The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Jingle_Bombs
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The US ought to put boots on the ground to combat ISIS

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MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,388 times Debate No: 70428
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Con

Resolution: The United States of America ought to put boots on the ground to combat ISIS.

Definitions:

boots on the ground
deploy high levels of combat troops; a ground war with ISIS

ISIS
You know who ISIS is

I will be proposing an alternate solution. BoP will be shared. If you have a question about the debate, please ask before accepting. If you accept and we run into a problem that could've easily been avoided with the asking of a simple question, voters ought to consider the debate forfeited by my opponent.

First round will be for acceptance. No new arguments in the final round, unless they are direct rebuttals to points made in the round most previous (i.e. don't do a rebuttal in the final round to an argument I made in the second round, which you've been ignoring the entire debate).
Jingle_Bombs

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Con

THE PROBLEM WITH GROUND WARS
The problem with ground wars waged by the US in the middle east is two-fold. First, it discourages sectional and national/international unity by allowing the US to deal with the bad guys. Second, in the act of dealing with the bad guys, we get the bad rap as the killers of civilians, invaders, etc.

To the first point, this should be obvious. If a Western power can swoop in and deal with the issue every time there is one, why should sectarian groups, such as the Shia, Sunni, Kurds, etc, drop their fighting[1] to unite in some way to defend themselves? Why should nations with antagonistic relations, like Israel, Syria, Iran, etc, unite to face a common threat if we do it for them? If the US launched a massive ground campaign and essentially took the hits for these groups/nations, what reason would these groups have to organize themselves, now or later?

The now or later part is important. Obviously, any fighting against ISIS will need some ground troops. If these groups are forced to provide the troops, and possibly work together to certain degrees while doing it, that increases the chance that, having fought together before, they might be more open to cooperation down the road. In a region as unstable as the Middle East, this is clearly advantageous, not just for them, but for the US as well.

To the second point, we have to think about the bad rap the US receives when it gets involved in heavy fighting. Obviously anytime there's a war, there are going to be collateral casualties, and there's going to be collateral damage (e.g. homes, schools getting shot up/bombed out). This will be so if the US gets involved, or if forces native to the region get involved. So the question we have to ask is, what causes the least repercussions?

Imagine your innocent family is killed in a bombing. Would you be more likely to harbor animosity for the killers if they were invaders in your land, not of your race, not of your cultural values than if they were your own people? One of the great recruiting tools for groups like Al-Qaeda has been the very fact that the US is in lands they don't 'belong in'. We could argue whether or not we belong, but the perception is there that we do not.

If your family is killed by your own country's soldiers on accident, whilst fighting ISIS, you might be more likely to be forgiving. It was your own people, defending your country from invaders. I'm not saying people won't be bitter, but there are likely to be less perceived injustices than if we were involved, as you'll see.

If your family was killed by the US, by people who don't belong in your country, by people of a different nation, you might be less likely to be forgiving. It'd be easier to remain hateful from the outset, as the US doesn't have a very high moral ground in your mind (this statement is supported by polling data of Middle Eastern opinions of the US[2]). If your family was killed, and you were extremely angry, it would be easy to latch onto the idea, "They don't belong here! This isn't their country! They're not our masters!"

So what do we get out of this increased hate for the US? Recruitment for terrorism. Drives to take up arms against the West. Every time the US commits a perceived war-zone injustice, the likelihood of new terrorists down the road, and thus more killing down the road, goes up. If we allowed the native forces of the Middle East to do the fighting, and incur the collateral damage, we create less of this.

THE ALTERNATIVE
So I've established that US forces on the ground is not preferable to allowing the natives of the region to take care of that. But, just because it wouldn't be wise to be seen on the front lines, causing all the unfortunate collateral damage that comes along with war, we can work behind the scenes, in several key ways.

ISIS has an extremely diverse funding operation, not relying on any one particular method of acquiring funding and resources[3]. Despite that, many of their methods are ones that we can disrupt.

Oil
I'd begin by demonstrating one method that we are already disrupting quite effectively: oil. With repeated precision airstrikes and drone strikes, we have slowed their lucrative oil refining operation to a crawl[4]. One of the goals of ISIS is to establish an Islamic State, with boundaries and governance. This means they'll have people living under them. Currently, there are 8 million people living under them, paying taxes to provide funding[3]. By taking out the oil production, we slow down the economies of the people living under ISIS. When their subjects' economy slows down, the revenue produced in taxation will slow as well. Not only do we slow down their economic tax revenues along with direct oil revenues, we slow down their armored vehicles. It's not as if they have solar-powered tanks.

Private donors
ISIS also receives funding from private donors; rich sympathizers with their cause[3]. The US ought to apply the full might of their intelligence and special ops apparatus to hunt these men down when possible. In situations where military operations in a certain country might do more harm than good, political pressure should be applied. We might be in massive debt, have sub-par life expectancy, and mediocre education, but we do have one of the world's most powerful economies, and we hold significant political clout. This should be applied to ferret out those who fund ISIS.

Ransoming
ISIS also accrues significant funds from ransoming[3]. It may sound cold-hearted, but the US ought to continue its policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and it ought to apply political pressure on other countries to fall in line with this. In reality, not paying up is for the best. The money given is significant, and can be used to buy more guns, oil, vehicles, provide training, create propaganda videos, build bombs, etc. Paying up is a short-term mercy, and a long-term defeat.

Not only should negotiation not be encouraged, but military action ought to be. Be it a retaliative drone strike or a special ops mission to attempt to save the hostages, countries ought to show that only loss of life is in store for ISIS members who attempt to extort countries in order to finance further death. By not paying up, and by doing this, we will likely reduce the occurrence of any hostage taking occurring, as there'd be no benefit in it for the hostage-takers.

Support ground troops
Additionally, there's no reason that we couldn't provide training, weaponry/funds for weaponry to the native forces that would be doing the ground fighting. This way we maintain that necessary degree of separation, while also increasing the odds of a successful ground campaign.

Target social media campaigns
Finally, the US ought to target ISIS' massive, and extremely successful social media campaigns. ISIS utilizes apps like Twitter, Kik, WhatsApp, and more to fund and recruit. Under the guise of charities for humanitarian aid, they raise millions of dollars[3]. These apps should be pressured to shut these accounts down by the US Government, and the US ought to trace the accounts back to their source and terminate those responsible for producing the content, with a drone strike, airstrike, or a night raid. This should be a no-brainer. We've got the amassed power of the NSA on our side; nobody should be able to openly promote ISIS on the web without getting blown off the earth by a Hellfire missile.


IN CONCLUSION
A ground war waged by the US might be effective short-term, but it promotes further regional instability down the road. We should allow the forces native to the region do the ground-fighting, and use our own resources to wage a behind the scenes war against ISIS' funding and recruitment operations.

Sources:
[1] http://www.ft.com...
[2] http://www.theguardian.com...
[3] http://www.newsweek.com...
[4] http://www.nytimes.com...
Jingle_Bombs

Pro

Rebuttals

The problem with ground wars waged by the US in the middle east is two-fold. First, it discourages sectional and national/international unity by allowing the US to deal with the bad guys.

Strongly disagree. First, the US only discourages international unity when it undergoes military actions unilaterally or with unsupported causes/pretenses (ex. faulty Iraq War intelligence). This saying however does NOT hold true to the majority of US military action undergone in the Middle East. Operation Desert Storm for example, was hugely popular with Europe, Saudi Arabia, and the Kuwaiti government, where the latter two countries became permanent US regional allies. Kuwait for instance, is currently home to over 9,000 US military troops, while Saudi Arabia is one of America's largest energy suppliers and is a strong US military backer and buyer (1)(2). Further military cooperation with Egypt and Israel has also led also led to strong strategic partners there; the former allows US & Europe generous access to the Suez Canal and military bases, where as the latter has been a key player with the Iranian nuke crisis.

1)https://militarybases.com...

2)http://www.whitehouse.gov...

Second, in the act of dealing with the bad guys, we get the bad rap as the killers of civilians, invaders, etc

The true bad guys and killers of civilians is the international criminal organization known as ISIS. They have murdered thousands of kurish and Iraqi- Christian civilians, beheaded western journalists, kidnapped little girls and sold them as sex slaves, ransacked public buildings, and occupied Iraqi/Syrian cities while imposing a radical and distorted form of Islamic Law. The United States (a Geneva Convention signatory) therefore gets a bad rap for allowing genocide and human rights atrocities to continue uncontested.


To the first point, this should be obvious. If a Western power can swoop in and deal with the issue every time there is one, why should sectarian groups, such as the Shia, Sunni, Kurds, etc, drop their fighting[1]

And who’s to claim that Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds, or the Iraqi Armed Forces would not assist or fight in a US-led ground operation? Your source has absolutely no claim on this. Meanwhile, historical precedence (such as the Sunni Awakening in Iraq 2007 and the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan 2001) proves that local ethnic groups/tribesman will fight hand and hand with US military personnel in counter-insurgency operations and that their joint-efforts can be successful.

Why should nations with antagonistic relations, like Israel, Syria, Iran, etc, unite to face a common threat if we do it for them?

The idea with US military intervention is to help those countries help themselves; entirely different than saying; do it alone. Back in Iraq 2006 for example, US military forces were pulling out due to heavy violence caused by ongoing Sunni/Shia civil war (which was instigated by Al-Qaida in Iraq). Yet in 2007, the US recommitted itself to the region with an additional 30,000 surge troops. The surge in US ground forces led to increased shia/sunni neighborhood security and had a calming effect on Sunni-Shia relations (1). The Iraqi people were then able to turn their attention and unite appropriately against the real terrorist threat, which was Al Qaida in Iraq, who were then soundly rolled back.

1)History of the Iraq Surge:http://foreignpolicy.com...

Imagine your innocent family is killed in a bombing. Would you be more likely to harbor animosity for the killers…

Are you seriously trying to assume that the majority of voters here are Shia, Sunni, or Muslim Kurds currently living in Iraq??? The people you are directing this question to don’t nearly have a credible enough background to come even remotely close to answering this question. But maybe I should ask them how theu would enjoy living under Sharia law or the iron fist of Saddam Hussein.

So what do we get out of this increased hate for the US? Recruitment for terrorism.

So what do we get when the US pulls out or has otherwise had no military presence in “that part” of the world? Let's see:

>> Yemen Embassy Bombing (1992), World Trade Center Bombing (1993), Attack on USS Cole (2000), and September 11thattacks (2001) – No US troops in Afghanistan.

>> Attack on Benghazi Embassy (2012) – No US troops in Libya.

>> And finally -after a complete US withdraw from Iraq in 2012- the rise of ISIS.

US Ground Forces is the Most Efficient Way to Defeat ISIS

Redeploying US Ground Forces to Iraq is truly the most military efficient way to defeat ISIS. Thus far, ISIS has proven that it could take on the Syrian Army and the US trained and supplied Iraqi Army– even when outnumbered and fighting on two-fronts. In the case of the latter, 800 ISIS fighters were able to rout 30,000 Iraqi soldiers while they were backed with US tech (http://www.militarytimes.com...). ISIS is also one of the most –if not the best- well funded terrorist organizations in history, and continues to make millions through black market oil channels, seizing of public banks, and collecting taxes on captured cities. To date, ISIS’s total network is projected at nearly $2 billion dollars (http://www.theguardian.com...). ISIS has also been able been able to recruit thousands of terrorist sympathizers across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and even from the United States. In what has arguably become one of the largest terrorist organizations in modern times, the CIA analyzes that ISIS could muster up to 31,000 fighters across Iraq or Syria (http://www.cnn.com...). To date, ISIS is currently involved in multiple countries across the middle east where they have expressed ambitions to plant ISIS flags on top of the White House (http://theweek.com...). ISIS is also currently supplied with captured US tech and is not an easy military opponent to defeat (http://www.dailymail.co.uk...).

It is therefore time that the most dangerous and lawless terrorist organization in history meets the full fury and might of the most powerful state militaries the world has ever seen. A prospect and commitment that only be realized when the US redeploys its ground assets to the Middle East. The US already has 9,000 combat troops stationed in Kuwaitt, there re-deployment to Iraq can be enacted swiftly, and their victory against ISIS will be the quickest over any other military option. Its stop for the US to stop messing around with airstrikes that do not directly accomplish a counter-insurgency purpose and realize that the best way to stop ISIS and terrorism from rising up in the first place is to correct the mistakes of the past – which was no security/military presence or status of forces of agreement with the Iraqis.

Redeploying US Ground Forces to Iraq is more preferable than alternatives.

Redeploying US ground forces to swiftly defeat ISIS is more preferable to a long-drawn out aerial campaign that may or may not defeat ISIS. It is also more preferable to get involved now before ISIS gains the capability and drive to launch a devastating terrorist attack against the West, the region dissolves into political or economic chaos, or that rouge-states (like Iran) attempt to take advantage of the crisis by meddling in the affairs of the Iraqi / Syrian governments. The US can prevent this and retore political & eoconmic stabiity by reestablishing ground security in Iraq and elsewhere. US ground presences have proven to be successful in COIN ops in the past, and we can assume that there would be wide international support for a ground war against ISIS - based on the number of European and Arab countries who are already engaged in or threaten by ISIS. The American military has the power to unquestionably help the Iraqi people against ISIS; and since 9.11, it has been is in the national secuirty interests of the United States to support democratic govenments agianst terrorism. A fight agaisnt ISIS will by no means be easy, but it will be made easier with US ground forces; and if ultimately have the power to help, we should.

Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Con

In my experience, quoting and responding to an opponent's statements that themselves were quote and responds tends to get messy after a while, so I'll be doing this by section, encompassing my opponent's points.

US MILITARY INTERVENTIONISM IS GOOD
Essentially what my opponent has done is list a series of good things that have happened when the US has been militarily involved in the world, particularly the middle east, while presenting a contrasting list of bad things that have happened supposedly because of our lack of military intervention.

My opponent has claimed that our military interventions promote global unity, and he references Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as evidence, saying that we're really chummy with these nations as a result of our interventionism. I would contend that it is because of the massive amounts of oil they produce[1], and the fact that we are primarily an oil purchasing economy[2], as the main reason there's so much international unity between our countries. If you look at other countries we don't do as much business with, such as Pakistan (i.e. where we set our drones loose) or Iraq, we see that we are not nearly as popular[3][4].

In response to my statement that military intervention harms sectarian relationships in the middle east, my opponent again used anecdotal evidence to counter. He claims that the Surge in 2007 actually eased sectarian tensions. I would dispute this in itself. The violence that my opponent claims the Surge quelled was actually going down well before the Surge was even announced; experts suggest that many factors other than the Surge were responsible for what my opponent is saying it was[5].

Regardless of that particular anecdote's merit, we can see that in terms of the big picture, US military intervention has inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq[6][7], and the Cato Institute finds that, "In most cases regional conflicts cannot be helped--and may well be exacerbated--by the intervention of outside parties. U.S. intervention can be especially counterproductive, since it often intensifies smaller, less powerful countries' (the very nations most likely to be involved in regional conflicts) fears of America's hegemonic intentions."[8]

Finally, my opponent whips out a slew of events in response to my statement that US military interventionism produces more anti-American sentiment, and thus more terrorism. To counter, I would like to present some big picture data, and compare the two.

My opponent says when we don't intervene militarily, we get:
Yemen Embassy Bombing (killing 2)[9], the World Trade Center Bombing of '93 (killing 6)[10], the Attack on the USS Cole (killing 17)[11], and finally, 9/11, killing roughly 3,000. Total=roughly 3,036 deaths. I would dispute that some of these attacks could've been prevented by our conducting military operations in other countries, but it really isn't even necessary.

When we do intervene militarily:
9,000 soldiers die[12]. Over 133,000 civilians die (note that this is a very low number according to the experts)[13]. America accrues $6 trillion in debt[14].

Which is the worse evil?

Clearly, military interventionism is more harmful than helpful in most applications. More people die with military interventionism, and the US, the world's most powerful economy[15] (i.e. one of the backbones of the world economy), is economically threatened by such operations. Another ground war would be horrific for our national debt, and potentially disastrous for our economy and therein the world economy. This is important to keep in mind not only from a purely economic perspective, but also from a 'peace perspective'. Poverty naturally leads to more crime and violence, and the collapse of the American economy could incur a lot of this worldwide.

AMERICAN INTERVENTION DOESN'T DRIVE TERRORISM
In making this general argument above, my opponent comes from two angles, in the form of two quotes.

"Are you seriously trying to assume that the majority of voters here are Shia, Sunni, or Muslim Kurds currently living in Iraq??? The people you are directing this question to don"t nearly have a credible enough background to come even remotely close to answering this question. But maybe I should ask them how theu would enjoy living under Sharia law or the iron fist of Saddam Hussein."
I'd first like to point out the inherent contradiction in this quote. My opponent tells me, quite sarcastically, that it would be silly to ask the voters to assume the perspective of those living in the areas in which we conduct military operations... and then asks us to assume the perspective of the same people in his example.

Besides that, this counterargument doesn't really say why my point is invalid. I think it is reasonable to say that having your family killed by people of a different race, country, culture, and language might make you more likely to be distrusting or hateful towards said killers than if they were your own countrymen. Psychologists have concluded that humans are naturally tribal, much more likely to think in terms of us and them[16]. This attitude can lend us the tendency to be distrusting of those that don't look like us, and we can see how this tribalistic view might make collateral incurred by the US more likely to drive terrorism, a point which I will cement further later.

"The United States (a Geneva Convention signatory) therefore gets a bad rap for allowing genocide and human rights atrocities to continue uncontested."
I don't think so, because we perform the vast majority of the airstrikes against ISIS[17], much more than any other Geneva Signatory; it's not like we're going to get crap for passivity. Most countries are doing nothing about ISIS, so we won't be singled out as bad people for doing nothing--especially since our last large-scale boots on the ground operations were so unpopular.

Though my opponent never touched on it directly, I'd like to nail home the fact that American military aggression does contribute to future terrorism, as noted in in two studies. The first, by scholars Robert Pape and James Feldman, concludes that, "of the more than 2,100 documented cases of suicide bombings from 1980 to 2009 and concluded that most of the perpetrators were acting in response to U.S. intervention in the Middle East rather than out of a religious or ideological motivation."[18]
The second, conducted by Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro, and published by the Brookings Institute, found that jihadists often become so due to aggravations from US military intervention[18].

This should not be surprising given the massive death counts I mentioned earlier that are at least partly attributable to the US, certainly especially in the minds of middle easterners. The plain fact is that every time we get involved, there will be collateral damage, and every time that happens, there will be extra incentives for people to become terrorists, and create further death down the road. If we respond to ISIS with US ground troops, we only enable the vicious cycle to continue.

ISIS' ORIGINS
I purposely waited until the end to address this. My opponent insinuated that ISIS rose because we left Iraq. That is simply untrue. ISIS began its rise in 2010[21], no doubt at least in part due to the same factor that I have shown to be empirically proven to drive recruitment: US Interventionism. ISIS rose because we inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq, and created all manner of reasons for disaffected middle easterners to hate the West and join terrorist groups. The seeds were planted because we were there, not because we left.


So to conclude my re-affirmation sections:
US Military interventionism tends to produce more death, and more cause for terrorist recruitment. As such, we ought not be the ones doing the killing on the front lines.

US GROUND FORCES
My opponent never really responded to my position on targeting funding and recruitment, so I assume he thinks they are viable methods. Given this, I will only focus on parts of his arguments that advocate the need for US forces.

Generally, my opponent seems to suggest a couple things. First and foremost among them is that US ground forces are the only way to stop this swiftly growing threat. On both fronts, this is incorrect. US-Arab coalitions have been effective at fighting ISIS, and ISIS has been stalled now for several months[19][20]. Additionally, my opponent's claim that US aerial attacks haven't been useful are contradicted by the facts, as, according to counterinsurgency expert Jason Lyall, "[US aerial strikes have] made it more dangerous to reposition [ISIS'] equipment and forces, slowing down its reaction times and complicating its command and control. As a result, ISIS is a far more dispersed force than it was in June."[19]

I would contend that with this knowledge in mind, we can continue useful coordination of airstrikes and coalition ground strategies, begin pursuing ISIS funding and recruitment assets aggressively, and find ISIS falling apart under the weight of its ambition.

Lastly, my opponent has stated that we would have a swift ground war with ISIS. I would like to see some proof for this, because common sense and experience would tell us that it would not be a quick fight, but rather, a long endeavor which would cost us blood and treasure similar to that which was lost in the Iraq War.

Thanks for reading.

Sources:
[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
[9] http://tinyurl.com...
[10] http://tinyurl.com...
[11] http://tinyurl.com...
[12] http://tinyurl.com...
[13] http://tinyurl.com...
[14] http://tinyurl.com...
[15] http://tinyurl.com...
[16] http://tinyurl.com...
[17] http://tinyurl.com...
[18] http://tinyurl.com...
[19] http://tinyurl.com...
[20] http://tinyurl.com...
[21] http://tinyurl.com...
Jingle_Bombs

Pro

Essentially what my opponent has done is list a series of good things that have happened when the US has been militarily involved in the world, particularly the middle east, while presenting a contrasting list of bad things that have happened supposedly because of our lack of military intervention.

And? What’s wrong with that?! I’ve provided ample historical evidence for the positives of US military intervention in the Middle East and have compared and contrasted those with a series of bad events that did in fact occur because of a lack of military intervention. There is no logical fallacy here on my part and it's all up to CON to disprove the evidence that I have provided.

My opponent has claimed that our military interventions promote global unity, and he references Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as evidence, saying that we're really chummy with these nations as a result of our interventionism.

I notice you forgot to include US relations with Israel and Egypt – which I had mentioned before. Well done on your argument cherry-picking.

I would contend that it is because of the massive amounts of oil they produce[1], and the fact that we are primarily an oil purchasing economy[2], as the main reason there's so much international unity between our countries.

Prove it! All’s you have done is sourced oil import/export statistics for the two countries where you have proceeded to cite this as indisputable evidence for your own global oil conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the source that I provided in Round #2 (http://www.whitehouse.gov...) –from the White House btw- mentions NINE unique areas of US and Saudi cooperation. They are: Defense Cooperation, Counterterrorism, Trade and Investment, Energy Cooperation, Education, Environmental Policy, Science and Technology, Citizen Exchange, and Govt Health Programs.

Iraq, we see that we are not nearly as popular

And yet we're popular enough to be a major Iraqi trade partner (http://www.state.gov...)

He claims that the Surge in 2007 actually eased sectarian tensions. I would dispute this in itself.

Timeline of Iraq War violence:https://www.emptywheel.net...

Surge was announced in Dec 2006. Troops didn't arrive until 07. Both the Iraqi govt and think-tanks like the Bookings Institute credited higher troop levels for its success: http://www.brookings.edu...

experts suggest that many factors other than the Surge were responsible for what my opponent is saying it was[5].

Experts?? Nice appeal to authority here (a logical fallacy). But the evidence and stats from 2007 still show a huge drop in Iraqi sectarian violence that coincided with a US troop surge in 07. You have no counterargument here if you continue to believe that increased US military intervention actually leads to more Middle East violence.

we can see that in terms of the big picture, US military intervention has inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq[6][7], and the Cato Institute finds that, "In most cases regional conflicts cannot be helped--and may well be exacerbated--by the intervention of outside parties. U.S. intervention can be especially counterproductive, since it often intensifies smaller, less powerful countries' (the very nations most likely to be involved in regional conflicts) fears of America's hegemonic intentions."[8]

So what. According to the quote above “regional conflicts cannot be helpedregardless of US military intervention, and only says intervention “may” sometimes cause trouble; which is NOT the same saying that it DOES cause trouble. Meanwhile I never realized that ISIS was a “small less powerful country” that deserved protection from America’s hegemonic intentions.

My opponent says when we don't intervene militarily, we get:
Yemen Embassy Bombing (killing 2)[9], the World Trade Center Bombing of '93 (killing 6)[10], the Attack on the USS Cole (killing 17)[11], and finally, 9/11, killing roughly 3,000. Total=roughly 3,036 deaths.

I would dispute that some of these attacks could've been prevented by our conducting military operations in other countries, but it really isn't even necessary.

So you would have done nothing and let the worst foreign attack on America soil since Pearl Harbor happen?

When we do intervene militarily:
9,000 soldiers die[12]. Over 133,000 civilians die (note that this is a very low number according to the experts)[13]. America accrues $6 trillion in debt[14].

Yet when we do intervene militarily we liberate 30 million Iraqi people from an iron-fist dictator and give the right to vote to over 15 million women. We also eliminate and disrupt terrorist bases of operations and prevent attacks against our homeland and our allies. Just how many major terrorist attacks have happened to the US since 9/11 and the Iraq War again???

Which is the worse evil?

The worse evil would have been not doing anything.

Another ground war would be horrific for our national debt, and potentially disastrous for our economy and therein the world economy.

So we should put the world economy at risk anyway by allowing ISIS to disrupt a vital region of the world for global trade, shipping, commerce, and energy supplies?

This is important to keep in mind not only from a purely economic perspective, but also from a 'peace perspective'. Poverty naturally leads to more crime and violence, and the collapse of the American economy could incur a lot of this worldwide.

More reason to believe then that US nation building and intervention in the middle east is a positive.

My opponent tells me, quite sarcastically, that it would be silly to ask the voters to assume the perspective of those living in the areas in which we conduct military operations... and then asks us to assume the perspective of the same people in his example.

Which only demonstrates the absurdity of CON's original claim.

Psychologists have concluded that humans are naturally tribal, much more likely to think in terms of us and them

Are these Iraqi Muslim psychologists under attack by ISIS? Your appeal to authority fails here.

I don't think so, because we perform the vast majority of the airstrikes against ISIS[17], much more than any other Geneva Signatory; it's not like we're going to get crap for passivity.

We will by allowing mission creep to unfold. More and more civilians continue to die everyday by ISIS. Thus far Iran has even done more than us.

Most countries are doing nothing about ISIS,

All the more reason why US should intervene militarily and put in ground troops.

Though my opponent never touched on it directly, I'd like to nail home the fact that American military aggression does contribute to future terrorism,

So explain to us why 3,000 Americans still died at the WTC and Pentagon in 2001 when the US had no military troops in Afghanistan or a significant military presence in the Middle East.

This should not be surprising given the massive death counts I mentioned earlier that are at least partly attributable to the US, certainly especially in the minds of middle easterners.

Key word, “partly.” Other key words “minds of middle easterners,” indicating an American perception & communication problem, and NOT a policy problem. This has been helped nowadays by current COIN doctrines that call for winning “hearts & minds.” (http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil...)

The plain fact is that every time we get involved, there will be collateral damage

The plain fact is that there will still be collateral damage if we don’t get involved – aka 9/11.

I purposely waited until the end to address this. My opponent insinuated that ISIS rose because we left Iraq. That is simply untrue. ISIS began its rise in 2010[21],

So why wasn't ISIS rolled back when US forces left in 2012. Seeing how (according to CON's theory) US intervention was the problem. But had a status of force agreement been established in 2012, ISIS would have never had been able to rout a US backed Iraqi Army.

no doubt at least in part due to the same factor that I have shown to be empirically proven to drive recruitment: US Interventionism.

Then why has ISIS been able to recruit 3,000 fighters from Europe? Seeing as how European countries have been largely reluctant to engage militarily in Middle Eastern affairs (http://www.latimes.com...).

Generally, my opponent seems to suggest a couple things. First and foremost among them is that US ground forces are the only way to stop this swiftly growing threat.

Incorrect. I said US ground forces were “the most efficient” way to stop the ISIS threat. And that ISIS warranted boots on the ground because they were a significant threat (one of the most well-funded and organized international terrorists groups in history).

On both fronts, this is incorrect. US-Arab coalitions have been effective at fighting ISIS, and ISIS has been stalled now for several months

And yet ISIS is still far from being defeated. They haven’t loosed any significant territory, and US mission creep continues.

Lastly, my opponent has stated that we would have a swift ground war with ISIS. I would like to see some proof for this,

Surge in Iraq 2007. After being at war since 2003 year, Baghdad sectarian violence dops by 75% in ONE year after a US troop presence in Iraq is dramatically increased (http://m.mg.co.za...).

However, we shouldn't expect CON to know how to fight a war if his best military strategy calls for withdrawal and running away.

because common sense and experience would tell us that it would not be a quick fight, but rather, a long endeavor which would cost us blood and treasure similar to that which was lost in the Iraq War.

Which is why common sense tells us we need to finish this fight and deploy more forces. American sacrifices should not be done in vain.
Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Con

Before I begin I'd like to say to voters that I think my opponent should lose a point for conduct. His previous round was chalk full of unnecessary sarcasm. Debates don't necessarily require people being nice, but I think there is a difference between being nice and simply being respectful, and what my opponent has done is cross into disrespect.


"I notice you forgot to include US relations with Israel and Egypt " which I had mentioned before. Well done on your argument cherry-picking."
If you follow the news, you'll know that Israel-US relations are not good right now; the leader of Israel went behind Obama's back to give a speech in the capitol, opposing current US attempts at reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. And Egypt, well, only 10% of Egyptians think our military intervention has a positive effect[1], and only 5% hold a favorable view of the US overall[2].

"And yet we're popular enough to be a major Iraqi trade partner.."
This was in response to my citing the fact that most Iraqis disapprove of the US. The response here it two-fold. A) Just governments rule by a mandate from the people, so to brush aside what the people think is not taking into account this important fact. B) That is not true, our trade with Iraq comprises only .1% of our national GDP[3]. My opponent is using the White House's 'fact sheets', which I would say is not a reliable source, as the White House has public opinion in mind, and not necessarily the truth.

"All"s you have done is sourced oil import/export statistics for the two countries where you have proceeded to cite this as indisputable evidence for your own global oil conspiracy theories."
It's hardly a conspiracy that the US is allies with Saudi Arabia for economic reasons[4]. And regardless of why we're allies with them, it's not even a good thing that we are, as we turn a blind eye to all sorts of crap that they do to their women[5][6][7].

"Surge was announced in Dec 2006. Troops didn't arrive until 07. Both the Iraqi govt and think-tanks like the Bookings Institute credited higher troop levels for its success.."
As with citing White House 'facts', and for the same reasons, using what the Iraqi government claimed doesn't necessarily make for rock-solid data. Further, my opponent's data is from 2007. Mine are from much later, when the dust has settled and more objective heads can take a look at the situation.

"Experts?? Nice appeal to authority here (a logical fallacy)."
I have not committed a logical fallacy. Appeals to authority are only fallacious when the 'authority' isn't actually an authority[8]. If anyone wants to check source 5 from my previous round, you will see that the authority I cite is comprised of the following: Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger, War Analysis Institutions, and data collected regarding feedback from the Iraqi people and violence over time.

And even if I'm wrong about the Surge and its effects, that does not disprove the fact that overall, the US occupation of Iraq inflamed sectarian tensions and contributed to further terrorism down the road, facts I've already sourced. One might say: "Well, let's just do this Surge-style forever to keep the peace!" That is not feasible, given the costs of occupation of other countries, which was also previously documented.

"So what. According to the quote above "regional conflicts cannot be helped" regardless of US military intervention, and only says intervention "may" sometimes cause trouble; which is NOT the same saying that it DOES cause trouble."
My opponent does not appear to dispute the truth of the quote, and I hope he doesn't suddenly change his position in the final round, as that would be unsporting.

More importantly though, my opponent is misinterpreting the impact of the information. If our intervention doesn't help, and might cause trouble, then the only possible outcomes are either neutral or bad, neither of which are worth the lives of our soldiers or our tax dollars.

"Meanwhile I never realized that ISIS was a "small less powerful country" that deserved protection from America"s hegemonic intentions."
No, ISIS is not, but countries in which we may operate in the course of fighting them are, meaning the quote does apply.

"Yet when we do intervene militarily we liberate 30 million Iraqi people from an iron-fist dictator and give the right to vote to over 15 million women. We also eliminate and disrupt terrorist bases of operations and prevent attacks against our homeland and our allies."
We may have liberated the Iraqi people from Saddam, but we plunged their country in sectarian strife and foreign occupation, so it's hard to say which is better for them, and even if you answer that, it's hard to say if it was right to force change on the country at all.

And when you run it by the numbers, the answer would appear to be no, it wasn't the right thing to do. Roughly 600,000 civilians died under Saddam[9] (he ruled for 24 years), and 500,000 died in the Iraq War[10] (only one decade). Further, Iraq is listed as one of the world's most 'failed' Failed States, right along side our other conquest, Afghanistan[11].

Finally, even if Iraq received a net benefit from our occupation, the fact remains that we still did a lot of damage, and weakened ourselves militarily in the process. The drawback being that we now are less likely to become involved in a more worthy issue that can clearly and cleanly be resolved by military force, due to our weakened posture.

"Just how many major terrorist attacks have happened to the US since 9/11 and the Iraq War again???"
According to my count, 1 attack on the US prior to 9/11, and 5 after[12].

"So we should put the world economy at risk anyway by allowing ISIS to disrupt a vital region of the world for global trade, shipping, commerce, and energy supplies?"
This response suggests that I advocate doing nothing, which I don't. I have already outlined a plan to effectively fight ISIS, and I've already shown that US-Arab coalitions have been effective at stopping ISIS in its tracks.

"Are these Iraqi Muslim psychologists under attack by ISIS? Your appeal to authority fails here."
Again, this is not a fallacious appeal to authority, as I was referencing the findings of scientists. And I do not see how it is relevant, as my opponent seems to insinuate, that these scientists be under attack by ISIS. My purpose in citing this is to prove that humans, as naturally tribalistic beings, tend to dislike people that aren't like them. So you're more likely to develop animosity for the accidental killer of your family if they are not like you (e.g. American) than if they are like you (e.g. fellow countrymen).

"So explain to us why 3,000 Americans still died at the WTC and Pentagon in 2001 when the US had no military troops in Afghanistan or a significant military presence in the Middle East."




These are pictures of what is known as the Highway of Death. Americans killed fleeing Iraqi troops and civilians, burying them, dead or dying, in the desert[13]. One can imagine how this event might inspire terrorism. I'm not saying the people who died on 9/11 deserved to die for this, I'm merely saying that there are other reasons for 9/11 besides what my opponent is trying to push.


This is just one example; America has been involved in military operations all around the world, every year, since 1980[14]. Given other facts I've provided about motivations for terrorists, we can see that our interventionism in other parts of the world are what motivated terrorists. I'd also like to note that my opponent hasn't proven how our supposed lack of presence in Afghanistan during this time affected the outcome on 9/11.

"Key word, "partly." Other key words "minds of middle easterners," indicating an American perception & communication problem, and NOT a policy problem. This has been helped nowadays by current COIN doctrines that call for winning "hearts & minds."
Just because we only partly influence terrorism doesn't mean we should go on influencing terrorism. If giving kids loaded guns partly influenced yearly gun deaths, would we allow it?

My opponent also mentions the COIN tactics, ostensibly to suggest that our interventionist operations will go smoothly from here on out because we use COIN. It's true we attempt to use it, but it is a complicated system that has a history of poor or completely failed executions, particularity for the US[15][18]. I'm not saying 'screw COIN'--just that we can't rely on it as a fix-all.

"..had a status of force agreement been established in 2012, ISIS would have never had been able to rout a US backed Iraqi Army."
First thing to note is that we couldn't stay because we weren't wanted by the Iraqi government anymore, at least not in terms that they trusted us with[16][17]. That is part of the overall problem with Pro's philosophy: the idea that we need to stick around the whole time to make sure things don't get out of control again. Simply put, we cannot stay indefinitely to ensure the ill-will we've stirred doesn't spill over, because there isn't the financial or political will on the part of our nation, or the nations we're occupying.

We can't stay forever, and we can't pop in and out for reasons already demonstrated. We have to develop a strategy that allows the people of the Middle East to act autonomously; that includes in defense of themselves. I have already outlined a plan in regards to accomplishing this.


Unfortunately I'm out of characters. However, the only things I wasn't able to respond to were unsourced statements, or statements already refuted by my previous statements or sources.

To conclude:
1) Interventionism drives future terrorism, therefore we should avoid a major, visible presence in the fight against ISIS
2) US-Arab coalitions have proven effective at fighting ISIS, and there are numerous behind the scenes strategies for America to get involved in to destroy ISIS' funding and recruitment

Sources:
http://tinyurl.com...
Jingle_Bombs

Pro

Jingle_Bombs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Always happy to do so. Honestly surprised I was the only one who managed it.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Thanks for taking the time to vote, whiteflame. I really appreciate your advice.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
ok 24 hours, I will try to get to this
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
"Then you should have dismissed CON's entire case which was 1) ground wars discourages sectional and national/international unity; and 2) in the act of dealing with the bad guys, the US gets the bad rap as the killers of civilians, invaders, etc. (See CON's intro lines for Round 2)."

I didn't dismiss any of them, despite their being red herrings. I gave you my view on what they were - that was not an explanation for how they impacted the debate for me. A lot of these examples seemed to present possible patterns for how things could go. That was something that played into the debate.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
It seemed to me that you were oscillating haphazardly, and often in fashion that conflated reality and principle.

I can give you feedback on those. I saw no impact to mission creep. You mentioned it twice, and didn't explain how it's harmful. The immediate threat of ISIS is a problem, but then I need to see why Con's case doesn't solve for that threat, and why your case does. Simply putting troops in Iraq, which was your case, seemed to have a difficult link to solving for ISIS immediately, and the lack of response to Con's case was glaring. I didn't see an impact to Iranian involvement in Iraq ("meddling" is too nebulous). The first and last of these arguments were also confined to single rounds, and often went without sources and few warrants.

I didn't dismiss the line-by-line, but the line-by-line can only do so much when it's not placed in the broader context of the debate. I took those points that were valuable to the debate, or that got a lot of discussion, and spent my time there.

"On the contrary, I made two separate cases at the end of Round 2 that boots on the ground "were the most efficient way to defeat ISIS" and that deploying ground forces were "better than alternatives." See each respective title in Round 2."

Please, read the sentence I quoted. I was looking for you to say that Con's case isn't mutually exclusive from yours and that you can do both. You didn't say that. You asserted that boots on the ground are more efficient, and then cited one instance in which an increased number of troops purportedly led to improved circumstances in Iraq. You asserted that your case was "more preferable than alternatives," but you never addressed Con's case directly and never made a case for why yours was better beyond the efficiency claim.
Posted by Jingle_Bombs 2 years ago
Jingle_Bombs
@Whiteflame

"It seems to me that you oscillate between reality and principle "

Which is what good policy & analysis is supposed to do.

"Con's the only side that seems to have a great likelihood of solving for it without tremendous collateral
damage."

Here, you've seemed to have ignored my numerous points about mission creep, the immediate threat of ISIS, and the dangers of Iranian involvement in Iraq.

"One sentence, and this debate could have ended very differently."

So why are you totally dismissing "line by line" arguing then?

"And yet Pro never says "we can do that too, let's simply utilize boots on the ground as a way to crush the remnants of ISIS after they're weakened."

On the contrary, I made two separate cases at the end of Round 2 that boots on the ground "were the most efficient way to defeat ISIS" and that deploying ground forces were "better than alternatives." See each respective title in Round 2.

"Generally, I felt many of the looks back at the past were red herrings."

Then you should have dismissed CON's entire case which was 1) ground wars discourages sectional and national/international unity; and 2) in the act of dealing with the bad guys, the US gets the bad rap as the killers of civilians, invaders, etc. (See CON's intro lines for Round 2).
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

So, while this was certainly an interesting debate to start, I think that there were several problems with it as it progressed. I'll provide a conclusion after this explaining my decision, but I thought I'd change up my RFD a bit here and focus on the problem areas of the debate.

1. The forfeit

Obviously, this is a problem. In a debate where most of the discussion was a back and forth with each side quoting the other, and therefore it was more focused on the line-by-line, it's a pretty big problem to just straight up forfeit the last opportunity you have to engage in this. That dearth will end up playing a substantial role in the decision.

2. The line-by-line

Ugh. The last two posts of this debate become so focused on quoting each other that I begin to lose sight of the debate as a whole. Pro, you really have to take the time to go back and give me perspective on the overall discussion happening here. You can't just endeavor to win every point and then expect me to parse out the big picture of what it all means later. Con, I wish you'd held to your resolve from R3 not to just quote and respond. It did get messy. Having a small concluding section didn't help clarify your stance.

3. The case

Pro, this needed to be front and center. It needed to be the first thing I saw in R2, and it needed to be very clear. Is there a plan for deployment, or are you just going to go by the principle that we need to have boots on the ground? It seems to me that you oscillate between reality and principle, and I never see you taking a solid stance. Con gives me a very specific case that, while it lacks somewhat in mechanisms, stands as the only clearly defined case by the final round. Especially given that you're upholding the resolution, coming up with a case and presenting it straightfowardly would have been a simple task, but it never really happened.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

4. The conclusion

As Pro didn't have a conclusion, this is directed at Con. Know what you're winning, and don't use the conclusion just to summarize your points. The final round should not be mostly rebuttal followed by a two sentence conclusion. I should be seeing more, at least one beefy paragraph worth. It's worth taking a step back from the debate again, clearly stating why what Pro dropped matters, and then giving some "even if"-type statements to showcase what happens when I'm buying some of Pro's arguments. Spend some time analyzing the cases, establish that war with ISIS is a very different monster as compared with previous wars, explain why uncertainty shouldn't drive us to take risky actions, talk about establishing trust, and make it clear that any solution isn't certain to be effective. These are things I should have seen in the final round conclusion, but didn't.

The decision:

Generally, I think both sides make a number of mistakes that could have cost them the debate. I think reframing this debate as "how should we intervene" rather than "should we intervene" would have clarified this, since both sides are arguing that we should intervene in this crisis due to the threat that ISIS presents. It's really a question of how.

Both sides talk a great deal about trust, and I can see those arguments having some merit, but it really addresses two different populations (those that want us directly involved, and those that don't), and I can see either of those populations becoming dissidents no matter the decision. Con gives me all of the numerical analysis here, and as he's the only one to actually weigh the number of dissidents (albeit with little assessment of how polls bear out into terrorist recruitment), he takes this point.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

Generally, I felt many of the looks back at the past were red herrings. Previous deaths that resulted from putting troops on the ground doesn't necessarily translate to deaths in this case. The reality that previous interventions or lack thereof reflect on this situation is something of a dodge as well, since there's little discussion of the interest on the ground in our intervention in this conflict. The success of previous actions like the Iraq Surge doesn't necessarily translate into success of placing boots on the ground in this conflict. I think exploring the reality that this is a regional, not a national, conflict would have helped a lot, yet it only gets passing mention.

I think Pro's biggest problem in this debate is the case discussion, and the fact that it takes up so little of the debate is shocking. Con's giving me a lot of alternatives with no obvious mutual exclusivity. He's presenting me with a lot of ways to reduce the threat of ISIS over time. And yet Pro never says "we can do that too, let's simply utilize boots on the ground as a way to crush the remnants of ISIS after they're weakened." One sentence, and this debate could have ended very differently.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

Instead, what I'm forced to do is compare Con's alternatives to a nebulous "we'll put boots on the ground" case that seems to rely heavily on ground forces to solve for the problems ISIS presents. What I am getting out of the back and forth discussion is that there are real concerns either way, and that we don't have a solid idea of what would happen if we intervene this way. I'm not getting that kind of uncertainty on Pro's case, and I'm seeing him garnering all his impacts without any obvious risk. Maybe these countries will feel slighted, but if we show a big presence in defeating ISIS, it seems to me that that's less likely of a concern. Both sides state unequivocally that ISIS is a large and dangerous problem, and Con's the only side that seems to have a great likelihood of solving for it without tremendous collateral damage. Ergo, that's how I vote.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
MyDinosaurHandsJingle_BombsTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.