The Instigator
Farooq
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
Luna3
Pro (for)
Winning
42 Points

Terrorism is a serious threat to the US

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2008 Category: News
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,399 times Debate No: 1394
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (22)

 

Farooq

Con

Following the tragic demise of 3000 New Yorkers on September 11th, the United States was scared. In attempts to repel futrue attacks they issued a declaration of war on "Terror" and started invading a country that was harbouring The Foundation's masterminds. Who could blame them for that country had just spat in America's face by refusing to cooperate in cathcing the men repsonsible?

But for some reason they did not stop it at that. That presidential election one of the major media campaigns done by the Republicans focused on scary TV ads that depicted the threats terrorism poised to America, and why they needed more powers to protect them. This proved very popular in convicing many voters.

But was there really any reason to fear? If I lived in a place like Iraq or Chenchenya I might be concerned about terrorism and poltical violence effected my daily life and making me afraid to be out and about. But in North America? Other than 911 there have been no occasions in which terrorism has killed large bouts of people. Statiscally though, 3000 out of 300,000,000 on one year, with the terrorist extremly lucky, is not represent a legetimate threat, only a small incident in the grand scheme of things. The Foundation's bases in Afghanistan were destroyed, and no real damage was actually done to America as a whole. In my country there are 500 murders a year, and we're only a tenth of America's population (and I'm guessing the rate is similiar in the USA). Overall boring old everyday crime has killed far mroe Americans that terrorists, and the threat is not as big as is said be people like Giulani or Bush, they are merely paranoid and have not looked at the sitaution logically.
Luna3

Pro

For 50 years nuclear destruction of the entire planet was a serious threat during the Cold War. Although, thank God, the threat never manifested itself its seriousness and its threatening nature was never in question. Something does not have to be inevitable, nor does it have to continually occur in order to be a serious threat. As with the Cold War example, the threat doesn't even have to be exercised once to be genuine.

So if we assess a serious threat solely by its frequency and its scope when it happens we are missing the point.

I happen to work in the largest penal colony in the world. It is a prison system that is huge. Yet we have very few incidents of assaults on officers or civilians, relatively speaking. It is wholly unrealistic and incorrect to say that the threat of inmate violence against officers and civilians isn't serious because incidents don't occur often enough. The reason why incidents don't occur is because there are mechanisms in place that act as a buffer between the threat of the inmates and the officers they represent a threat to. Just because a system is successful at suppressing a threat, doesn't mean that threat does not exist, nor is it serious. Ask all of the officers not to show up on Monday to see the prison run entirely by the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and MS-13, in which case it would be clear that the serious threat was always there, despite an apparent dormant state.

Had the US not chased after Al Qaeda starting in October 2001, Lord knows how many attacks may have occurred on American soil or against American interests -"may" being the operative word.

Terrorists have been met with significant buffers against attacking American soil in the past few years the most significant buffer being the war in Iraq. Al Qaeda fighters fled to Iraq en masse instead of Manhattan or Washington DC displaying their persistent desire for American blood. Another buffer is the cache of Arab leaders that currently willing to suppress to some extent the Islamic fundamentalist element in their country. If US friendly Pakistani and Saudi Arabian governments fell to Islamic Jihadists and that buffer was erased, the serious threat would become a serious reality.

Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States back in 1998. If you study the ideology of Arab terrorists, if you survey US intelligence, it is clear that these folks are persistent, they are focused, they have displayed the means and desire to attack, and most importantly they are patient. The 9-11 attacks had years of planning. When trains exploded in Madrid, Spain the justification aired by the terrorists on Al-Jazeera cited Spains treatment of Muslims years ago. Just because the threat isn't often enough to satisfy your definition of serious threat, doesn't mean that when that next attack does occur -and many intelligence experts agree that it is a matter of when and not if- that the previous apparently dormant years would have been any less threatening.

The threat is abundant. The seriousness is obvious. And just because more violence occurs elsewhere, or just because 9-11 wasn't wide enough in its scope as would satisfy you to meet your definition of serious or threatening, doesn't make that threat any less real.

God bless.
Debate Round No. 1
Farooq

Con

Hypothetically, had the Cold War ended up exploding, what would have been the result? Complete devestation of Europe, the destruction the United States, nuclear winter, etc. Overall the effects would have come not far short of destroying the world.

Hypothetically though, if radical IslamIST terrorists were given free rein over the United States, what really the worst they could do? America is a big country and not about to be destablized or seriously injured by a few bombings (short of nuclear terrorism which for the moment is unlkily due the lack of access terrorists have to that technogloy, but could come a serious threat overtime). Countires like Pakistan or Iraq may have their citizens terrified to coming out of their houses but America, even without the war on terror would have little statiscal chance of being killed in an attack.

Yes I have no doubt some wing-nuts seethe with anger and would love to see the destruction of the so-called Great Satan, but they do not have the means. Anti-US sentiment is strong, but not the number one cocenr amongst most citixnes od the Middle East. They lack the technology, orginzation, and funding to currently offer a serious threat.

That is not to say America is not threatened by terrorism, the potential reality of attack has been very likly as was proven by US intelligence. But nothing these could ever unleash in the near future could ever cosntitute a major thrat to the United States as a whole.
Luna3

Pro

Your point:

"Hypothetically though, if radical IslamIST terrorists were given free rein over the United States, what really the worst they could do? America is a big country and not about to be destablized or seriously injured by a few bombings"

My response: Instead of imagining a hypothetical scenario in which Islamist Terrorists were given free rein of a superpower the size of the US all we have to do is rewind back to the Mujaheeden's victory over the Soviet Union. With conventional weapons and without really, really, big bombs -which according to you is the only kind of bomb that can do serious harm- a rag tag group of Islamists defeated the world's second largest super power. What was the end result, in other words: "what's the worst they could do," as you put it: the worst they did was the establishment of the Taliban in Afghanistan and eventually the intitiation of a global war against not just the United States but Engalnd, Australia, Israel, and on and on. I would describe this as a serious threat, especially considering now in 2007 they have a victory of a super power notched on their belt already. USSR first. US next.

Your point:

"short of nuclear terrorism which for the moment is unlkily due the lack of access terrorists have to that technogloy, but could come a serious threat overtime)."

My response: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union one of the least addressed threats to global security is the admittedly MISSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS from the 'Stans -most of which are Muslim countries. Under the Soviet Union Muslims were subjected to the Atheist Communist government. Yet when countries started to fall off and the USSR disbanded the Muslims in Central Asia began to form their own countries. To this day there is a huge number of unaccounted for nukes from these countries, an issue briefly addressed bu George Bush during the 2004 presidential debate and then not much after. Putin admits this is the case. Most experts agree: if they are anywhere they are on the black market in the Muslim world. I would, yes, describe this as a serious threat.

You claim that Islamic Terrorists do not have the means to be a serious threat to America. This is incorrect. September 11th brought our economy to a virtual halt. And the "means" Al Qaeda had was a razor blade, years of planning, and a decent sum of money. Many financiers of Islamic Terrorists are rich. They are supported, in part, by oil rich nations like Iran.

All it would take would be 4 simultaneous -modest sized- explosions in DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA. At shopping malls. On a Tuesday evening. They don't need a nuke for that. This would be, indeed, a "serious threat." If no other reason, because America would not be sure when the next attack would come. Crippling the US economy is tantamount to crippling the US. Our power is our economic power.

Finally, the anti-US sentiment is not reserved for "some nuts." As we found out in Pakistan in 2002 when the most popular name for a newborn was:

Osama.

Hmmmm.
Debate Round No. 2
Farooq

Con

Afghanistan, eh? That's your first arguement? Well the defeat of Soviet Socialist Republic of Afghnaistan had to do with a few factors. One, the Soviets were recent invaders. I am sure there are still some Lakota extrmeists pissed off the US, but I think I can say for the most part that people belive DC to be their legitmate governemnt, and the United States is poltically stable. Two, the Taliban actually a sizable percentage of support in Afghanistan, especially in Soviet times (modern estimates tend to beleive that 15% of modern Afghans still support the Taliban). How many supporters of a pro-Al-Quadea government are there in the States? Maybe eight, nine if you include Kucinich? Plus the amount of damage the Muhajeddan were inlficting on the Soviets in Afghnistan amouted to constant battering, not a few isolated incidents. This comparison is very faulty in logic. (this is not to say other regimes, such the ROI may be subject to these dangers, but this topic is about the USA).

Yes the stock market did do a little bit of a plummet during the 9/11 attakcs but has since pretty much rebounded. It was not a very lasting thing. Future attacks would no doubt cause the same sort of occurance.

A few bombs do constitute a serious threat anyways. America is a big place, a few dozen dead would not in any hurt the nation as a whole, anymore than a gnat can hurt a lion.
Luna3

Pro

Your argument is that Al Qaeda can not do serious harm.
My argument is that it is historically evident that they already have. Ask a Russian about how faulty it is to underestimate the opponent. You'll get a mouthful.

In history, the number one mistake fallen countries always make is underestimating their opponent.

You keep resorting to the "America is too big for terrorism to be a big threat."

A serious threat, again, is not defined by the scope only, although scope is important. It is defined by whether or not it would persist if all of the current buffers were eliminated. Yes, it most certainly would.

In all curiousity, it would be interesting to find out your view on what is the most serious military threat the US faces today. I'd genuinely like to see a response on that.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Fimbulvintr 9 years ago
Fimbulvintr
The reality is, terrorism is a threat, however we often exacerbate the problem with our foreign policy.
Posted by Farooq 9 years ago
Farooq
Osama is a common name. How many Adolfs are named each day in Germany.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
farooq, What about the London bombings, they were lucky that only that many people died that day? What about the plot that was being planned to get Britian and the US using baby formula.What about the countless other plots that were stopped?
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