The Iraq War was justified
Debate Rounds (5)
Iraq War--The 2003 invasion of Iraq by the 'Coalition of the Willing'.
Justified--Having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason
I will be defending the following arguments in this debate in order to prove the Iraq war was justified. The burden of proof is shared. I must prove these arguments to be true, while my opponent must prove they are false, while presenting his own case against the war as well.
(1): Saddam Hussein gave support to worldwide terorrist organizations that attacked the United States of America and its allies. Iraq also provided shelter and comfort to terorrists who had attacked the United States before. Furthermore, Iraq had an intent to attack America and American allies too.
(2): The Iraq War was nessecary in order to punish the Baathist leaders for their past genocides and war crimes. It was also nessecary to prevent the further deaths of 200,000 to 250,000 Iraqi civilians. The Genocide Convention and the need to prevent another Rwanda justify the legality of the war.
(3): Saddam Hussein had to be removed from power because he planned to begin his WMD program after sanctions were lifted. Sadam Hussein still retainted the knowledge to begin a WMD program again, and many of his chemical weapons programs could be started again within two years. Saddam Hussein also had a netowrk of chemical weapons labratories and safehouses that were suitable to restart the chemicakl weapons program.
(4): The Iraq War significantly hurt the cause of global terrorism and jihadi.
Sources and Rules
1: All sources must be linked to, and they must be avaible and free to the audience.
2: Dropped points are concessions.
3: Ad hominem attacks in the comments section or in this debate will cost that person conduct points.
4: The first round is for acceptance.
http://en.wikipedia.org...). This distinguishes the Iraq War as a whole from just the initial invasion.
In a debate of such complexity, I recognize the need to be both mindful of my character counts and the headaches of readers, which is why I intend to advance only a single argument in this debate, which also just so happens to be a particularly strongly held belief of mine:
War is never justified
The rational behind this point is that even if my opponent's points prove that a response was warranted, it does not prove that war ought to be that response. My case will be that electing to go to war was neither a good nor legitimate response. Note that I do not need to defend that there was a justified alternative (which there was, but that is beyond the scope of this debate) - I merely need to show that war is not a justified option, particularly in this context.
In addition to presenting this argument, I intend to refute all four of the arguments my opponent has presented.
The rules my opponent has presented are good in the context of the topic.
With that in mind, I hereby accept my opponent's challenge, and look forward to a fun debate.
(1.1) Abu Abbas was the founder and leader of the Palestine Liberation Front. The PLF was responsible for the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking. During this hijacking, an elderly and disabled Jewish man (also a U.S. citizen) named Leon Klinghoffer was murdered by the PLF (Abu Abbas being one of the hijackers) and thrown overboard. This man posed no threat to the hijackers, and was sitting in a wheelchair when the hijackers shot him in the forehead and chest. The obvious cause for this shooting was that he was a Jew.
Saddam Hussein welcomed Abu Abbas into his country. After the attack, he made his way to Baghdad, Iraq. Here, he spent the rest of his time commanding the PLF, with Saddam Hussein making it impossible for him to be extradited to the United States for crimes including terrorism, piracy, and murder. It was only until the Iraq war that Abu Abbas was finally killed.
The Mujahadeen-e-Khalq was funded by Saddam Hussein. They are an anti-Iranian terorrist group that launched attacks on American citizens Iran. As the Council on Foriegn Relations states, 'The People's Mujahedeen of Iran, more commonly known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq or MEK, is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States for its killing of U.S. personnel in Iran during the 1970s and its links to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and 1990s.'
(1.2) Saddam Hussein funded suicide bomb attacks in Israel and Palestine. BBC states that over $35 million dollars have been awarded to the families of suicide bombers between 2000 and 2003. Since there was $10000 dollars rewarded to each family, it means that Saddam Hussein funded over 3,500 suicide bomb attacks in just three years. Had he be left in power, this number would be 10,500 by the end of 2012.
Considering this, it should worry us that Document BIAP 2003-000654 of the Iraqi Operation Freedom Documents was a request by Mohamad Majid Mahdi, the commander of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base, stating 'we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us. This shows that not only did Saddam support suicide bombing in Palestine and Israel, but that the Iraqi government had plans to strike American interests with these attacks.
Saddam Hussein also plotted against the UK. A three-page Iraqi Intelligence memo regarding a wave of attacks to be conducted by the Saddam Fedayeen.According to those orders, the Fedayeen Saddam was "to start planning from now on to perform special operations (assassinations/bombings) for the centers and the traitor symbols in the fields of (London/Iran/self-ruled areas) and for coordination with the Intelligence service to secure deliveries, accommodations, and target guidance.""
The Institute for Defense Analysis uncovers many different points of connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, including evidence that the IIS funded Ayman Zawahiri in the early 1990s when he was the head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The IIS also sought out suicide bombers to attack the Saudi royal family, and Iraq also sought to send assistance to jihadists fighting U.S. peacekeepers in Somalia in the early 1990s as well.
(2.1) Article I of the Genocide Convention states, 'The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.' The Al-Anfal campaign, conducted under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, was such a genocide, killing up to 182k Kurs.
Saddam and his manipulation of U.N. sanctions likely killed tens of, if not hundreds of thousands of, Iraqi citizens. The United States sanctions specifically exempted food and medicine, while banning weaponry. The excess death rates did not occur in Northern Iraq, where the US and UN administered the same program under the same sanctions regime, but only in parts of Iraq where Saddam was responsible for rationing humanitarian supplies. Independent research from the CIA after the invasion shows that five thousand children were dying every year from Saddam's manipulation of the sanctions, plus three or four times that amount from other means. This bring us to to a total of twenty thousand people a year.
Weekly Standard: Four months before Saddam's fall, Human Rights Watch estimated that up to 290,000 people had "disappeared" since the late 1970s and were presumed dead. The Coalition Provisional Authority's human rights office estimates that 300,000 bodies are contained in the numerous mass graves. "And that's the lower end of the estimates," said one CPA spokesperson. In fact, the accumulated credible reports make the likely number at least 400,000 to 450,000. So, by a conservative estimate, the regime was killing civilians at an average rate of at least 16,000 a year between 1979 and March 2003.
This brings us to a total of thirty six thousand people a year. Doing the math, if the United States had not invaded, it would have costs the lives of 324,000 Iraqi civilians. Instead, we are able to lift the sanctions and stop the mass murders and executions from taking place.
(3.1) The ISG's key findings stated that Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a chemical weapons effort when sanctions were lifted. After 1991, Saddam did express his intent to retain the intellectual capital, or the know-how that was developed during the Iraqi Nuclear Program. Starting around 1992, in a bid to retain the intellectual core of the former weapons program workers with know-how, Baghdad transferred many nuclear scientists to related jobs in the Military Industrial Commission (MIC). The work undertaken by these scientists at the MIC helped them maintain their weapons knowledge base. The Regime prevented scientists from the former nuclear weapons program from leaving either their jobs or Iraq. Moreover, in the late 1990s, personnel from both MIC and the IAEC received significant pay raises in a bid to retain them, and the Regime undertook new investments in university research in a bid to ensure that Iraq retained technical knowledge on how to restart their WMD program.
(3.2) ISG judged, based on available chemicals, infrastructure, and scientist debriefings, that Iraq at OIF probably had a capability to produce large quantities of sulfur mustard within three to six months.
The ISG's key findings stated that Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a chemical weapons effort when sanctions were lifted.
ISG uncovered information that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) maintained throughout 1991 to 2003 a set of undeclared covert laboratories to research and test various chemicals and poisons, primarily for intelligence operations. The existence, function, and purpose of the laboratories of which were never declared to the UN.
(4.1) In March, 2007, Larry Schweikart, Professor of History at the University of Dayton and a military historian, calculated that, "a low estimate of 30,000 terrorists have been killed since 9/11, and an upperbound number of 60,000. On top of that, between 120 and 240,000 terrorists have been wounded. This is where it gets tricky. Likely because their medicine isn’t as good as ours, they have a higher death rate among wounded, which probably means that instead of 1 out of 8 dying of wounds, it’s more like 3 out of 8, and that number is in my first set of stats. In addition, we have captured close to 50,000 terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11, and since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq, using traditional desertion rates, I figure at least another 10,000 jihadists have put away the old IED and gone home. So, a low estimate is that we have removed from the order of battle about 210,000 on the low end to 360,000 on the high end. This is an entire generation of jihadists, and will, if nothing else, significantly feminize Muslim society."
Sources in comments.
Let me begin by putting the Iraq War into context.
Almost one and a half million Iraqi people have died (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org...). That in and of itself makes it almost twice as bad as the genocide in Rwanda (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
4,488 Americans have died, and an estimated 100,000 wounded (http://antiwar.com...). The cost of the war to the USA and the multinational force numbers in the trillions (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
Over four million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes - over 2 million to other parts of Iraq, and over 2 million to Syria or Jordan (http://usliberals.about.com...).
Today, the country is in a state of relative political discord, while insurgent attacks continue to tear apart the homes of ordinary Iraqi families (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
All this was directly caused by the war.
War is never justified
The principle justification that my opponent tried to use was that Saddam and/or Iraq were really bad, making the presumption that America and war are really good. My contention is that war is actually really bad in and of itself, such that the statement "war is good" is in fact self-refuting (I object to America being really good as well, but I have not the space to articulate that in this debate). But there's a second presumption here too - that the need to defend against a threat (either for oneself or on behalf of a another party) justifies creating a threat for the other party. This doctrine, that defence justifies attack, means that every attack is in fact justified, for every attack has a defender. But if Saddam was justified, then none of my opponent's reasons for going to war hold true. Therefore, aggresive retaliatory action cannot be justified as a response to a threat.
More importantly, however, war is itself a moral wrong. It is contradictory to conclude that the statistics I quoted at the start of this round are bad, and that war is good. However, there are few who would say justice is bad, as the very word has a subjective positive association. Therefore, the idea of a "just" or a "good" war is an oxymoron. I should add that these are only the aggregate, measurable aspects of war. The families that are torn apart, the lives that are shattered, the destruction of buildings, be they homes or heritage sites, the misery and emotion, the psychological impact on the soldiers, dreams lost and fanatacism built.
Beyond the moral cost of war, there is also another tacit presumption that war actions are in fact, absolutely and objectively, classifiable as "good" or "bad". A war without moral value cannot be morally justified. What if, for instance, Al Qaeda considered America bad and themselves good? In their eyes, fighting a war against America would be "justified". Denying moral relativism in the causes of war is essentially the presumption that one is right, because at least one side must be fighting for a cause they know is bad. In fact, Al Qaeda thinks exactly what I just described (http://technorati.com...), but even if they didn't, the notion of a justified war necessitates a standard of justice that cannot be shown to exist, nor can it be properly presumed.
War cannot therefore be justified morally. This is significant because justice is fundamentally a moral value. It is also the most important point in this debate because all of my opponent's points presume it, even as they attempt to prove it (the idea that war can be justified is required to show a justification, so it is presumed that war can be justified in order to show that a given war is justified, which in turn proves that war must be justifiable). Unfortunately, such an assertive case, without any causal connection between the harm and the remedy, cannot be allowed to stand.
Charges Against Saddam Hussein
My opponent alleges that Saddam Hussein:
* Protected somebody wanted by another government from extradition
* Gave money to groups linked to harming the interests of another government, including their people
* Plotted to blow up locations in a foreign country
* Would have led to genocide of less than a quarter of a million people
* Took an interest in weapons technology
Even if all of this were true, that would be a good reason to indict him in the ICC and give him a trial, with the oppertunity to present his own evidence. In fact, at the trial of Saddam Hussein after the war, "witnesses" were forced to testify and told what to say (some reported being tortured), judges were replaced reportedly because they did not favor US interests, several of the best defence lawyers were either ejected from the court or killed, numerous witnesses argued for Saddam's innocence on all charges (http://news.bbc.co.uk...), perhaps most damagingly, he was tried under laws the US had just largely made up for the purposes of the trial (http://www.washingtonpost.com...). If the war was really justified by the need to give this guy his day in court, then you would have expected the conquering nation to actually give him his day in court. This did not happen, and thus it cannot have been a justification.
That the United States disagreed with Saddam's political decisions is neither a reason for going to war, nor is it justified legally (http://www.yale.edu...) or morally. To put this in an understandable context, it's like if the UK invaded Ecuador for keeping Julian Assange. Giving money to terrorist groups is indeed reprehensible, but this is like China invading the United States for helping fund militants in Afghanistan (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Beyond that it's a lie - Saddam Hussein did not trust Al Qaeda (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Plotting to blow up another country is exactly what the United States did in plotting to invade Iraq. If anything, the invasion of Iraq seems to justify this. The same goes for the genocide. If the only alternative to ongoing dictatorship was war, and we agree deaths should be minimised, then even with your source's extreme estimates Iraq would be better off today under Saddam Hussein. Naturally genocide is a terrible crime, but then again, so is war. Weapons technology interest does not prove an intention for production, and is not a crime anywhere. I myself am interested in weapons (and how they might be safely disposed of), but that is no reason to invade my country.
The presumption here is that terrorists were in Iraq before the war and not created because of it. In fact, zero US citizens (or Europeans, surprisingly) have died due to Islamic terrorism since 9/11, and virtually no terrorist attacks were in Iraq before the invasion (http://www.loonwatch.com...). The conclusion that the United States has in fact created the very problem you claim they are solving (through, I should add, killing more people) is also backed up by academic research (http://www.motherjones.com...) and even by the US government (http://www.alternet.org... and http://www.washingtonpost.com...). This argument can therefore be dismissed as a mere confusion of cause and effect.
What my opponent really needs to prove in this debate is not only that he can assert his beliefs as to what the justification for the war might have been, but also prove that this justification is in fact both a justification for war, and in fact a logically and factually sound justification. War is an evil, and no rhetoric of justice can mask that fact.
My opponent has dropped all of my and his own points. As per his rules, he has conceeded them all. Therefore, he has conceeded the debate. I ask that the rules be followed and voters do not vote for pro.
War is never justified? This means that if I can provide one instance where a war is justified, the statement is negated. SO, here is my instance: A dictator has twenty million people hostage. He tells us that if we invade his country with only one soldier, he will not kill them. Therefore, that invasion would obviously be justified, negating Con's assertion.
I thank my opponent for his brief, assertive answers to my argument, although he has already conceded it. In this round I plan to address these in depth. As you go through this case, please pay attention to the fact that my opponent has ignored around 90% of the case I spent hours writing in round two, and the remainder is mostly not refuted but simply mocked, with claims like that they are silly or obviously false.
Assertive Strawmans / Silly Statements
My opponent not only needs to say my arguments fell into these categories, he actually need to show where they are, and prove that they are. The only example of an "assertive strawman" he argued was my line that the assertion "America is good" is unjustified. Not only did I expressly say I didn't have the characters to make that argument, and thus did not make it in the debate, it isn't a strawman. For the logic that war is justified through the faults of another to hold, a number of premises need to be justified first. One of these must be that war, when conducted through the attacking nation, actually solves the problem. This is not true, however, if the attacking nation is also a problem. Since I do not wish to advance this particular argument in the debate, however (it would take almost the whole of my 8000 characters to explain fully) I would prefer to focus on my more important point that I spent several paragraphs justifying at length, that war is inherently bad.
My argument against the use of weapons my opponent has brushed off as silly. Cool. What he now needs to do is justify why the argument is silly. It's pretty clear that if my opponent agrees it is silly to hold a standard of invasion that is an interest in weapons, then my opponent has not shown what his standard is that he was attempting to prove in round two. He needs to be able to explain why it is legitimate to invade Iraq and not everywhere on earth that contains a person with a passing interest in weapons.
No study is perfect. It's a fact (http://www.psychologyandsociety.com...). Every single study published in the lancet includes a limitations section which provides opportunities for further research. This is normal academic practice. This does not mean, however, that the findings of the studies are inaccurate. Mot universities require limitations to arguments to be acknowledged (http://libguides.usc.edu...), but in this specific paper, the authors were confident that despite these limits, their conclusion was a very good estimate. Simply asserting that the study was flawed in some small respects does not, therefore, disprove or even challenge their findings.
Obvious War Justification
My opponent's whole logic relies on a single example of where it is justified to go to war. First of all, Iraq is not that example. Even if my opponent's example holds true in hypothetical imagination-land, it certainly does not hold true in the real world, nor is his hypothesis equivalent or analogous to Iraq. Nevertheless, I do not concede that even in this extreme example, war is justified just because my opponent thinks it obvious. I have already given countless reasons why. First, no matter how extreme, the principle that defense justifies attack does not hold. Second, war is morally objectionable, even if done for very noble reasons. War is a descriptor for an event with negative consequences, so to say it is justified is an oxymoron. Third, the presumption that war can in fact be "justified" has not yet been demonstrated by my opponent, because there are no absolute moral values. These are the things my opponent needs to disprove if he intends to refute my case. Simply giving an example and calling it "obviously true" does not make it true - this is why I do not accept war can be justified.
War is never justified.
The resolution is negated.
Also note that Con refuted the Al-Qaeda connection with Saddam, when I never made such a connection.
Why is it silly? Because while you may have an interest in weapons too, you're also not an Arab dictator who's killed hundreds of thousands of people with weapons of mass destruction, mostly on his own citizens.
Con also calls it a 'passing interest' in nuclear weapons, which means he asserted that Saddam didn't have an actual interest in developing WMD. This is proven false by all of my sources stating that Saddam Hussein planned on restarting his WMD program after sanctions were lifted. That is not a 'passing' interest, it is an active interest.
The sources you provided are contradictory anyways. The Lancet survey and the Opinion Research Business are cited by that article. This prevents a huge contradiction, because the Lancet actually revised the death doll down to 180,000 Iraqis in 2011 (http://www.cnn.com...). This means that his own cited sources show that the Iraq war didn't kill anywhere close to Rwanda, and since it would save a net 70k people, the war was worth it.
Con asserts there is a civil war in Iraq, even though the majority of Iraqis say they feel there is no civil war in Iraq taking place (http://abcnews.go.com...).
Since you spent hours working on it, I should present arguments against your Round 2 case as well.
- I mostly agree that the trial of Saddam Hussein could have gone better. I think it's worth pointing out two things, though. The first thing is that the United States doesn't recognize the ICC, so asking them to give Saddam a trial there is absurd. The second thing is that many of your assertions about U.S. conduct during the trial are not found in the sources you link. My main point on this is that there would not have been a trial at all if we never invaded. It's not as if he would just give himself up to us if we asked him to.
- The point is not that we should invade Saddam for his political decisions. The point is that Saddam Hussein was a huge threat to a lot of people around him, including the United States and the UK. The crux of my argument is that Iraq would inevitably had WMD at one point or another, so even if we didn't find any, it would be better that we invaded Iraq *before* he had them rather than *after*, considering the threat to our troops that would pose, and the risk of WMD being handed over to terrorists.
- I'm not trying to say that we should invade a country for harboring people we think harm us. The point of my statements on people like Abbu Abbas was to show that Saddam Hussein was against the United States, and had no problem sheltering its enemies. All this is to show that we should definitely be afraid of an Iraq that's going to restart its WMD program.
- Con either lied or misspoke when he said that no American or European citizens has died in Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11. The Beltway sniper attacks in 2002 killed tens of people, done by a member of the Nation of Islam who, 'admitted that he admired and modeled himself after Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and approved of the September 11 attacks.' The 2002 Los Angeles Airport shooting killed two people and injured four people.
I am not trying to make the point that Al-Qaeda was in Iraq before the invasion. I am trying to prove that the invasion has created a situation where we have killed tens of thousands of terrorists, putting an end to the threat they post permanently.
I thank my opponent for continuing his case.
Assertive Strawmans / Silly Statements
My opponent argues that my argument, which I didn't even make in this debate, that the premise of America being good is unjustified, must be a strawman as he did not make that claim. What I said to that last round was that it is a necessary premise of his argument. Just because one does not directly state a claim does not mean that claim is not made. Rather than merely repeat his own claim, my opponent actually needed to engage with this counter-argument if he wanted to win this point.
Adding to the list of things which were not assertive, nor were they strawmans, my opponent brings up my claim that Saddam did not trust Al Qaeda, and claims he did not make the claim of any connection. Allow me to simply quote directly from my opponent's case in round two, where he argues that "The Institute for Defense Analysis uncovers many different points of connection between Saddam and al Qaeda", and goes on to show what these are.
Now we come to the sole argument my opponent could identify as silly. My opponent notes that an interest in weapons is not the standard for invasion, but rather argues one must also be...
2- A dictator
3- Have used weapons of mass destruction to kill at least 200,000 people
4- More than 50% of those people must be the subject's own citizens
It is interesting to me why the only non silly interpretation of my opponent's argument 3.1 is to also include all of these premises. None of the above would appear to follow logically. But let us assume they do. First, Saddam does not fulfil criteria number 3. While he killed a lot of people, he did not kill all or even most (and many would say, any) people using weapons of mass destruction. My opponent had no source to back up this claim. But even if he did, these criteria are themselves unjustified. It appears my opponent is simply using adjectives which he thinks describe Saddam and using them to justify the Iraq war. This is a tautology - he is merely defining wars on Iraq as being justified wars, and using that to prove wars on Iraq are justified. What my opponent needed to do was to actually back up all these claims.
My opponent then immediately contradicts his own standard by saying a passing interest is not sufficient - the standard should be an active interest. This comes back to my point about defense justifying attack. Almost every nation on earth has an interest in weapons technology. Not only that, but the aggressor nation had a development interest, as well as availability. If the goal of the invasion was to end interest in WMDs, a particularly poor way to do that is to invade, thereby protecting the USA and their WMD arsenal.
My opponent says the Lancet revised their earlier estimate. The Lancet is in fact a medical journal, rather analogous to a book publisher, but for medical academics. Later estimates are therefore not revisions or even challenges of previous data. In this instance, my opponent cited a sensational news story, of what was essentially a peer reviewed version of the Iraq body count project. This uses a different method - asking governments, hospitals etc. However, these agencies miss many of the casulties of war (http://en.wikipedia.org...). The earlier 2006 survey, which was based on asking the Iraqi people, can thus be said to be more reliable. I do not accept that saving lives is a legitimate reason for war, which ends lives, but regardless lives have not been saved by invading Iraq.
My opponent adds Iraqis do not feel there is a civil war. They can feel what they like. The fact is that ordinary Iraqis are being blown up in planned, ruthless attacks, killing each other. I did not say there was a "civil war", but nevertheless the current conditions in Iraq are not exactly ideal to live in.
Charges against Saddam
My opponent conceeds the trial was not fair. Therefore, the need for the trial does not justify that attack. He also disputes some of my sources, but keeps it a secret which ones, so I can't answer him there.
That political decisions were made which were contrary to the interests of the United States did show that Saddam did not like the United States; I do not contest that. I am saying that opposition to a nation is niether a moral nor a legal justification for war. It is completely analogous to, say, Iran attacking Israel for being hostile to Iran. It also presumes that defense justifies attack, yet again. My opponent conceeds this when he says political decisions are not a sufficient standard for invasion - rather, it is political decisions with the potential for a WMD. But of course, potential for a WMD is again based on political decisions, making this quite silly. The two cannot be seperated in this discussion.
My opponent re-asserts this argument, but again he does not engage with my rebuttal. He merely asserts there have been deaths, but does not provide his source, unlike me. Furthermore, he cites two shootings, which are generally not counted as terrorist attacks. In any event the threat was not justified.
My opponent has given no substantive counter-arguments to my substantive, that war is never justified. Therefore, my entire case is conceeded by my opponent (again).
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: concession
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