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The Iraq Intervention was Justified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 768 times Debate No: 39261
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Hello! We were discussing this earlier and I think this was the resolution we decided upon.

As this is such a contentious issue I hope voters will put personal beliefs aside and make judgement based on the quality of the debate.

Finally, good luck to whoever accepts! Looking forward to the first round of points, please remember your round one should NOT be your argument but rather acceptance.


1. Acceptance only
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttals
4. Closing arguments/rebuttals

Iraq Intervention- The 2003 campaign of an international coalition lead by the United States that removed Saddam Hussain and the Ba'ath party from power in Iraq.


I, Amy Van Zyl, accept this challenge and wish to enter into this debate with you.
Debate Round No. 1


Initial Thoughts

Thank you to Con for agreeing to debate this issue with me. I hope for an enlightening and interesting debate, I remind voters to assess the quality of the arguments over their personal beliefs. I am going to divide my argument into subsections, each covering part of the reason why I think intervention in 2003 was the best course of action to take.

Iraq as Losing its Sovereignty

In 2003 Iraq was imploding as a society, highly reliant on UN Oil for Food programs to feed its increasingly oppressed population while its psychopathic leader built palaces for him and his inner circle. Three conditions under which a country could be seen to have surrendered its sovereignty are as follows:
  • Violating the Genocide Convention, signatories to which(Iraq being Party):

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide. [i]

Iraq violated all five of these conditions repeatedly and casually. Notably, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were executed during a systematic attempt to exterminate the Kurdish population in Iraq in the Anfal operations in the late 1980s. They were tied together and shot so they fell into mass graves. Their towns and villages were attacked by chemical weapons, and many women and children were sent to camps where they lived in appalling conditions[ii]. In the Shia areas to the south, thousands of dissenters ‘disappeared’ at the hands of Saddams’ secret police.

  • Repeated aggression against neighbouring states.

Iraq invaded Kuwait in the first gulf war, burning 600 oil wells and uncapping 175 more. They released, deliberately, six million barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf causing not only an enormous environmental catastrophe but also a vicious attack on the sovereignty of a Muslim Arab country, a member of the UN and the Arab League.

Saddam’s casual human rights abuse and use of torture to repress the people of Kurdistan in the northern Iraqi provinces was one of the gravest violations of human rights in the last 20 years.

  • Violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty

What was known at the time of intervention was that Iraq had had a history of repeatedly violating the spirit of the treaty. Iraq, a military dictatorship had extensive chemical and biological weapons programs that were proven to exist and use. There were programs of ‘super-guns’, enormous artillery pieces capable of firing conventional and chemical shells that Saddam had a particular penchant for[iii]. Iraq, three months before the intervention were negotiating terms to buy North Korean missiles in Damascus[iv].

Post Saddamist Iraq

In 2003 Intervention in Iraq was the only option left for the International community and despite no resolution it was what was necessary at the time. Iraq was propped up by the OFFP(Oil For Food Program), and was essentially a ward of the international community; a vortex of destruction, repression and corruption with those at the bottom of the stack, the Iraqi people ignored for too long.

If Iraq was left, the slowly crumbling regime would have been a target for invasions from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey all seeing potential value in the destabilised country; that history would have been markedly different, with infinitely more misery and pain, in a country that has seen too much of both.

Out of the ruins of one of the world’s worst tyrannies, in an ancient land that has rarely known any kind of decent and constitutional governance; a democracy is struggling to be born. Civil society is springing up. With training and assistance from USAID’s office of Transition Initiatives, the National Endowment for Democracy. In one private university, a team of eight translators is at work full time translating works on democracy from English into Arabic[v].

Iraqi democrats of all ages believe passionately in the need to educate for democracy, from both secular and religious perspectives. Some Islamic thinkers, like Sayyed Fargat Qizwini, believe not only that Islam is compatible with democracy, but that a proper understanding of Islam makes democracy a moral imperativevi].

We now have about 80 radio stations and 25 television stations were broadcasting to Iraq in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen, and Neo-Aramaic. This is a country where under Saddam having a satellite dish or distributing a leaflet was punishable by death to you and your family.

Is this not a night and day difference?

Human Rights

All political parties other than the Ba’ath party are tightly controlled and perecuted, with every position of power occupied by members of the Ba’ath party, despite only constituting 8% of the population. These divisions were often drawn across ethnic and religious boundaries, with Shia Muslims not allowed to join. This created vast racial and sectarian hatreds in Iraq, with Saddams’ divide and rule policy doing lasting damage to Shia/Sunni relations.

After the failed 1991 Kuwait campaign, Saddam unleashed terror on an unprecedented scale on the civilians of Iraq yet again: this report by Human Rights Watch detail the extent of the repression:

‘In their attempts to retake cities, and after consolidating control, loyalist forces killed thousands of unarmed civilians by firing indiscriminately into residential areas; executing young people on the streets...shooting them en masse; and using helicopters to attack unarmed civilians as they fled the cities[vii].’

After the invasion both evidence of mass graves and torture chambers were found across the country. The former has been the site of work to identify the thousands of corpses, victims of Saddams’ Iraq[viii].

Final Thoughts

An interesting thought was put forward by Christopher Hitchens on the anti-war movement:

‘if we lived in the world that the anti-war movement had wanted Kosovo would have been ethnically cleansed, the Taliban would still be in power, al-Qaeda would be their guests and Saddam would have ownership over the Kurds in what was described as a concentration camp above ground and a mass grave underneath it.’

Humanitarian intervention is a post-cold war phenomenon, and has to be treated case by case, cynically and critically. But if states like the United States have the power to remove brutal dictatorships who pose a danger to the people inside and the countries without, why shouldn’t they be removed? Those who argue against intervention, what would the picture in Iraq now look like? These are questions that must be carefully considered and not just brushed off quickly. The spread of human rights and the democratic impulse is crucial in this era of human history.

I would like to finish on a hopeful note. Another point Hitchens made[ix] in the Galloway debate was the thought that by bringing democracy to Iraq this triggered the democratic impulse in the region, as we are now seeing with the Arab Spring. By removing the most brutal dictator, was this a factor in convincing protestors across the Arab world that these figures can and should be cast down? I certainly think so.

I remind Con that her next round should not be answering the points made above but rather laying out here case against intervention in Iraq.



VanZyl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


smoothpoints forfeited this round.


VanZyl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


smoothpoints forfeited this round.


VanZyl forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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