

C4: Conclusion
I will again cede the fact that Afghanistan's economy has risen. My question to my opponent is this: was it worth having Afghanistan remain a war zone for so long? Furthermore, is financial security enough to make up for the countless lives ruined by the effects of war? On one side you have psychological illnesses, rape, murder, and torture, while on the other you have more capital. Does this seem like an even tradeoff? My answer is adamantly no, especially seeing as NATO's financial presence was a driving factor in starting the 35 year conflict in the first place, and many would argue that NATO presence is the reason Afghanistan is STILL at war, with no clear end in sight. The fact that my opponent stated conditions will worsen if NATO were to withdraw its troops does not justify the fact that NATO started the conflict in the first place! Are we to understand my opponent is justifying the rape, murder, and enslavement of thousands with a better economy?

Sources:
C2:
http://terrorism.about.com...
http://terrorism.about.com...
http://www.mtholyoke.edu...
http://www.havana-guide.com...
http://friendlydictators.blogspot.com...
http://www.moreorless.net.au...
C3:
http://www.warchildholland.org...
http://quod.lib.umich.edu...
http://www.ptsd.va.gov...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://www.irinnews.org...
https://childsoldiercrisis.wordpress.com...
http://www.un.org...
https://www.dosomething.org...
Debate Round No. 2
RevNge

Pro

Thank you, Con.

R1: Political Stability

CON asserts that US involvement led to the Taliban taking over. It must be noted that the USSR likely would have taken over Afghanistan had the US not supported Afghani citizens--who would eventually become the Taliban. US involvement seems logical, due to the fact that the war was termed "interminable". The war only ended with Gorbachev coming to power, and leading what was seen as a fairly radical change to the USSR. He began to withdraw troops with his "new thinking" policies [1].

Due to the fact the war ended with a change in the balance of power, it was impossible to predict an end to the war. The US, therefore, felt as though it was in its interest to prevent a communist takeover. The arms provided to Afghanistan arguably made it impossible for the USSR to successfully defeat the smaller rebel forces. And the question which must be posed: What would have happened to Afghanistan had the USSR taken control?

As noted, the Taliban relies upon extractive political and economic institutions. These institutions lead to reduced freedom and economic growth [2]. The USSR also relied upon similar institutions, preventing the existence of private property and instead relying on collective ownership. This, in Russia for example, led to an increase in growth which was unsustainable, and led to a slow decline after the boom ended. This caused millions of people to suffer as living standards declined [3]. It is arguable that, had the US not intervened, the USSR would have taken control. It is also arguable that the USSR could have destabilized the region, due to the massive political and economic changes which would occur under the extractive institutions that the USSR would put in place.

It must also be noted that the US did not fund the Taliban. Although the US was sympathetic towards their cause, "[t]he U.S. didn't provide arms or anything to them" [4].

Further, even though the US funding program was linked to some violence, the program did, in fact, help many people. The war-torn region created many refugees. However, Jimmy Carter's policies assisted Afghani refugees who fled to Pakistan in order to avoid the violence [5].

But all of this ignores the immense help NATO has given to Afghanistan. NATO's goal was not to create a Utopia, but allow Afghanistan to control its own security. A goal which, for the most part, has been met. Under NATO supervision, average GDP growth is an astonishing 7% per year. 70% of Afghans now use mobile phones and internet use is becoming widespread. Schooling has gone from only 1 million boys receiving education to 8 million now enrolled in school, of both genders [6].

CON claims that invasions have a past history of failure. The indirect involvement of the US in the Soviet-Afghan war prevented USSR control over the region. It also must be noted that indirect involvement is hugely different than direct involvement. Further, to say that "invasions" always make a country worse is blatantly false. Colonization actually made many parts of the world more wealthy, and 47% of current economic growth can be attributed to the Europeans bringing inclusive political and economical institutions to impoverished parts of the world [7]. This is interesting because colonization was meant to steal from local populations. However, the NATO involvement in Afghanistan is, in large part, meant to *improve* the lives of the locals. If "evil" motives in occupation lead to growth, it follows that well meaning motives with NATO occupation would increase growth even more than that of colonization.

R2: Consequences of the war

We must weigh the costs and benefits of the war in Afghanistan. Although CON provides many arguments in opposition to the war, we must note the plethora of benefits which has to be added into the equation [8]:

1) In 2000, fewer than 5% of Afghans had cell phones. Now over 60%, including 48% of women, have a cell phone.
2) In 2003, there were only 450 health related facilities. Now, there are more than 1800.
3) 65% of the population has access to the internet whereas a decade ago only the privileged few could browse the web
4) When the Taliban controlled the country, only 2 flights a day landed in Kabul. Now the number is 12.
5) The amount of children being educated increased by a factor of 8, and almost half of them are women. There are now 13,000 general education schools across Afghanistan.
6) In 2002, there were only 32 miles of paved road. Now there are 7500 miles of paved roads.
7) It is predicted that extraction of oil and precious metals will account for 45% of Afghanistan's GDP within the decade.

As can be seen, the quality of life has dramatically increased with NATO's influence.

Furthermore, threat of terrorism is decreasing in parts of Afghanistan. Afghan security forces have improved dramatically, and "In northern Afghanistan, security has improved dramatically, with insurgent attacks down 60%", and "In southern Afghanistan, security has improved in Kandahar City and in the Arghandab River Valley to the west" [9]. Indeed, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, Afghanistan's security is threatened not due to NATO involvement, but due to the withdrawal of NATO forces. "Afghanistan's security situation is likely to deteriorate if U.S. and other foreign forces withdraw" [10].

CON cites some anecdotal evidence regarding children being drawn into Taliban ranks. This assertion falls apart when you see how Taliban numbers *fell* under NATO occupation. It only increased recently as NATO influence is decreasing dramatically as the 2014 withdrawal date nears [11]. Between 2001 and 2008, Taliban numbers fell from 45,000 to 11,000. Only in 2014 has the number dramatically increased to 60,000, as NATO forces have all but left the area. Therefore, if anything, NATO involvement *protects* children from being drafted into radical groups.

It must also be noted how most terrorist attacks which CON talks about occur in rural areas, where few children will be negatively affected, as larger concentrations of the population live in more stable regions. According to the state department, NATO attacks on insurgent groups have made it very difficult in order for the terrorists to attack large cities, like Kabul. 80% of the attacks occur in districts with only 20% of the total population, and half of all country-wide attacks occur in just 10 districts, and those 10 districts only hold 3% of the population [12]. Therefore, we see that *most* attacks occurring now are in rural areas, as opposed to large population centers, BECAUSE of NATO involvement.

Furthermore, CON's rape study pertains to another war (therefore not being applicable to Afghanistan and is consequently invalid), and NATO has contrarily significantly increased women's rights [13].

Although violence against women is still *very* common, " the number of cases appears to be going down" [14].

Back to you, Con.

Sources:
[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. Why Nations Fail (2012).
[3]Ibid.
[4]http://www.rferl.org...
[5]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6]http://www.nato.int...
[7]http://tinyurl.com...
[8]http://tinyurl.com...
[9]http://www.longwarjournal.org...
[10]http://www.cfr.org...
[11]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[12]http://www.defense.gov...
[13]http://www.nato.int...
[14]http://www.bbc.com...
TheSpoonyRealist

Con

R1: Political Stability
I'm sorry, I seem to be confused as to what resolution we were debating. I was under the impression that it was 'NATO presence improved the lives of Afghan citizens'. Instead my opponent seems to think the resolution is 'Communism may be worse than Capitalism for Afghan citizens'. I was the impression that we were to debate what actually happened in history, not what could have been. I could of course list the failures of the Capitalist system, but that wouldn't be the resolution, now would it? Point of the matter is that the NATO involvement indeed led to the Taliban control as my opponent conceded. This is what happened, NOT what could have been. Furthermore my opponent then states that America did not directly fund the Taliban. I would agree here. American instead funded insurgent groups that would LATER become the Taliban, as noted in my previous sources. MY opponent THEN concedes the fact that "the war-torn region created many refugees" and the United States enacted policies that improve the lives of those displaced. That is fine and dandy, but this is not a case of Afghan lives improving, rather, a case of trying to get Afghan lives back to the way they were BEFORE the war happened.

In paragraph six, it appears as if my opponent is again balancing out the evils of war with economic growth. I will get to this later, but let me move on for now. Using my opponent's own logic, I will assert that his claim that 47% of current economic growth pertains to a completely different tempered (which can be seen as anywhere from 1492 to the 1700s) and different places "therefore not being applicable to Afghanistan and is consequently invalid" My opponent also does not mention any involvement of how American invasions have benefited societies today so please extend through my argument concerning the downfalls of American invasion.

R2: Consequences of War
My opponent brushed off my statistics concerning rape in wartime; I thank my opponent as it allowed me to find a new, more damning piece of evidence from a 2010 study: "It said the British-based group Womankind had determined that 87 percent of Afghan women complained of being victims of violence, half of it sexual. It said more than half of marriages involve girls under 16."[1] This is of course a conservative estimate, as many reports of sexual violence in Afghanistan go unreported. This is something that NATO presence has not stopped, and in fact numbers are this high due to the prolonged war NATO has forced Afghanistan into, as sexual violence is FAR more common in war torn countries. As the Afghan population is 31 million, and a safe estimate would be that 50% of those are women, we can estimate that a total of 7.75 million women in Afghanistan were victims of sexual violence. Now, using the same population, let us see how many would have undergone this traumatic experience if we use the estimate that 1/5 women in America (which does not currently have a war being fought on its soil) undergo sexual violence in their lifetime: 3.1 million. That is a difference of 3.65 million women. Now let me repeat that rape is more common in wartime, and that this number does not include the number of men who were raped.

This is still a conservative estimate when we remember that many rapes are not reported in Afghanistan. This is due to a strange and horrifying belief that if a women loses her virginity before marriage (even if she was raped) she is impure, ineligible for marriage, and a dark stain on the family she belongs to.[2] This belief leads to hundreds of 'honor killings' of rape victims in Afghanistan.[3] In instances where there is no honor killing involved, a rape victim may be jailed for adultery or even forced to marry the rape victim. This is not even beginning to mention the multitude of women and children murdered and raped by American soldiers; there are hundred of pictures online depicting the crimes.[2] But in my opponent's eyes, there may be rape in Afghanistan, but at least they have cell phones and Internet.

But let us move onto my opponent's assertion that terrorism has decreased in Afghanistan. I will simply state that this is false and show you this graph depicting the number of terrorist incidents. Mind you, if you were to look at the source, you'll see that terrorist activity has increased around the globe.[4]

Now does that look like a decrease to you? It doesn't matter if they occurred in rural or urban areas, the fact of the matter is that NATO has not stopped it, and thus has not made the lived better.

My opponent then curiously tries to justify the fact that child soldiers are still being recruited by the Taliban by asserting 'at least numbers of Taliban members fell'. True, at least they fell... for some time. But even in those years numbers fell, children were STILL being conscripted forcibly, being taken advantage of sexually, and still being forced to kill. And although NATO presence decreased recently, we must take a look at the number of troops still deployed. About 10000 American forces alone are still to be situated in Afghanistan with 1000 more as a part of a counter terrorism group. This is not including the several thousand non-American NATO members to be left there. The number of troops after NATO leaves (they have not left yet, so presence continues) is to be similar to that in the first few years of the war, before the Obama administration sent a surge of troops over to Afghanistan. So let me repeat, presence will continue, and unlike my opponent's assertion, it will not be minimal, rather, simply lessened than the rush Obama has sent to Afghanistan. As for the new rise of the Taliban, it just shows that NATO was unsuccessful in trying to stop them and that their presence in the country indeed will not improve the lives of citizens.

Let me remind you of the resolution. NATO presence improved the lives of Afghan citizens. Well, it seems to me that NATO presence is still going on, and will still continue, even if it has diminished. Is my opponent going to assume that diminished presence means NO presence? Is he to assume that the resolution calls for increased NATO presence? No, it simply states NATO presence. Now, as for my opponent's last two statements, he asserts the number of cases of violence of women are going down and that women's right are increasing. That is in many ways, false. First I would like to mention that in an Afghanistan, a 2009 law was passed condoning spousal rape amongst the Shia population.[5] The law requires wives to submit to their husbands sexual demands whether they themselves consent or not. Many women were in fact arrested for the 'moral crime' of resisting this law. So as for women's rights it seems like Afghanistan has taken one step forward and two steps back. Crime against women in fact increased 28% according to the UN, including "Cutting the nose, lips and ears. [and] Committing public rape,"[6]

Which leads me back to paragraph six. Under NATO, GDP has indeed increased. Now let us put this into perspective. There is more Internet, cell phones, and roads. But this was all built upon a mountain of bodies and years of endless war, death, rape, and increasing terrorist activity. Two questions remain. "Was it worth it?" and "Do the scales balance out?" What good does wealth do you if you are suffering from PTSD after being raped, or forced to kill or after your family was murdered? Are you truly better off?

Sources:
[1] http://ca.reuters.com...
[2] (ABSOULTELY NSFW+Trigger Warning) http://www.rawa.org...
[3] http://www.khaama.com...
[4] http://www.washingtonsblog.com...
[5] http://www.girlsgonewise.com...
[6] http://america.aljazeera.com...
Debate Round No. 3
RevNge

Pro

Thanks to TSP for a fun debate! I'll assume that no new arguments are allowed in the final round.

R1: Political Stability

Con pulls off a semantic argument in this rebuttal. He makes an odd argument of changing the resolution, when in fact he is the one who brought attention to the Afghan-USSR war. So, if anything, he is really the one trying to talk about Communism--as that war is totally unrelated to NATO *presence* in Afghanistan. It was a mild US presence, not NATO--meaning, if anything, he is the one arguing a red herring. We noted how US involvement prevented a Communist terror regime, meaning that US involvement *on balance* benefited the locals. Although we did, in fact, note that refugees were created, it is arguable that a centralized communist regime would likely displace *more* people than US involvement did. And US involvement did, in fact, save the lives of many refugees--which would have been created regardless, as the USSR started the war, not the US.

Here they seem to just throw out our colonialism argument. We would admit that this is a bit off topic, but that really does not refute the point that NATO has significantly helped the locals.

R2: Harms of war

My opponent seems to selectively cherry pick their Afghanistan study. Using the same source, the conclusions of the study also noted "[t]here does, however, appear to be signs of increasing willingness on the part of victims to report rape, and on the part of the authorities to investigate and prosecute some cases" [1]. We never denied that Afghanistan was a terrible country in regards to woman's rights. Rather, we argued that the situation has *improved* in relation to NATO's presence. Using their own source, we see that the situation has improved, meaning our opponent's evidence supports, rather than negates, our premise.

Con claims that the number of rapes increase during wartime. Although this may be the case in other areas, their data [1] obviously refutes that notion in the case of Afghanistan. Indeed, the reason rapes increase could be, in part, an increase in rapes from soldiers. However, in this case, any theoretical increase of war-time related rape seems to have been offset by decreases in rape from other factors (e.g. rapes from insurgent groups). Overall, the lives of women have drastically improved, meaning the resolution is affirmed.

Con cites that there exists a strong pro-rape culture in Afghanistan. Again, we do not deny this. However, again citing one of their sources [1], there is increased willingness of victims to report the issue, and authorities have begun to actually prosecute the offenders. Con argues that American soldiers have raped the locals. Again, we do not dispute this. But it begs the question as to whether or not the American soldiers are preventing morer rapes then are being committed by them. Indeed, it is horrible that this is occuring. But it seems as though this argument that Con is making is more based upon emotion rather than facts. The removal of the Taliban has measurably increased Women's rights in Afghanistan. The Taliban, for example, institutionalized anti-woman policies. However, under the NATO backed Karzai administration, the lives of women in Afghanistan have been improving [2]. Women are becoming more educated, Women are no longer required to wear Burkas, and Women are now allowed to participate in sports [3]. The fact is, the situation for women is bad. But it has been improving.

Con responds to my arguments with global statistics. Indeed, we noted how terrorism which has the ability to reduce deaths has fallen: as nearly all terrorism occurs in rural areas with almost no population. We noted how NATO has protected major population centers, and how NATO has reduced terrorism and terrorist efficiency in many parts of Afghanistan. Citing global statistics is irrelevant, as again, it does not demonstrate how the Afghanistan population--a local population--has either improved or has been harmed. It merely shows that *global* populations have been harmed, not how Afghanistan citizens have been harmed.

"It doesn't matter if they occurred in rural or urban areas, the fact of the matter is that NATO has not stopped it, and thus has not made the lived better"

This statement is absurd. If NATO has prevented terrorism in major population centers, it means that the *vast majority* of Afghanistan's citizens are safer, whereas a small minority of citizens are either worse off or there is no change. Regardless, the fact that NATO has prevented terrorism from affecting *most* of the population means that, on balance, the lives of Afghanistan's citizens has . . . improved. Further, it is illogical to assume that NATO will stop all terrorism. The question is to whether or not, on balance, NATO has made the terror situation better. To assume NATO is the reason terrorism exists is also faulty. Most of the attacks in the world occured in the region--including Pakistan, Syria, and distant Nigeria [4]. Therefore, it seems as though the existance of terrorism can be linked to a general war on terror, but this cannot be related to NATO *presence* in Afghanistan. Therefore, this argument fails to refute our contention.

The opposing side makes weak arguments regarding Taliban numbers. The fact that NATO presence decreases Taliban numbers, which in turn reduces child conscription, means that NATO has . . . improved the lives of peopel in Afghanistan. To argue that something still exists is a poor argument. As they have failed to prove that child conscription has either not changed or worsened in Afghanistan, they fail to refute our point: that the quality of life has improved due to NATO involvement. Arguing that, say, gun crime still exists and that, therefore, shall-issue carry laws are ineffective is illogical, as shall-issue laws have *reduced* the amount of crime. NATO has *reduced* the amount of child conscription, therefore NATO has *improved* the lives of the locals.

Con cites the Shia Family Law as proof that the situation for Women is worsening. However, the feminist blog they cite fails to mention how many additions to the law actually benefit women. The age of Women in Shia marriages was increased from 9 to 16, a more reasonable age of consent. Further, a woman could keep custody of a child after a divorce if the child is 9 years old. Before the law, the age was 7 [5]. Con then cites a news source about a UN study. The study only looked over the years of "October 2012 to September 2013" [6], obviously too short of a time period for trend analysis. NATO has been in the country since 2001, a one year increase does not undermine our contention. Further, the UN study also notes that there was more reporting and enforcement against offenders who harm women. The study did NOT find a 28% increase in crime, rather a 28% increase in reported incidents [7]. Therefore, the increase is likely due to improved reporting, NOT an actual increase in violence.

Conclusion:
Con concedes that the *economic* outcomes of Afghanistan's citizens have improved. There is better medical care, roads, education, internet access, electrical access, and reduced poverty. All of this points to a dramatic increase in the quality of life. Con feebly counters with the claim that there is increased death and continuously appeals to emotions and pathos rather than concrete evidence and logic. However, we have noted how for the *vast majority* of citizens, their lives in terms of safety has actually improved or remained unchanged. Further, our opponents seem to have not fact-checked their sources. When we go to the actual reports, we see violence against women decreasing and a massive increase in the overall stability in Afghanistan.

Vote Con.

Sources:
[1]http://tinyurl.com...
[2]http://tinyurl.com...
[3]Ibid.
[4]http://tinyurl.com...
[5]http://tinyurl.com...
TheSpoonyRealist

Con

I would also like to thank my opponent for this debate.

R1: Political Stability

Here my opponent attempts to shift the blame to me for changing the resolution. He notes that NATO did not have a presence in this war, rather it was the USA, having a 'mild presence'. First, we must add Britain to this list as they also sent billions of dollars worth of weaponry and supplies, and then take a look at this civil war from the context of the Cold War. NATO members sending financial assistance in order to fight a proxy war (which this civil war was) describes the entirety of the Cold War. The fact that it was only two member countries is not counting the fact that these were the two most prominent and powerful members of NATO. The red herring here is not the fact that I brought up NATO presence in Afghanistan (because there quite clearly was a presence since 1979) but the fact that my opponent is fighting this particular argument with mere speculation. The reason it is "arguable" that a Soviet regime might have been worse than NATO's presence is because it never happened. To state that US involvement benefited the people from something that could have happened is to make an argument on nothing more than guesswork. What we know did happen, was that NATO presence led to the rise of the Taliban and subsequently terrorism, and non stop war for the next four decades. We must see things from the lens of fact not speculation.

Due to this, we must see the threat of the Taliban and the terrible conditions, particularly for women, from thereon out as a result of NATO presence within this first war.

R2: Harms of War

Yes, there is an "increasing willingness on the part of victims to report rape, and on the part of the authorities to investigate and prosecute some cases" but just because there is an increased willingness to report these crimes does in no way show that the crime is being lessened. In fact, my opponent does nothing to show that the number of rapes are decreasing despite the wartime nor does my data refute this. He does however, mention insurgent groups, to which I believe he may be referring to the Taliban. I will remind you that it was NATO presence in Afghanistan that put them into power, and so any improvement from conditions under the Taliban is nothing more than NATO cleaning up some of its own mess. They have not done such a good job of this however, as there seem to be more Taliban members now than before the war started in 2001. According to my opponent's own numbers, membership rose from 45000 to 60000, despite continued NATO presence in the region. Continuing using my opponent's logic, if a decrease in Taliban numbers means a net decrease in rape performed by the Taliban and the conscription rate of child soldiers, a rise in Taliban membership means an increase of these things, refuting his point that things are getting better on both accounts.

Continuing on this topic, despite the improvements that have been made since the Taliban were in power, the lives of women are still at a net loss from when NATO presence in Afghanistan first started in 1979. The removal of said policies are only an extension of NATO clearing some of the harmful things it helped established during the Cold War. That being said, I will admit that certain aspects of women's life has gotten better since 2001 as far as legislation goes, but tell me, is it worth the trade off. One one hand, you have a series of smaller liberties allowed to women, and on the other, there was the legalization of marital rape, amongst other net negatives "such as giving their husbands priority in court; requiring the husband's permission to leave the house, obtain education or employment, or to see a doctor; and reserving the custody of children to male relatives."[1] Of course, my opponent made no mention of the hundreds of women jailed for violating this law. As I said earlier. This was one step forward and two steps back. Any justification of this law would be a justification of rape itself. I will note my mistake with the UN study when I confused reported crimes for actual confirmed crimes, but I will note this line from that very study that my opponent may have missed. "Of concern, the overall number of criminal indictments filed by prosecutors in violence against women cases under all applicable laws decreased this year despite the rise in reported and registered incidents."[2]


As for my opponent's continued argument that 'at least terrorist attacks are only happening in rural regions nowadays', I have only this to ask: does it matter when lives are threatened, and the number of terrorist attack have increased every year to a high point in 2010, when the number of attack reached several thousand times what they originally were at the start of the war? Furthermore, it seems like my opponent has not read my source very carefully. The graph that I provided shows the number of terrorist attack in AFGHANISTAN ALONE, and the judges may confirm the veracity of my statement by going to the source directly.[3] Though my statement that terrorism worldwide has also increased worldwide is true and related, however, irrelevant here, so I apologize. My opponent, however, again fails to recognize the resolution when he states "the existence of terrorism can be linked to a general war on terror, but this cannot be related to NATO *presence* in Afghanistan." Well according to the resolution I need not prove that NATO caused these terrorist attacks (though that would certainly strengthen my argument if I could) but to show that life did not improve under NATO presence. Seeing as the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan per year went from about 20 to about 550 (a 2650% increase) that is clearly not the case.

Conclusion:
And thus, it is time to weigh the scales. For the pro side of this resolution we have an increased GPD and a better infrastructure than there was in 2001 to show for it. Women even gained a few minor liberties. On the Con side we have:
  • 35 years of non stop war
  • The establishment of a Taliban regime
  • 21000 civilians dead[4]
  • 174000 wounded[4]
  • 2650% increase of terrorist attacks
  • 7.75 million raped (not including men)
  • 447547 displaced
  • At least 8000 children used as soldiers and sexual exploitation[5]
  • The removal of women's rights
  • The legalization of rape

Add to this the following statistics about trauma during war:

  • PTSD rate among children: 77.4%
  • Chronic PTSD rate among children: 20.5
  • PTSD rate amongst the entire population: 42%
  • Depression rate amongst the entire population: 67.7%

With all of this information together, we can see that unlike my opponent claims, my argument is far more than an appeal to emotion. These are numbers you can quantify, that you can measure. My opponent claims that I have presented false information and I have shown time and time again that his claim was simply false. His own claims that violence against women is decreasing is unsubstantiated and made despite all evidence to the contrary and his claims that stability has increased in Afghanistan is easily countered by the increase in terrorist attacks since 2001 and the rise in membership of the Taliban since that time.

NATO's involvement in Afghanistan during the Cold War has damned it to 35 years of civil wars, foreign wars, and Taliban tyranny. No amount of money that has been gathered can be enough to reclaim what has been lost. NATO clearly did not make Afghan lives better. In fact, it is sadly the exact opposite of this.

I would like to thank my opponent once again for this debate.

Sources:
[1] http://en.wikinews.org...
[2] http://unama.unmissions.org...
[3] http://www.washingtonsblog.com...
[4] http://costsofwar.org...
[5] http://www.irinnews.org...

Debate Round No. 4
53 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
lol
Posted by RevNge 2 years ago
RevNge
roflmao
Posted by Miv_Tu 2 years ago
Miv_Tu
@16kadams Look at this little kid with his intelligent comments. "GGGGGGG no re"? Is this even English? You are unfit to live among humans, filth.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
GGGGGGG no re
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Part 4)

Round four beings much as round three did; PRO makes some moderately compelling arguments and CON does some weird stuff. PRO says that CON was changing the resolution... he wasn't really... so much as he was just not comprehending what the resolution actually says. War harms don't really go to CON because he can't prove his point, and CON never showed that Afghani citizens were actually worse off either because of NATO involvement in the Cold War or in the War on Terror. He seemed to sort of assume that was the case, but assuming the conclusion you're trying to prove isn't an effective argumentative method. PRO showed actual, tangible improvements in the lives of Afghanis as a result of War on Terror NATO Afghani involvement in a number of areas -like infrastructure, which CON totally ignored, and material improvements, like cell phones, electricity and internet, which were similarly ignored, (insofar as NATO involvement was the but-for cause of those improvements), whereas CON made some spurious claims about PTSD, rape, and crime more generally. Even though PRO's argument was not as strong as it could have been, as between PRO and CON, the former was the clear victor here. In that PRO's sources were actually more on point than CON's were, he takes both arguments and sources.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Part 3)

PRO directly counters the point about the NATO involvement leading to Taliban rule by saying that the USSR would have taken over Afghanistan had the US government not supported Afghani citizens. Maybe that's true, maybe not. It was a weakly supported point, but stronger than CON's arguments. PRO proceeds to lay out some very direct impacts to Afghani citizens: (1) they have more cell phones now, (2) lots more hospitals, (3) really substantially increased internet access, (4) more air travel, (5) more education, (6) lots of paved roads, (7) increased economic activity in the way of mineral extraction. These are all tangible improvements, that probably would not have happened without NATO... so says PRO. Terror and general crime rates are also down, and that's a substantial point too.

CON sort of doesn't really address PRO's points, and tries to portray what PRO said as in affirmation of some other resolution. Not the case, and generally not a good tactic. I think it's really clear here that CON had some trouble understanding the resolution, because in addition to confusing his BOP (like, again... this is not about Iraq). CON is also still wanting to portray all the improvements that happened after War on Terror involvement as a wash when compared to some cold war horrors, and basically repeats himself in a novel way -what I mean by that is that he says the same thing in a different way in a subsequent round. That doesn't really advance his argument. As to the consequences of war, CON is trying to say that violence against women has increased because of NATO involvement... but he doesn't have the evidence to back that up at all... largely for the same reason that he didn't have the evidence to support that PTSD rates' increasing was caused by NATO involvement. There was some subsequent weirdness, but really by the end of Round 3 it is clear that CON isn't going to be able to pull this off.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Part 2)

CON misunderstands his BOP. In order for him to prevail, all he needs to show is that NATO presence did not improve the lives of Afghan citizens. So, they could be worse off or just the same under NATO control. I don't know why on earth he's talking about Iraq. Totally beyond the scope of this debate. Interesting, however, in that CON is considering the impacts of NATO involvement in Afghanistan since the cold war.

As to PRO's first point, CON dismisses GDP growth as inconsequential to the average citizen, which is probably correct but he needed to explain why. He also should not have begun his case with rebuttals. As to CON's second point, CON talks about how the US was instrumental in the Taliban's rise to power. That's debatable, but interesting in he argues that cleaning up a cold war mess (the Taliban) that NATO caused really makes the War on Terror improvements a wash. (In reality, the Taliban was probably less worse than under Soviet rule, though, so... that argument in reality doesn't carry a lot of weight... but it's certainly interesting.) CON then goes off to talk about how the US has intervened in other places to some bad ends. This was totally beyond the scope of the debate. About 1/5 of CON's rebuttal to PRO's second contention had any impact on the resolution or PRO's case. As to CON's rebutting PRO's third point, he talks about high PTSD rates. Maybe that would be important, but he doesn't give me anything to believe that PTSD rates wouldn't have been as high or higher under the previous regime so that's pretty much a wash. That there are high PTSD rates now doesn't mean that there were less high rates in the past or that NATO involvement caused those higher rates. So, basically we're living in the world of post hoc logic stacked on illogical assumptions. Finally, a fourth contention is not a conclusion.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Part 1)

PRO offers the following: (1) Afghanistan's GDP grew duding NATO involvement, which showed economic improvement that presented new opportunities for the Afghani people such that their lives improved. Weak connection between GDP growth and actual improvement of Afghani's lives here. (2) NATO stabilized Afghanistan politically, which lead to economic growth and internal stability, facilitated foreign investments (more like the CIA buying off poppy farmers... but w/e), etc. This isn't really a compelling point, but American money definitely did improve the lives of at least some Afghanis for at least some of the time in Afghanistan relative to the time that Afghanistan was under Taliban rule -and some cities (like Kandahar) definitely also were less controlled by terrorists. Not the strongest point, but stronger than the first argument. (3) NATO involvement facilitated infrastructure improvement such that Afghanistan got clean water, roads, an electrical grid and better hospitals. This is probably the single strongest point PRO has, since it directly affirms the resolution, and it very easily could have been his sole contention because it is the only point that actually impacts all (or at least the majority of) Afghan citizens, and is by far his strongest argument.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
RFD --

Pro starts by presenting a compelling case which involved 3 different aspects of Afghan life and the benefits NATO has provided for the citizens. This involved Economic Growth, Political Stability, and Better Infrastructure. Right away, Con concedes to Contention 1, in which he claims the benefits don"t outweigh the harms, but provides no direct evidence pertaining to economic growth specifically. I"ll consider this dropped/conceded by Con. His second argument regarding political stability was interesting. He argues that since we were the cause of the rise of the Taliban in the first place, that what we"ve accomplished since then shouldn"t matter since we were the ones responsible for creating them to start with. Ultimately, he argues that NATO doesn"t matter because terrorist leaders will always rise to power. Con then argues for the consequences of war. Unfortunately, this doesn"t touch on Pro"s last contention regarding better infrastructure, so I"ll consider this Con"s second dropped argument. Instead, he argued that war leads to human rights violations and that NATO didn"t do enough to stop that.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Pro begins his next round immediately attacking Con"s point regarding the Taliban, and shows through evidence that the U.S. never directed funded them or provided weaponry. He further shows that the benefits of their involvement outweighed the potential harm of allowing soviet forces to take control of that territory. Pro then rebuts the only other argument raised by Con regarding the cost of war. Pro was able to show the benefits that have risen from NATO"s involvement; the proof of the benefits was very strong here and covered all of Con"s counter-arguments. Con"s rebuttal to the political stability point seemed off in R3, he didn"t directly rebut the arguments raised by Pro but instead ranted about what he perceived Pro to be arguing for. He stated that he"ll "get into it later" so I"m considering this another dropped argument on Con"s part since there was no direct rebuttal to Pro"s position. For Con"s rebuttal in cost of war, he continues arguing how rape culture outweighs any of the improvements NATO has achieved. Con then goes on to show how violence against women and a lack of women"s rights are still prevalent, while also showing that terrorism has risen globally, regardless of the drop in Afghanistan.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 2 years ago
donald.keller
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: I don't think Con's quote violates conduct. It's just a quote. S&G: Doesn't Matter. Sources: Both sides had plenty a sources. Arguments: Con mostly conceded Pro's first argument, and never successfully loses the amount of harm to counter just how great the overall increase in things healthcare, reduced poverty, and better roads. Increased internet... These things are empirical to proving Afghanistan is better off. The problem with most of Con's arguments is that they are short term... Deaths from war stop mattering once the war's been over for nearly 2 decades, but the benefits shown are long-term.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think that Pro proved that NATO was benefiting the Afghan citizens overall. While con had good arguments, they were all shut down--from terrorism being global, a strawman, to the turn-around of rape (after all, pro's sources show more reporting of them), and most of all, the political improvement of Afghanistan (NATO's effort to keep Afghan safe and sound, as well as preventing the communism government). I think con put too much of his effort into war and especially the part about rape. Pro was more over-the board, with his crucial infrastructure argument irrefuted. (Con was only lucky RevNge isn't a guy who stresses on un-refuted arguments). Still, even if we don't count the improvement of infrastructure, I still can't trust con enough to say that the NATO was useless in preventing "the only slightly possible communism society". Also, the last-round statistics were kind of late IMO. Thus, Pro wins.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 2 years ago
BLAHthedebator
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: As one of the "certified" judges for the beginners debate tournament, I will be judging this debate. Conduct - Pro. In one of the quotes Con proposes, the B word is said a couple of times. Despite the fact that it is only a quote, it would be better conduct had Con censored the profanities at all. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar, both with several errors. Arguments - Pro. In this debate, the BoP was shared. Con had already conceded Pro's first contention. More unfortunately, Con inadequately attempts to refute Pro's point about political stability, of which Pro easily counters. Con then inadequately tried to save his rebuttal, but unfortunately failed. The last argument was a tie. Since the BoP was shared, and Con failed to fulfill his burden, I give the arguments to Pro. Sources - Pro. I would have set this a tie IF it wasn't for the fact that some of Con's sources were blogs that could be edited.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
RevNgeTheSpoonyRealistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: gg