The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Targeted Killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,839 times Debate No: 21819
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




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

This will be an LD-esque debate. All types of LD cases are acceptable.
Round uses will break down as such:

Round one - Con presents rules, pro presents first case.
Round two - Con presents case and rebukes, pro defends and rebukes.
Round three - Con defends and rebukes, pro defends and rebukes. No new arguments in this round.

The rounds were structured this way to keep things as close to LD format as possible.

I await my opponent's case.


LD Affermative

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.

Guiora04 (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

Guiora04 (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.

Guiora04 (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 willbring 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 andcould not endanger the very existence of Spain. Such is the case with terrorist attacks throughout the world over theyears. 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.

Dear Zardi, I wasn't able to post all of my definitions due to the character limit.
Debate Round No. 1


In order to conserve character space, since my argument takes up too many characters to post, my case will go in a google document provided below.

Now, I will refute my opponent's position.

As an overview to my opponent's position: there's one massive problem with my opponent's case with linking into the resolution. The specific wording of it states that "Targeted killing is a MORALLY PERMISSIBLE foreign policy tool". My opponent's case doesn't prove in any way why targeted killing is morally permissible. At best, all he shows is why targeted killing can, in some situations, be justified. But that doesn't make it morally permissible. In order for my opponent to be able to affirm the resolution, he has to have this link, and it's missing in his case.

In response to Guiora 1:

Guiora isn't actually advocating for a form of self-defense. Self-defense implies that we have already been attacked first, while this card supports us seeking out terrorists before they attack and pre-emptively killing them off. That's not self-defense. That's murder. So if my opponent wishes to advocate that murder is morally permissible, then let him do so. Pre-emptively killing suspected terrorists would be like shooting a suspected serial killer before he actually hurt someone. If they haven't actually done anything, then why is pre-emptive murder justified?

In response to Wijze:

All Wijze is saying is that targeted killing is a duty for those in office to use, not that it is necessary to protect the citizens. He's completely strawmanning the card.

In response to Guiora 2:

1. There's no warrant as for why terrorists are considered combatants. This is just an assertion with no evidence to back it up.
2. If anyone who owns a gun and ill will against the people in current political power are defined as combatants, then if I owned a gun and didn't like Barack Obama, would it be permissible to send a Predator Drone to my house and bomb me into submission? My opponent would probably say no, but this is exactly what his card is saying.

In response to Guiora 3:

1. There's no corrolation between economic and social hardships and moral permissibility. There's a missing link between this card and the resolution.
2. According to the card, "the U.S. was never at any risk of collapsing...the continued existence of the State has neven been an issue". This contradicts the entire premise of his Wijze card, which says that targeted killing is necessary to protect ourselves. But if we were never in any real threat, then how is it necessary? This is going to put him in a double bind because either a) Wijze is true and there isn't any harms against us from terrorism or b) Guiora 3 is true and targeted killing is unecessary.

In response to Patterson:

1. No warrant as to why war or targeted killing is ethical or moral. All it does is asserts this claim with no actual evidence to back it up. Thusly, it has no link into the resolution as to why targeted killing is morally permissible.

So the round breaks down in a few ways:

1. My opponent isn't actually affirming the resolution. He's saying why targeted killing should be justified under international law, but this doesn't entail moral permissibility. He must specifically prove why targeted killing is morally permissible in order to win. This link is entirely missing in his case; it's just flat-out not there. Since he's failing to provide this, he can't affirm the resolution, and you default to con.
2. Even if his case DOES have a link to moral permissibility, my case is specifically disproving moral permissibility, due to the subjective nature of morality. So as long as I'm winning on my case, it's impossible for the pro to win, since I'm disproving the concept of moral permissibility.
3. His case, for the most part, is entirely unwarranted assertions with no actual evidence to back up the claims made in his cards. Thus, my case is to be preferred over his.

Thusly, you can easily vote con.


Dear Zardi, for some reason google docs won't open please post your arguement. In response I'll let you post your case next round so I can refute everthing clearly. Untill then I can't post.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has not responded to why his computer won't allow the google doc to open. I've told him (on his profile) that it's working fine on every computer I can get a hold of. So there's no reason not to be able to respond.

But even if, he neglected to respond to the arguments I made against his case that were outside of the google doc. Those he could've easily responded to without needing to open up the google doc. Since he neglected to do this, count this as a concession and extend all my refutations.


It won't open on my computer, but whatever makes ya happy.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
That's how you write a case....
it's not unique to policy...LD does it too.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 6 years ago
Please explain to me why both of your cases are typed very strangely. I have only seen that in policy debate.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Lannan I don't see what the problem is. I just tried accessing the file from my parent's computer (not logged in or anything) and it opened up perfectly fine.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Hey, is it okay if I use google documents to post my arguments? I'm running into the same character problem you had with your definitions.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Yep 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Sorry pro, I can open cons case on 4 different computers, 1 running linux 2 running windows 7 and 1 running OSX so... Also- Good job con, I've hit a Bleep load of debaters at tournaments who run Skep and just fail. Skep means usually two things (obviously general, broken down would take too much space) 1) Everything is morally permissible 2) Nothing is morally permissible I felt Con successfully bypassed this flaw in Skep, and thus i side with the openable doc and don't buy pro's arg. Sorry p