The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool. (STRICTLY VALUE LD)

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/14/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,990 times Debate No: 22847
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Round layout:
1. acceptance by both sides.
2. affirmative and negative constructive
3. first rebuttal
4. second rebuttal.


I accept your challenge on the resolution: Targeted killing is a morally permissable foreign policy tool.
Me being the negative side of the resolution and this is a value debate, the negative will display its arguments on the next round right after the affirmative.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd first like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I hope for a good debate.

For reasons of resolution analysis, I offer the following definitions. I define morality as the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Permissibility is the ability for an action to be permitted or allowed. Targeted killing is the elimination by force of an individual by the government who is allegedly taking part in conflict at arms or terrorism against the domestic government. A foreign policy tool is a way a government protects itself from international harm or conflict.
I value morality as it is the ultimate good prescribed by the resolution.
As the standard for the round, I offer the protection of innocent lives as the affirmative way to achieve the value premise of the resolution. By protecting the lives of the innocent, we prevent harm from being placed on a people.
There are several reasons to judge an affirmative ballot.
A. Targeted killing reduces the chance of terrorist attacks upon a people.
B. Those who are in or were in affiliation with a terrorist or armed conflict group which is subject to targeted killing break the social contract.
C. Targeted killing is considered part of armed conflict with the opposing individual or group.
Contention 1.
Targeted killing reduces the chance of armed conflict or terrorist attacks upon a people. This is the affirmative's primary argument which includes the conception of Utilitarianism. This is primary because targeted killing will lead to the protection of people who follow the principles of the social contract which we can extend across the flow into sub-point A of contention 2. As the affirmative side is supported by Utilitarianism, we must analyze the argument on the flow as an action which will directly or indirectly lead to protection of citizens depending on specific cases. Utilitarianism is the ultimate way to evaluate the morality of this case; e.g. if I were in Nazi Germany during the holocaust and I were hiding Jews in my attic, it would be the most moral for me to lie to a Nazi officer in order to save the lives of those individuals. You can extend this conception and example across the flow throughout the entire case. In order to reduce and/or eliminate the chance of terrorist attack upon a people, the source of conflict must be eliminated first.
As the source and the chance of conflict are mutually the same, if one is eliminated, the other falls as well. But as they are mutually the same when the source is eliminated before the chance of conflict is eliminated, the opposite is true for the opposite situation. I.E. eliminating the chance of conflict without the elimination of the source is impossible because such a situation does not and will not exist in the war against terror and international defense policies. This argument became valid upon the first targeted killing success against a terrorist leader on a large scale e.g. the death of Osama bin Laden. To extend this argument, we must see the evidence which exists because of bin Laden's death. The evidence being the dispersed organization that Al Qaeda currently is after his death. Observers of the Al Qaeda organization explain thoroughly that four main "sects" have arisen slowly and time will show that the organization will split into four and civil conflicts will arise just like a state. We can extend the similarity of state warfare and targeted killing across the flow. This argument validates the resolution because we can see that the protection of individuals results from affirmation as explained in the logical card about the mutual existence of source of conflict and chance of conflict. By using Utilitarianism as a support, we can clearly see the existing morality in the affirmation and in this sole argument along with the several contentions I explain the extensions across the flow for including Utilitarianism. Thus, an affirmative ballot achieves the value premise for the stated extensions.
Contention 2.
Contention 2 is that which deals with the social contract. This being the "contract" which individuals accept upon entering society. This contract gives up individual liberties for the protection of inherent natural rights such as life. But at the point where an individual under the social contract endangers inherent natural rights of another, either directly or indirectly, they give up the protection of their natural rights which the social contract provided. Thus, by joining or becoming affiliated with a terrorist organization, an individual gives up moral protection of his/her life.
Jeff McMahan writes:
"By his own wrongful action, bin Laden had forfeited
his right not to be killed if killing him was the best means of preventing innocent
people from becoming victims of his terrorist activities. A liability justification is
not, however, always decisive."
McMahan explains supports the affirmative side of the resolution in his explanation that terrorist leaders give up their right of protection of life. By committing acts which led directly and indirectly to violence and death of innocent individuals, bin Laden exited the social contract which gave him these rights of protection. This supports my argument because all terrorist leaders and agents have the same intent whether they meant to or not. This intent is that of harming innocents. By harming innocents, you exit the social contract and give up protection of your natural rights.
This results in the targeted killing of the individual to be working within moral boundaries and being morally permissible.
Contention 3.
Targeted killing is considered part of armed conflict with the opposing individual or group. This argument serves as a support for the affirmative side and also as a block for the affirmative against the negative side. First, the block against the negative. The negative side may argue that refusal of the resolution is necessary because targeted killing does not include due process of the law. But in order to analyze the arguments, let me present the argument, and you can extend this factor across the flow to the end of the contention. Due process is not required in targeted killing because targeted killing is considered armed conflict against the targeted individual and his/her organization. E.G. during a war or exchange of conflict, states do not put enemy combatants through any process of law or legal policies; the individual is harmed and/or eliminated without ethical conduct. The same factor is present during targeted killing. Armed conflict is defined as violent conflict between nations, groups, or individuals which may be organized as aggression. You can extend this definition across your flow throughout the entire case. As targeted killing is aggressive and includes violent acts towards an individual or group of individuals (I.E. Al Qaeda), we must presume that it is armed conflict (e.g. undeclared battle or acts of war). This argument supports the affirmative value criterion of protecting of innocent lives in that we justify targeted killing as a morally permissible act which then justifies the first contention of the affirmative side. We can then extend this justification across the flow to the link and impact of the first contention. This argument also achieves the value premise of the round which is morality because we highlight the justification of targeted killing against that of killing an individual outside of the social contract; thus, this contention along with the first contention achieve ultimate morality hand-in-hand.

For reasons previously stated, I urge an affirmative ballot.
Thank you.


The negative's first action in this debate is to abide by the affirmatives definitions. the neg sees no conflict or definition clash.
The negative values life. life is the superior value in the factor that it supporst life to the upmost and life is a universal value.
the standard the negative uses in this round is humanitarianism. Humanitarianism is the perfect criterion because it supports human life.
Analyzation of resolutionn:
A-this case is not specified to a specific country.
B- The most lives saved on a side is the winner of the round.
Contention 1:
Daniel L. Byman (, Professor at Georgetown University and Research Director of the Saban Center at Brookings Institution, "Do Targeted Killings Work?" foreign affairs, Volume 85 No. 2, 2006) tells us, " Terrorist groups retaliate when their leaders are killed" HE tells us, "Following the strikes on Hezbollah during the 1980s, the group replaced its fallen leaders and accelerated its suicide attacks on Israel. Some experts believe that the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina were a response to Musawi's death and Israel's kidnapping of another Hezbollah leader, Mustafa Dirani. As Clive Jones, an expert on Hezbollah, put it, when Israel ramped up its campaign against the group it crossed "a Rubicon of restraint that had been tacitly acknowledged by both sides." Muhammad Dahlan, a senior Palestinian security official, has also argued that "whoever sign[s] off on killing a leader among Hamas or any other leader on the Palestinian side should turn the page and should sign off on killing 16 Israelis." As Israel learned after the Musawi and Ayyash killings, many terrorist groups do not operate at their full potential and can up the stakes in horrific ways when subjected to a targeted-killing campaign."
This data shows how targeted violence will just increase the terrorism that my opponent is trying to decrease.
Contention 2:
Targeted killing will put innocent lives at risk. Daniel L. Byman states, "Critics also level an even more damning moral charge: that the attacks inevitably lead to the death of innocents. Bouchiki was one such victim, and as the Shehada attack showed, even the most carefully planned strike—and one that actually accomplishes its goal—can produce a great deal of collateral damage. The costs of such mistakes go beyond the loss of lives and can call into question the legitimacy of the entire counterterrorism campaign. If terrorism is condemned because it kills the innocent, how can one justify counterterrorism tactics that kill them too?" The very lives that targeted killing was meant to protect is hurting those very lives. we can't support targeting killing because it goes completely humanitarianism which will wind up taking away the superior value of life.
My opponents value is morality but seeing how the resolution is in the world wide view you can not vote my opponents value because morality changes through different societies while my value is a universal value that you must look to before morality.
next his criterion is protection of life. With this standard he contradicts his case which i explain in contention two talking about how innocent lives are put at risk with targeted killing, draw my contention 2 as an attack against my opponents criterion.
Lets move on to my opponents second contention. The social contract is not applied to all nations and states. the the very facto the social contract does not involve a worldwidde view, shows makes this very contention weak.
My opponents third contention is proving that the process of targeted killing would not go against any right or law but this very point does not support his criterion nor his value. The affirmative has not proven nor given a valid warrant on how his data or claim for that matter links to the criterion. and seeing how it is an LD framework his third contention is invalid.
1st- the negative has the superior value because its universal and suports the primary goal of this resolution.
2nd- The criterion on the affirmative side contradicts the affrimative case. the very goal the affirmative was trying to achieve is being put at risk.
3rd- My opponents first contention is false. I show how his first contention actually causes more terrorism.
4th- My opponents second contention is not a universal concept so we can not get the impact of the contention.
5th- My opponents third contention does not link to his criterion so it is not valid in the LD framework.
6th- I am winning the framework.
7th- I have the stronger based case.
8th- I am winning the value- criterion clash
9th- My case is in a universal view so the audience can get a wider perspective.
Vote Negative!
Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to start by thanking my opponent for presenting their case.

Value Premise and Criterion:
Lets start with the value premise and criterion of the negative side. He analyzes the link between these two as achieving ultimate life by using humanitarianism. He tell you, as the voters, that humanitarianism support life automatically; thus it's the "perfect criterion" as he puts it. But if we look at the actual definition of humanitarianism, we can see that humanitarians believe in maximizing the welfare of the human race without divine help. The definition does not specify that the "welfare of the human race" must be achieved my saving the most amount of lives, as he explains in his resolution analysis. We can then extend this link rejection across the flow on his side when analyzing his impacts and links.

First Contention:
So now we can judge the conflict between our first contentions by his second resolution analysis. It reads: "The most lives saved on a side is the winner of the round," and I completely agree. Now we can talk about this conflict in arguments. The first contention on the affirmative side says that targeted killing reduces the chance of terrorist attacks upon a people. He refutes by explaining that targeted killing worsens the situation. We can see that the negative does not attack my evidence that proves to us that terrorist groups become a less serious threat due to targeted killing. In my constructive, I thoroughly explain the implications of this evidence with real world facts. The facts being that the most notorious terrorist group, the Al Qaeda, have nearly disappeared relative to when Osama was in charge. Because he doesn't attack this evidence, we can go affirmative automatically for the first contention. The only evidence (if we can call it that) which my opponent provides in his first contention are testimonies. But in order for testimonies to work in LD debate, he must explain their implications and link to the value premise, criterion, and resolution altogether which he does not do. Thus you vote affirmative for the first contention.

Second Contention:
The second contention of the negative case is simply an extension of his first contention. His basis for the entire contention is a testimony and a repeat of the main line of the contention before explaining a very vague link/impact. In order to create a conflict of contention with this argument, let's put his second contention up with my third. My third contention states that targeted killing is considered armed conflict because it follows exactly what I provide as a definition of armed conflict. He does not attack this definition in his attack for my argument; thus, we must presume that he agrees with the definition. This means that he cannot attack the argument because he agrees with the fact that it follows the definition word-by-word. Again, we can vote affirmative at this point because I have proven a victory of two contention, but I'll continue. Now let's look at the base of the contention: the quote from Daniel Byman. It states that Byman is in support of his second contention, but never does it mention why this matters to the judging of the contention or the case in general. As the base for the entire contention is void, we must drop the argument in whole. Thus we prove that an affirmation is required.

Third Contention:
The negative has no third contention; thus, we must add this weight to the affirmative side and add a vote to the affirmative in total.
Then he goes on to attack my value of morality. But the problem with his attack is that he says that we can't use my value because it changes over time. But wasn't it in the United States that blacks were considered property and not even an entire person? Wasn't it in the United States that blacks were only 2/3 of a person? They didn't have the right to actual life. But in current society, everybody is considered equal. Thus, life changes over time as well. And because of this contradiction, his attack means nothing to the judging of the case. So we must drop this attack.
He then attacks my second contention by stating that the social contract is not world-wide. But what he fails to see is that he does not tell us why, how, or in what context. He just randomly creates this claim against the case without any implications or reasons why. And in defense, the social contract is world-wide because society is world-wide. We know this because society, by its very definition, includes all in organized living in the world. Thus we can drop this attack, again.
For his attack on my third contention, he says it doesn't fit into the LD format. But it does in its entirety. This is because I explain in the beginning of the argument that it is both a block against the negative side and it achieves morality because it is considered armed conflict. What the negative fails to understand is that a block is predetermined; thus following LD format. The argument achieves morality because attacking those who initiate armed combat against you is just; therefore, moral, right, and good.
Because of the dropping of the negative arguments and my defense and attacks, we must vote affirmative. The negative made a "convincing" case by making the list at the end which makes it SEEM like he has won. But in actuality, this is an extremely easy vote for the affirmation of the resolution. For these reasons you affirm. Thank you.


before i start let me say that I definitely have a worthy competition i appreciate your love for LD debate.
now lets get to business.
Value Criterion Clash:
first let it be known that my opponent does not provide a source for what humanitarianism is but to give something for the prestigious judges to eat off of humanitarianism means Concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare. My opponent was clever in saying that I don't say what that very need is but obviously with the negative's value being life we see that this is the very need. Also let it be known that the affirmative does not refute that life is the universal value and the superior value this is a huge voter that should be drawn across the debate round. This is a HUGE VOTER because him not refuting life as the superior value and him not having it gives the foundation that my opponents value is not focused on the right thing.
FYI: my opponent did not refute my second analyzation talking about how this resolution must be looked at in a universal value. since his case is founded in a domestic situation which he also does not refute, you must provide this as another voter for the negative because as i said in round 1 it gives you the judges a wide perspective.
AFF's First Contention: the affirmative side says that i didn't attack his data to support his claim (which is false) but remember that in the first constructive I state that you the judge can draw my entire first contention as a counter attack against my opponents first contention. Now whether or not my opponent di not realize this does not matter because the contention was attacked as a whole and once again should counted as a voter for the negative side.
Neg's 1st Contention:
My opponent says that i dont offer a warrrant as to why my first contention has a huge impact but misses that I explain how it proves the very factor that target killing makes adds fuel to the fire. The philosopher himself states himself and I highlight where he says it so please draw it across the board.
AFF's 2nd contention:
My opponent missed the basis of my counter argument in his second contention. His second contention can not exist without the social contract. My argument was that the social contract can not and simply will not apply to every country or state due to the same reason as morality. The norms change according to different societies. What is moral here in America could be immoral in another country such as Germany. He misses this counter-argument and so my argument still stands and should be extended across the Flow.
Neg's 2nd Contention:
My opponent cleverly decieves you into thinking that I have used the same tagline of data in contention 1 for contention 2 but the very thing is that it is totally different data, while it may come from the same source and piggy backs, it is still saying something different and goes towards a different view of the resolution so you the judge can still extend it across the flow.
Aff 's 3rd contention:
once again my opponent has not properly explained in his warrant how it pertains to his value or criterion and how it has a impact in this case so once again his 3rd contention is invalid and should be dropped in the analyses of the case.
FYI: the factor that the negative has only two contentions does not mean that he has better case what so ever. This is a desperate attack to attain more voters. My two contentions are all I need to win this case and are way stronger than my opponents because they save the most lives by going against targeted kiilling.
1) I am winning the value criterion clash. my opponent missed the factor that I said in the first constructive that first the Negative value of life is the superior value. and next the criterion of humantarianism looks towards the welfare of human life so it is the perfect standard in the round for life.
2) He doesn't attack the 2nd analses of the round which was we must look at the resolution in a world wide view. Since he does not mention this observation he agrees with it and since he agrees with it and makes his case in such a domestic view you must vote for the negative side.
3) His first contention has been proven false not once but TWICE!!!!! so we can't look at his case what so ever.
4) His second contention can not survive without the social contract. the very factor that the social contract can not be applied to a worldwide perspective shows that his second contention can not be voted for in any of the rounds.
5) his third contention is not linked back to the value or criterion. If you do not believe me look in the first constructive of the affirmative case. since this is not linked to the value criterion debate of his case, his framework is not there and the contention can not be applied to this resolution.
6)I show how the affirmative's very goal of SAVING THE MOST LIVES is not accomplished with targeted killing.
7) I have more valid voters than the affirmative.
8)The affirmative has not fullfilled its burden of proof because i have shown how the affirmative's data is false.
9) my case is stronger in the factor I link it up to the value and criterion.
10) the vary factor the affirmative wants to save the most lives and my value is life shows that I HAVE THE PERFECT VALUE IN THIS RESOLUTION.
please do not be tricked by the affirmative side of the resolution Vote Negative! Thank you for your time!
Debate Round No. 3


So let me begin by thanking my opponent. I have really enjoyed this debate, and I hope for a great 4th round. I also hope to debate the negative side in other debates to come. Thank you!
Now let's begin.

He begins his rebuttal with saying that I don't provide a source. But you as voters must see that in all of the previous rounds, he provided no source for definitions. So by saying this, he, in all essence, attacks both my and his case; thus, the attack equals out and we must drop it altogether.
Then he explains that I don't attack his value of human life as a supreme good. But I explain that both morality and the concept of life change over time as a defense to his earlier attack. This proves that both of our values go hand-in-hand and can be judged as the same ground for the debate. Once again, we can drop his attack on my value and his defense on his value. This means that we have equal ground and can complete the debate uninterrupted without a conflict of values.

RE: Aff's First Contention:
In this refutation, the negative explains that his first contention is the reason that we should not vote for an affirmation. But why? He doesn't tell us why. He automatically assumes that his argument will outweigh the affirmative just because it is negative. But he doesn't explain the implications of this "outweigh". Because of this huge fault in the refutation, you, as voters, have no other choice but to drop the refutation and the argument as was done in my last rebuttal. But I'll continue. My contention outweighs his because I give valid evidence to prove my point. The only "proof" which he give is a testimony. Because of this lack of evidence, the argument must be dropped and an affirmation must occur.

RE: Neg's First Contention:
So here the negative side says that I miss his impact when I ask for the huge impact. But what the negative fails to realize is that this "impact" does not explain why the argument is valid. He doesn't explain how this links through his contentions, across his criterion, and through his value to disprove the resolution. Because of this huge flaw, we must drop yet another refutation by the negative side. Thus, we must affirm again.

RE: Aff's Second Contention:
Here is where the negative explains again that the social contract doesn't exist in all states. But because the state of nature, by its definition, says that we are all in a society (whether large or small), the social contract must exist in all cases. This is because the state of nature states that since we are not cavemen, we belong to society. Thus, the point goes to the affirmative because the negative had an invalid attack.

RE: Neg's Second Contention:
This is where the negative side says that the affirmative has "deceived you". But this is not true because I did not say that the claim is the same. Instead, I refer to the fact that they root from the same point and attempt to achieve similar if-not-the-same goals. So there we can drop his defense on my attack. Thus, we can also drop his extension across the entire flow.

RE: Aff's Third Contention:
The negative claims that I don't state an impact or link with this contention and my value premise/criterion. But this is false. The fact is that I explain that it links because it is a block against the negative side. This means that I present a clash for him to come into conflict with. I succeed in this attempt because he doesn't move past the block with proper analysis and defense/attack. So we have no obligation to drop the third contention.

Flow Summary:
So let's review. His first contention was dropped and he didn't come back to prove otherwise. Thus, we must believe that there is no reason NOT to drop the argument. This means that he has no first contention because of the drop. This leaves us with his second contention. The same problem occurred because he didn't come back and defend properly against my claim to drop the entire argument. Thus, we must drop the claim and contention. And in my earlier rounds, I explain why I win the criteria clash, and I also explain why both value premises can be used as equal judging systems.

As this is my final time to present my arguments and rebuttals to you, we must use this time to pre-analyze the negative's final rebuttal. He can't present new cards. He can't present new facts. He can't rebuild the base which he failed to in his first rounds. He can only refute what I've actually said and defend points by following these guidelines. Do not be fooled by the negative side's foolish flow layout.
I EXTEND ALL ARGUMENTS, REFUTATIONS, CARDS, FACTS, TESTIMONIES, INFORMATION, AND FLOW MARKS ACROSS THE FLOW. If you, as the great judges, actually flow this entire debate, you can see that the obvious victor of the debate is none other than the affirmative side. Extend all of this and we get an affirmative ballot as I urge it.
Thank you negative side for taking the time to debate me in this Lincoln-Douglas style debate. And thank you voters and judges for flowing and taking the time to form a victor. End extensions after the final rebuttal of the negative. And thank you.


Being that this is a LD debate the negative is not allowed to make another speech so I want to take the time to thank my opponent again for not only this awesome debate but also for his love of LD debate. But once again i want to clear up for those who dont know or understand LD Debate the Negative gets two speeches and the Affirmative gets three so the Aff gets the first and last speech in LD. Please vote and Thank you!!!!
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
First, I must declare that I don't understand some of the nuances of LD. I'm just judging this debate like I would judge any other debate on DDO. Rebuttal was generally poor and indirect in this debate, though some of the substantive material was good. Pro had BOP. By the commonly agreed-upon "values" in this debate, pro had to prove lives would be saved. The key issue is whether retaliation would happen. This was well-made at first by con, and pro's refutation was very weak indeed, but con did not press the case directly through the rounds. Ignoring round 4 cost con a lot of valuable narrative-drawing space. This lack of momentum allowed the aff to declare that the case was dropped - it wasn't really, but that was convincing enough to award arguments. Con gets conduct because the format by the aff was quite abusive, as it allowed them to gain an extra speech.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Will this site's LDers never accept the off case.
Posted by lddebate234 4 years ago
Just as a heads up, will morality be an acceptable value?
Posted by TrueJustice 4 years ago
If I accept do i need to wait my round so you go first for this LD debate round
Posted by lddebate234 4 years ago
For the case to be acceptable, you must have a value premise and value criterion.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
By Value LD, are you saying that my case MUST have a value/criterion in order to be acceptable?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments