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Resolved: The US Federal Government should utilize a ground force to combat ISIS

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 242 times Debate No: 92612
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




1. No forfeiture
2. No kritiks
3. Comment before accepting the debate
4. No ad-hominem attacks
Round Structure
R1: Constructive for pro
R2: Rebuttal
R3: Rebuttal, pro final focus
R4: Final Focus, pro waives


Okay, ground force includes all troops, vehicles and weapons on the ground, such as infantry, tanks, humvees, miniguns, turrets, artillery etc.
ISIS' base can only be pierced through ground force as the other two methods of attack are air and the navy.
A complete air raid can't combat ISIS as it poses danger to civilians, is hampered by anti-aircraft guns and would eventually require ground force to recapture the base.
A naval assault is out of the question as there are no oceans around ISIS' base and it will create problems in mobility.
The only way to capture their base is straight through ground force. ISIS' barricades can only hold up so long against heavy artillery, and once infantry enters the base there will be lesser damage to civilians than by explosive bombings.
If we are talking about stopping their overseas conquest, then I am at a bit of a loss. But chances are their operatives will be hidden among the general public and aerial view will not be enough to get them. Ground troopers would be required to stop the bombers. Once again, there is only the ground force that can deal with with these terrorists, aerial and naval combat are not efficient methods to stop ISIS insurgents.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting quickly, here is my case.


We need to view this debate through the effectiveness of whether putting in a ground force down to fight ISIS will be viable or not. If the con can prove that the plan is not viable or effective, then the judge should feel comfortable with voting in the negation.

Contention 1: Radicalize population

It is a clear fact that American troops have in the past committed horrible atrocities. We can look at a UN report which shows that military officials have used torture and killed many for no strategic effect (1). This unfortunate realization lends to one of the most terrible impacts in this debate which is the radicalization of populations within the Middle East which lends themselves to ISIS. This is confirmed by Foreign Policy in Focus when it states that our bases and presence in the Middle East resulted in anti-American sentiment and growth of terrorist organizations that we swore to fight (2). The human rights abuse and image of America is something that is used by much propaganda of terrorist organizations to paint us as the “western boogeyman”, which is confirmed by a professor from West Point by the name of Mr. Brown when it is claimed that US presence in the Middle East has been a major catalyst in recruiting for ISIS (3). The study goes on to say that out of 73 terrorists involved in suicide terrorism they were 10 times as likely to have come from a nation in which America had an influence with combat operations (3). We can see this by going into the past. The Cato Institute reports that our military presence in countries such as Lebanon and Saudi Arabia led to many terrorist attacks, including an embassy in Tehran being taken over, and Osama Bin Laden training Somali troops to ambush American peacekeeping forces (4). This shows that military radicalization has a real impact by increasing terrorist sympathy while increasing the amount of people working for terrorist organizations and terrorist action, thus one should negate the resolution.

Contention 2: Strength

ISIS is not a weak organization; it is one that is well funded, well organized, and strategically sound. The University of Texas has stated that our military may be strong for conventional warfare, but in the environment overseas, the military does not function as well (5). We can see why ISIS has gotten so strong if we were to look at a recent Independent article in 2014 claims that the CIA has grossly underestimated the amount of people in the terrorist sect, which now has 200,000 troops (6). This may be due to the terror group recruiting through social media and other forms of propaganda. In fact, the New York Magazine reports in 2015 that as many as 30,000 foreigners were recruited through propaganda to join ISIS (8). Not only this, but despite bombing the oil reserves, which have been a huge revenue for ISIS, last year the terrorist sect still made over $500 million (7). This funding is used for plots and weaponry for ISIS. With this type of military strength, and a military presence already adding to the amount of people in ISIS, we see that the US ground troops stand little chance against the ISIS behemoths. Not only do the ISIS militants have the upper hand economically and manpower-wise, but the recruitment will add even more forces to the army and strengthen the anti-American group to near omnipotence. Since the US army only has a fraction of that amount of troops in Iraq and Syria fighting against the conflict (9), and the fact that it would be patently ridiculous to send the amount of troops necessary to counter 200,000 well trained troops, one must negate.

Contention 3: Giving in to demands

Clearly, the American troops fighting ISIS is some symbolic venture that ISIS actually wants. Capturing and killing American troops is invaluable propaganda for the terrorist organization, and sending more targets for ISIS is the last thing we need (10). Not only this, but the potential for taking hostages could be used to undermine and change US policy easily, as shown by Forbes where it is shown that it would “undermine American resolve,” (11). This is shown through the Iranian hostage crisis which drove Jimmy Carter from office, which gave credence and prestige to the terrorist. This effect of ISIS actually wanting boots on the ground is further explained by Dr. Peter Neumen of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization when he states “The execution videos [of Western hostages] were bait to provoke an over-reaction. As soon as there are Western boots on the ground it then becomes the old narrative of the West versus Islam and they can claim they are fighting the occupation. They are trying to suck us in," (12). The last thing we need to do now is falter while ISIS grows stronger by giving in to their demands. Especially when the result is more propaganda for a more radicalized group with more people latching on to the twisted ideology. We are showing them weakness by sending in soldiers, which will lead to a theologically unified ISIS that is convicted in their brutal beliefs. That is why a negative vote is necessary.

Counter Plan

We need to look toward a solution that directly targets the source of their funding by bombing the oil supplies and other sources of revenue made by ISIS using air-strikes. Also, we need to establish a connection with the Arab world through diplomatic relations which would involve trading and aid from NGOs to counter the many humanitarian problems being faced in these problems in the status quo. We also need to lay off military interventionism within this region to prevent the spread of radical Islam and radicalization of the population. This would mean taking out about half of the bases in the Middle East and looking toward less US troops within the region. This is the solution that can finally end ISIS, so let us embrace it as opposed to the current resolution.


In an attempt to not radicalize the population and to find a more rational solution that does not involve going against a behemoth of an enemy, we need to negate the resolution in place of another plan.

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Military strength
The US has one of the largest armies in the world, and a large defense budget of around 500 million. According to global firepower; US has 120 million soldiers fit for service, about 50,000 armored vehicles such as tanks, artillery, rocket systems and AFV's, and 13000 aircraft. Naval strength is at 415 massive ships, 19 among them aircraft carriers.
Air raids
The main problem of air raids is that the ISIS have many anti-air guns, which possess a great danger to pilots and aircraft. Plus, pilot training takes a lot of time and therefore pilots are in low number. Furthermore, massive bombings can harm civilians and shortage of supplies such as food and water can take a toll not only on ISIS but everyone inside their territory. Plus, rather than wasting oil reservoirs by bombing them, ground force can capture the resource bases and help fund the military as well as increase morale. What's more, long-range artillery can do the same job as air raids without the problem of anti-air guns. While they need to be a little more close to the target, they are not impeded by anti-air guns and can be backed up by more ground force.
ISIS' motives
ISIS has announced that its ultimate goal is expanding into a global caliphate governed by Islamic law. It will wage a war against disbelievers, and wants to conquer the entire world. It already holds territory in Iraq and Syria. If we don't stop them now, they will reach a level of power even higher than the US.
Anti-American sentiment
If we retreat right now, the entire world will blame us for losing this war. When we have much more strength than them and can defeat them, why shall we retreat? As for US soldiers committing atrocities, we must have more discipline in the military and the generals, corporals, sergeants should be told that there shall be no unnecessary torture and no harming civilians. New military training and circulation of troops would help.
Counter plan
We must try and defend territory that is not under ISIS yet, and spread pro-American propaganda in ISIS' influence zones. We must also block ISIS' supply routes of weapons, oil and other military aids. A 360 blockade must be made around the ISIS' zones to stop them from getting outside help. Once ISIS is running out of supplies and tries to go for the blockade, we must surprise attack them and lead an incursion into their territory. We must also use EMP jammers, internet moderators and other methods to limit spread of ISIS propaganda. ISIS has rushed its hand by announcing its presence early, and is one of the rare terrorists organizations that have called out to challenge the world. We must use that to our advantage and do what we can to take out their HQ. Also, I would like to ask con if ground force can be supported by drones and other aircraft? I am asking this as the resolution says that the US government should use ground force to combat ISIS, but it doesn't say that only ground force should be utilized.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your swift response, I shall start with refutation of your points.

Rebuttal 1: Military strength

a. Conventional military prowess
My opponent has claimed that the military of the US is strong and capable of defeating ISIS. However, we need to keep in mind ISIS’ strength as well. My University of Texas statistic shows that ISIS is more capable given its location overseas giving it an advantage since our troops are unfamiliar with the territory (2). Not only this, but ISIS is well funded and has over 200,000 troops as shown in my previous Independent article (3). Sending in enough troops to counter such a threat is simply ludicrous given the recruitment factor that American troops and presence add to the frenzy. Remember, the Middle East where ISIS is involved hates US influence because of the human rights abuses that occur there. Not only this, but US influence solidifies us as the “western boogeyman.” I have already empirically have shown that US influence does add people to the ISIS terrorist group through anger and resentment of the troops already there. This remains unrefuted by my opponent and is extended. With this, we see that military presence is going to actually strengthen the ISIS initiative and weaken our stance in the region due to more people joining ISIS, meaning more people for us to fight.

b. Air strikes

I will concede that strikes on ISIS militants will only exacerbate the issue as it will kill innocents, sparking radicalization of the population, however, this problem should not happen if we were to bomb the many revenue makers for ISIS including oil reserves, agriculture used to beef up ISIS revenues, and other such money makers for ISIS. This would lessen the chance that terrorist plots would occur, as well as make sure that ISIS cannot expand. In fact, turning toward a recent CNN article tells us this:

“In 2015, ISIS lost about 40% of the area it held in Iraq, as well as parts of northeastern Syria that have both good farmland and oil. Airstrikes on the oil infrastructure it controlled have further diminished the balance sheet.” (1)

We already see proof that ISIS loses money with airstrikes on oil infrastructure and other such money making schemes from ISIS, so increasing the amount of strikes on oil infrastructure would work.

Rebuttal 2: ISIS’ motives

This is unrelated to the debate. Regardless of the motives involved, we are discussing whether a ground force is the best way to defeat the ISIS menace.

Counter-Rebuttal 1: Anti-American sentiment

My opponent attempts to refute my point about the radicalization of people in the Middle East but misses the point entirely. If Anti-American sentiment is still present in the Middle East, then we would be seeing increased radicalization of the population of whom would join the fight on ISIS’ side. Yes, disciplining US troops could help, but it has not worked yet. Under law, the US military cannot commit human rights abuses. However, it still occurs, which tells us that we need to enforce law that would stop the human rights abuses. However, keep in mind that this point is non-unique as it could happen regardless of regardless of whether we add a ground force to destroy ISIS or not. Yet, the fact that the US has stepped in is already a symbolic sign that US influence is still imperialistic and destructive, which leads to people joining ISIS. US presence is as much of a problem as the abuses on citizens because the same effect happens whenever US presence exists in the Middle East, which is a more radical population that gathers against US influence and joins equally destructive organizations that are against US influences.

Rebuttal 3: Counter Plan

My opponent’s counter plan is dangerous. Not only is spreading pro-American propaganda and trying to silence ISIS propaganda nearly impossible given the amount of media that ISIS is involved with, (books, websites, video etc.) but doing so solidifies the image of America as a “western boogeyman.” This will add to the propaganda, not take away from ISIS propaganda. Also, we are suppressing the right of free speech under the UN Declaration of Human Rights which I cited in my case. Finally, even if the air force would get involved, my opponent has already stated that airstrikes would harm innocent civilians. Not only this, but let us look toward my opponent’s point in his case.

A complete air raid can't combat ISIS as it poses danger to civilians, is hampered by anti-aircraft guns and would eventually require ground force to recapture the base.

If ISIS has anti-aircraft guns, then any aircraft is in danger of being destroyed. My opponent also needs to take into account the radicalization of the populations in the regions where ISIS is. As I have shown, radicalization of the population is a real threat that will add more people to ISIS, which is the last thing we need since strengthening a terrorist organization is always against global security and the US interests that we need to see. Also, extend my counter plan as my opponent has yet to refute why the plan is flawed.


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Last rebuttal- Radicalization
While they portray the Americans as the "Western Boogeyman" and such, we need to stay there and do some things right so that the image viewed by the people of the Middle East changes. If we leave, not only the rest of the world will blame us for losing the war, the resentment against American troops would still remain. Furthermore, an aerial assault at ISIS would still be subject to the hatred of the Middle East.
ISIS revenue sources may be managed by civilians, or workers forced into helping ISIS. Furthermore, harming the agriculture industry will create a food shortage that will be devastating for all civilians. Losing valuable resources such as oil would not be missed by ISIS, as con states that ISIS lost 40 percent of it oil reserves and other industries. After so many airstrikes, ISIS is more likely to bring in more anti-air guns, as well as guard its territory better. Furthermore, if ISIS lacks the funds, it can force weapon contractors to work for them as now they have a lot of armed firepower, or can open its own weapons manufacturing plants. Lastly, this plan still hasn't seen ISIS crumbling up yet, for 40 percent is a big number. But as con says, not only are they still active, but they are funding more recruits.
Counter plan
Okay, we can suppress ISIS propaganda subtly, such as it turning up last in the search results, or providing a link to why ISIS is bad in the advertisements column just after the video. These kind of little fallacies are nearly impossible to detect, so ISIS can't use it to turn people against US. Some healing propaganda would be required to improve the image of the US, such as aiding civilians and capture rather than bomb-up. As for air support, I don't plan to use them for bombings, but for recon missions. It will tell us whether there are civilians involved and what is the strength of the enemy. Like suppose if we know that there's mortar and infantry squad, we would know that we must be prepared for mortal shells.
Also, my plan would have a chance of an easier recovery of Iraq and Syria than con's plan, as con's plan includes decimating all oil fields and agricultural facilities that supply ISIS. My plan is to blockade ISIS in its little area and regulate supplies, so that ISIS gets desperate enough to try and expand their territory, and we lay down defensive fire. Supplies include ammo, explosives, oil and such.
Debate Round No. 3


Counter-Rebuttal 1: Radicalization

My opponent has not yet nullified my impacts, as he simply stated that the rest of the world will blame us if we were to lose to ISIS without any evidence to confirm his claim. Nevertheless, let us look toward the fact that by strengthening ISIS we would be acting counterproductive to our interests. Yes, the hate of the American presence may linger, but by removing US presence from the Middle East we would be preventing the radicalization of the population. This in turn prevents the ISIS group from getting stronger. This is a net benefit. The benefit of my counter plan is that we decrease the amount of intervention in the Middle East while still enacting the most beneficial policy possible, which is to bomb the revenue making portion of ISIS which has already had an effect on the organization by hurting their resources. Intervention is necessary in some cases, however decreasing it will still be a net benefit. Also, the majority of trade that ISIS conducts is with oil through Turkey, not agriculture.

Counter-Rebuttal 2: Counter plan

Regardless of the propaganda being subtle, the US still has to enact this policy, and that could involve the leakage of information. Not only this, but we are still acting as hypocrites by suppressing the freedom of speech for people in ISIS, which will still ruin our image in the eyes of ISIS and validate the idea that America is some sort of “boogeyman” by showing the act that we are willing to suppress the rights of the people in the Middle East. This is extended as my opponent has yet nullify this impact. Also, the last thing we need to do is directly intervene with the people of the Middle East, because as I have stated before, the fact that the US is still intervening is symbolic to ISIS and is used in propaganda to recruit more. It would also be hard to isolate ISIS in specific location given the fact that they are spread out into different countries including Syria, Iraq, and Libya. So, if my opponent wants to isolate the problem, the blockade will have to be huge, not small, which costs resources, of which we may or may not have given the size of the army being over 200,000.


Extend the following points which remain unrefuted:

ISIS wants US troops to attack and giving in to their demands harm our image as well.

ISIS is strong and would require the majority of US troops to be involved given the strength of ISIS already.



As in the instructions for this debate, I will now waive this round. Good debate!
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by lord_megatron 4 months ago
No war can only be fought by plain infantry, there would need to be some machines to aid them. When ISIS can have turrets, mortar, anti-air guns and the fancy stuff, we can't attack them just with ground troops. Some Panzers and humvees would be definitely needed
Posted by dsjpk5 4 months ago
There's only three rounds.
Posted by lord_megatron 4 months ago
If you change ground troops to ground force so that tanks and artillery can be included, then I can accept this debate
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