The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
31 Points

The US should discontinue its use of private military contractors

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Post Voting Period
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after 11 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,649 times Debate No: 16392
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (11)




This is our first round in socialpinko's debate tournament. Thanks to bluesteel for agreeing to debate this topic.


1. Both sides are required to give arguments to support their position, not just refute the other's claims.

2. No semantics

3. Round 1 is for intro, acceptance, etc.

I dont feel definitions are necessary as we should both know what the topic is about.

Many reading this may not know exactly what private military contractors (PMC's) are. Here is a brief intro.

The slang term is mercenaries. Typically, retired military personell or other people who have combat experience come together and form a coporation that sells their military skills. The US will pay these firms a lot of money to go overseas and help the regular military perform its duties. Think of them as kind of a second army.

Supporters of them generally refer to how the US depends a lot on these contractors to succeed, as our normal military isn't as big as people think. But they have come under fire because they are unregulated by US law like the military is, have a history of human rights abuses, and other such things that my case will explain.

If my opponent has any questions or objections it would be best to mention them before accepting.

Good luck to both of us. Lets have a good round.


Thanks BlackVoid.

This shouldn't be an important point in the debate, but no one in the literature refers to private military contractors (PMC's) as mercenaries. They are used, as my opponent points out, to supplement, not replace, our own military. The United Nation's "Mercenary Convention" bans the use of mercenaries, but PMC's do not fall into this category.

I look forward to a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I agree that they aren't technically mercenaries, which is why I said that it is the "slang" term. It was just used to summarize PMC's in a simple way people can understand.

Anyway, lets begin.

Contention 1: Contractors destroy US credibility

The regular military is strictly trained and tightly regulated by US law. They also must abide by the Rules of Engagement, which prevent abuses from happening whenever they go on a mission. Such things do not exist for Contractors, meaning they can essentially do whatever they want.

A. PMC's rape women and force them into prostitution.

The inability of contractors to restrain themselves while on duty has resulted in a staggering amount of sexual abuses committed by the industry. In Bosnia, a PMC called DynCorp kidnapped several 12 to 15 year old girls from other countries, raped them, and sold them to each other as slaves (1).

The same company also purchased several illegal drugs in Afghanistan and bought male child prostitutes to "entertain"them. Nobody was charged.

In Iraq, several Halliburton employees imprisoned and gang-raped a 22 year old woman in Baghdad, and tried to cover up the corruption (2).

PMC's in the Balkans frequently participated in brothels; one of them even videotaped himself having intercourse with two likely underage girls (3).

These are only four examples. There are many, many more sexual abuses that have been committed by contractors abroad that I can list if requested. But for now, lets use these to show us that there is clearly a lack of accountability in the private industry, and this enables the raping and forced prostitution of civilians.

B. PMC's blatantly attack and kill civilians

The most famous disaster of the private industry was Blackwater in 2006. In Iraq, the PMC called Blackwater Worldwide shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians, and reports confirm that the shootings were completely unwarranted (4).

PMC's are also known for killing several civilians in Afghanistan. In addition to killing two of them in August 2010, contractors there are charged with increasing the civilian death rate and working with Afghan warlords (5).

And its not just these examples. There are literally hundreds of shootings PMC's have been accused of in Iraq alone (6).

C. This causes Anti-Americanism.

Civilians witnessing these shootings and abuses don't see these people as unregulated contractors, they see them as Americans. Schwartz explains (7)

"The perception that DOD and other government agencies are deploying PSCs who abuse and mistreat people can fan anti-American sentiment and strengthen insurgents, even when no abuses are taking place. There have been reports of an anti-American campaign in Pakistan, where stories are circulating of U.S. private security contractors running amok and armed Americans harassing and terrifying residents. U.S. efforts can also be undermined when DOD has ties with groups that kill civilians or government officials,"

D. Anti-Americanism undermines the war effort

Winning the support of their people is crucial to fighting terrorists or insurgencies. Citizens can have crucial information that can give leads to finding an enemy's hideout or other info. And if the rebels/insurgency that we are trying to fight tries to turn the citizens to their side and against us, its less likely to happen if the US forces are legitimate and well-respected. PMC's eliminate this possibility. By shooting the locals, raping the women, and committing malicious acts of behavior, winning the people's support becomes impossible. Sub point C specifically shows how the entire American force, including the regular military, is undermined by the Contractor's actions. By doing so, PMC's effectively undermine counter-insurgency efforts and make "winning" a war a lot harder than it has to be.

Contention 2: No allegiance to one nation. Contractors fight on both sides of the conflict.

In Afghanistan, contractors have taken millions of dollars the US government has given them and funneled it directly to Taliban warlords (8). Additionally, many PMC employees have supported and joined the Taliban entirely, and are now fighting against the government that hired them in the first place.

Even worse, many have been accused of literally paying the Taliban to attack Afghan forces, so that the contractors can fight back and look like they're doing they're job (9).

And when Sierra Leone hired contractors to aid the government in a civil war, the PMC Lifeguard gave weapons and supplies to the rebel forces instead (10). Plus, another company called Sandline gave aerial support to the government, and weapons to the rebels.

This is possible because of the profit motive. PMC's operate for money, and don't necessarily have to only work for one employer (or nation) at a time. So if country A hires them to fight Country B, they will do it. But if country B offers them money to help them fight country A at the same time, they will find a way to assist country B without country A knowing, to make more money.

These types of counterproductive occurrences proves that contractors are unreliable and don't necessarily respect the employer they work for.

Contention 3: Other disadvantages

A. Operate solely in the contract.

No incentive to go the extra mile. Because of being hired on contract, they are only obliged to do what the contract tells them. PMC can and have exploited this. At one point In Iraq, 12 soldiers had been killed of accidental electrocution. But when PMC employees discovered serious electrical problems in an embassy, they refused to repair it because their contract didn't cover "fixing potential hazards", it only covered fixing things that were already broken. (11).

B. Extort and waste money.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency found that contractors in general have over ten Billion dollars worth of questionable costs and charges (12). One example of this is Halliburton charging the Iraqi government to transport "sailboat fuel".


Private contractors are unregulated (immune from most prosecutions) and operate for money. These two things enable all of the abuses and war profiteering described above. At the point that these actions contractors undergo not only are inherently bad, but undermine the war effort and waste taxpayer dollars, its necessary to cease their use.

Thus I affirm.



My opponent never argues against having a military, period. We need a military for our collective defense, to combat terrorism, and to project power and maintain stability throughout the world, extending our soft power. If I prove that contractors are no worse than our own military (and are in fact better), then I should win that we should not discontinue their use.

C1) Force multiplier

For decades now, our government has been outsourcing various jobs within the military to private contractors, so that our troops can focus on their mission. According to David Kilcullen, a senior advisor to General Petraeus, currently only 40% of troops deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan perform combat duties; the rest are tasked to base support. [1] Kilcullen continues that because they are on a 2:1 rotation schedule, at any given time, only one third of the combat forces can be deployed on missions. The rest are resting and re-equipping. So currently, at any given time, only 20% of troops deployed abroad can be put in the field.

Without the force multiplier effect of contractors, that ratio would be even smaller. According to the Congressional Research Service, 55% of PMC's are tasked with base support, 8% are interpreters and translators, 3.9% do logistics and maintenance, 2.3% do construction, 1.9% do transportation, 1.1% do communication, and 1.0% do training. [2] Getting rid of PMC's would rob our troops of their chefs, laundry workers, translators, and handymen. The vast majority of what PMC's do is not related to combat.

C2) Oversight has improved significantly

The same Congressional Research Service report continues, "According to officials at the Department of Defense, the Blackwater shooting incident that took place at Nisoor Square on September 16, 2007, was a watershed event that highlighted the need for improved management and oversight of all U.S. government private security contractors . . . According to these officials, DOD initiated a number of steps to improve contractor oversight, including establishing an Armed Contractor Oversight Division and significantly increasing the number of Defense Contracting Management Agency personnel performing contractor oversight . . . Since the institution of measures to manage [private security contractors] better, the Department of Defense reports that incidences where weapons were fired by [private security contractors] have decreased by about 67%." [3]

C3) The Draft

The CRS report continues, "Without private contractors, the U.S. military would not have sufficient capabilities to carry out an operation of the scale of Iraq . . . without contractor support to the U.S. military, policy makers would probably need to contemplate increasing the number of U.S. troops, perhaps . . . re-instituting the draft." The US would need so many more troops if we did not use contractors that Congress would need to re-institute the draft whenever we engaged in any sort of military operation abroad.

C4) Cost

According to the General Accountability Office, contractors are $15,000 cheaper per person than hiring a military equivalent. [4] And the Congressional Budget Office, studying a 20-year period, found that contractors are 90% cheaper at supplying logistical support. [5] Wars would be significantly more expensive if we did not employ contractors.

C5) PMC's are essential to humanitarian assistance operations

After the Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu, the US developed "Somalia Syndrome," which is the name that scholars give to the American reluctance to deploy our troops abroad to stop genocides. Somalia Syndrome forced Clinton to impotently watch the Rwanda genocide unfold. James Pattison writes in "Outsourcing the Responsibility to Protect" that PMC's allow political leaders to overcome Somalia Syndrome and intervene to stop genocide. According to the Yale Journal of International Affairs, the US was able to hire MPRI to train Croatian forces in 1994; the training of Croatian forces allowed a successful counter-attack against Serbia, finally bringing them to the bargaining table. [6] The US would not have been able to deploy our own forces on the ground and without training, the Serbs would have slaughtered the Croatians in their struggle for independence. According to Rouba Al-Fattal in "The Privatization of Peace," PMC's acted as a "force equalizer" in Bosnia, preventing one side from gaining a force advantage and thus bringing both sides to the negotiating table. [7]

Blackwater has expressed a keen interest in acting as the United States rapid reaction force to genocide and other humanitarian disasters around the world. [8]

C6) Security Guards

Someone needs to guard our diplomats and other State Department officials as they stay in Iraq and Afghanistan and help them build up their civil society. In Iraq, with the US withdrawal, the State Department is relying completely on 7,000 private contractors to protect them. [9] Say what you will about Blackwater, but not a single person has died while being guarded by this PMC. [10] The CRS points out that contractors are superior for protection because most contractors are locals, who blend in and speak the language, so they are less likely to arouse attention. [11]

C7) Air support

According to think tank Senlis Afghanistan, having fewer boots on the ground will lead to an over-reliance on air support, which empirically kills far more civilians and turns people against us. [14]


R1) Undermine US credibility

1. The new Armed Contractor Oversight Division has decreased "firing incidents" by 67% meaning because of new DOD oversight post-2007, contractors only use their weapons for clear and legitimate purposes, obeying the rules of engagement.

2. Our own military doesn't always have clear rules of engagement. One Iraq war vet describes the US rules of engagement during the Bush presidency as "We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us." [12]

3. Turn, there is more oversight over PMC's than our own military. There are multiple oversight branches, and the DOD and Congress can always refuse to renew contractors for PMC's that misbehave, creating huge incentives to crack down on employees. This is way more oversight than for our own military, which was able to cover up its murder of two Reuters journalists, until Wikileaks exposed the incident.


My opponent provides 4 examples of rape. When you send a bunch of young men overseas, unfortunately, some percentage of them will be rapists. The Pentagon estimates that 15,000 women WITHIN our military are raped or sexually assaulted each year. [13] If you include our military raping natives, the number becomes much larger. Rape is a systematic problem within our own military; 4 incidents is small in comparison.

In addition, contractors who do not deal with rape allegations will not be rehired, whereas our own military has shown no accountability for the rape epidemic in its ranks.

Kill Civilians

Oversight has improved dramatically since the Blackwater incident my opponent cites.

Our military is no better: "4 soldiers gang raped a 14-year-old girl in the town of Mahmoudiya, Iraq." [15] "Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed up to 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them ``execution style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha." [16]

Given the difficulty of presenting a case and refuting at the same time, I will offer the rest of my rebuttal in the next round.

[1] The Accidental Guerilla, page 270
[3] Ibid
[11] Ibid
[14] "Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink", November 2007
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his response.

I'm fine if he refutes everything else in next round. I expected that he would just post his case first then refute mine in the next round, but its ok. If he wants to put sources in comments to save space, dont penalize him for it.

First his arguments, then mine.


I agree. In this debate I will prove that contractors are worse than the military and that we can function without them.

C1) Force multiplier

Con brings up how only a minimal amount of military troops can be deployed at once, and that PMC's help maintain bases, cook food, etc.

1. The only reason we have a troop deficit is because PMC's siphon them away. If one wants to be in a military profession, why would you go to the military and be subject to constant training, when you could join a PMC and be paid hundreds of dollars a day?

According to Schreier and Caparini (1), the military is suffering from an intense "brain-drain" of skilled military workers by PMC's. They offer money to potential and current military members and they leave to go work with contractors. Thats why we dont have enough troops.

2. Besides, we have enough troops to do these things anyway. In 2006 we had 140,000 troops in Iraq (2). Now we have 50,000 (3). Thats 90,000 more troops available to perform these non-combat operations.

3. There's no impact to this argument. All he says is that without PMC's, "the ratio would be even smaller" and that we would lose some chefs and handymen. He has done so without showing how this impacts the war effort, how it affects conflict solving, how it affects counterinsurgency, or anything. He cannot give impacts next round as it would be adding new arguments to his case.

C2: Oversight improved

He points out that new regulation measures have correlated with less shootings.

Lots of problems here.

1. Shootings aren't the only abuse PMCs commit. Rape, theft, funding the enemy, and wasting money are plenty of malicious acts that his source doesn't even attempt to claim its reduced. So even if you buy that shootings are reduced by this, its only one wasp out of the hive.

2. According to his source, regulation may not have been what reduced the shootings:

"DOD and Department of State officials have stated that...they cannot determine to what degree the reduction in shooting incidents is the result of their efforts, the general decrease in violence in Iraq, or the military surge"

3. Even if they did help, according to his source, regulation may not even be sustainable:

"the report expressed concerns regarding DOD’s ability to sustain its staffing and training efforts in managing its PSCs in Iraq"

C3: Draft

Con says that without PMC's we couldnt operate in Iraq, and may need to do a draft to get more men.

1. The first part of the quote is irrelevant to the point. "Without PMC's we cant operate in Iraq". That means we pull out of Iraq, not institute conscription.

2. A draft wont be passed, it violates every democratic principle America was founded upon. 68% of Americans oppose conscription (4). To make this argument, my opponent must prove that Obama or any future president is willing to undermine the democratic principles America is proud of.

3. Even if we had a draft, it wouldn't be effective. People who didnt want to join would just claim to be Conscientious Objectors; they cant join because they feel war is "immoral".

C4: Cost

He says a PMC is $15,000 cheaper per person.

My opponent completely misconstrues his source. It actually says:

"$15,000 savings per person per year through the use of civilian employees rather than a military person of comparable pay grade in peacetime—none of these studies has analyzed the cost efficiency of prolonged, intense conflicts"

None of this applies now; there is still conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

C5: Humanitarian operations

He says we can use PMC's to stop genocides, since the gov. won't use troops.

1. Extend Sierra Leone and Afghanistan examples from my C2. PMC's were hired by the gov. to stop the genocide and terrorism. Some of them funded the enemy instead. They are not reliable options to perform this duty.

2. Most places where PMC's are used for Humanitarian reasons are in Africa. Expect abuses to be even more rampant here, as these third-world nations have extremely weak governments and authorities to regulate them.

C6: Security guards

My opponent says we need Backwater to protect diplomats in Iraq.

1. Backwater has been involved in 56 shootings of Iraqi civilians while guarding diplomats (5). We can find guards that don't shoot the locals.

2. Now that the Iraqi police force and military has been trained by US forces, they can act as these guards instead. Not only will they not want to kill their countrymen, they are also nationals, so his blending in argument is non-unique.

C7: Air support

He says we need more troops to rely less on destructive air strikes

1. In 2009 there were over 68,000 contractors in Afghanistan, the location of his source (6). His evidence says that excessive air strikes are a big problem, even with those 70,000 PMC's. So his impact is happening even though contractors are there. They don't solve this problem.

2. Also extend C1 argument. We dont have enough military troops because PMC's drain them away.

Onto my arguments.

C1: US Credibility

1. He uses the same argument as his C2. Extend my response.

2. He cites an instance where rules of engagement for the military weren't followed in Iraq.

At least the military has rules of engagement, even if it has been broken in this one example. There is none of these for contractors, enabling the abuses and allowing them to escape prosecution.

3A. He claims there is more oversight for PMC's than for the military, citing oversight branches.

First, con fails to prove his point. Just because there is supposed oversight for contractors doesn't mean there is more oversight than the military. He gives no evidence about oversight regarding the normal armed forces, so he can't compare them to contractors.

Second, his Oversight Branch evidence already stated that their efforts to regulate PMC's may be in vain, and that they can't even sustain their efforts.

3B. Con says PMC's will crack down on employees who commit abuses.

Ok, so contractors can get fired for raping someone. Members of the military are discharged, tried in a criminal court, and sent to prison. Contractors are virtually immune from prosecution. I'm not 100% sure, but I think there's more incentive to commit abuses on the first option.


Con essentially argues that the military rapes people as well, namely women within its ranks.

There's a simple way to solve this. Put them in separate barracks. I understand that this shouldn't be necessary, but nevertheless, it would help solve the problem.

Also, my opponent refers to the military raping natives, yet he gives no evidence, statistics, or examples substantiating how often this actually happens, so Con has no access to this argument anyway.

Kill Civilians

He says the military kills civilians as well.

1. My opponent gives two examples of the military committing crimes and uses that to say they are worse than contractors in general. This is an extremely exaggerated claim given the warrant he had.

2. My evidence indicates that contractors have been involved in hundreds of shootings in Iraq alone. This far outweighs the two examples my opponent gave. Unless my opponent can prove that the military has shot or killed more people, I'll win this argument.

I await my opponent's response.



== Rebuttal (cont'd from Round 1) ==

R1) group his C and D

1. Remember, the CRS said that most PMC personnel are locals so they blend in, and thus (turn), they cause less anti-American sentiment than US soldiers, who stand out.

2. Our troops are worse and have less oversight. According to the Wikileaks War Logs, our military has already killed 109,000 civilians in Iraq, 15,000 of which the military had tried to cover-up. [1]

3. Remember, turn, fewer contractors means fewer boots on the ground, which Senlis Afghanistan tells us means an over-reliance on air support, vastly increasing civilian casualties.

4. Turn, many of our translators are contractors (according to the CRS). Without translators, we will lose hearts and minds because we won't be able to communicate effectively with locals.

R2) No allegiance

1. My opponent is correct: contractors pay off local warlords in Afghanistan so they don't attack convoys. But with corruption endemic in Afghanistan, our diplomatic corps and military tolerate massive corruption, making this non-unique to contractors. We even tolerate Karzai's stolen election and his drug dealing brother, Ahmed Wali. Paying the warlords off is safer and better for everyone than having more fighting and instability along the nation's highways.

2. According to my opponent's own source, the allegations of contractors paying the Taliban to attack them are completely unsubstantiated and this makes little logical sense anyways.

3. The contractors in Sierra Leone were not U.S. PMC's. We have arrangements with our private military contractors that prevent them from working with nations hostile to the United States. If they did so, they would not be rehired, and U.S. contracts are worth more than the contracts of our opponents (the Taliban?).

4. Contractors used for more sensitive missions are usually former Navy SEALS, who would be extremely loyal to the U.S.

R3) Other disadvantages

A. Operate solely within contact

1. This is one unfortunate incident, but the Army generally does a better job at writing the contracts to be as broad and general as possible.

2. The DOD Inspector General report found that the Army was equally at fault and could have easily had the electrical problems repaired itself or pushed KBR to repair them; once notified properly of the problems, "KBR initiated the inspection of over 75,000 structures throughout Iraq and was making life, health, and safety repairs". [2]

B. Waste Money

My opponent says "The Defense Contract Audit Agency found that contractors…"

The fact that there is now a Defense Contract Audit Agency means there is a thousand times more accountability for expenses for PMC's than exists within our own DOD military budget.

Christopher Preble documents far more than $10 billion that have been wasted through military procurement programs, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Virginia class submarine, and V22-Osprey. [3] He laments that there is no oversight for these procurement programs, which routinely come in billions of dollars over-budget and often fail to deliver at all. The DOD refuses to even publish its expenditures for inspection.

Oversight for contractors is, in fact, better than oversight for our regular military.

== Rebuttal to Round 2 ==

C1) Force multiplier

Original argument: currently, only 20% of US forces can be on combat duty at any given time. Without PMC's to perform base support functions, this ratio would be even lower, making our fighting forces extremely ineffective.

My opponent claims that the problem would be solved if there were no "brain drain" from the military. A brain drain exists among Navy SEALS and specialized personnel, but only because certain contractors are willing to pay them MORE than the military is willing to pay them. But this is not true for the typical base support or logistical support personnel, who costs, on average, $15,000 less than a US government-employed counterpart (according to the GAO).

Having 90,000 more troops from Iraq won't solve the problem either, since according to the same CRS report, PMC's account for 50% of our military personnel. We'd need at least an additional 500,000 personnel to replace PMC's everywhere our military currently operates.

Extend C3 under this argument as the impact. Without PMC's, we would either need to implement a draft or forgo most of our military operations, such as deterring North Korean aggression against South Korea.

My opponent says conscription would never work because of strong domestic opposition, but Vietnam clearly disproves this argument. Many neo-cons within the Bush administration were pushing for conscription; only PMC's prevented such an outcome.

C2) Oversight

The Armed Contractor Oversight Division along with the Defense Contract Audit Agency have been successful in reigning in abuses other than shooting incidents as well.

My opponents other objections just nitpick the study methodology, but any study would be prudent to point out that causation is difficult to prove when there are so many factors. That doesn't negate the fact that there are two new oversight divisions and preliminary evidence shows them to be very effective.

In addition, the new Status of Force agreements in Iraq and Afghanistan no longer give contractors immunity to domestic laws, but still grant such immunity to our troops. Contractors are now being prosecuted by Afghanistan and Iraq for the crimes they commit there. [4]

C4) Cost

My opponent drops the evidence that according to a 20 year CBO study, logistical support is 90% cheaper from PMC's. The other study looks at peacetime savings, which applies to PMC personnel in South Korea, Germany, etc. But given that troops in active combat earn hazard pay and lifetime health insurance, it's likely that we achieve even greater cost savings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

C5) Humanitarian interventions

This is a big winner for Con. My opponent agrees that without PMC's, political leaders would not have the political cover to intervene in genocides around the world and that PMC's are extremely effective at stopping genocides, as they were in Serbia/Bosnia. His only argument is that they work both sides, but this is not true in Afghanistan (they are not hiring themselves out to the Taliban) or whenever the US is involved. I challenge my opponent to show examples of US PMC's working with the opposition in Serbia or Somalia, when they were used.

Clinton had to stand by and watch millions slaughtered in Rwanda because he could not put US boots on the ground due to Somalia. Luckily, by the time the Croatian/Serbian disasters rolled around, Clinton figured out that he could use PMC's to save lives without angering the public.

C6) Security Guards

Extend the Wikileaks evidence; our military killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Blackwater has done an amazing job in comparison. And Blackwater has never let someone they were guarding die, something that cannot be said for our own military.

The Iraqi police force is so corrupt that a report to Congress recommended they be scrapped. [5] Trusting the State Department in Iraq to their care would be a cruel fate for many American citizens.

If you're worried about people trusting us, relying on the local police is the worst possible idea. A 2010 Army report found that people in Afghanistan rank the local police as more dangerous than roadside bombs and criminals. [6]

C7) Air support

The Senlis Afghanistan report was written prior to the surge in Afghanistan, saying we need more troops to prevent civilian casualties. Obama's additional 30,000 troops brought us up to sufficient levels. Getting rid of PMC's would get rid of 50% of our forces in Afghanistan, which would undoubtedly make us rely more on air support, resulting in many times more civilian casualties.

[3] The Power Problem, p. 43-52
Debate Round No. 3


My case, his, then voters

C1 points C and D.

1. Nationality doesn't matter, raping and shooting of civilians will stand out no matter what country you're from. The Schwartz evidence specifically shows how these abuses are attributed by the people to America (nationals or not), because we are the ones who hired the contractors committing these abuses.

2. Toss the Wikileaks card. Nowhere does it say the military alone was responsible for the deaths. It is merely a tally of casualties, never saying who caused them. This tally therefore includes those killed by contractors, which turns this argument.

3. Group with his C7.

4. Turn, these translators would be in the military if PMC's didn't siphon them away by the lure of money.

C2: Work on both sides

1. My opponent literally tries to justify PMC's funding the Taliban. Unfortunately, this is a double bind for him. If PMC's are effective at security like he claims in C6, then they shouldn't need to pay off warlords to defend themselves. They should be able to fight back convoy attacks just fine. If they do have to pay warlords off, then he's conceding that PMC's aren't effective at security and need to resort to bribery to achieve it. So by making this argument he's either conceding that A. Funding Taliban is bad, or B. PMC's aren't effective.

2. This is what the source says.

"domestic security contractors might have actually paid the Taliban to stage attacks against coalition forces to help justify their existence"

Read the source. Nowhere does it say the claim is unsubstantiated. If he wants to argue this, he needs to quote my article directly.

3. My opponent says the US has arrangements that prevent PMC betrayal. Unfortunately for him, he dropped the argument that PMC's are subcontracting to Afghan warlords and working for them directly. Clearly ineffective. Also, we still have hundreds of thousands of contractors there despite their counterproductive nature, so no, the US is not firing them by itself.

4. Contractors and Navy SEALS:

Lacking source to validate this claim. Besides, in "sensitive missions" we would be more likely to use actual Navy SEALS, not former ones that are for hire.

C3: Other disads


1. No evidence. He just arbitrarily states "the army does a better job", with no backing. I can do the same. "The military is better than PMC's". There, I won!

2. Army could have pushed repairs:

Con misses the point. The fact that it was necessary to push them to do repairs in the first place shows the lack of effort PMC's can employ.


1. Audit agency:

Severely lacking a source here. Having an oversight branch only matters if its effective. He hasnt proven that whatsoever.

2. Military wasting money:

Turn: The leaders of all these programs he listed were fired (1, 2). That shows accountability.

His case


1. Brain-Drain:

My opponent concedes PMC's cause a shortage of skilled personnel, but tries to say its only for Elite officers. Unfortunately, he gave no evidence whatsoever to counter mine. I gave empirical and theoretical analysis about average soldiers joining a Contracting agency over the military, it doesn't just apply to the Elites. He can only counter with "this is not true for base support" with no supporting analysis or evidence. This is a huge win for the Pro, make this a voter.

2. Combine the extra 90,000 soldiers with the personnel we would have back from the PMC Brain-Drain, and we could match the efficiency level we had before, especially since they would be under a better regulatory framework.

My opponent misplaces some Draft arguments, I'll move and cover them in C3.


1. Other crimes: My opponent once again makes a completely unsupported statement, arbitrarily saying oversight branches "have been successful in reigning in abuses other than shooting incidents", with no source, no quote, no warrant. Thats probably because his original evidence indeed only talked about shootings, nothing else.

2. His "preliminary evidence" shouldn't be accepted either as his own source says its effort may not have worked. Dont draw long term conclusions from short-term results.

3. Dropped. Even if PMC's can be regulated, his evidence says it is unsustainable. This will be my second voter, this will win me the debate by itself.

4. Turn his source 4, it further substantiates my claim that PMC's destroy public opinion and commit murder in cold-blood. It even references the president of Afghanistan calling for a Ban of PMC's. Also, the source never says anything about Status of Force agreements or contractors being prosecuted, I'm not sure where he's getting this from. Again, he needs to quote the source.


1. Dropped. US will just limit its foreign engagements rather than institute a draft.

2. Doesn't matter what Bush did, I said that Con must prove that Obama or any future president will violate democracy. George Bush is not a future president, so he has not refuted my argument.

3. Dropped. Draft wont be effective, so it wont last anyway.


Con implies that the military is more expensive because they get hazard pay and health insurance. I'd say that if you walk into a terrorist warzone on a daily basis where you can lose a limb or two fairly easily, you deserve some insurance, expensive or not. Its ridiculous for Con to assume that this is a bad thing.

Plus, his source still says that soldiers (who dont get shot) in the military are cheaper in war than PMC's.


1. Con makes more warrantless claims to refute my argument. I pointed out how PMC's have worked against humanitarian efforts before with evidence, and he just literally says "this is not true...whenever the US is involved. This in spite of him conceding that PMC's fund the Taliban (though he tried to justify it) and dropping that they are subcontracting to Afghan warlords. Empirically, PMC's do in fact undermine humanitarian efforts.

2. Dropped. The lack of strong governance in nations requiring humanitarian assistance means that PMC abuses will be rampant, potentially worsening the situation.


1. Extend my argument on my C1 sub point C against Wikileaks.

2. Its been established that the only reason Blackwater escorts people so well is because they give the Taliban millions to not attack them, which is empirically proven to be counterproductive to our counterinsurgency.

3. As for the Iraqi police guarding diplomats, fine. Kick them. My opponent has completely dropped my Iraqi Military Alternative. Remember, I mentioned the Police and Military, not just police. Since he makes no arguments against the viability of their armed forces (and he can't do so in the last round), I win this automatically as you have a clear alternative to perform this service.


Remember, we will have more troops to counteract Air Strike dependency due to the lack of Brain-Drain affirming solves for. Combine that with the 90,000 extra troops we have, and we won't have to use the ol' Carpet Bomb.

Now that all thats covered, lets look over why I win.

Voting Issues

1. Con gives no evidence or analysis on everyday troops being siphoned away from the military by PMC's. This means that by ceasing our use of Contractors, many of their forces will re-join our military, counteracting any loss of manpower we would experience.

His entire case falls right there, as all of his impacts are on Troop Deficit.

2. He drops Accountability Unsustainable on his C2. This means that even if you buy every argument he's made regarding how PMC's are regulated, it doesn't matter because it can't be maintained. I win on all Accountability arguments.

3. All of my defenses on my C1 sub points A and b were dropped, so extend the the following arguments.

A. Military has Rules, PMC's don't.
B. He can't compare military oversight to PMC oversight.
C. Military has more incentive to not commit abuses
D. Military rape can be solved for.

The first two voters are independent reasons to vote pro, as thee subsume the vast majority of his arguments.

Thus, I affirm. Awesome round!!




Thanks blackvoid.

I'll be re-grouping all the arguments into a more convenient order and internally, I'll extend my arguments and address the main voting issues.

1. Brain Drain

My opponent hangs most of his case on this argument. His own source says that the brain drain is unique to specialized workers, like Navy SEALS, not the average soldier. And without PMC's willing to pay them more, for all we know these SEALS would retire, and we'd lose them anyway.

Remember, 50% of our military is composed of contractors, according to the CRS, and most of them do base support and logistics, not soldier duty. When a PMC needs someone to do laundry, they hire unskilled labor. When a PMC needs a construction worker, they hire a construction worker. If they need a translator, they hire someone that speaks English and Pashto. This is much more efficient than what the military used to do: take regular soldiers and have them to laundry, teach them to do construction, and make some of them learn Pashto to become translators.

Most of what PMC's do is noncombat, so the argument that PMC's are poaching a few soldiers who would have re-enlisted does not prove that without PMC's there would be enough personnel. Replacing laundry workers with troops is a bad use of resources, no matter how you look at it.

Also, the fact we achieve huge cost savings with PMC's proves that most PMC's pay less than the military, except for particular specialized personnel like Navy SEALS.

Without contracting with civilian translators, the military would have to train their own, which is costly and would take many years. Extend my turn that this empirically damages relations between local civilians and our troops, since if they can't communicate, when our troops do search missions they have to adopt more brutal tactics when they can't ask nicely to search a home.

My opponent is advocating a huge change from the status quo and never explains how the military would replace one out of every two essential personnel. Congress would be so desperate next time we needed to fight a war that they would have to implement a draft, something that no one wants.

2. Civilian casualties turn people against us

If my opponent loses brain drain, he loses this argument since it's his only response to the Senlis Afghanistan evidence, that when we have fewer boots on the ground, we have to rely more on air support, which kills many times more civilians. And General McChrystal was fond of saying that every dead civilian means 10 more insurgents join the cause.

Getting rid of the maintenance workers and communications specialists on the bases will mean the military will have to shift more soldiers to base support, which means more reliance on air support in the field.

The Wikileaks evidence does say that our military was responsible for the 15,000 civilian casualties that they had failed to disclose; why else try to hide these deaths? So I've provided evidence that our military killed 15,000 people in Iraq, and my opponent provides evidence that PMC's killed maybe 100 civilians. Obviously, PMC's are no worse, and are in fact better than our military.

Lastly, remember the CRS evidence that the new Armed Contractor Oversight Division decreased the number of times that PMC's fired weapons by 67%, getting them to obey clear rules of engagement. My opponent makes a big deal that I "dropped" his argument, which was just a quote from the report that the CRS had some concerns that the army might not sustain the oversight. No evidence is provided that the DOD didn't sustain this division.

3. PMC's work both sides

My opponent never provides evidence that PMC's have started WORKING FOR the Taliban.

He provides evidence that we fund local warlords (whose affiliation is unknown), but remember my argument that in the world's second most corrupt country, we have to tolerate some things that we prefer not to. Warlords set up checkpoints along roads and demand money. It's easier for a PMC that we pay for logistics (to transport supplies) to just pay the extortion fee than to hire a huge security detail to fight off the warlords.

My opponent claims his evidence says that PMC's pay the Taliban to attack them. First, this makes no sense; they are putting their own lives and supplies in danger if they do so. Second, the part of the sentence he cuts out says that this is one of many "allegations" and the source provides no evidence to back this allegation.

Lastly, we wouldn't hire a contractor that worked with our enemies, and just like we have agreements with procurement companies that they can't sell US military technology abroad without our approval, we can also limit who PMC's work with.

4. Other disads

My opponent doesn't extend his impacts here. It's just one example of a contractor building something badly and the army doing a terrible job of being accountable and reporting electrocution incidents to the contractor through proper channels. Once they were reported, KBR did country-wide inspections and repairs.

That covers my opponent's case, now moving back to my own.

5. Better oversight than the regular military

The DOD now has an Armed Contractor Oversight Division, which appears to have been effective in getting contractors to obey clear rules of engagement, decreasing the amount of times contractors resorted to using weapons by 67%. The army has no such oversight division if a soldier misfires a weapon; in fact, Wikileaks proves that empirically the military tries to cover up such incidents rather than holding soldiers accountable.

I also made the argument that the new Status of Force agreements in Iraq and Afghanistan have clauses that the two countries cannot prosecute our soldiers (who have immunity), but for the first time, may prosecute our PMC's. [1] The source I provided last round showed a case where a contractor was jailed under Afghan law.

As far as money, at least there is a division to oversee contractor expenses. No such division exists for the regular military, and we should assume there is widespread waste there as well, but unfortunately, the military refuses to publish a breakdown of its expenditures. Chalmers Johnson in "Dismantling the Empire" talks about a secret golf course the military set up in Kuwait for officers to take vacations from Iraq.

Even with some abuse, contractors are still much cheaper. It costs 90% less to hire a contractor for logistical support than for the military to do this itself, according to the CBO. If PMC's waste some money that just means it could actually be 95% or 99% cheaper, with more oversight.

My opponent claims my source says soldiers are cheaper than PMC's in war time, but this is simply not the case. The source says PMC's are $15,000 cheaper in peace time. It says nothing about war.

6. Humanitarian assistance

Remember my argument that PMC's can do a lot of good in the world because they allow presidents to intervene to stop genocides, when they don't have the political cover to send in the regular military. MPRI stopped the Balkans from breaking down into a protracted civil war when Yugoslavia split into different nations.

My opponent claims that his Sierra Leone evidence is about peacekeeping, but it isn't. It said that when the government hired (African) contractors to fight the rebels, they also gave guns to rebels.

The U.S. could use PMC's to save hundreds of thousands of lives, stopping genocides like in Rwanda. Blackwater says that they would welcome the opportunity to do peacekeeping.

7. Guard Duty

The Iraqi Army does not do guard duty; they have other things to worry about. Extend my turn that local police are viewed as thousands of times more corrupt than contractors. Without contractors, our State Dept officials would have no protection in Iraq. Voting Aff and getting rid of the PMC's that guard them signs their death certificates.

Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by vardas0antras 7 years ago
What Grape said is the same for me; except, I'll vote tomorrow.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
I just skimmed over this. I'll read more carefully and vote later today.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
I think this was a clear win for Con. Pro argued isolated instances of abuse, which were surprisingly few relative to the total number of PMCs. Con made the case that PMCs made both economic sense and were necessary for logistical support. The brain drain argument does not apply to the logistics personnel that form the bulk of PMC usage. It doesn't make sense to train soldiers and then use them to cook or hunt up local supplies.
Posted by Staerkel 7 years ago
The round came down to whether the military or PMC's are better regulated, and Pro won that because the con dropped Regulation Unsustainable.
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
staerkel, can you be more specific - what part of his C1 did you vote off of
Posted by Staerkel 7 years ago
Nvm, changed it. :P
Posted by Staerkel 7 years ago
Christ, i meant those other votes to be tied..
Posted by bluesteel 7 years ago
anyone can vote if they want; spinko is only counting tournament participants for who advances though in the tournament
Posted by BlackVoid 7 years ago
He has everything blocked.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
Is this open vote or tournament vote?
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by vardas0antras 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Everything has been said already... Except: good job both of you :)
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt like both sides were getting tired by the end of this. The quality at the beginning was much better than the final round. PRO also had an extremely difficult task. Really, he would have to show that not only are PMC bad, but that they cannot be improved (thus justifying scraping the entire notion).
Vote Placed by kohai 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better sources and quickly refuted pro's claims
Vote Placed by socialpinko 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Overall win in arguments to Con. Pro's examples were of isolated incidents and Con showed that with oversight, problems with PMC would make the benefits outweigh the costs.
Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: CON argued strongly that the weakness of PMCs are often contingent, and systematic steps to making it a more effecient and proper military tool is viable (such as more oversight, regulations, etc.). He also explains the need for having them.
Vote Placed by headphonegut 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: while there were some arguments abandoned I think that blue upheld disproved the resolution by arguing that they were necessary pro's argument was they we should get rid of them because they did bad which con disproved
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's winning argument was that most of the PMC's are used in support and logistics, not combat. Pro's sources mainly cited isolated instances of abuse, but lacked convincing statistics.
Vote Placed by BillBonJovi 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: After reading the debate I simply think Pro gave the better arguments
Vote Placed by Staerkel 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A solid debate, however since the pro's defense of his C1 were dropped, i have to give it BlackVoid.
Vote Placed by detachment345 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt con showed that private military companies, since they don't really follow the laws a regular military follows, will commit more errors and will be inefficient