The Instigator
AOG
Pro (for)
Tied
9 Points
The Contender
UchihaMadara
Con (against)
Tied
9 Points

The United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/18/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,022 times Debate No: 65400
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (5)

 

AOG

Pro

My argument in this debate will rest on the concept of the value of innocent lives and the fact of their destruction inherent to international conflicts.

As this is a values debate resolution, I will use a value to prove the resolution.

Value: Innocent Life
An innocent life, as I am using the term, is a non-combatant. An innocent life is not innocent of all wrongdoing, but rather, innocent in the conflict in question.

My value criterion, the means by which the United States best protects innocent life is the United States federal government.

Three contentions will serve to further explain and impact my value-criterion pair.

Contention 1: The protection of innocent life is a moral obligation

Sub point A: Innocent life is intrinsically valuable

Unlike other values, such as safety, which derive their worth from their results, innocent life is valuable in and of itself, and thus always valuable. Since it retains its worth in all situations, the protection of innocent life can never be wrong. It is always right to pursue innocent life.
The definition of a moral obligation that we are using in this round shows that it is something we ought to do because it is the right thing to do. Therefore, if the protection of innocent life is always right, all aspects of a moral obligation are covered in its protection. It is a command that we ought to follow because it is right, and categorical because it is always right. The protection of innocent life is morally obligatory.

Sub point B: Our nation's obligation
Philosopher, Emer de Vattel, argued that a people, in forming a nation, "remain still bound to the performance of their duties towards the rest of mankind" (Vattel, 72) However, since the people have, in forming a nation, agreed to act in common, the government of that nation, as the sole representative body of the aggregate whole, must fulfill the people's obligations towards the rest of the world. Thus, while the people as a nation possess the moral obligation to protect innocent life, they fulfill this obligation through the institution of government.
As we examine this obligation, we must understand that it does not obligate us to achieve a good result.

Sub point C: Consequences of actions do not affect obligations
The fulfillment of an obligation is not met by achieving a good result, but rather, by acting from a moral motive. Good Samaritan Laws recognize this truth. If, in dragging a man from a burning car, I cause his spine to fracture, leading to his death, I am not morally blameworthy. An unintended bad result does not remove the obligation to save that man.
It may, however, indicate that a different form of action is required. For example, the fact that giving the Heimlich to a drowning man will have bad results does not mean that we should not seek to save that man"s life. Rather, it simply indicates that a different course of action should be utilized. Thus, we cannot focus on the various methods of protecting innocent life, but rather, on whether the obligation to protect innocent life exists at all.

Contention 2: Mitigation is a moral obligation
Our obligation to protect innocent life directly leads to an obligation to mitigate, as we see in the following two sub points.

Sub point A: Conflicts take innocent life
The taking of innocent life is inherent to all international conflicts. This is seen in the following examples.

Example One: The Iran-Iraq War
In 1980, Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein launched a surprise offensive against Iran. This war saw extensive use of chemical weapons, used to kill thousands of civilians in villages and hospitals. By the end of the war, nearly 8 years later, over 100,000 civilians had been killed. (http://www.hawaii.edu......)
This conflict was not unique. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "For all possible wars in this world"given the nature of military technology and tactics, the heat of battle, and the limits of human knowledge and self-discipline"involve the killing of innocents"" (Brian Orend, professor of philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu......)
Conflict destroys innocent life, and here we find the moral obligation to mitigate.

Sub point B: The United States is obligated to act
If the United States is obligated to protect innocent life, and if conflicts take innocent life, then it necessarily follows that the U.S. has an obligation to mitigate international conflicts. Mitigation, however, can take on many forms as we can see from the Russo-Japanese War.
During this territorial conflict between Japan and Russia, an estimated 20,000 Chinese civilians were killed between 1904 and 1905 by both Japanese and Russian soldiers. Finally, in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt entered as mediator between the two combatants, and quickly arranged a successful peace.

The obligation is clear: the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts.
UchihaMadara

Con

Thanks, AOG.
I will be presenting a brief constructive case this round. But before I begin, I would like to note that when the resolution refers to "the United States", it is naturally referring specifically to the national government of the United States, seeing that a state itself is an abstract concept which cannot act on its own, and that a population of people cannot feasibly act in unison without some form of central organization (i.e. the government). Thus, the resolution can be reworded as "The government of the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts".

With that established, it then becomes necessary to look at exactly what the purpose of a government is. Why do people have governments? I argue that the only plausible justification for a government's existence is the one proposed by social contract theory-- the people allow the government to have a limited degree of control over their liberties (i.e. the ability to enforce laws, levy taxes, etc.) in exchange for the government promising them protection. In other words, the government is an entity which exists for only one purpose: to ensure the security of its people. This model explains many aspects of real world governance, such as why we look down upon governments which harm their citizens and engage in acts of coercive tyranny, but look to emulate those which uphold democratic values and are able to best promote their citizens' general welfare. It explains why laws which do not serve the people's best interests are quickly rejected, and why corrupt politicians who use their power for self-interests are often thrown out of office. Governments exist only to protect their citizens, both theoretically and empirically.

The implications of this on the resolution are obvious-- a government only exists to serve its own citizens, so it cannot reasonably be said that they also have an obligation to interact with external entities which they have no link to whatsoever. In fact, for a government to use the resources provided to it by its citizens for the purposes of unrelated foreign affairs would be unethical, as the only reason the citizens sacrifice their property to the government in the first place is for the further protection of their own welfare; it would be a violation of consent to use those resources for anything else. Thus, it is simply unfeasible for an entity such as the government to have an obligation to aid anyone outside of its specific bounds; Pro may be able to argue that individuals have a moral obligation to help those in need, but that simply does not apply to the government.

Obviously, since the United States government is a government, all of the above applies to it, and the resolution is negated.

I rest my case.
Debate Round No. 1
AOG

Pro

I have three major responses to Con's constructive arguments.
First, Governments cannot have moral obligations.
In his first paragraph, Con attacked my claim that "the United States" refers to the people as an aggregate whole rather than the government, arguing that the people cannot feasibly act in unison without some form of central government. (We'll address this in my next response.) Unfortunately, however, Con creates an even greater dilemma with the introduction of government as the resolutional actor because governments by their very nature cannot have moral obligations. The classic textbook definition of government offered by any introductory government course usually is something along the lines of, "The institutions and procedures through which a land and its people are ruled."1 Institutions and procedures cannot have moral obligations. They are merely tools. The impact of this is that Con has not proven or disproven any moral obligation. Con claims that government is created in order to protect citizens and that this somehow proves that governments have a moral obligation only to protect citizens. But if governments are merely institutions and procedures, then Con's claim is like claiming that because I make a hammer for the purpose of hammering nails, that hammer has a moral obligation to hammer nails.

My second response to Con's arguments is that the nation is the resolutional actor.
Con claims that "a population of people cannot feasibly act in unison without some form of central organization." However, Con nowhere denies that the people actually have this obligation (we'll see the impact of this further on). All Con is claiming is that whether or not the people have the obligation, it is impossible for any disunited people to fulfill the obligation. I have two reasons why this argument does not apply to this round.

First, the argument has no impact.
Con's argument does not claim that the United States as a nation cannot have an obligation. All it claims is that certain requirements must be met in order for the U.S. to fulfill this moral obligation. This, however, refutes nothing. Simply because I do not have the funds to pay my debts does not remove my obligation to pay them. In fact, Con never refutes the argument that the United States as a nation possesses the obligation to mitigate international conflicts. Thus, Con has failed in his burden.

Second, the argument ignores my value-criterion.
In my last post, I utilized a path criterion of government. This criterion provides the central organization that Con claims is needed in order for the United States to fulfill its moral obligation. The impact of this is that not only does the United States -- meaning the nation that bears that name -- possess the moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts (an argument that remains uncontested), this nation also possesses the means of fulfilling the obligation. If the obligation to mitigate exists, then the means by which the United States can fulfill this obligation is the institution of government because it is the sole representation of the aggregate whole.

Thus, Con's refutation of my resolutional actor is inherently flawed. We are not looking in this debate at whether governments have a moral obligation (since a government cannot have moral obligations) but whether the nation of the United States -- the people as an aggregate whole -- possesses the moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts. Con has yet to address this.

The third argument I will address is Con's implicit value of the welfare of the people. I have two responses to this value.
First, the value assumes government as the resolutional actor.
Here, you can cross-apply all of my above arguments. The impact of this is that Con's value does not apply to the resolution. It only applies if government is the resolutional actor, which, as we have already seen, it is not.

Second, Negation does not uphold the value.
Con makes a major assumption throughout the third paragraph of Con's constructive. Con assumes that mitigation does not benefit the welfare of the people of the United States. However, mitigation often benefits the welfare of the United States. We can return to the Russo-Japanese example from my first post. By mitigating this international conflict, the United States protected its own political and economic interests in Manchuria and China. Because of the vast influence of the United States in all parts of the globe, any international conflict will pose some threat to U.S. economic or political interests. Thus, mitigation can often benefit the welfare of the United States. Even if we assumed a resolutional actor of government, Con's value fails to negate the resolution.

Con has failed to uphold the negative burden.
On the contrary, my own arguments provide adequate reasons to affirm the resolution. The United States as a nation has a moral obligation to protect innocent life. International conflicts inherently harm innocent life. Therefore, the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts.

1. Lowi, Theodore J., Benjamin Ginsberg, Kenneth A. Shepsle, and Stephen Ansolabehere. American Government: Power and Purpose (Full Twelfth Edition, 2012 Election Update (With Policy Chapters)). Full ed. publication place: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.
UchihaMadara

Con

Thanks, AOG.
I will be rebutting the aff case and defending the neg case this round.
Apologies if it seems a bit rushed.


== NEG CASE ==

Firstly, I would like to note that in Round 1, Pro specifically noted that he is referring to the "United States Federal Government". To now claim that he was actually referring to American society as a whole is unfair. We should continue with the assumption that we are talking about the United States government having an obligation to mitigate international conflicts.

A1) Governments and Moral Obligations

Pro basically concedes the debate with this rebuttal. If we accept his definition of "government" as an impersonal tool which cannot have moral obligations, then the resolution is automatically negated. I do not have to prove that the government has an active moral obligation to NOT mitigate conflicts; I merely have to show the affirmative claim Pro is making to be false, and Pro is doing that for me by refuting the existence of governmental moral obligations. I will gladly drop my constructive case in order to accept Pro's concession. Unless Pro retracts this line of argumentation, the resolution is negated.

A2) Society or Government

Pro misunderstands the purpose of the first paragraph of my constructive case. It was not meant to serve as an independent opening argument on my part; it was just a clarification of the resolution. Besides the fact that Pro specified in Round 1 that he was referring to the USFG, I was simply providing a few additional reasons based in real-world applicability to believe that the resolution is referring to the government, rather than the entire country's populace. Thus, this entire rebuttal falls flat. As for Pro's claims that I ignored his value criterion, that is only because last round was solely for presenting constructive cases... I will, of course, be addressing his value criterion within my rebuttals this round.

A3) Mitigation aids Welfare

This is the only rebuttal that really addresses my argument-- he claims that mitigation of international conflicts results in increased benefit to the American public, and thus the government has an obligation to mitigate even under my framework. However, he provides only one example-- the Russo-Japanese war, in which the United States was able to protect its economic interests by intervening. Firstly, Pro never shows that the United States' intervention was *necessary* for the protection of those economic interests. Secondly, it is a fallacy of induction because naming one instance in which mitigation may have helped civilian welfare does not demonstrate that the majority of international conflicts have significant American interests at stake. Under my framework, a governmental obligation to mitigate international conflicts simply does not exist.


== AFF CASE ==

R1) Value of Innocent Life

Pro's case, here, ultimately amounts to a bare assertion. Why is it "good" to lead an innocent life? Simply avoiding doing anything bad is not morally praise-worthy; to abstain from being actively involved in the conflict at hand is, at best, morally neutral. There is no reason to accept the base premise of Pro's framework. Furthermore, something being inherently "good", that does not mandate unconditional protection of it. It is not the responsibility of external entities with no involvement in the conflict to protect those innocent lives; it is the responsibility of the entities which are causing harm to cease their unethical actions.

R2) Mitigation is counter-productive

I will show that mitigation generally results in additional harm to innocent lives. An obligation which requires action that results in outcomes contrary to the goal of the obligation is nonsensical and cannot feasibly exist.

"In the case of Kenya, the first and only country to which R2P was applied...So R2P was not a preventive measure, but it did succeed in halting the violence and preventing further displacement...Reports show a lack of security for ethnic groups in areas of return, an absence of planning for those who do not wish to return, inadequate compensation for destroyed homes and property. Moreover, thousands still live in camps and temporary settlements. Yet we don't hear...about the promotion of compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement with regard to rebuilding. Welcomed by the World Summit in 2005...the national human rights commission in Kenya considers its government to be violating these Principles...[even] after the violence.'"" [1].

"Humanitarian disasters in Eastern Congo, which are probably the largest in recent decades, are mainly due to foreign interventions (mostly from Rwanda, a US ally), not to a lack of them. To take a most extreme case, which is a favorite example of horrors cited by advocates of the humanitarian interventions, it is most unlikely that the Khmer Rouge would ever have taken power in Cambodia without the massive...US bombing followed by US-engineered regime change that left that unfortunate country totally disrupted and destabilized." [2].

"Every aggressive action led by the United States creates a reaction. Deployment of an anti-missile shield produces more missiles, not fewer. Bombing civilians--whether deliberately or by so-called 'collateral damage'--produces more armed resistance, not less. Trying to overthrow or subvert governments produces more internal repression, not less. Encouraging secessionist minorities by giving them the often false impression that the sole Superpower will come to their rescue in case they are repressed, leads to more violence, hatred and death, not less. Surrounding a country with military bases produces more defense spending by that country, not less, and the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel encourages other states of the Middle East to acquire such weapons."" [2].



[1] http://www.brookings.edu...
[2] http://dalehan.blogspot.com...
Debate Round No. 2
AOG

Pro

Resolutional Actor
Con has misread my first post, claiming that I referred to the U.S. as the "United States Federal Government." However, this term appears once in my opening post -- under my value criterion. The value criterion is not the res. actor but rather the means by which the res. actor protects the value. The USFG cannot be both res. actor and criterion. Con also seems to have ignored my second contention, sub point B where I argue that the people of the United States (not the government) possess the obligation. The immediate impact is that Con's impact from his first paragraph is unfounded. We should continue this round with the understanding that the United States is the aggregation of people united under the USFG.
This further impacts to Con's negative case, which rests on two assumptions: first, that the resolutional actor is the USFG, and second that governments have moral obligations. I've already refuted the first. Con conceded the second in his last post. Thus, Con's entire case is unsupported.

Welfare of Americans
Con made two rebutting arguments.

First, Con claimed that I never demonstrated that U.S. intervention was necessary to protect U.S. political and economic interests during the Russo-Japanese War. I admit to the fault and will explain. In the Russo-Japanese War, conflict was hurting the trade between the U.S. and China. Japanese expansion also threatened U.S. presence in China. Thus, by diplomatic mitigation, the U.S. protected its political and economic interests.

Con next claimed that I committed the fallacy of induction.
,My response is U.S. global influence.
This was the essence of my argument, supported by the example and dropped by Con. U.S. political and economic influence in all parts of the globe means that every international conflict will harm the U.S. in some way. The Russo-Japanese War is one example of this. I'll supply more if Con likes. According to the Department of Defense, "Staying economically engaged with Africa is in America's interest. ... Economic growth and expended U.S. activity, though, will require that stability take hold." (http://www.defense.gov....) The large number if international conflicts in Africa (20 in the past 15 years [https://acd.iiss.org...]) hinders U.S. interests in Africa. Mitigation of conflicts is thus necessary to promote U.S. interests in the area. Mitigation does benefit Con's value of American welfare.
Even without the above argument, Con's value should be disregarded. Con's value-arguments assume the USFG as resolutional actor. Since this is not the case, Con's value has no impact or linkage to the resolution and thus should not be considered.

Now to Con's refutation.

Innocent Life

Con disagreed that my value is intrinsically good. I have two responses:

First, I'm not arguing that it's valuable to lead an innocent life but rather that it is valuable to protect innocent life.

Second, intrinsic values are self-evident. Con seems confused over intrinsic values. The notion of intrinsic value demands that the value be valuable in and of itself. Thus, innocent life is valuable because it is innocent life. Con claims that this is an empty assertion (and will probably accuse me of circular reasoning), but the argument is valid. Innocent life does not derive its only worth from what it achieves. The life of a baby -- a life that has achieved nothing -- is still valuable. The life of a dying man -- though it has no chance of achieving anything more -- is still valuable. Unless Con is suggesting that innocent life is not valuable at all, or that its only worth is derived from what it achieves, then Con must concede that innocent life is intrinsically valuable.

Con also argued that intrinsic value does not mandate protection. This argument ignores my first contention, sub point A. If innocent life is valuable in and of itself, this means that it always retains its worth. Thus, it is always right to protect this value. I presented a working definition of moral obligation that Con never challenged based on J. P. Demarco's definition: "categorical commands that we ought to follow simply because doing so is the right thing." (www.lawandbioethics.com/demo/Main/.../Kantian_deontology.htm) Protection of innocent life is morally right. Because innocent life is intrinsically valuable, its protection is always right and therefore categorical. Thus, all aspects of a moral obligation are met in the protection of innocent life. The protection of innocent life is a moral obligation.

Con next gave three quotes showing that "mitigation" can sometimes have bad results. I have two responses.
First, Con's argument has no impact. Con has ignored sub point C from my first contention where I argued that failure in our obligations or a bad result does not mean that the obligation doesn't exist. Though giving the Heimlich to a drowning man does not have good results that does not remove the obligation to save him -- it means that I'm using the wrong means to save him. In the same way, though one form of mitigation has a bad result this does not remove the obligation to mitigate. It shows that we should utilize a different form of mitigation.
Con's first quote only showed that R2P failed once. It describes a failed mitigation attempt. This has no impact on the round. It either shows that R2P was not properly implemented (as the article Con cites seems to imply: "R2P is a tool to raise awareness to the obligation we all have when it comes to protection. It should have the support of everyone here."[http://www.brookings.edu...]) or it shows that R2P doesn"t work. Even if the latter, this doesn't impact to a negation of the resolution any more than my claiming that the Heimlich doesn't save drowning people impacts to a conclusion that we don't have an obligation to save them.
You can cross-apply a similar response to his next two quotes. They do not indicate that mitigation (the reduction of the severity of conflicts) is in itself a bad thing. All they show is that military intervention doesn't work as a form of mitigation. The arguments have no impact and should be rejected.

The question of which policy works best is not what we are debating here. If it were, I would've presented harms, mandates, and solvency. This is a values debate. We're not looking at whether all forms of mitigation are moral because that has no impact on the existence of the obligation to mitigate. Stealing may be an immoral form of paying debts, but this does not remove the obligation to pay them. Con's argument is inherently flawed.

The United States has a moral obligation to protect innocent life. Conflicts take innocent life. Therefore, the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts.
UchihaMadara

Con

Pro is correct in stating that he did not explicitly name the USFG as the actor in the resolution. Just as in our last (now deleted) debate, my error in my comprehending the debate's terms has rendered my entire constructive case to be irrelevant... I therefore drop the constructive. It was not necessary anyhow, as the burden of proof was upon Pro to affirm the positive claim made in the resolution-- that the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts-- and he has not successfully done so.

His entire case is based on the bare assertion that "innocent life is intrinsically valuable". He states that "innocent life is valuable because it is innocent life," admits that it is circular logic, yet still claims that his premise is valid. This is completely baseless and self-contradictory. Innocent life, as defined, refers to those who are not involved in the conflict at hand; there is nothing morally 'valuable' about that-- it is morally neutral at best. I could just as easily put forth my own alternative value of "national sovereignty", justify it by the same circular logic Pro is using, and then argue that foreign involvement (i.e. mitigation) without consent is unjust because it is a violation of that sovereignty. But such an approach would be flawed because I need to justify the existence of inviolable sovereignty before making an argument based entirely in it. Similarly, Pro needs to justify innocent life having intrinsic value before he can make his case. Since he has not done so, his case fails, and the resolution is negated.

On the subject of my second rebuttal... Pro, in attempting to affirm the resolution, is claiming that mitigation is best way to fulfill to overarching obligation to protect innocent lives during international conflicts (and thus there is an obligation to mitigate); I am arguing that mitigation of those conflicts is *not* the best way to protect innocents due to its counter-productive consequences, and that humanitarian aid or total neutrality would be preferable. This negates the resolution, which specifically refers to an obligation to mitigate those conflicts. My rebuttal does *not* ignore Pro's argument regarding obligations vs. consequences, as Pro assumes. To use Pro's analogy, Pro's "obligation to mitigate" is the equivalent of an obligation to deliver the Heimlich maneuver to a drowning man.

Pro's only makes one specific response to my argument-- that there are "other forms of mitigation" outside of military intervention, but he declines to name or demonstrate the efficacy of even one alternative. For that reason alone, we can reject his response. In the modern world, diplomacy is ineffective and only results in increased tensions, as the world's biggest "trouble-makers" (i.e. China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc.) have very little respect for (or fear of) the United States and other international authorities such as the UN. No form of mitigation is effective, often being counter-productive instead.

In conclusion, the underlying premise of Pro's case is wholly unwarranted. Even if we assume that it is true, we only derive an obligation to save innocents in international conflicts, and I have shown that mitigating international conflicts would actually work against that obligation; military intervention is generally the only feasible form of mitigation, and Pro concedes that it is harmful. Thus, even if we accept Pro's premise (which we shouldn't), the claim in the resolution is not affirmed.

Thanks to AOG for the debate! Vote Con :D
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by UchihaMadara 1 year ago
UchihaMadara
I agree that 9space's RFD seems to have completely ignored my dropped arguments, though I think Malacoda still had valid reasons to vote the way he did.

Counter-voting isn't allowed, but I see that you didn't do it out of ill will. Sorry for assuming so.
I guess now that you justified your sources vote, there's no basis for it to be deleted... oh well.

This was close enough to warrant a tie anyhow, with all the confusion over the debate's rules.
Posted by Jacob_Thomas 1 year ago
Jacob_Thomas
Sorry for adjusting grammar and spelling. That was an accidental switch with conduct. But I have two reasons for giving pro the sources cited. First, two rfds gave the round to con because of something that con conceded after the second round. I felt those had to be countered some way. Secondly, I felt that con's misuse of his sources demanded a loss on sources cited. I think that it really hurt his credibility. And I do believe that it eliminated virtually all his sources since his source automatically became a pro source.
Posted by UchihaMadara 1 year ago
UchihaMadara
Jacob, did you *seriously* just strategically vote at the last minute to tie the debate?
What an idiot. Your RFD was acceptable, but that was an incredibly douchey move.
All respect lost. I'll try to see if I can get it deleted.
Posted by Malacoda 1 year ago
Malacoda
I'd be totally happy to answer any questions from either Pro or Con.

By the way, my RFD was exactly 1,000 characters. Oh yeah!
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed after reading this debate, since it's obvious that the two sides here had very different views of how this debate was supposed to shake out. That's really on both debaters " Pro could have been clearer, and Con seems to have ignored some of the clarity provided by Pro in his constructive. With that in mind, I can still get down to a decision of sorts, so let's get into it.

As Con drops his case in the final round, I'll simply focus on Pro's case and see if it adds up.

I'm not particularly impressed by the value and criteria set up here. I'm not an LD debater, but I am aware of what these are supposed to look like, and these are wonky. I can understand why one might put innocent lives as the value, but why not just put the value of life? It seems to me that, throughout this debate, I never got a reason why I should value innocent life more than any other. You even say that "an innocent life is not innocent of all wrongdoing." Why should I believe that being "innocent in the conflict in question" makes those lives more valuable? Why should we value these lives in particular and not all lives?

The criteria is probably the most problematic aspect, though, and if Con had hit this right, this might have been the end of Pro's case. The USFG is not a value criteria. U.S. intervention by some means is a criteria. The existence of the USFG doesn't achieve the value of saving innocent lives. You might have, for example, used the responsibility to protect as a criteria, and then talked about how the USFG is the mechanism by which that responsibility is made possible. It is not itself, however, a criteria. It doesn't achieve your value merely by virtue of its existence.

Nonetheless, as I don't get this analysis from Con, I'm left to evaluate Pro's case with these being assumed as reasonable. Instead, I go down to the contentions.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

C1: The protection of innocent life is a moral obligation

Generally, this contention seems very thin. I'm not sure what you're trying to do with it, but it doesn't seem as strong as it should. If there's an extra special value to innocent life, subpoint A is where I should be seeing it, but I don't see any comparison there between innocent and... I guess "guilty" life, nor do I see any specific reasoning for why life is on the highest order of our values. That's really not hard to do " explaining why humans value the lives of other humans and why we should not seek to degrade that value by allowing innumerable loss of lives is a pretty straightforward argument. You're sort of just assuming that that argument is obvious, and establishes intrinsic value (and yes, intrinsic values can be explained by more than just circular logic).

Even subpoint B never really gets at the issue of where the obligation of a nation to those in other nations stems from, just assuming that that obligation exists because of unspecified reasons. I never really get a reason to believe that individuals hold an obligation to preserve the lives of others, nor do I get a reason why a government must act on that obligation on a larger scale. You don't give a reason for why that obligation shouldn't be fulfilled by individuals instead, except to say that the government can do more... which seems to be moving to the question of outcomes over the discussion of the obligation itself. I'm not sure it was ever clear why a nation has that obligation, even if I assume individuals do.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

All of these lapses were points of attack Con could have taken. As Pro never establishes any obvious value to life, Con could have argued that the only valuable life is that which we interact with on a regular basis, i.e. those within our own countries. He could have argued that individuals have this obligation, but there's no reason to expand it to nations. However, I don't see either of those arguments. Con merely questions Pro's logic, but doesn't provide a competing logic that I can pick him up on until the final round, which is too late to do so.

But I want to spend some time on subpoint C, because I felt this was interesting, but also the biggest source of weakness in Pro's case. I understand this point, but the analogies are strange. You present instances in which someone is absolutely certain to die, and state that you are obligated to try to save their lives. Doing the wrong thing and killing them in the process doesn't erase that obligation. You're right with these examples, but they don't link well to your case. First off, you're dealing with far more than one person whose life is certain to be lost if you do nothing. Conflicts are likely to take a lot more than one life. Second, intervention can lead to more lives lost. If the attempt to mitigate ends more lives, then that obligation resulted in more harm than good. One could argue that, in that case, the moral obligation was not to mitigate, but rather to allow the conflict to work itself out, since that would have resulted in fewer lives lost. Third, you do still have to provide a means by which that obligation can be achieved. In each of your examples, there was a different course of action that could have saved the lives of those people. In this case, with massive conflicts, there may not be any good answers. If those answers don't exist, then neither does the obligation, since mitigation is effectively impossible.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

Con does eventually get to that last answer, but only in the final round. Again, it comes too late to be used in this debate, and leaves me with the question of whether to include that new material that Pro never gets a chance to respond to. I have to accept Pro's case as is for the sake of fairness.

C2: Mitigation is a moral obligation

I think this comes back to subpoint C, because there's a real question of whether mitigation is ever effective, and if it is effective, what forms it takes. Once again, I don't feel Pro sufficiently covers this, basically giving me an impact by showing me how conflicts take lives, and then ignoring the requisite analysis of how mitigation prevents that loss of life. Con doesn't challenge him on this until R3, and while he presents some alluring alternatives in the form of humanitarian aid and total neutrality, these are explained not at all. I'm left to assume that mitigation has some mechanisms that maybe, possibly, could work. I don't know what they are, but Pro tells me I don't have to know because the obligation to do so exists. I would have been very amenable to an argument that obligations are effectively pointless if we cannot carry them out, but I never see that from Con.

Conclusion:

I think that, if Con's R3 had been his R2, this could well have been an interesting debate. But it wasn't. I can't penalize Pro for arguments Con made after Pro could provide any response. I think there were a lot of problems in Pro's case, and certainly a lot of reasonable points of attack, especially since Pro relied on every argument he made in R1 holding up in order to win this debate. Still, I'm given little option but to vote for him by the end of it.
Posted by Jacob_Thomas 1 year ago
Jacob_Thomas
1. Pro proved that the United States has a moral obligation to protect innocent life. He also proved that international conflicts harm innocent life. Con did not refute either of these. Based on Pro"s meta-framework from his first contention (which Con never addressed) Pro automatically wins on these arguments alone.
2. The only argument that con carried through the round (that mitigation harms innocent life) doesn't stand. Pro showed in first post that effects don't affect the moral obligation. Con never refuted this.
3. Con didn't never addressed pro"s full argumentation. Pro was arguing that mitigation is a moral obligation. Con set up a straw man in the last round by redefining mitigation as military intervention and diplomacy. Con's argument that Pro failed to provide examples of what could qualify as mitigation doesn't stand because of the definition of mitigation.
4. Con supported pro's position by claiming that humanitarian aid is good in his last post. Thus, he agreed that humanitarian aid reduces the severity of a conflict (which is how the dictionary and pro use the term mitigation). This means that he agrees that at least one form of mitigation is good.
5. Conduct goes to pro because con misrepresented his first piece of evidence in second round. Con made it sound like R2P didn"t work when the source was just claiming that it wasn"t used enough.
Posted by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
I think Pro has a very difficult job proving that a country must potentially do harm to itself, the cases where mitigation is not beneficial to the US, to help others. The Pro case of moral obligation is framed without regard to the size or unique aspects of the US; if true it would require small countries to attempt to mitigate conflicts between large powers -- with very bad results for the mitigator. To make the Pro case, I think there would have to be an argument that there is always some form of mitigation that is of net benefit to the country doing the mitigation, maybe just speaking out to for peaceful resolution. In this debate, Pro didn't take that line. Interesting debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Jacob_Thomas 1 year ago
Jacob_Thomas
AOGUchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
9spaceking
AOGUchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con wins because pro counters himself completely at one time by stating that the government doesn't have moral obligation at all, and the negative effects of mitigating these international conflicts were hardly refuted by pro. I was scratching my head at con dropping his case though, it was like he was doing a Charlie-brown on Pro.
Vote Placed by Malacoda 1 year ago
Malacoda
AOGUchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con certainly messed up big time with the value criterion error, but I believe he made a successful recovery and managed to stay on top. First of all, Pro never succesfully established that it was a moral obligation to protect human life, or even that innocent human life has intrinsic value. Pro just didn't sell me on that. When examining the role of government, I buy Pro's argument that it may have some duties outside of its citizens best interests, but I think Con did a sufficient job of establishing the duty of its citizens as the highest priority. Therefore, any action that harmed or degraded its citizens would be immoral of it to do. And this being the case, Pro wasn't able to prove that mitigating international conflicts benefited U.S. citizens more than it hurt them. I will say that I thought Con's argument of the negative effects of some mitigation was weak: Pro covered that in round 1. Overall however, Con made the stronger arguments. And sorry, I don't do sources or conduct.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
AOGUchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
AOGUchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Government acts as an agent for the people, so if the people have a moral obligation, then the Government has a moral obligation to carry it out. Moreover, Pro was clearly arguing that protection of innocent lives was the obligation, not the protection of innocence. The problem with Pro's case was accounting for the cost of mitigation. While mitigation is sometimes beneficial the United States, it was accepted by Pro that it might not always be beneficial. Con should have jumped on this point by pointing out the great costs that could be involved, say in trying to intervene militarily between Iran and Iraq, but even though not stressed the point was made. Pro made the point that moral justification was not upset if there was incidental harm to the parties of the conflict, but did not address the harm to the United States in the cases where the mitigation was not beneficial to the U.S. Pro did not meet the BOP.