The Instigator
brianR
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
lannan13
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,932 times Debate No: 21714
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
Votes (6)

 

brianR

Con

http://debate-central.ncpa.org...

I will defend Kant's categorical imperative. This is best summarized by its first formulation: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." This argues in favor of a "pure morality" that does not interject personal or subjective adulterants, regardless of who is acting (Weeks, 2007). Weeks, David (2007). "Common LD Values." Debate Central. http://debate-central.ncpa.org....

Retired U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman writes in his book On Killing that the common view of targeted killings is grossly distorted. This manipulation of "pure morality" is driven by a number of factors. The first is what he terms "cultural distance," arguing that "racial and ethnic differences…permit the killer to dehumanize the victim" (Grossman, 2009). The second is moral superiority. The perpetrator exhibits a "kind of intense belief in moral superiority." The third is mechanical distance. Humans are reduced to objects by "the sterile, Nintendo-game unreality of killing through a TV screen, a thermal sight, a sniper sight or some other kind of mechanical buffer that permits the killer to deny the humanity of his victim."

Heeding Grossman's call, writer Mehdi Hasan raises the question of categorical imperatives by arguing that;
"This isn't complicated; there are no shades of grey here. Do we disapprove of car bombings and drive-by shootings, or not? Do we consistently condemn state-sponsored, extrajudicial killings as acts of pure terror, no matter where in the world, or on whose orders, they occur? Or do we shrug our shoulders, turn a blind eye and continue our descent into lawless barbarism?"
(Hasan, 2012). Hasan, Medhi (2012). "Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered," The Guardian, Jan 16, http://www.guardian.co.uk... ... red-murder.

Another important aspect of justice is the method by which targeted killings are selected and approved. The ability to carry out targeted killings is a massive expansion in the role of government. Hasan argues that "we have sleepwalked into a situation where governments have arrogated to themselves the right to murder their enemies abroad" (Hasan, 2012). Returning to the founding constitutional principles, Hasan asks; "How many more of our values will we shred in the name of security? Once we have allowed our governments to order the killing of fellow citizens, fellow human beings, in secret, without oversight or accountability, what other powers will we dare deny them?" (Hasan, 2012).

Byman continues that line of reasoning by connecting government norms of justice to the categorical imperative. Byman notes that
"The killings also raise normative problems. There is a general rule in foreign policy against the elimination of world leaders, and this norm has served the United States well. Neither the U.S. government nor the Israeli one, for that matter, would want targeted killings to become a widely used instrument, since this would make its own citizens and officials more vulnerable"
(Byman, 2006). Byman, Daniel (2006). "Do Targeted Killings Work?" Foreign Affairs, Mar-Apr, p. 95, Lexis.

The categorical imperative framing can drastically undermine the justification for targeted killing. New York University law professor Jeremy Waldron makes the case very effectively:
"What happens when a norm, N, becomes law? … We are not responsible for all uses of N but,…if N is to be part of the law of armed conflict, we ought to consider for starters whether we are comfortable with N in the hands of our enemies…We should consider whether we are comfortable with N in the hands of al Qaida or Hamas or some state that supports terrorism"
(Waldron, 2011). Waldron, Jeremy (2011). "Can Targeted Killing Work as a Neutral Principle?" New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers, Mar 1, Lexis.

A number of answers can also be raised to the cost-benefit/utilitarian justifications raised by the Affirmative.

First, targeted killings murder innocent civilians. For instance, the U.S. faces a difficult dilemma when employing drone strikes: if the strike is too large then innocent civilians will be killed, but if the strike is too small then the targets may escape. Moreover, the death of innocent civilians robs the operation of credibility and acts as a rallying cry to perform more attacks (more on this below).

Second, dead men tell no tales. The targets all share a common characteristic: they possess the capability to employ deadly skills, whether it is manufacturing an IED or a nuclear weapon. This is why Byman argues that "arresting terrorists, when possible, is a much better course" (Byman, 2006). His reasoning? "After an arrest, security forces can interrogate the suspect and learn about future plots and additional operatives, who can then be arrested too. Killing suspects prevents them from striking, but dead men also tell no tales" (Byman, 2006).

Third, targeted killing often encourages retaliation and more innocent death. The groups that are targeted often "up the stakes in horrific ways when subjected to a targeted-killing campaign" (Byman, 2006). The same difficulty arises in the War on Terror that arises in the War on Drugs: when a kingpin falls, someone is ready to take their place. Therefore, the symbolic victory of killing a terror leader is fleeting and insignificant when weighed against the deaths that often accompany the blowback.

Fourth, targeted killings make martyrs of the victims, which catalyze the movements they represent. One popular example is Hezbollah. When Israel killed a key leader, Musawi Hezbollah, his death became a rallying cry for the organization. Khaled Hroub, a Cambridge University-based expert on Hamas, argues targeted killings only increase popular legitimacy (Byman, 2006).

Finally, targeted killings make peace negotiations impossible, as it is incredibly difficult to broker a mutual cease-fire while the policy of targeted killing remains on the table (Byman, 2006).

I will offer three decision-making criterion:

(a) The moral agent. If the moral agent is an everyday citizen weighing a categorical imperative, it benefits the negative. We do not control the levers of policy-making and should make the decision to limit targeted killings since we do not employ the power to determine who will be targeted and using which methods.

(b) Protecting innocent lives. The high number of civilian casualties must be weighed from a neutral standpoint. Targeted killing lowers the moral standing of the killer by adopting terror tactics.

(c) Establishing effective alternatives. Alternate methods of punishment, such as interrogating arrested terror suspects, are far more effective.
lannan13

Pro

Since I assume this is a 2 round debate first round is case then the attack is second.
"Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future. " Because I agree with this position stated by Louis Stokes I uphold the resolution that Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool.
Targeted Killings- An assassination is the targeted killing to murder (usually by a person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons, thus according to Meriam-Webster.
The affirmative will advocate the value of security in today's debate." Security is the safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft, or espionage. "To fully demonstrate the importance of the affirmative value, I offer the criterion of Protection." Thus according to Webster. Protection is a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury.

Contention 1: Self Defense
----In order to protect our self against terrorism we need to attack before being attacked.
Guiora 04 (Amos Guiora, Visiting Professor of Law and designated Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global
Security, Law and Policy at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, CASE WESTERN RESERVE
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, "Terrorism on Trial: Targeted Killing as Active Self-Defense", 2004,AL)

Because the fight against terrorism takes place in what has been referred to as the "back alleys and dark shadows against an unseen enemy, " the State, in order to adequately defend itself, must be able to take the fight to the terrorist before the terrorist takes the fight to it. From experience gained over the years, it has become clear that the State must be able to act preemptively in order to either deter terrorists or, at the very least, prevent the terrorist act from taking place. By now, we have learned the price society pays if it is unable to prevent terrorist acts. The
question that must be answered -- both from a legal and policy perspective -- is what tools should be given to the
State to combat terrorism? What I term active self-defense would appear to be the most effective tool; that is, rather than wait for the actual armed attack to "occur" (Article 51), the State must be able to act anticipatorily (Caroline) against the non-State actor (not considered in Caroline).

----Targeted Killings is necessary for the safty of the people.
Wijze 09,(Stephen Wijze, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Manchester, CONTEMPORARY
POLITICS, "Targeted killing: a ' dirty hands' analysis", Sept 2009, p. asp, AL)

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, a DH analysis provides a more plausible characterization of our moral
reality. The TK of Shehada is a case in point. An attempt to justify or condemn the TK of Shehada in a neater, less equivocal and less confusing account of our ethical obligations and culpabilities does so by doing violence to our moral sensibilities. It is more helpful and accurate to understand TK as an obligation arising from a duty of office to protect citizens, yet also accept that in so acting there was a very high moral cost. In short, a DH analysis reminds us that those who support and carry out such a policy must be aware of the high moral costs. The hope is that this realization will provide a further reason to refrain from so acting unless there really is no viable alternative.

Contention 2 Terrorists
----Those who participate in terrorist acts are
Guiora 04 (Amos Guiora, Visiting Professor of Law and designated Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global
Security, Law and Policy at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, CASE WESTERN RESERVE
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, "Terrorism on Trial: Targeted Killing as Active Self-Defense", 2004,AL)

One of the critical questions that must be answered is whether suicide bombers and those involved in terrorist infrastructure are legitimate targets. If the answer is yes, then we must examine how they can be fought, given that they are not soldiers in the traditional sense of the word. In the present conflict, terrorists who take a direct role are viewed as combatants, albeit illegal combatants not entitled inter alia to POW status, but indeed legitimate targets. Furthermore, the legitimate target is not limited to the potential suicide bomber who, according to corroborated and reliable intelligence is "on his way" to carrying out a suicide bombing. Rather, the legitimate target is identified as a Palestinian that plays a significant role in the suicide bomber infrastructure; that is, "doers" and "senders" alike.

----Terrorist Impose Such Economical and moral costs that TK is warrented.
Guiora 04 (Amos Guiora, Visiting Professor of Law and designated Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Global
Security, Law and Policy at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, CASE WESTERN RESERVE
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, "Terrorism on Trial: Targeted Killing as Active Self-Defense", 2004,AL)

The international law principle of military necessity is also relevant to an analysis of targeted killing; that is, that the terrorist targeted presents a serious threat to the public order. It is important to add as a caveat that terrorism does not threaten the existence of a State. Neither a particular attack undertaken by a terrorist nor a series of attacks will bring about the destruction of a State. As horrible as 9/11 was, the government of the U.S. was never at risk of collapsing. As horrific as the attacks Israel has suffered, the continued existence of the State has never been an issue. The bombing in Madrid, while clearly contributing to the defeat of the ruling Spanish government, did not and could not endanger the very existence of Spain. Such is the case with terrorist attacks throughout the world over the years. Nevertheless, terrorism does exact significant social, economic and political costs to which the State must respond. The issue is therefore to whom and how the State responds. The terrorists involved in suicide bombings
undoubtedly present the most serious disturbance to public order (economy, daily life, public safety). Therefore, once these individuals are defined as legitimate targets and there are no alternatives, the military necessity test,
which requires a need to protect or ensure public order, is clearly met.

----TK's are justified in the new age in the War on Terror.
Patterson 05 (Eric Patterson, Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanguard University and Teresa Casale, Program Assistant on the California Stem Cell Program at the University of California, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENCE, "Targeting Terror: The Ethical and Practical Implications of Targeted Killing", 2005, p. asp

War is terrible and should be avoided whenever possible. However, 9= 11 was a declaration of war against the United States. For the U.S. to defend its citizens by prosecuting a war against its terrorist attackers is entirely ethical. Similarly, whatever the merits of the Iraq war in 2003, few would deny that an early killing of Saddam Hussein would have most likely resulted in fewer battlefield and civilian deaths, and would have been an appropriate
end for an infamous tyrant. Many thoughtful individuals have qualms about the morality of assassination policies. Without doubt: assassination is politically motivated murder. In contrast, targeted killing is the legitimate use of force against enemy combatants in unique and hostile settings. But targeted killing is appropriate only when a clear.
declaration of intent is made and should be used only in overseas environments. This assumes that targeted killing
will occur at the direction of legitimate authorities, not at the whim of private citizens.
Debate Round No. 1
brianR

Con

http://debate-central.ncpa.org...

My value in this debate is Kant's categorical imperative. My opponent's value is protection. I agree that the government has an obligation to defend and protect. I will advance two arguments. First, moral responsbility in twenty-first century warfare must apply on all terrain. Second, the national interest of protection is better served by rejecting targeted killings.

**Part one: the Morality debate**

Targeted killing doesn't fulfill Kant's categorical imperative. The categorical imperative cautions an actor that they should avoid performing any act to which they feel exclusively entitled. Targeted killings violate this and produce undesirable effects in both international and domestic decision-making.

1. International norms.

Guiora, their primary author, is attempting to justify targeted killing under international law. His version of self-defense is built upon this ["What I term active self-defense would appear to be the most effective tool; that is, rather than wait for the actual armed attack to "occur" (Article 51), the State must be able to act anticipatorily (Caroline) against the non-State actor (not considered in Caroline).]

This doesn't answer the question raised in our Byman evidence: Would the U.S. want targeted killings to become a widely used instrument? This would make our own military, officials and citizens more vulnerable. It also doesn't answer the question posed by our Waldron evidence. He asks: "What happens when a norm, N, becomes law? ... (W)e ought to consider for starters whether we are comfortable with N in the hands of our enemies."

The categorical imperative requires the moral agent to make a decision divorced from their individual biases and formulations. Ask yourself this question: should targeted killings become an international norm? Russia claims to be victim of terror attacks, yet U.S. lawmakers decry the deaths of individuals like Magnitsky.

The question is not whether the U.S. has good reason to perform these acts. The question is whether the U.S., the unquestioned global leader, wishes to set a precedent that its rivals can use to justify nefarious acts. Their moral standard must be objective, regardless of who the actor performing the action is.

Their Patterson evidence says that there are democratic checks in place. This is why it is important to consider the use of targeted killings in less democratic states. The categorical imperative says morality must be weighed objective. There are three reasons why targeted killing cannot be carried out objectively, as noted by Retired U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. Cultural distance, moral superiority and mechanical superiority ensure the disparate treatment of different groups.

Take Holder's recent address (conducted on 3-5-12 @ Northwestern Law). He attempted to justify the targeted killing of 2 U.S. citizens in Yemen but made little attempt to justify the killing of others. I agree with Hasan in his argument that "this isn't complicated; there are no shades of grey here. Do we disapprove of car bombings and drive-by shootings, or not? Do we consistently condemn state-sponsored, extrajudicial killings as acts of pure terror, no matter where in the world, or on whose orders, they occur? Or do we shrug our shoulders, turn a blind eye and continue our descent into lawless barbarism?"

2. Democratic accountability.

Their Wijze evidence says targeted killings must be carried out in open and accountable processes. Their Patterson evidence says "This assumes that targeted killing will occur at the direction of legitimate authorities, not at the whim of private citizens."

There are several responses to these claims:

First, the categorical imperative brings this into question: what happens when other, undemocratic actors want to practice targeted killings and cite the U.S. justifications under international law constrcuted by their Guiora evdience?

Second, what of checks and balances? Does any publicly elected official beyond the President, in closed-door, unreported meetings with classified CIA and Justice Department officials, have any say in how these actions are carried out? Does the public have any opportunity to scrutinize the government's policy? Congress directs wars and wiretaps but not targeted killings.

Third, this accepts open tyranny and shreds our most important democratic values. If they allow the unaccountable and opaque process of targeted killing to continue there is no power which we would deny our government. To again quote Hasan: "How many more of our values will we shred in the name of security? Once we have allowed our governments to order the killing of fellow citizens, fellow human beings, in secret, without oversight or accountability, what other powers will we dare deny them?"

Part 2: The Ability to Protect.

Their first contention is self-defense.

First, self-defense is a moral justifiation, not a moral duty. I do not question self-defense as a justified action available to an actor under threat. The question is whether targeted killing provides the best defense. If it doesn't it is morally indefensible. I will prove targeted killings are worse for fulfilling national defense interests below. Targeted killing is not a moral duty, but one option to consider. It is neither the most effective nor the most moral option.

Their Wijze evidence agrees with this framing: "(T)hose who support and carry out such a policy must be aware of the high moral costs. The hope is that this realization will provide a further reason to refrain from so acting unless there really is no viable alternative." I will prove that other, more effective options exist, which means there is no reason to pay what Wijze calls "high moral costs."

I have also answered this argument extensively above. Their view of self-defense doesn't fulfill the categorical imperative because we would deny the use of targeted killings in other circumstances to other actors. If it *does* fulfill the categorical imperative it justifies the use of targeted kililng by other undemocatic actors and creates a terribly dangerous international norm.

Their second contention is terrorism.

I agree with Guiora that "terrorism does exact significant social, economic and political costs to which the State must respond." Again, that's not what I'm disputing. What is in dispute is what the most effective and moral response to terror is, not whether terrorism is bad and justifies a response. I have provided five reasons why targeted killings hurt more innocent people than they protect:

First, intelligence is the most important factor in warfare. All the weaponry in the world is worthless if it is operated by actors who can't adequately learn about plots in advance and prepare. Byman weighs this issue well by noting that: "After an arrest, security forces can interrogate the suspect and learn about future plots and additional operatives, who can then be arrested too. Killing suspects prevents them from striking, but dead men also tell no tales."

Second, targeted killings murder innocent civilians. They are by definition ineffective: if the strike is too large then innocent civilians will be killed, but if the strike is too small then the targets may escape. Moreover, the death of innocent civilians robs the operation of credibility and acts as a rallying cry to perform more attacks (more on this below).

Third, targeted killing often encourages retaliation and more innocent death. The groups that are targeted often "up the stakes in horrific ways when subjected to a targeted-killing campaign" (Byman, 2006).

Fourth, targeted killings make martyrs of the victims, which catalyze the movements they represent.

Finally, targeted killings make peace negotiations impossible, as it is incredibly difficult to broker a mutual cease-fire while the policy of targeted killing remains on the table (Byman, 2006).
lannan13

Pro

1. Morals Debate
In LD you must have a value and a critira. I have both (Sercurity and Protection). While my opponet here has no value. Which means I should win by default but I'll continue for the sake of debating.
a. This applies only to drones. Drones kill inocent people and since my definition of targeted killings state it was by a person/ human. Last time I check drones are machines not human beings.
b. This is what I do Protection is my critira also.
c. I've posted a card by Stephan Wijze stating that there was no alternatives. Thus taking out this criteria.
Overview of point 1. My opponet doesn't have a value so he really shouldn't have criterias but I've knocked them out anyways. So Since this debate (LD) is about values and Morals. I win in this cattigory.
2. Protection
a. self defense
- my opponet tries to make an arguement here, but what about little girl Kattie. Who's father was on the fight from Boston. She would never got to see him again. Lets relate this to you though, say someone went up and shot your kids. You would want them in jail for life or maybe... even the death penalty.
b. Terrorism- My opponet has agreed with my whole second contention and since my case only has 2 agreeing with one really kills you.
His case
1st card
- my opponet says Targeted Killings don't work while I brought up 2 cards saying they do.
2nd arguements- He brings up that Targeted Killings kill inocent people. My friends I've brought up the fact in my Targeted Killings definition that they invlove only people not machines. So this takes out his whole arguement.
Summery- In todays debate it boils down to values. My partner has none, I've destroyed his criterians, he agrees with my second contention, and his 2nd contention doesn't even apply to my case.
Please vote Pro
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Guitar_Guru 4 years ago
Guitar_Guru
Zaradi, it still functions as a Meta-Ethic regardless. Plus the arguments weren't even that bad. The structure of it is strange, but it's not bad. It's like a Varsity case. He goes all in on Framework, which if he wins (Which he did) then he wins. The Pro can't link into it.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
@Guitar_Guru

First off, the cat. Imp. Is a normative FW, not a metaethic.
Second off, arguments were so horrible that I refuse to judge the round. It's borderline insulting to LD. If anyone wishes for meto explain why, I will PM them why. But the arguments here almost offended me because of their quality, or rather the lack of it.
Posted by Guitar_Guru 4 years ago
Guitar_Guru
Now the first place I always look to is the FW debate. There was literally NO FW debate coming from the Pro side. Con has a Meta-Ethic which is a standard. He weighs off of the Categorical Imperative, and the Practical Reasoning Meta-Ethic. The Con puts arguments on his criterion of Protection which go completely unanswered. So I'm looking towards who upholds an objective morality better.

This is where Neg wins, he points out that Pro is only U.S based and we cannot assume only the U.S will use this method, and also, if we can only affirm in the U.S.

There were no extensions coming out of the Pro side. I'm a legit LD Debater and if you don't extend then you will never win..

Also Con, I understand you're kind of experience, but you need to make the Standard Blunt and Clear. Even without a Value, he has a Standard, which is weigh-able.

I don't look to the AC at all when making my decision because he extends NO Offense in his last speech.

Neg wins by default.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
brianRlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I find Pro's arguments more convincing.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
brianRlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had bad structure. He mentions he is arguing for categorical imperative, not that it is his value. He finally says its his value in his final argument. Also a criteria is needed to support a value. Also categorical imperative make a horrible value in and of itself as it is essentially a logical fallacy.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
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Reasons for voting decision: 4:0 to Con. Pro does not answer the moral problem with TK. What if opponents of US have the power to carry out TK? Con's argument about lack of accountability were not addressed either. Pro relied on just a few quotes rather than any arguments or evidence.
Vote Placed by bcresmer 4 years ago
bcresmer
brianRlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: see below reasons
Vote Placed by Guitar_Guru 4 years ago
Guitar_Guru
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Reasons for voting decision: I really cringed at this round.. Two round debates are always awful. Regardless, Pro never answers any of the actual contextual evidence coming out of the NC. Thus all of the Negative arguments stand. He says he has two cards that combat the idea that TK doesn't work, but he put arguments on those cards. Also even if he didn't, you need to explain to me how it takes out the argument, you know, impacting.. Rest of RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
brianRlannan13Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The resolution is that targeted killing is morally permissible, not whether it is a moral duty or a wise thing to do in every case. All but Con's categorical imperative argument are irrelevant to the resolution. Pro argues self-defense is permissible. So the question is then whether self-defense targeted killing can be generalized. Con's objection is that it would legitimize targeted killing not in self-defense. It doesn't. Pro kept to the resolution and argued well. A two round debate is la