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The Global War on Terror is a Worthwhile Response to Acts of Terror

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,796 times Debate No: 36554
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (1)




A recent round of high alerts and embassy closings, inspired by media savvy criminals, has caused millions of Americans to begin collectively fan-girling in abject terror.

"Omigodomigod honey, a terrorist! Get the broom!"


Causing the home of the brave to puddle itself in fear has become a sort of low-hanging fruit for "terrorists" worldwide. The American media, ever watchful for high-paying hyperbolic hysteria, does its best to advertise for these criminals, and America consequently cowers.

But, before we start shredding our Bill of Rights (with the exception of the Second Amendment for gods sakes; freedom), and bombing some developing country into the Iron Age, perhaps some of us should remind our timid friends that these fears are overblown.

"Darling, it's a terrorist, not a spider. Get off the chair."

"But, I am afraid of terrorists, kill it!"

"You are acting like it is something dangerous, like a spider or a mouse. Get off the chair, and hand me the broom. I'll shoo it outside."

Political "leaders" within the United States have built entire careers on the premise that they can keep us 'safe' from the horrors of international terrorism. They have heroically suppressed the ominous "terrorist threat," in the ultimate strawman match. They have spent hundreds of billions of dollars 'protecting' the American public from non-Christian Arabs who live in Arab-places and worship Muhammad. Or something. But, be afraid.

They do not mention that foreign terror groups kill fewer Americans than mice, or spiders. They do not mention how easy it is to 'keep America safe' from the threat of video-taped beheadings and Sharia Law.

"No! Don't shoo it outside; they carry diseases. You have to kill it. Then, we need to duct tape the house up, and go burn down the neighbors home, because that is where it came from. Then, we need to put out a mortgage on our home to pay our son to go into the neighbors house as it is burning, and stomp more terrorists."

"But, our son might die, and we might kill the neighbors..."

"No! We have to do it!"

"There, look: it's flown out the window. The terrorist is gone."

"Borrow against our house, burn the neighbor's home..."

"Honey, please calm down..."

"I will not calm down! FREEDOM!!"

The Global War On Terror has caused crippling levels of American debt at a time when such an astronomical level of investment could have helped aid economic recovery from the Great Recession. Sober estimates calculate that over one hundred thousand human deaths have been directly caused by the American military response to terrorism. America has become known as the Western nation that will use human torture, and will openly attack international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions... as opposed to protecting, strengthening and expanding the mission of human rights. The American perspective can often be summed up as, "we have not given them enough reason to hate us... yet."

Americans have also been eager to place caveats all over the American Bill of Rights, whose role in history is not surpassed by the Magna Carta.

All of this sacrifice, all of this destruction, in order to protect us from a 'threat' that kills fewer Americans than mice, or spiders.

How Lethal is Terrorism in the United States?

If we count only "international, Muslim terrorists, then the likelihood that any particular American citizen might be killed in an act of terror plummets into near insignificance. Most Americans who die from acts of terror are killed by the hands of other Americans. The most likely such victim of a terror attack in the US is black, Native American, gay, non-Christian, or Hispanic.

If we remove these victims of terrorism, and count only attacks by international, Islamic terrorists, then the victim count drops to a very low level. So low, in fact, that it becomes difficult to calculate. If an American wants to avoid being killed to death by an evil terrorist who is not white, Christian, or American, then no action is needed. No protective steps are necessary. All such defenses can be carried out in the "background," by law enforcement and investigative agencies.

In the United States of America, it is literally easier to be killed by a dead chicken than by an Arabic terrorist.

This Debate:

In this debate, I will argue that the American response to acts of terror is not justified, or worthwhile. I will argue that the excessive political killings conducted by the US, the damage done to the rights of the American citizenry, the costs involved, and the irrational fear of many Americans are not worthwhile based on the terrorist attacks alone.

My opponent will need to do the opposite, and argue that these things are necessary components to the American response to terror.

Burden of Proof is shared.

This analysis may include attacks against the United States interests abroad, and may encompass the entire history of the United States from 1815 on. (Only actual terrorist attacks originating in Africa, Asia and the Middle East may be considered; not paramilitary attacks or assassinations.)

I do not intend for this to be a semantic argument. Any attempt to argue from another definition than the ones provided below will result in full forfeiture, and a seven point penalty in my favor. Any attempt to play semantic gotchas is a matter of interpretation, but I ask that my opponent agree to forfeit these points now as penalty for such action in this debate.

The first round should be set aside for Acceptance, and broad arguments. Arguments presented here will not require rebuttal.

Drops cannot be counted as concessions.


There is no universally accepted definition of Terrorism, which presents challenges in debates such as this. Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” [2]

This definition is overbroad, and can be used to describe almost any unlawful action by any person.

Therefore, the following definition will be accepted for this debate:

"Terrorism is a military/political tactic that uses fear and intimidation as it's primary method of subduing an enemy."

Additionally, the only terrorists that can be evaluated in this debate are Arabic, Muslim, and non-American.

Explanation of the definition:
The use of an anti-tank missile, no matter how terrifying, can never be considered an act of "terrorism," because the actual damage caused by the missile is the primary means of subjugation. Likewise, threatening such catastrophic damage is not "terrorism," since the damage itself remains the primary means of subjugation if the opponent wishes to engage in combat.

Threatening to take and execute hostages, on the other hand, constitutes an act of terrorism, since the actual killings cannot, by themselves cause a target audience to submit to the political goals of the terrorist.

The anti-tank missile will destroy a target regardless of whether or not the target is afraid. Executing hostages does nothing unless an audience is aware that the killings have occurred, why they happened, and feels irrational fear as a result.

Justified/Worthwhile: Semantics are not allowed. These terms are used only to indicate actions that produce beneficial results.





Soz am i debating for or against it soz
Can u be the pro and i be con
Here is my simple argrument
The U.S.A started the terrorism in the middle east so if they are the ones paying it is their fault. They were the ones who created the taliban to oppose the U.S.S.R but when they retreated they left them on their own.
Also the Iran-Iraq war was caused for no reason, it was started due to the U.S.A
I finish my debate here and might forefiet all other rounds

Debate Round No. 1


Unjustified, irrational fear is the goal of fear-crimes such as terrorism. Giving in to this fear is not a worthwhile response to acts of terror; it is, in fact, an important incentive to terror.

Fear is the tool of the terrorist at least as much as the coward is his unwitting ally.

The terrorist is the person who uses weaponized fear as a tool with which to subdue his opponent. If he uses weaponized weapons, then he is no longer a terrorist; he is a swordsman, or a cavalryman, or a rifleman.

The terrorist attack attempts to cause fear. If the response to this attempt to cause fear is to have members of a society scream about in terror, and attack everything in sight like mindless cattle, then the sower of fear has placed a dangerous saboteur within society.

He has morphed his fear-seed into chaos, and has found voices who are trusted by his enemies to tell them how terrible he is.

The terrorist cannot hope for better than to have his crimes inspire the fear-industry to employ the coward-lobby to inspire the war-profiteers to monetize the effects of his terrorism.


TheAwesomeRuler forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I extend my arguments.


TheAwesomeRuler forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Nothing more can be said here.


TheAwesomeRuler forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
I end here, case made.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
I will always pre-screen the debates that I actually want to have from now on, wricirw. I was unaware of how this was done, so thank you for explaining. I do not explore the site very far; I leave this Chrome window open, along with (always) an Excel Spreadsheet that needs to be completed, and (usually) a Daily Report that needs to be filled out. I enjoy passing my free time at work here... but that habit limits my familiarity with the site. Much of the time, this window has been minimized, so I am reading through a strawhole. I'm not even certain what my win-loss ratio is, or where I might find it out.

I am disappointed in how all of this has turned out as well, and so have decided that I should take a less amateurish approach. Robert's Rules of Order....
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago

May I recommend pre-screening for an opponent?

Basically, when setting up the debate, what I typically do is to set the criteria for acceptance to some sort of impossible parameter. An easy example would be to go to the "advanced options" while specifying the "opponent", and setting the parameters to someone who has been in 3 or less debates, yet has a higher ELO than you. It's simply not possible for anyone to fit that description if you have a decent W/L ratio (which of course you do).
Posted by Mikal 5 years ago
What the guy below me said, I was hoping to see a good debate on this topic. This will just be a steamroll
Posted by ararmer1919 5 years ago
Wow... Real unfortunate that this is the person that accepted the debate. Real sad. I was hoping to see some good $hit. Instead we get this poor little guy who demonstrates complete and total lack of understanding the subject, history, and well the whole thing in general. Real unfortunate.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
Thank you, DWolf;

The debate has been re-instigated several times, due to my almost pathological incompetence at attracting any debater to test it. I have also tried sending it to Roy Latham (below), who also rejected it.

I wanted to make the contest 'semantics free,' which is a common habit here. Semantic sorcery can turn a phrase on its head ("We don't need no education" becomes a statement of endorsement for the public education system by Roger Waters, for example. Because of the double negative... we don't 'not' need education.)

To this end, I worried that the term "worthwhile" presented a potential for such abuse; I cannot defend the assertion that the GWOT is not worthwhile to any party at all. I am sure that there is someone who has found it beneficial.

I suppose that the most succinctly I could describe the term 'worthwhile' would be:
"Worthwhile: A useful response that is not contraindicated by terrorist attacks."

I mean to discuss the usefulness of our response. Is it useful - to the US - to kill one hundred thousand non-extremists in Iraq (one example)? If not, then I argue that doing so is not also worthwhile.
Posted by D.Wolf 5 years ago
I have noticed different versions of this debate have been attracting a lot of attention. Before accepting, I would like you to succinctly state what exactly you mean by "worthwhile".
Posted by joe_dev 5 years ago
I would take this challenge but I could not debate it fully because the only thing I need is 2977.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
"If Lex Luthor hides an actual nuclear bomb in a major city, there are very good reasons to fear him... reasons that are far from irrational. This is the opposite of "terrorism," which can only use fear."

lol, yeah, so I was wondering why I was so apprehensive about taking PRO on this one, and the above sentence pretty much encapsulates why.
Posted by TN05 5 years ago
DeFool - Well, I believe you changed the debate title, which is a good change because it sets out what this debate is about better. In this case, the sides are clearly defined - one supports the War on Terror as a good response to terrorism, the other doesn't.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff