The Instigator
Myrant
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
debate-me
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Should the US pull out of Afghanistan

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after 3 votes the winner is...
Myrant
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,311 times Debate No: 18195
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Myrant

Pro

The United States should pull military forces out of Afghanistan. First round is acceptance of the debate.
debate-me

Con

The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001,[29] as the armed forces of the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and the Afghan United Front (Northern Alliance), launched Operation Enduring Freedom, invading the country, in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States, with the stated goal of dismantling the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base. The United States also said that it would remove the Taliban regime from power and create a viable democratic state.
The preludes to the war were the assassination of anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001, and the September 11 attacks on the United States, in which nearly 3000 civilians lost their lives in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, The United States identified members of al-Qaeda, an organization based in, operating out of and allied with the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the perpetrators of the attacks.
In the first phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, ground forces of the Afghan United Front working with U.S. and British Special Forces and with massive U.S. air support, ousted the Taliban regime from power in Kabul and most of Afghanistan in a matter of weeks. Most of the senior Taliban leadership fled to neighboring Pakistan. The democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was established and an interim government under Hamid Karzai was created which was also democratically elected by the Afghan people in the 2004 general elections. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was established by the UN Security Council at the end of December 2001 to secure Kabul and the surrounding areas. NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003. ISAF includes troops from 42 countries, with NATO members providing the core of the force.[30]
The aim of the invasion was to find Osama bin Laden and other high-ranking Al-Qaeda members to be put on trial, to destroy the organization of Al-Qaeda, and to remove the Taliban regime which supported and gave safe harbor to it. The George W. Bush administration stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nations or governments that harbored them.
The Afghan nation was able to build democratic structures and to create some progress in key areas such as health, economy, education, transport, agriculture and construction. NATO is rebuilding and training the nation's military as well its police force. Over five million Afghan expatriates returned with new skills and capital.
In 2003, Taliban forces including the Haqqani network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami started an insurgency campaign against the democratic Islamic Republic and the presence of ISAF-troops in Afghanistan.[31][32] Their headquarters is in or near Quetta, Pakistan.[33] Since 2006, Afghanistan has experienced a dramatic increase in Taliban-led insurgent activity. In their campaign the Taliban also target the civilian population of Afghanistan in terrorist attacks. According to a report by the United Nations, the Taliban were responsible for 76% of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2009.[34] The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIGRC) called the Taliban's terrorism against the Afghan civilian population a war crime.[35] Religious leaders condemned Taliban terrorist attacks and said these kinds of attacks are against Islamic ethics.[35]
On December 1, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would deploy an additional 30,000 soldiers over a period of six months.[36] He also set a withdrawal date for the year 2014. The New York Magazine writes that Gen. Stanley McChrystal�€™s leaking of the need for additional troops boxed Obama into a corner about boosting troop levels in Afghanistan, which the magazine refers to as the �€œMcChrystal risk�€œ (leaking of information to force presidential action).[37]
On January 26, 2010, at the International Conference on Afghanistan in London, which brought together some 70 countries and organizations,[38] Afghan President Hamid Karzai told world leaders that he intended to reach out to the top echelons of the Taliban (including Mullah Omar, Siraj Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) with a peace initiative.[39] He called on the group's leadership to take part in a "loya jirga"�€"or large assembly of elders�€"to initiate peace talks.[40] According to the Wall Street Journal, these steps have been reciprocated so far with an intensification of bombings, assassinations and ambushes.[41] Many Afghan groups (including the former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh and opposition leader Dr. Abdullah Abdullah) believe that Karzai's plan aims to appease the insurgents' senior leadership at the cost of the democratic constitution, the democratic process and progess in the field of human rights especially women's rights.[42]
Debate Round No. 1
Myrant

Pro

Debate-me, thanks for taking the debate I look forward to reading your point of view.

We will not succeed in Afghanistan; therefore, it is morally repugnant to send more young men and women to die or become psychologically damaged in the pursuit of this war.

I will argue that we will not win for at least three reasons: 1) the social realities in Afghanistan will prevent the emergence of a reasonably unified and peaceful society in the near term; 2) the realities of the legitimate and illegitimate economies in Afghanistan will prevent emergence of a capable democratic government in the near term and 3) the political realities in the west will end our involvement without enough time to fully accomplish the mission. The basic argument is time – neither the west nor the advocates for a strong democracy within Afghanistan have enough. If these arguments are true, the west should pull out now to prevent further damage to ourselves.

The People of Afghanistan
The people of Afghanistan can be divided into several major ethnic groups (Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, Baloch) and other smaller groups. These groups speak three primary languages and thirty minor languages. These groups live in predominately ethnic zones: Baluch in the far south, Pashtun in the southern-middle region, Hazara in the mid-northern region, Nuristanis in the northeast, etc. They are tribal, territorial, and speak different languages.[1] These ethnic groups have been fighting each other, and sometimes themselves, in countless conflicts for centuries. The scope of this infighting ranges from the current perceived national political domination by the Pashtuns to small villages battling for the water rights of a small stream.[2] Even ignoring the conflicts with foreign powers, war in Afghanistan has been a way of life for your average Afghani. Combine this history of war with a twenty-eight percent literacy rate and a forty-five year life expectancy and these problems become extremely difficult to overcome with any thing resembling a rapid change in culture.[1] Given the situation, is it reasonable to believe that these long standing grievances will be resolved in less than two or three generations? Assuming that we need at least a couple of generations and if we use a relatively low standard of fifteen years for a generation in Afghanistan, (based on life expectancy) we are still looking at thirty years to substantially change the fabric of Afghan society. The remaining time that the west can continue stabilizing Afghanistan to some basic level, is running out. Time is the enemy.

The Economy of Afghanistan
Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations on earth. It is not surprising that young men with little hope for improving their economic situation would turn to violence, crime and radical ideology to further their personal position and or vent their frustration with their reality. This situation will not substantially change in the next few years. Afghanistan ranks 215th (of 227) in per capita GDP, 211th in inflation, and 204th in deficit spending (even worse than the U.S. which is 191st). In U.S. dollars Afghanistan exports are 547 million; imports are 5.3 billion. This current state exists after ten years and billions of dollars in western investment. Going forward, Afghanistan has no proven oil reserves and a 35% unemployment rate.[1] Afghanistan does possess significant mineral deposits, one trillion dollars worth by some estimates, but how will these minerals be extracted from some of the most inhospitable and undeveloped spots on earth?[3] Where and how will these minerals be transported after extraction from the landlocked nation with a nearly non-existent highway system? On the other hand, Afghanistan produces vast amounts of opium, which is much easier to harvest and smuggle. According to the World Bank, opium accounts for 1/3 of the total economic activity and Afghanistan currently produces 90% of the world's opium supply generating enormous black market profits.[4] Why would a poor Afghani farmer cross tribal drug lords to produce low paying legal goods when he can make a significantly better living growing poppies? While these farmers continue to produce the crop, the profits will continue to fuel both the insurgent forces and the corrupt politicians. The drug trade effectively funds both sides of the conflict. The dismantling of the narco-state and emergence of a sustainable economy will be required prior to the emergence of a real democratic government. This dismantling of the narco-state and the creation of an economy is possible, it just takes time and time is what we do not have.

The Political Reality in the U.S.:
What exactly is the end state in Afghanistan? The goal in 2001 was, "to end the ability of the Taliban regime to provide safe haven to al Qaeda and to put a stop to al Qaeda's use of the territory of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities," according to a March 2011 Congressional Research Service report.[5] Has this not essentially been accomplished? Since then, a specific goal has become a little fuzzy. How exactly will we know when the mission is accomplished? This may have been done on purpose. This blurry picture allows the President (whoever it may be) to declare victory and announce a withdrawal at anytime based on an ill defined end-state. The political reality is - that time is near. In a recent Gallup poll 57% of respondents disapproved of the President's handling of the war and 43% say the war was a mistake.[6] Public support for the war is eroding. Additionally, the U.S. economy is in terrible shape and the nation is 14+ trillion dollars in debt. Time and money, politically speaking, is simply running out.

Based on the reality that the people of Afghanistan are not going to stop fighting the west or each other anytime soon, we should get out before we do more damage to ourselves. Based on the reality that the weak legitimate economy and robust illegitimate economy of Afghanistan will prevent emergence of a real democratic government anytime soon, we should get out before we do more damage to ourselves. Based on the fact that public support is eroding for a ten year war with an ill defined end state, we should get out before we do more damage to ourselves. The President should declare victory and announce a short timeline for withdrawal (3-6 months) to allow our allies to remove and protect their own forces. I believe this will happen. The question is how much more time and treasure will it cost?

1. CIA World Factbook, South Asia: Afghanistan; https://www.cia.gov...
2. Stars and Stripes, "Reporters Notebook: Soliders find tribal tension is the norm," Sep, 2009; http://www.stripes.com...
3. Los Angeles Times, "Can Afghanistan tap its $1-trillion mineral wealth?" June 2010; http://articles.latimes.com...
4. The World Bank, Countries: South Asia, Afghanistan Opium Report; http://web.worldbank.org...
5. Congressional Research Service, "War in Afghanistan: Strategy, Operations, and Issues for Congress," March 2011; http://www.fas.org...
6. Gallup, "In U.S., New high of 43% call Afghanistan War a Mistake," August 2011; http://www.gallup.com...
debate-me

Con

debate-me forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Myrant

Pro

Disappointing - hopefully Debate-me will debate in the final round.
debate-me

Con

debate-me forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Myrant 5 years ago
Myrant
The plan still has thousands of troops in AFG beyond next year.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
I think so, but in one year like the generals said. Obama is pulling them out early.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Myrantdebate-meTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I CANT DECIDE...jk pro wins
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Myrantdebate-meTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This is a tough one.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Myrantdebate-meTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit