The Instigator
photopro21
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points

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 5 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,452 times Debate No: 24040
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (5)

 

photopro21

Con

Round 1 is acceptance only.

Round 2 is cases. Since the word limit is the same, this will be a little different than normal LD structure. No rebuttals in round 2.

round 3 is rebuttals.

round 4 is further rebuttals/defense.

round 5 is summary/voter issues.

cross examination is permitted in the comments section to ease the process.

source links are not required, but naming the citation and providing further information if asked is required.

good luck to my opponent and thank you for accepting this debate!

If you have any further questions, please ask now via round 1, comments, or a message.
CiRrK

Pro

I accept. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
photopro21

Con

History teaches us that when the rule of law is replaced by the rule of might, civilization regresses and the social costs increase far beyond the temporary impressions of security. When governments forego legality and legitimacy, they enhance the legitimacy of the claims of those who resort to terrorism. Because I agree with father of international criminal law, Cherif Bassiouni, I negate.

Targeted killing is an "extra-judicial, premeditated killing by a state of a specifically identified person not in its custody." (Richard Murphy & Afsheen John Radsan, Due Process and Targeted Killing of Terrorists, 31 CARDOZO L. REV. 405, 405 (2009))

Morally means conforming to a standard of right behavior.(MW)
Permissible means that may be permitted. (MW)

The value is Justice. Justice is the preferred value because any moral system's goal is to establish how people can be treated. In his book A Theory of Justice, Rawls explains that justice has two criteria: (1) an independent criterion for what constitutes a fair or just outcome of the procedure, and (2) a procedure that guarantees that the fair outcome will be achieved. Thus, the criterion is Due Process. Due process is necessary to achieve justice because without it, the innocent lose the protection of their life and illegitimate power takes over. Cherif Bassouni furthers, "Civilized society can never abandon legitimacy nor legality, lest it lose the high moral ground in opposing all forms of human depredations and violations of our international legal order. the ends cannot justify the means, because when that occurs, the unwritten social contract of civilized government is broken, and everything becomes justified by anyone who has the power to impose".

Contention 1: Targeted Killing grants the executive unrestricted power
SPA: Only the judiciary can create a fair, uniform standard.
In the affirmative world the executive becomes the judge, jury, and executioner of targets on the premise of defense. Yet judicial review is needed to decide fair standards. McKelvey writes in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, "The judiciary has the authority to define "imminence" as a legal standard. judicial review would determine that targeted killing does not satisfy the imminence standard for the president's authority to use force in defense of the nation. Targeted killing is a premeditated assassination and the culmination of months of intelligence gathering, planning, and coordination. "Imminence" would have no meaning as a standard if it were stretched to encompass such an elaborate and exhaustive process. Similarly, the concept of "defensive" force is useless if it includes entirely premeditated and offensive forms of military action against a perceived threat. McKelvey then relates the situation to the illegal detentions that occurred at Guantanamo Bay. Quote, "In June of 2010 the government lost nearly 75 percent of the cases involving habeas petitions filed at Guantanamo Bay. This suggests that for the majority of enemy combatants, the government has had insufficient evidence for the assertion that the detained individuals were involved in hostilities against the United States."
Thus, because the decisions of targeting are unjust, targeted killings are unjust.

SPB: Accountability
When the executive is given unrestricted power, they have no accountability for their actions. After leading a comprehensive analysis by the United Nations of targeted killings, Philip Alston concluded, "The States concerned have often failed to specify the legal justification for their policy, to disclose the safeguards in place to ensure that targeted killings are in fact legal and accurate, or to provide accountability mechanisms for violations. Most troublingly, they have refused to disclose who has been killed, for what reason, and with what collateral consequences. The result has been the displacement of clear legal standards with a vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of a major accountability vacuum."
This accountability vacuum entirely undermines the transparency required in any fair justice system, and the impacts are clear. Jane Mayer reports on an incident in which the US targeted a funeral in search of terrorists. Quote, "The local population was clearly angered...The news denounced the strike as sinking to the level of the terrorists"

Because of the lack of accountability, innocent people die unjustly and have no recourse.

Clearly, justice requires methods that don't violate the rights of innocent. Also note when nations resort to methods like bombing funerals, they inspire retaliation by people who otherwise weren't a threat.

Contention 2: Lacking judicial review, rights lose their meaning.

The killing of American citizen Anwar Awlaki shows that in the absence of legislative and judicial constraints even presumably just governments unjustly violate people's rights.

Professor of Political Science Janiel Visbal asserts, "The targeted person has been denied basic
principles of modern legal and democratic systems. The individual is unable to challenge any arbitrary state action, controvert evidence involving him in terror acts, challenge any possible witness incriminating him, and been denied of the presumption of innocence until being found guilty through a fair and impartial trial in a court of law."

This slippery slope leads to a horrible future. James Bovard in The Christian Science Monitor explains, "Some Americans may think the president's license to kill is simply a temporary tactic for the war on terror. But precedents being established today will be invoked by future commanders-in-chief who may have a much broader "enemies lists"[and simply] label the victims as terrorist suspects.

Contention 3: Consequences

SPA: Civilian casualties cause anger and resentment.

Theresa Reinold, in The American Journal of International law, (Apr. 2011) writes, "drone strikes have been challenged on the ground that they are counterproductive: they fuel anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani population and breed a desire for revenge. drone strikes have killed about 14 terrorist leaders, and] some 700 civilians. This is 50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent – hardly "precision." , every one of these dead noncombatants represents an alienated family, a new desire for revenge, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased."

SPB: Targeted Killings serve as a scapegoat for inspiring terrorism.
The only thing accomplished by a targeted killing is retribution. They don't promote peace, in fact, they only set the stage for further attacks. In fact, a report by Blumand and Heymann of Harvard Law School shows the ineffectiveness of targeted killings at eliminating terrorism. The report asserts, "An immediate consequence of eliminating leaders of terrorist organizations will sometimes be what may be called the Hydra effect, the rise of more—and more resolute—leaders to replace them. The decapitating of the organization may also invite retaliation by the other members and followers of the organization. Thus, when Israel assassinated Abbas Mussawi, Hezbollah‘s leader in Lebanon, in 1992, a more charismatic and successful leader, Hassan Nassrallah, succeeded [him] Mussawi. In the long run, hundreds and hundreds were killed.

SPC: Economic effects.
A report by the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents showed that as Israel's use of targeted killing increased, the retaliation by Hamas increased as well. The research found an increase in terrorist attacks of 60% as a result of the targeted killing with Israel and Hamas. Also note the Bank of Israel report found that terrorist attacks caused a drop in the stock market, thus creating a double-whammy effect.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing you arguments. Good luck! :)
CiRrK

Pro

I affirm: Targeted Killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool

Targeted Killing: the premeditated, preemptive, and deliberate killing of an individual or individuals known to represent a clear and present threat to the safety and security of a state. (Hunter).

Ob. 1: Targeted Killing is an individual, not collective matter. Anderson writes, “Targeted killing consists of using deadly force, characterized by the identification of and then strike against an individual marked to be killed. It is distinguished, among other things, by making an individualized determination of a person to be killed, rather than simply identifying, for example, a mass of enemy combatants to attack as a whole.”

Morally permissible: an act that is allowable by moral standards, but not necessarily a morally good act.

Ob. 2: Pen analogy. We would say it is morally permissible for me to pick up a pen, but we wouldn’t say I am acting morally via picking up the pen.

Ob. 3: The resolution uses the word tool, meaning it is only one of many types of foreign policy instruments in dealing with international relations, defense and war matters, etc. Thus, it is not the only option and outside the bounds of the resolution to burden the Aff with proving its morally permissible in all circumstances.


The value for the round is Moral Permissibility, since it is the inherent value and the core question of the resolution.

The value criterion is the Right of Self-Defense.

First warrant is international law. Paust writes,

”…an armed attack by a non-state actor on a state…can trigger the right of self-defense addressed in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, even if selective respon- sive force directed against a non-state actor occurs within a foreign country. 3 Article 51 of the Charter expressly affirms the right of a state to respond defensively “if an armed attack occurs…”

Second warrant is moral right of self-defense.

John Locke writes,

"The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me."


C1: 9/11 Justifies Targeted Killing

Paust [2] writes,

“In 2001, the United Nations Security Council and NATO recognized that the non-state al Qaeda armed attacks on September 11, 2001 triggered rights of individual and collective self-defense under the United Nations Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty. Use of force against al Qaeda by the United States on October 7, 2001 in Afghanistan was justified, and justifiable, as self-defense against ongoing processes of armed attack on the United States, its embassies, its military, and other U.S. nationals abroad…Neither the Security Council nor NATO expected that there must be geographic or time limits that might condition permissibility of U.S. measures of self-defense against al Qaeda, nor was there an expectation that measures of self-defense against al Qaeda in Afghanistan would require the consent of the Afghan government or the existence of an armed conflict with the United States.


==

*As per rules, rebuttals will begin next round.

==

[1] Paust. Self-Defense Targetings of Non-State Actors ]and Permissibility of U.S. Use of Drones in Pakistan (December 8, 2009). Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 237, 2010; U of Houston Law Center No. 2009-A-36.

[2] Locke. Locke. Of the State of War. Two Treatises on Government.

[3] Anderson. “'Efficiency'Jus in Bello and 'Efficiency' Jus Ad Bellum in the Practice of Targeted Killing

Debate Round No. 2
photopro21

Con

Thank you CiRK, for your class and for your excellent arguments.

Moving on,

Let's start with his first observation:
Targeted killing is generally aimed at one person, this is true. However, keep in mind that that isn't the only person affected. Refer back to my case.

Ob 2: This is fine, and very creative. But I think we can also agree that when something is immoral, it isn't morally permissible.

Ob 3: Yes, I agree it isn't the only method. But as my opponent agreed in cross ex (the comments section), we can't view targeted killing in an idealistic manner. We have to talk about it realistically in the general context that it happens. (Also note that the resolution uses the word "is" implying that we are talking about it's current state.)

On his value structure:
First, understand that justice is the ultimate goal of morality (and moral permissibility), so we are nearly in line here, I just take it a step further.
Second, he brings up excellent support for the right of self defense. But perhaps he overlooks the context of the situation and what the right of self-defense entails.
Under this, understand that killing in self-defense is justified only if—among other conditions—it achieves its primary objective, which is defense. If the killing increases the threat and danger to the side carrying it out, it is unjustified from both a moral and pragmatic perspective. This is key. (I will post some more on this after this section)
Understand here further, that targeted killing attempts to achieve self defense without due process. At that point, like I explained in my case, rights lose their meaning. It further means that there is a higher possibility for error.
Further understand, that there has to be a pressing and sure threat for such harsh methods to be justified.
Moreover, as we are evaluating targeted killing in the way it generally occurs, it so often happens without utilizing other forms of self-defense. At that point, you have the act of killing not only the civilians (refer to my casualty point), but also all the harms I talked about. When the other methods have less moral conflict, it is morally permissible to use those, and immoral to use targeted killing. This can solve his state of war issues that he talks about without such moral harms. If to this he says, "well we are using this as a last resort" understand that it couldn't be morally permissible unilaterally. Which is unfortunately how it happens (how we evaluate it).

Like I said, I would post more about the need for achieving defense after the previous section.
My claim here is that it doesn't actually increase safety; the defense is inadequate and only brings further problems.
The only thing accomplished by a targeted killing is retribution. They don't promote peace, in fact, they only set the stage for further attacks. Look at the report by Blumand and Heymann of Harvard Law School showing the ineffectiveness of targeted killings at eliminating terrorism.
In fact, it also creates a less desirable world.
"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." (Kant 1993: 30) Kant's words outline the first test of morality. Targeted Killing fails the first maxim because the universalization of it is undesirable. For instance, the affirmative may claim it is moral because it increases safety. Yet that assumes that only their nation would use it.
Gary Solis, Professor of Law at Georgetown, explains:
a targeted killing by the United States makes every American official both here and in the Middle East a target of opportunity. If an expanded interpretation of who constitutes a legitimate civilian candidate for targeted killing is accepted, we must accept that our own non-uniformed leaders and weapons specialists will become legitimate targets.

His 9/11 point:
If he wins one instance, that doesn't prove it as a whole.
Furthermore, the US did this with less civilian casualties than usual with targeted killings. It isn't representative of the usual context of targeted killing.

Another issue I see with his case in general is that it overlooks the rights of all the civilians. Let's look at the magnitude here and why this is bad:
Between January 2006 and April 2009, of sixty Predator strikes in Pakistan, "only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians." THe autonomy of these civilians is disregarded. With the amount of due care that is due to civilians being not precise, it would appear that this does not pass the test of justice.

Another issue is the unilateral action of targeted killing, which is the way that it happens (how we evaluate it once again)
Fernando Teson, in the morality of targeted killing, (2011), writes,
"The state cannot unilaterally repeal the strict moral and legal restrictions on state killing by just
declaring war on terrorists. The reason is that the power of the state to kill is the heaviest weapon in the
state's coercive arsenal, and it seems wrong to allow the very entity thus constrained to repeal the
restrictions by a unilateral statement. On the facts, the choice of the war paradigm may or may not be
justified, but certainly it cannot be established by a mere statement from the government. Otherwise, the
government could declare war on the Mafia, compile a list of Mafiosi, and announce that from now on the
government will shoot them on sight. Sexual predators are especially repulsive. Why not allow the
government to declare war on known sexual predators, compile a list, and start killing them? The
prohibition of intentionally killing persons cannot magically disappear by the government's unilaterally
declaring war on the persons it intends to kill."

Thank you.
CiRrK

Pro

Con Case

Definition: Targeted Killing

Targeted killing does not necessarily include drone strikes. Anderson writes,

“Weaponized drone aircraft might or might not be used in an instance of targeted killing. But still more important is that drones have roles to play in an ever-increasing range of military operations that frequently have no connection to “targeted killing.”.”

My opponent’s value is justice and claims that justice is the end of all moral systems since it determines how we ought to treat each other.

There are a few problems with this:

First, this analysis is lacks a warrant or justification for this statement. She simply asserts the premise that moral systems should achieve justice. At this point, unless she provides a sufficient warrant then my opponent can gain no link to the resolution.

Second, justice is a bad value to pick because we don’t know what justice is. In Plato’s Republic Book 2 Socrates asks his company to define what justice is. The only adequate definition presented is knowing your friends, and knowing your enemies – i.e. giving each their due. However the issue with this is that we really don’t know what people are due. But moreover, only an affirmative ballot wields the result of the extension of knowing your friends and knowing your enemies. Socrates tells us that giving each their requires that we protect the city at all costs – i.e. using targeted killing to take out our enemies.

My opponent provides the criterion of Due Process which is derived from Rawl’s A Theory of Justice – there needs to be an objective standard to measure what is just. The problem with this is that we don’t know if it’s an objective standard. Rawl’s applies a thought experiment where he imagines a scenario where there is no bias (the original position + veil of ignorance). At that point since due process and legal system is itself prone to bias, manipulations, perceptions there is no clear link to unbiased justice as presented through Rawls.

Moreover, my opponent’s Bassouni evidence is problematic for a few reasons:

First, social contracts do not exist in the international realm. As Hans-Morganthau, one of the fathers of realism, tells us is that the international realm is anarchy – moral standards do not exist and countries do not submit explicitly or implicitly to another nation’s control. Thus, insofar as moral codes do not exist in the international realm all states are obligated to their own citizenry which makes targeted killing permissible.

Second, this evidence is teleological in that it has an end goal of greater social stability and protection. The issue with this is that these moral codes are the very codes which prevent good men from acting against evil. In trying to achieve stability, the requirements of legality and due process strangle “the good” from preventing greater evil.

C1: Due Process

The McKelvey evidence is completely warped in its worldview of warfare. First, this evidence lacks any type of brightline for determining when an imminence standard is met. This author simple asserts since it takes months, it obviously must not meet this standard. Second, months in warfare is imminent - terror attacks aren’t just done in minutes or days. Remember 9/11 took about 5ish years to plan. Third, long planning is key to preventing wrongful hits. With more planning, more preparation and more investigation the potential for mess-ups is decreased by a large percentage.

The Alston evidence can be ignored because it isn’t up to date in current law and doesn’t apply universally, only to the U.S.. Radson writes:

“The Court recognized that this generous interpretation increased the risk of improper targeting of peaceful civilians. It therefore crafted a set of legal limits to curb errors and abuses, citing customary international law, human rights case law,and a raft of secondary authorities. The checks include: (a) thorough verification ―regarding the identity and activity of the civilian who is allegedly taking part in the hostilitiesǁ; (b) forbidding deadly attacks if other means, such as arrest, can be used without imposing too great a risk on security forces or others; and (c) following up an attack on a civilian by an independent, intra-executive investigation ―regarding the precision of the identification of the target and the circumstances of the attack. For good measure, the Court said the internal investigation should be subject to judicial review.”

C2: Rights

My opponent argues that due process must be upheld for U.S. citizens.

First, my opponent doesn’t provide why there is a moral distinction between two clear enemy combatants or terrorists but one happens to be a U.S. citizens. She must provide this for her argument to hold any moral weight.

Second, U.S. citizens who are enemy combatants lose most due process rights. Benjamin writes,

“…it raises the question of what precisely due process requires in these admittedly unusual circumstances. The chatter on the political left notwithstanding, it clearly does not require prospective judicial review of targeting decisions or military operations. The Due Process Clause does not even require thatin domestic settings involving police actions–like a hostage situation, for example. What it requires in the hostage situation, rather, is that force only be used as a last resort when other options are not available. And it seems to me that it requires something similar here too. That is to say that I think it requires a strong preference for the capture, instead of the kill–and it requires the exhaustion or non-availability of reasonable options either for a conventional trial or for military detention...

This evidence makes the clear point that the question is not whether targeted killing is morally impermissible or not – it is – but under what circumstances does it becomes morally permissible. As long as the doctrine of last resort is followed, targeted killing is permissible. And since the resolution makes no distinctions, under these conditions targeted killing is permissible.

C3: Consequences

First, backlash argument is non-unique. The War on Terror is already going on, and simply stopping targeted killings would invoke conventional style warfare. My opponents world is worse in terms of bloodshed and revenge. Daniel writes,

“The moral legitimacy of targeted killing becomes even clearer when compared to the alternative means of fighting terror—that is, the massive invasion of the community that shelters and supports the terrorists in an attempt to catch or kill the terrorists and destroy their infrastructure. This mode of operation was adopted, for example, bythe U.S. and Britain in Afghanistan and by Israel in its “Operation Defensive Shield” carried out after the terrorist Passover massacre in March 2002….First, invading a civilian area inevitably leads to the deaths and injury of far more people, mostly innocent people, than careful use of targeted killing. Second, such actions bring death, misery, and destruction to people who are only minimally involved (if at all) in, or responsible for, terror or military attacks, whereas with targeted killing, collateral damage is significantly reduced.”

Second, my opponent’s stats on Pakistan are skewed – it distinguishes terrorism and militancy, and doesn’t note the use of human shields.

Paust writes,

In contrast to reports of high numbers of apparently excessive deaths, others report that some 600 people have been killed “in northwestern Pakistan since August 2008, including around 400 militants” 102 (which would be a ratio of some two targetable persons to one), and Senator John Kerry has stated that drones had been successful in combating al Qaeda and have resulted in minimal collateral damage…only ten percent of the persons killed are “civilians.”… al Qaeda and Taliban fighters purposely intermix with civilians who take no active part in hostilities inan effort to shield themselves...

Debate Round No. 3
photopro21

Con

photopro21 forfeited this round.
CiRrK

Pro

Unfortunately my opponent had to FF. Extend arguments
Debate Round No. 4
photopro21

Con

photopro21 forfeited this round.
CiRrK

Pro

FF. Extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
yes, thank you :)
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
Hope that helps : )
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
2) The definitions dont conflict, but rather my observation elucidates the first definition. When referring to group of individuals they are named targets, as opposed to the US simply targeting X camp in the FATA region.

3) The moral standard is that using any moral framework (deon, util, virtue, contractarian) they all have a moral condition of self-defense. So as long as I prove this condition Ive met all possible frameworks.
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
No. Because regardless of the procedure the target might be culpable.
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
third and finally, what moral standards do u use to evaluate whether something is morally permissible. You never specified.
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
sorry, but also before I forget:
Are you saying that targeted killing is only for a single individual? I think your definitions were a little conflicting.
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
If there was a point where the decisions of targeted killing were not morally permissible, can we agree that the targeted killings are not morally permissible either?
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
Tomorrow is my last day of school, so I will probably put up my response then rather than tonight, just so you know :)
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
Sure, thats fine : )
Posted by photopro21 4 years ago
photopro21
I agree, but I mean like our definition of targeted killing. Like we have to be realistic.
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