The Instigator
TheHitchslap
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Losing
20 Points

The Iraq War was Justified!

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
TheHitchslap
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,786 times Debate No: 35041
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (14)

 

TheHitchslap

Pro

Standard DDO Rules of Conduct Apply!

My BOP is to show that the Iraq War was justified!

Uhrah!
Cody_Franklin

Con

I accept, and I anticipate a pleasant exchange. In the absence of an articulated framework, I observe that there is not anywhere specified a particular species of justification. I suggest the scope of the debate be potentially limitless, by which I mean that the sort of justification we ought to demand be of the broadest, that is, the most final or fundamental, order. This implies that justifications relying on the assumed priority of something like a U.S. national interest are insufficient, not merely because Pro arguably does not have the luxury of axiomatizing its moral priority, but because, as the scope of this debate was not specified by Pro in his opening post, I think I have some leverage, as the contender, to define the terrain of our discussion. I assume in any case that Pro's argument will include not just the strategic political language of national interest, but a legitimating moral language which confers on justification a more substantive sense, but I want to make clear that I do not take this debate to be a narrow question of the benefit to the United States of conducting the Iraq War.
Debate Round No. 1
TheHitchslap

Pro

my opponent may use by all his pleasure events during or even after the Iraq War to justify his position, which is why I didn't proceed to limit the scope, I have no quarrels with this if he so chooses that route, and I agree that I will not just list off the benifits of the Iraq War to the US, I have a slightly differing argument I assure you.

Goodluck to my opponent.

Making the Case:

C1: Legality

...that's because I'm arguing that the US was compelled to go in! ;)

Resolution 260 III (A) or The Genocide Conventions, which were drafted by the UN in Dec of 1948. The very first line my audience will find reads very loudly and clearly the following:

“Article 1: The contracting parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish“

This document was formulated as a response to the atrocities of the Holocaust. To which the American president proudly proclaimed along with the UN “Never again!” in reference to the holocaust. Indeed, because of the context of the document (which was used in both the Rwandan trials and Yugoslav trials) the findings were clear: the parties involved have a defaulting responsibility to stop those crimes at all costs. This is a priori, and clearly non-negotiable.

The Geneva Conventions
never actually mention a "genocide" within it's text, however in it my audience can find the following line:

"Article 50: Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."

No state is ever allowed to commit excessive harm to civilians via military means; while not the exact same as Genocide, a Genocide would certainly fall into it's qualification. The US was upholding International law, and that even though they may not have went to the UN to justify the invasion, the document was designed to enable a "backdoor" to UN approval in order to attack when dire situations (I.E Genocide) called for them.

In fact, the UN and International Law required the US to enter even on principlled grounds, reffering to parties committing acts of genocide as “Enemies of Mankind” or “
Hostis humani generis”. This principal was used in several high profile cases, mainly Eichmann, Nuremburg, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, the Principal of Universal Jurisdiction may be used to justify invasion due to this hatred for humanity. There is no doubt, the invasion was justified on legal means.

C2: Lessons in History

Let's look at what my opponent is going to argue during this debate, and ponder the question “what would have happened should we stay out of it?” Even better, can we think of any examples? We have a few:


Rwanda, where the Clinton Administration was completely complacent in acting, making them de facto criminals as argued in my previous essay here: http://pierretrudeau2.blogspot.ca... should we stay out if we see what happened when we did in Rwanda? Clearly invasion was the right thing to do!

What about the Republic of China and Tibet? Where so may Tibetan monks have been persecuted, they flee to India?

What about Burundi? No intervention again during the Hutu/Tutsi killings

What about East Timor? Where the Indonesians starved, raped, and attacked the people residing there?

If the invasions of Yugoslavia never occured, then Melosovic would still continue his pruges, if we didn't invade Afghanistan Bin Laden very well may have been continuing to terrorize us to this day, and if we didn't invade Iraw an aincent civilization would have been wipped out, along with the Iraqi marshes (which is some of the oldest wetlands known to man and needed for scientific inqiry) and it's an outrage that in the face of international law, that each person who signs the document, proceeds to ignore it and with no basis or justification for doing so other than “were not interested”. What should interest them is the preservation of life, otherwise whats the use of the state? (We see with anarchism in Revolutionary Calationia that having a well trained army is essential, Francisco Franco beat them with ease)

C3: We Funded Them ... But The Logic Still Follows

Yes, there is no questioning it that Suddam was funded by the US during their invasion of Iran, shortly after the Iranian revolution. However, if we built this man up from our own money, and are inadvertently responsible for the death and destruction he caused, do we not have a responsibility to clean up our own mess? I think so, what makes us so arrogant that we could put such an evil man in power, that we turn around and say “Sorry Iraq, no longer our problem!”?

C4: The Contrarian View

Much to popular misconceptions, I suspect my opponent will maintain staying out of Iraq for two main reasons: 1) because it was claimed Al-Qaeda was in there and they weren’t and 2) because the US claimed they had WMD's and they didn't. When we look at the Iraqi Resolution passed by Congress, we see actually 12 reasons for going to war. Of those 12, only 2 were “half-right” technically speaking. Iraq ended their nuke program in the 1990's but never ended their gassing of the Kurds along with making life wuality so poor for them, they couldn't possibly have survived, and Al-Qaeda and Saddam didn't get along because it was reported that Bin-Laden wanted a Theocracy while Saddam wanted a secular state. In spite of this, Al-Q still assists Saddam Hussein as "Al-Q in Iraq" as a response to the US invasion. So what exactly were the 12 reasons for going to war?

-Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 ceasefire agreement, including interference with U.N. weapons inspectors.

-Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region."

-Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population."

-Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people".

-Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt on former President George H. W. Bush and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zonesfollowing the 1991 Gulf War.

-Members of al-Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq.

-Iraq's "continu[ing] to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations," including anti-United States terrorist organizations.

-Iraq paid bounty to families of suicide bombers.

-The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight terrorists, and those who aided or harbored them.

-The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism.

-The governments in Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia feared Saddam and wanted him removed from power.

-Citing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement.

Lying to your people with a half-truth spun, still wouldn't absolve you of your duties you signed as an enforcer in the face of the international community. No where does it say in the geneva conventions or Genocide conventions "but hold on folks! If your a deomcracy and you lie to your people, then suddenly you can ignore genocides!" I say again, it doesn't absolve the host country of it's duty to uphold such a deliciate law like International Law!

Conclusion:
The Iraq War was justified on humnaitarian grounds, legal grounds, and principal.

Thank you!

Hitchslapped!

Cody_Franklin

Con

Pro's C3 and C4 are defensive in nature against what he imagines I may argue. Any overlap between that and my own case will be covered in due course--what remains will not pertain to me--but my rebuttal will really be aimed primarily at Pro’s legal argument, his positive case for invasion. C2 is less an argument than a selective and emotional appeal to history: what is in question is whether the war is justified, not whether there would have been negative consequences for refusing to intervene.

C1: Legality

1. As I observed in R1, the justification we seek is of the final or fundamental sort. Pro has accepted my request not to limit the scope of the debate, and, as such, I would call into question the nature of the authority of law. By what right does law claim its authority? There are many potential explanations—a utilitarian might say that a law must tend to maximize the balance of good over evil, whereas a legal positivist might suggest that it requires as its source a just authority—but these answers really only raise further questions. By what standard is there really anything like “just authority”? Fundamentally, there is always something like sovereignty which constitutes the law. In democratic societies, sovereignty is attributed to an abstraction—the People. In traditional authoritarian and monarchical societies, a single ruler is sovereign. The Divine Right of Kings is the paradigm of this sort of rule. If law is legitimated by sovereign decree, then, it follows we should ask after the nature of sovereignty. While in the monarchy there is a transcendent foundation, God, we find in the contemporary secular world that a People, an abstract, unified political unit, has the say. And why is this? What is the nature of that right which confers on a sovereign its power? I have yet to find any such right, and, indeed, most of history’s sovereigns find themselves ruling not by right, but by mere reason of force. It was conquest that delimited the European powers as we know them, and, indeed, national autonomy was not considered a fundamental right of states until the Westphalia Accords of 1648. Even in the case of the American colonies—themselves established, the same as their Spanish and French counterparts, by force—the assumed right of a self-determined people to expand and flourish, the idea of Manifest Destiny, entailed the displacement and the slaughter of the natives. Sovereign power, and consequently, the authority of the law, find for themselves no real foundation, either transcendent or immanently ethical, but only force. Insofar as this is true, the authority of law, local or international, is hardly sufficient to confer on the Iraq War the order of justification we seek.

2. Suppose nevertheless that I grant the legitimacy of law—there remain many ways in which it does not justify the war. First, Articles 5 and 6 of the Genocide Convention [http://www.hrweb.org...] provide only for the trial, whether by competent domestic or international tribunal, of those accused of genocide. What is important about the requirement of competence is that, supposing a party to the convention is in such a state that it does not have the standing, moral, legal, or political, to conduct a trial, other powers must intervene. The only possible exception is in Article 8, which states: “Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3. While this includes, per Article 42 of the UN Charter [http://www.un.org...], the possibility of military force, this can only legally be sought through competent organs of the UN, among which (discounting for a moment arguments concerning the use by great powers of the UN to further their interests) is the Security Council; however, Pro readily admits that the US did not pursue the legal channels enumerated in these documents. Hence, even granting the authority of the law, the US was not following it. The possibility of a “backdoor” is also not made clear just from Article 50 of the Geneva Conventions.

3. If the law heretofore mentioned is to be strictly applied, we might question the standing of the United States to act. Consider some of the definitions of the crimes to which my opponent gestures, and consider concurrently some of the US’s actions respective of these crimes:

Genocide Convention, Article 2:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 3:

The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide.

Pro also references, in the Geneva Conventions, willful killing, torture, and inhuman treatment.

We know that the United States, especially during the course of the War on Terror, is likely guilty of many of these—the US tortures suspected terrorists in places like Guantanamo Bay; in Abu Gharib, many sorts of abuse took place, including physical and psychological abuse [http://www.newyorker.com...][ http://www.newyorker.com...], and the Justice Department, rather than trying outright to deny it, has released memos pointing to the potential justifiability of so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques [http://www.washingtonpost.com...]. Sanctions imposed since the early 1990s, despite having little effect on the regime and major negative impacts on civilians [http://www.mapw.org.au...], including widespread malnutrition, water and medical supply shortages, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children, took more than a decade—until Saddam had finally been captured—to repeal. And, as for the war itself, Wikipedia has been kind enough to gather a list of credible estimates—including AP, the Costs of War Project, Wikileaks cables, and the Lancet—of civilian deaths caused by the war and occupation [http://en.wikipedia.org...]. Indeed, as far back as the 1980s, we find the US even responsible for training and financing, as a foreign policy move, the Guatemalan military when it was committing clear acts of genocide during a long period of civil war [http://www.nytimes.com...]. The US has not lived up to its “Never again!” proclamation, not merely due to negligence, but owing to outright contradiction of its stated position. The United States has repeatedly violated the legal standards in the establishment of which it had a direct and very influential hand.

There is little, either in its motivating principles or in the manner in which it was conducted, to justify the Iraq War. This is to say nothing, moreover, of the numerous false premises, of which only two are claimed by Pro to be even minutely credible, on which the American public was initially led to support the invasion and occupation. Saddam was a criminal, but that neither excused nor justified becoming criminals to stop him.

Debate Round No. 2
TheHitchslap

Pro

Thank you for the rebuttals

I would first like to note, that my opponent mistakes a fallacy; namely, the appeal to history. At no point did I ever claim that “the old ways were best” or make any sort of appeal to tradition (as it is more commonly known as). The question does require the consideration of effects on the country after an invasion or no invasion. Thus, the consideration of other genocides and their outcomes should be considered to determine it's legitimacy to further the scope/context of this issue to understand a legitimate reason for invasion.

C1: Legality

In summary, my opponent seems to be suggesting here that all international law really is, is coercion of the strong over the weak; it's legitimacy is called into question here.

What is interesting is now my opponent seems to suggest that the other genocides I had mentioned previously, should be disregarded yet at the same time, the basis of his argument also rests on the notion of coercion by states to show the illegitimacy of International Law by using historical examples. However, my issue isn't the hypocrisy of this argument (that would be an appeal to hypocrisy) but rather the context in which his argument rests on. For instance, he uses the example of the native peoples in the US who get displaced during the countries history. The context is not applicable here as a legitimate example for several reasons: 1) at this time, while an honour system in war may have existed, it widely varied from country to country (Napoleon versus Czar Alexander for instance) so those norms of war were not universal 2) it isn't until the Geneva Conventions and UN that the norms of War do become universal and 3) that the times my opponent uses didn't require the consent of the parties involved, the UN is the complete opposite, and can only work on a pure voluntary/consenting basis.

What's it's legitimacy? The legitimacy of consenting to sign and abide by the treaty in the first place. Remember, they didn't have to sign the treaty, and they could even note their reservations before agreeing to terms for each and every individual country. For instance, the US pledges it would be fine with the conventions, on the condition that it doesn't interfere with the US Constitution. If it does, then the Constitution trumps and there is nothing the International Community can do about it. [http://www.preventgenocide.org... ] The fact of the matter is both the US, and Iraq consented to the document, and pledged to undertake all the rights and responsibilities placed in the document. There was no coercion here, and I thus submit that this argument stands.

C2: My opponent then goes on to claim that even if the law it's self was legit, then the document contradicts my position, namely articles 5,6, and 8.

My opponent is quoting out of context. For instance, article 5 states Contracting Parties undertake to enact, in accordance with their respective Constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention and, in particular, to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3.” Now to give effect, or to provide effective penalties clearly implies that other methods outside trials may also be used. My opponent quoted article 6, mainly that the consent of the offender is needed or the competent international community takes over (which Iraq did consent to, they did so through the conventions) and shows through the UN Charter Article 41, and 42 that only intervention is allowed through the organs of the UN. The issue here is also very clear as well, that they may be called upon, and both article 41, and 42 they may take action, this clearly implies that they may also reject getting involved at all leaving the country considering invasion in the first place the ability to do so legally. I readily admit that the US didn't pursue it, because the UN only works on the voluntarism principals it was founded upon, and furthermore, at no point is authority centralized upon the courts even by admission by my opponent in his own charters he selects. They may rule, or make a recommendation but it is up to the parties to enforce them. Ergo "prevent and punish"

“Article 39;
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations” [http://www.un.org...]

C3: US on Trial

My opponent asserts through the tortures of the prisoners in abu Ghariab and the US's imposition of sanctions against Iraq, furthermore, this goes as far back as the 1980's in Guataemala.

First, I shall concede to Guataemala incident. However, this is irrelevant, the question isn't if the US is guilty of crimes themselves (which I again concede for this specific example) but if the Iraq War was justified.

Secondly, I thereby submit to my opponent the Just War Theory (JWT), because this "War on Terror" my opponent notes, and the Geneva Conventions I noted earlier denounced as illegal "excessive civillian causalites" The problem is we were up against a uniformless enemy, a form of ideology that the US was trying to combat and no matter how ineffective or silly that notion may be, it was taken out of the Genocide conventions before being finalized. And the Just War Theory does take into consideration Jus Ad Bellum, and Jus In Bello, mainly that the reason for war is "just" (a grave public evil is being committed... genocide) and the conduct combatants adhere to must be maintained (military necessity) mainly that the deaths were not excessive, but due to the nature of the combatants here, that civilian deaths realistically can only be minimized. Harm caused to civillians was minimal, and often times unintentional (which if intent was shown, soldiers were court marshalled). My opponent notes the sanctions, but that only assists my argument, that this was a last resort action because all other methods were tried. And finally, as noted, the Oil-for-food program was mean't to impact the Iraqi state, but not harm civillians, however the reaction of Iraq was outright refusal to cooperate for years [https://en.wikipedia.org...] realistically, thats the fault of Iraq, not something the US should be held accountable for, the US tried to assist the people of Iraq and the program failed. Simply put what else was there?

Conclusion:
The Principals used in Nuremburg, Eichmann, Yugoslavia (Univerisal Jurisdiction and Enemy of Humanity) were used to establish the legitimacy of international law, furthermore, we see that the consent of parties is strikingly different than this pseudo-imperialism my opponent tries to use to make a point. The documents all show the legality of the Iraq War, and the humanitarian history of the US for Iraq, coupled with the theoretical framework used for War and the documents of International Law, the Iraq War was justified.

We both agree Saddam was a criminal, and there is no question that at times the US may act similarly (Guatamala) but that is irrelevant here, and furthermore, lets be realistic, one knows accidents happen in times of War regardless of if parties intentionally kill an innocent or not. But that's the key difference, the intent, and when fighting an ideology during the War on Terror, or taking over a whole country, those rates can only be minimized (and they should pragmatically) not completely abolished (realistically). The US never had the intent to kill Iraqi non-combatants, but the regime it's self. That's the difference, and the principal of military necessity justify this position.

Thank you!
Hitchslapped!

Cody_Franklin

Con

Concerning history, my contention was not with the use of historical examples, but with selection bias. The examples given are selected in such a way that they omit the UN's history of failed invasions--Somalia, Bosnia, and, though Pro seems to suggest in R2 that we stayed out, Rwanda. Thomas Jacobson's analysis of UN peacekeeping missions [http://www.idppcenter.com...] suggests not merely that the US-led UN attempted to keep the peace between Tutsi and Hutu, but that, when total civil war did break out, peacekeepers were unquestionably ineffective. Often, Jacobson notes, peacekeepers tend to retreat in the face of open conflict, even when this means leaving unattended the civilians they were deployed to protect.


Legality

I want first to make clear that I am not suggesting international law to be in its own right coercion of the weak by the strong—my argument is that its enforcement, as evidenced by its historically-inconsistent application to its signers, is informed more by geopolitical considerations than by legal impartiality. It is little wonder that the UN has not behaved in similar fashion toward the US as toward Iraq for its history of human rights abuse and wanton skirting of agreed-upon wartime conventions, including in the course of the Iraq War, since, for over twenty years, the US has provided 25%--several hundred million dollars—of the UN’s yearly budget [http://www.fas.org...]. The next closest contributor is Japan, whose 2010 contribution was less than half of the US’s ($264.9 million vs $532.4 million). The moral authority of international law rightly comes under serious scrutiny when its application in matters of crimes against humanity is heavily mediated by the financial and political influence of its most powerful members. The fact that the UN, as Pro acknowledges in R2, more or less stood by, offering only meek condemnations, when the US set to its invasion without soliciting formal international approval. This is why I submit that, if in fact consent to the same statutes produces radically different legal outcomes such that concurrent with consent is de facto immunity based on power, I am skeptical that the law is really legitimated in this way.

To be clear, there are two levels of argumentation on my side: in criticizing first the authority of law, I am not arguing that the Iraq War was unjustified: I am arguing that the lack of a fundamental legitimation of law nullifies the dichotomy between justified and unjustified—that is, that the Iraq War is neither justified nor unjustified, because there is really nothing like justification that could be conferred on it. The second level of argumentation takes this framework for granted, arguing that, even should you accept it, there are several ways of calling the war unjustified, including US authority to conduct the war, the US’s criminal conduct in the war, the premises on which the public was led to support it, etc.

As a brief digression concerning my use of the native displacement example, I think the context is wholly applicable, not because the legal standards were identical—naturally, they weren’t—but because the underlying principle of legal authority, whether in the case of westward expansion or the Iraq campaign, is sovereign exceptionalism. It is on this basis of this exceptionalism that the US was able to claim the right to displace and slaughter the native populations, and the prerogative to invade Iraq without either a clear defensive motivation (indeed, it is touted by Pro as a proactive humanitarian intervention) or substantive international consultation. In fact, one of the reasons that the US decided to withdraw most of its combat forces from Iraq is less a matter of a successful campaign and more one of the refusal to continue formal recognition of US exceptionalism in the form of statutory immunity in Iraqi courts [http://www.npr.org...][ http://www.huffingtonpost.com...].

C2

I think there is some understandable semantic confusion concerning use of the word “may” in the UN charter—specifically, in Articles 41 and 42. The sense I see Pro giving it is the same as “I may do X, I may not”; however, given the constitutional nature of the Charter, my understanding is the same as telling a student he may use the bathroom—the Articles are in question are delimiting the UN’s authority to act, rather than signifying that the UN might or might not behave a particular way. In any case, I find this line of argument peculiar, because Pro’s stance on legality in his opening arguments was praising the US for upholding international law, but, in fact, acting unilaterally, they were skirting the statutes to which they had agreed. Setting aside all the “may” language, consider the definiteness of Article 39, which specifies that “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.” Whatever backdoors Pro suggests exist, this article makes it clear that any measures pursuant to rectifying a breach of the peace, which breach is to be determined, for international law, by the Security Council, must be sought through the UN, and, for matters of military force, Article 46 explicitly specifies that “Plans for the application of armed force shall be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee.”

And, barring cases of self-defense, in which individual states retain independent discretion (Article 51), Section 2 of Article 48 states, “Such decisions [of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security (48.1)] shall be carried out by the Members of the United Nations directly and through their action in the appropriate international agencies of which they are members.” Further, in the Genocide conventions (all of these documents having been linked in R2), any dispute concerning application of the agreed-upon statutes, “including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide”, can be referred either to competent organs of the UN (Article 8), who may act under the authority just discussed under the UN Charter, or, at the request of one of the disputants, to the International Court of Justice (Article 9). I see no room in “effective penalties”, either in the conventions or the charter, for unilateral initiation of military force.

C3: US on Trial

While Pro suggests historical examples of US wrongdoing are inadmissible, my argument in R2 centers not merely on the grossly political application of the statutes as discussed above, but also about the US’s moral authority to pursue retribution for crimes against humanity given the contingency of its humanitarian activity on political advantage—in addition to Guatemala, we can recall the deposition of a democratically-elected leader in Iran in 1953, funding of the Contras, positive or ambiguous relations with authoritarian rulers like Mubarak and Qaddafi, training of the Mujahideen, and the admitted funding of Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war. One of the requirements of jus ad bellum is right authority, in neither the moral nor legal sense of which the US appears to possess. Concerning jus in bello, even discounting the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, evidence for the minimization or necessity of which is specious, the record of human rights abuse, environmental and nutritional damage, displacement, destruction of infrastructure—evidence of US carelessness, in other words—are thoroughly documented [http://web.mit.edu...][http://rt.com...][http://www.amnesty.org...].

Out of space. Nice R3 Hitch.

Debate Round No. 3
TheHitchslap

Pro

First, in closing thank you to my opponent! I enjoyed this exchange, and I greatly admire the intellect my opponent has displayed during the discourse of this debate.

History, Legality, and US Foreign Policy:

Rwanda: I know the debate isn't about this specifically, however, I must reply, having read Romeo Dallaire's Shake Hands with the Devil this Canadian General showed evidence and his own testimony that the forces in Rwanda even knew about the genocides were going to happen before they actually did and still refused to do anything, and the only forces to enter were Belgium, and Sudan soldiers dawning the UN Barrets. Dallaire was told to stand down, even when he knew where the arms caches to committ the genocides were and even varified. The UN prevented him from doing anything.


Secondly, as I noted earlier my opponent cites the failures or inconsistencies of US foreign policy during the course of this debate. As I noted earlier this is irrelevant, he makes an appeal to hypocracy when doing so. The problem with places such as Guatamala, for instance, or indigenous removal during the US presidency of Andrew Jackson, or the Iran-Contra affairs is the context in which they take place to justify their legitimacy or not. For instance, the native removal lacked UN body existing at that time to set up a framework of legality or not. Whereas today we do, and we're only talking about Iraq under Bush Jr. Not any other time of war. Furthermore, I agree that what is inconsistant is the application of enforcement, but that's precisely why me and my opponent agree here and discus Rwanda, we see what happens when it is unenforced, a national outrage and death ensure, which is an argument for invasion not against it.

My opponent further submits the conduct of the US was poor, that the framework for the legitimization is unfounded. But the documents notes that they (being the US and Iraq) were never coerced into signing, thus the consent of both parties still remains to the document, so I kindly disagree with my oponent here, he should accept the framework for it, this is also because of Nuremburg, Eichmann, Yugoslavia, etc... And although the conduct was poor, this ignores the scandals in which the people prosecuted for it, and furthermore, ignores the JWT. Even then, it's once again an appeal to hypocracy and is irrelevant. There will always be unintentional deaths in War, what matters is the intention in which it takes place. Which was to liberate a people who were massively persecuted. Should they have been left to fend for themselves they would have surely died.

The articles: but it does state may, they have the option of giving that consent or not, and even then it is widely known that the UN only can enforce her laws on the basis of voluntarism. The UN can only make recommendations, not enforce the laws it's self, that it requires on it's members. Canada's handling of the native pop. is an example of this. Furthermore, as noted earlier the cases of Yugoslavia, Nuremburg, Eichmann, etc.. All put the genocide conventions in context, that an "exception" can be made legally for the party enforcing the law, so long as other means have been tried. The Iraqi Oil for food program didn't work, what esle was there? Invasion. Iraq didn't despute it's legitimacy, nor did it make an exception to the conventions to recognize her constitution over those docs when signing (as noted earlier) case and point, the competent UN organs can be consulted, but the US did simply by using the Conventions.

Finally the JWT may use any of those justifications for invasion, I make the case for military necessity due to the pragmatic application of war, a general would be a fool to invade and expect so much as 1 civillian casualty to be criminal, it realistically isn't possible when all other means were tried and death still resulted espescially in the Iraqi Oil program. What else was there? Death by being idle? Or death via invasion for liberation?

In short, I still feel the legality of the war is justified. The basis of International Law in which it rests upon may indeed be flawed, but it is necessary. It saved the Kurdish people.

Why Vote for Me?

Indeed, this shall be a tough case, I have a worthy foe however, here is why I feel I won.

-The framework of International Law was used in Eichmann, Nuremburg, etc... so the legality of the framework in it's practical application may be flawed, but it does work and is enforceable.
-The Genocide Conventions, Geneva Conventions justify invasion when considering the Oil for Food Program and it's failures, you cannot force Iraq to take food.
-UN works on the principals of vulintarism
-The inconsistancies of the application for war is Irrelevant (appeal to hypocracy)
-Justified on principal (enemy of man, universial jurisdiction, etc..) and humanitarian grounds (no despute that Saddam was a tyrant in need of removal.
-The conduct of the US was poor at times, however those people were arrested and tried when they happened. Outrage ensued by public.
-We have seen the effects of genocide before, they are not pretty, and thus, there should be no question that invasion was the way to go (espescially Rwanda and the prior knowledge)
-There was 12 reasons for going to war, the US only got 2 half-wrong. One of which was the killing of kurds, which is covered under the conventions.

Thank you to my opponent for a pleasant exchange! I hope we have the fun of debating one another again in a later date! *Shakes opponents hand*

Thank you!
[removed due to people complaning about conduct in my other debates, even though it's just a signature and in no way was mean't to be disrespectful apologies to my opponent if he did find it distasteful]
Cody_Franklin

Con

1. It is worth noting that one of the most crucial distinctions between Rwanda and Iraq is the general absence in the latter case of UN personnel. What is in question for me is not only or not so much whether international law might grant to the UN the power to act, but whether it confers on the US the ability to unilaterally declare the Iraqi government a threat and deploy under its own name thousands of soldiers. Recall that the US neither sought UN approval nor heeded subsequent condemnations of the invasion. This implies that any claimable authority originating in the Genocide Conventions and the UN charter was squandered by US obstinacy. Pro often insists I accept the framework of international law (odd though I think it is to hold as the paradigm the disquieting example of the Nuremberg trials), but, while I have granted it tentative legitimacy for the sake of argument, it is actually the US who appears, by its actions, not to accept its authority.


2. I am not merely speaking of hypocrisy. There are two separate levels of argument: first, though he suggests I ignore it, I allude in R3 to the requirement in Just War Theory of right authority (contrary to Pro’s suggestion, JWT requires that all of its criteria must be met, not “any of those justifications”). As I have indicated above, both in this round and in others, it is difficult to see how the US had any legal authority under international law to act. All of the documents cited by Pro and I in this debate clearly confer discretionary authority on competent organs of the UN, the Security Council in particular. If anyone should have pursued just military intervention, it is this right authority. Nevertheless, I think Pro has also glossed over the case against the US’s moral authority to act. Pro indicates that the US, by invading Iraq, is merely honoring its historical commitment to ensure that “never again” will genocides on the scale of the Holocaust occur. My counterargument is more than a suggestion of hypocrisy—I argue outright that the US’s selectivity in pursuing this commitment’s realization, and the egregious instances of contradiction (like Guatemala, Iran-Contra, and treatment of native tribes), make it clear that its humanitarianism is mediated—clouded, perhaps—by national interest, something which can never be just cause in the context of JWT (which context, despite the absence in earlier times, according to Pro, of cohesive international law, has been written on by scholars for well over a millennium). Pro’s only counterargument has been the unsupported intimation of a “backdoor” or an “exception” for individual parties. Apart from the fact that such a loophole has only been alluded to, rather than explicitly cited, we may also take the US’s complete failure to persistently solicit UN approval for the invasion as an indication that not every alternative was exhausted, implying that, even if this loophole could be proven to exist, the US could not invoke it here.

The second layer of argument concerns the consensual nature of law, which argument Pro, apart from repeating his insistence that each party has consented (“the documents notes [sic] that they… were never coerced into signing”), leaves unaddressed. To avoid wasting space by rehashing my argument, I suggest only that you see the first paragraph of C1 in R3. I will say I bring up examples of US conduct to call into question whether consent is really sufficient to legitimate law given the manner of its application.


3. Speaking more about civilian casualties and US conduct in the war in the context of jus in bello, I think Pro’s argument is misleading. Even if we grant that there is nothing so criminal during a campaign about one civilian casualty, I want to make clear that we are not talking about one civilian casualty, or a hundred, or a thousand (this latter number, mind you, being the threshold, according to the Correlates of War, to declare an intrastate conflict a civil war)—we’re talking, according to the estimates I linked in R2 [http://en.wikipedia.org...], about well over 100,000. Given that the death toll in the Rwandan Genocide is estimated to be over 500,000, the argument from military necessity is, at best, highly dubious. If we accept such an argument, the further question is raised of how many such casualties may be justified before necessity is really just recklessness and negligence (assuming minimal overt malevolence).

Moreover, we are not speaking only of civilian deaths: as I suggest at the end of R3 and elsewhere, with multiple citations, we’re also looking at damage to nutrition, infrastructure, the environment, mass displacement, and rampant human rights violations (many instances of which, like “enhanced interrogation” in Guantanamo, are still operational and immune to prosecution, not to mention the high-ranking officials who were never prosecuted for the orders they gave or their knowing complicity in these same offenses, and others of which were defended by long-standing statutory immunity in Iraqi courts, as I indicated and sourced in R3 when discussing exceptionalism). Frankly, even if you reject every other argument I’ve made against justification for invasion (and, specifically, for US authority to invade unilaterally), it is undeniable that the manner in which the Iraq War was actually conducted is unquestionably unjustifiable.


To recite and conclude, my case is this: The law really has no authority here, and there is nothing like legitimacy that could be conferred on it, including, considering the law’s actual operation, by consent. Even if it has authority, I offer an explicit, thoroughly-sourced legal argument demonstrating that the US had no legal authority (and a historical argument likewise impugning its moral authority) to act. Yet, even supposing there was some statutory exception, any initial justification was irremediably wasted by the US’s horrendous and documented botching of the campaign.

Good debate.

Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Serb 2 years ago
The_Serb
There is nothing wrong with torturing POWs
Posted by Eitan_Zohar 3 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
Sh*t.
Posted by Eitan_Zohar 3 years ago
Eitan_Zohar
I'll vote. It's basically a wash right now, so mine will probably be decisive.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 3 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Win some, lose some.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Jesus, how is Cody losing this?
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
@gordonjames: I never called it a votebomb, it clearly has only 3 points not 7 (yes some mentally lacking people call everything votebombs; including 0 points... yes I've seen actual "CVB" requests against 0 points). However the RFD is weak due to how short it is.

I first countered another user who did a Fluff vote ("voting and countering"), after they changed theirs into a real vote, I changed mine to counter yours (as their fluff vote previously did), to encourage better voting habits. Your message to pro would actually have been a great RFD were you to copy it into the vote window.
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
@Ragnar.

I am surprised by your "CV Gordan James... Please expand your reasoning a little; for example"

I want to post a copy of my response to TheHitchslap when he informed me of your vote and reference. He said I should expand my reasoning because of your accusation of vote bombing.

********************************************* To Hitch
I thought about it, but I don't think I will get into the VB discussions.
People either accept your vote, or the don't.

Your argument was more convincing to me.
That is why you got the vote.

Incidentally, you did change my view that the war was legally justified (which may or may not relate to if it was worth doing or morally the best thing to do.)

If I were going to change my vote it would be all points to you as a "CV against Ragnar", but that is a little too childish for me.
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
Pro based his argument on international laws and focused on the humanitarian side. I didn't see a good counter from Con, nor do I accept his definition of morality. Nonetheless, Con was very articulate and witty and argued well for his case. I agree with Con's position, but I didn't find his arguments more convincing than Pro. Pro's were slightly more convincing. The best part of the debate was when Pro said, " The US never had the intent to kill Iraqi non-combatants, but the regime it's self. That's the difference, and the principal of military necessity justify this position."
Posted by Sower4GS 3 years ago
Sower4GS
Are we to lay down and let our enemies topple our cities? Of course not.

Problem is this sinful country (America) hates the Torah. Also there is no Levitical Systen Established through YHWH and the Mashiach right now to properly deal with the affairs of dealing with the enemies of YHWH's people Israel. America? She has abandoned God. Babylon is fallen. It's almost like evil fighting evil. Gather your family, get a few things and head for the Hills. Judgement is coming soon. You have seen nothing yet, I am here to inform you all.FalsePeace is coming first, though, to further deceive, then? Utter Horror, within the time period of 3 & a half years utter evil is going to come to this earth, sheer despair. When? Not much longer. We don't know the exact time but we know the season of Mashiach's return. Prepare now. REPENT in Yahushua's name!
Posted by TheHitchslap 3 years ago
TheHitchslap
cody he has posted this on all my recent debates,
just report it as spam.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 3 years ago
1Historygenius
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to pro. I felt that his arguments of the history and legality of US policy were better off and more convincing than Con, who did debate strongly himself but was unable to refute Pro's arguments. Everything else was pretty even.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Bruinshockeyfan, if they complete a real RFD or remove their vote. Please PM me to remove my counter. Thank you,
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
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Reasons for voting decision: Fml let me try this one more time. Arguments to con due to the fact I think the logically countered all of Cons assertions and points. I also think Con derailed a few points. apologies for countering josh prior to this I thought he issued a conduct point not S&G, i am really sleepy. All together at the end of this I am still neutral. I just think pro offered better rebuttals and addressed every point directly.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 3 years ago
MrJosh
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO lost the debate when he admitted that the US didn't follow the proper channels outlined by the body that drew up the law he is claiming authorized their invasion. PRO tries to get around this by writing "the document was designed to enable a "backdoor" to UN approval," but this is an unsubstantiated claim. S&G to CON due to many errors on PRO's part.
Vote Placed by Bruinshockeyfan 3 years ago
Bruinshockeyfan
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Reasons for voting decision: Hi hitchslap!
Vote Placed by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt that Con failed to effectively refute Pro's arguments. So arguments go for Pro, even though the debate was very tied.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a good one. Pro argued that international law says the Iraq war was justified. Con objected the the legitimacy of international law. But Pro showed we should accept it because it was used in Nuremberg and has worked. He also sorta argues from natural law. From the effects of genocide, which Con didn't respond to. Con argues the conduct of the US was poor, but Pro pointed out this is irrelevant. Arguments mainly go to Pro because Con didn't do well in refuting his legality arguments. Everything else is tied. Tie on sources, both sides had reliable sources. Same with conduct and S+G.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
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Reasons for voting decision: CV Gordan James... Please expand your reasoning a little; for example "As pro explained early in his argument, the US is a signatory on various international treaties; giving them a moral duty to intervene against human rights violations in Iraq."
Vote Placed by JustinAMoffatt 3 years ago
JustinAMoffatt
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD: Conduct was tied. I'm not a fan of the "Hitchslapped!" catch phrase, personally. But I don't think it's worth a conduct violation. S/G- Con had nearly (if not absolutely) impeccable grammar. Pro, it's just not your strong suit. Args- Ah, here we go... In the end, it came down to whether the war was legally justified. I rejected the argument that stated "since the U.S. isn't being prosecuted for war crimes, they have no legitimacy to do so to others". This is, as Pro validly stated, hypocrisy. Almost every other argument went to Con, however, I think that only one form of justification was needed for the BOP to be filled, and this was found in the legal justification argument. However, this was very close. Kudos to both of you. Sources- Quite frankly, the use of sources by the both of you impressed me greatly. Again, kudos. Way to do your homework.
Vote Placed by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
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Reasons for voting decision: I had never considered the legal requirement for signatories of international treaties to respond.