The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

The United States is Justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objecti

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,376 times Debate No: 15800
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I will take the CON side, therefore welcoming the Affirmative to this debate. I would like it to be LD- format, let's have fun... haha :D

Good luck opponent


Good luck to you as well. My last opponent on this had his account deactivated; I hope there wont be a similar problem here.


I affirm, and define the following terms.

Justified: to show a satisfactory reason for something done (Random House)

Private military firm: (Hired) corporate bodies that specialize in the provision of military skills, including combat operations, strategic planning, intelligence, risk assessment, operational support, training, and technical skills. [Singer, P.W. 2003. Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.]

Abroad - Beyond the bounds of one's country (Random House)

Pursue - To strive to gain or accomplish (Merriam Webster)

Military objective - the overall plan of a given mission. (Hamilton DeSaussure, Crimes of War 08)

The value is Life because life is a prerequisite to all other values. With no life there can be no morality, justice, or rights.

Therefore, the criterion is the maximization of life.

C1. Private military firms solve conflicts/genocide

A. Past record

PMC's have the experience and technology to solve foreign genocides, empirically proven. I will focus on two examples for now.

1. Sierra Leone Civil War

Randal Parker 03,

In 1995, the Sierra Leone government was near defeat from the ruf, a nefarious rebel group whose habit of chopping off the arms of civilians as a terror tactic made it one of the most truly evil groups of the late twentieth century...the government hired the private military firm, made up of veterans from the South African apartheid regime's elite forces, to help rescue it. Deploying a battalion-sized unit of assault infantry (numbering in the low hundreds), who were supported by firm-manned combat helicopters, light artillery, and a few armored vehicles, Executive Outcomes was able to defeat the RUF in a span of weeks. Its victory brought enough stability to allow Sierra Leone to hold its first election in over a decade. After its contract termination, however, the war restarted. In 1999 the U.N. was sent in. Despite having a budget and personnel size nearly 20 times that of the private firm, the U.N. force took several years of operations, and a rescue by the British military, to come close to the same results."

2. Rwanda genocide

Parker continues,

"Similarly, the aforementioned Executive Outcomes performed a business exploration of whether it would have had the capacity to intervene in Rwanda in 1994. Internal plans claim that the company could have had armed troops on the ground within 14 days of its hire and been fully deployed with over 1,500 of its own soldiers, along with air and fire support within six weeks. The cost for a six-month operation to provide protected safe havens from the genocide was estimated at $150 million (around $600,000 a day). This private option compares quite favorably with the eventual U.N. relief operation, which deployed only after the killings. The U.N. operation ended up costing $3 million a day (and did nothing to save hundreds of thousands of lives)."

These are merely two examples. There others such as Kosovo, Angola, and Columbia where PMC's have been successful.

B. Future solvency

PMC's evolving capabilities make them a viable option to solve conflicts in the future. One example is Darfur.

"In a speech at the Naval Academy in 2007, Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, advocated sending Blackwater (now called "Xe"), the private military contractor, into Darfur to end the genocide for the bargain price of $40 million. When combined with a no-fly zone over Darfur, putting private military contractors on the ground there is a viable option for bringing the genocide to an end quickly and cheaply. Analyses of past no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq and of South African private military contractor actions in Angola and Sierra Leone suggest that the United States could end the genocide in Darfur by implementing such a zone over Darfur and introducing military contractors...

Furthermore, their capabilities aren't limited to these three examples. They are effective solvers in general.

Tony Geraghty, (British War Correspondent), SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE, 2009, 17

"PMCs offer the only military forces both willing and capable of providing rapid and effective military services in most Third World conflicts. Their operations have saved tens of thousands of lives but their potential is even greater. PMCs can provide the competent military backbone to ensure the success of UN or regional multinational peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations... More critically, given an international mandate, PMCs can decisively intervene in instances of genocide, as in Rwanda."

Contention 2: Military overstretch

A. The US military is overextended now

Our military is burdened with 2 wars and constant deployment for humanitarian missions across various nations. Over 250,000 American troops are deployed in 128 countries.

Aida Akl, Military Connections, August 2005 (

"...the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have strained the military to a point where it runs a higher risk of not being able to quickly and easily defeat potential enemies. U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recruitment shortfalls in some branches of the armed forces, such as the Army and National Guard, have alarmed some observers who warn that the military is overburdened and overstretched. "

B. PMC's solve. Problem is worse without them.

Deborah Avant,

"Contractors are also quite useful to powerful nations such as the United States, which is managing the chaos in Iraq with fewer troops than many believed necessary by increasing its (private military) personnel pool. By having flexibility, the united states is able to engage in more expansive operations that are essential to winning conflicts in the interconnected world. Also, since PMF’s are used by countries around the world, if the United States were not to utilize the market, it would be comparatively disadvantaged in terms of military readiness."

Therefore, affirming benefits foregin nations and ourselves.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate. As a brief roadmap, I will first start out by stating the Negative's side of the debate, and attacking my opponent.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplace power exists and will persist we must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. Because I agree with our former president I must negate the resolution Resolved: The United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives.

Since our founding the United States has been a country that has stood for Justice. In the name of this principle billions of men and women have died fighting for our country, they have willingly given up their lives because of how strongly they believe in this principle of justice.

Knowing this I offer the value of "Justice", defined by as the quality of being just or fair.
If we wish to continue to live under democratic ideals, Justice is the highest value in the round; and we must look towards it.

The criteria that we must use to determine if an action is just, has to be the legal system as outlined in the United States Constitution. There is simply no other structure to evaluate the actions of private and public citizens and groups outside of the US legal system as established by the Constitution. The only way to achieve fair and proper administration of the laws is to refer to the system of laws itself. That is, the US is not justified in using private military firms when those firms, by definition operate outside the legal system.

My first contention is that the private firms are violating international law. International humanitarian law (IHL) is the body of law that contains both human rights law and the law of armed combat (LOAC), and since its twentieth-century codification, it has consistently banned any person on the battlefield that might appear to be anything resembling a mercenary . Centuries of civilization have realized that war needs rules in order to be fought and survived even as war is transformed the necessity of the rule of law remains . America needs to take international law seriously and ban private military firms.
The government is obligated to make sure their government and military is not corrupt. A lack of morality is corrupt and the private firms are not being moral. The private firms don't care about anything but the money so they will go against morality for money witch we cannot allow. The United States is not justified in sending private military firms abroad to pursue military operations because the military firms are not just.

Hiring private forces to escort NATO convoys has actually strengthened a dangerous network of Afghan warlords. In fact, NATO convoys that refuse to pay them for protection are sometimes threatened and attacked. The money that the United States pays to hire these private forces has actually found its way to the Taliban (based on a study done by the House Subcommittee for National Security). In fact, the money paid to these warlords actually strengthens the competing forces within Afghanistan that exacerbates the current power vacuum. As long as the US continues to use these PMCs in Afghanistan, there will be no peace or stability.[1]^ Dexter Filkins, "US Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys,"
My opponent's value is firstly, and foremostly, the value of life. Interesting value, one that of course is necessary. However, life on it's own, has little, if any meaning. In order to protect life, and in order to live it at its' fullest, one needs justice, the value that should take chief importance in the debate.

The criterion, is more or less the same, living life at it's fullest' maximization of life. Once more, PMCs, actually hurt many lives, so how can we be stating that they do quite the opposite, when in reality, they do not?

My opponent's Contention 1 is that private military firms solve conflicts. However, he gives us two very nice examples of when they have been helpful. My opponent cleverly avoids the times when private military firms have failed.

However, that's not the main point that should be put up in this debate.
Just because something has a success rate, DOES NOT mean that it is justified in any means. So, just because something works, it does not necessarily mean, that that something is something just.

My opponent has numerous arguments here.

First, he states that the US military is overextended. Once more, just because something may be needed, it does not mean in any way that whatever is being hired to do the work, (in this case PMCs) are just. I stated the fact that, since military firms operate outside the legal system, this makes them unjust, basically bringing down my opponent's points.

My opponent states however, that PMCs solve the problem. The problem is solved by the brave Americans fighting the war. Many times PMCs are involved, but they are not the main helpers, nor the main heroes in a war.

So, in short my opponent thinks that since PMCs have a good success rate, they are justified. This is in no means true, since something that is good, is not always just. IN this case, military firms.

Let's remember that we're debating whether or not military firms are just, not whether or not they are good. I believe that they are unjust, due to the fact that they operate outside the legal system, while my opponent thinks they're just, because they're good for USA.

It is for these reasons, and more, that I must ask for a CON acquiescence.
Thank you!




First, he conceded my definitions. To win I must prove we have a satisfactory reason to use PMC's.


His value is Justice, defined by him as "being just or fair".

First, the definition is circular. Justice is doing what is just?

Secondly, I cant experience justice if I am dead. At the point where thousands die without the help of PMC's, they cant experience justice either, so look to life first. The only reason justice can even be mentioned in this debate round is because we acknowledge the state of being alive.


His is the US legal system. He claims that contractors aren't bound by US laws therefore violate the legal system.

This if false. The US law encompasses an act called the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (1). This enables the US to prosecute both the military and private contractors for crimes committed outside of the United States. Therefore this criterion is irrelevant because PMC's are bound by the law.

Contention 1

Con: PMC's violate international law, which forbids mercenaries

First, no link to the criterion; US law and international law are not the same

Secondly, he wants to look to the US legal system. The definition of a mercenary wasn't defined by the US, it was defined by the Geneva Convention. The United States did not accept their definition (2), so its very questionable if PMC's even qualify as mercenaries.

Con: PMCs commit immoral acts for money

Profit motive is why they're incentivized to not commit immoral acts. If they do a bad job they wont be hired, therefore they will want to do a good job to maintain the company's reputation.

Contention 2

Con: PMC's pay warlords in Afghanistan

Getting rid of PMC's there creates a much bigger problem. Contractors account for over half of our military force in Afghanistan (3). With the battle already difficult enough, taking out over half of our force will make it nearly impossible to win. Therefore, the war effort is harmed either way, the impact is devoid of uniqueness.



Con: Life alone has no value, need justice to live fulfilling life

Justice alone has no value either, it only matters you're alive to experience it. Through a negative ballot, thousands of people die in foreign genocides, meaning they cant experience justice, which violates both frameworks.

Furthermore, he never argues that the lives people maintain by voting aff will be devoid of meaning, so he cant access this argument on two counts.

He drops that life is a prerequisite to all other values. That was my initial justification as to why its paramount; look to my value because of this concession alone.

Maximization of Life

Con: PMC's hurt lives

PMC's harming lives has never been argued by the neg previously, all his impacts are on International law and Taliban warlords. Therefore there's no warrant or evidence supporting this unsubstantiated claim.

Contention 1

Con: I don't mention times where PMC's failed

You don't either. Its tough to do so considering how effective they have been proven to be.

Con: High success rate =/= justified

First, no warrant as to why we dont look to success rate, and no alternative given.

Second, he tacitly concedes that PMC's are effective.

Third, high success rate of saving tens of thousands of lives through genocide is surely justified. He conceded "justified" to mean "satisfactory reason". Solving genocide is surely more than satisfactory.

Furthermore, he drops both examples of previous successes. He drops Darfuri genocide; extend that I solve. Most importantly, he drops Geraghty 09, who shows that PMC's are effective at solving genocides in general. At that point I am automatically saving hundreds of thousands of lives by using PMC's to end conflicts abroad.

Contention 2

Con: Necessity =/= justified

Food is necessary to live, so you're saying that food isnt necessarily justified?

Con: PMC's operate outside US law.

Extend MEJA bill which holds contractors accountable.

Con: Brave Americans solve overstretch

This is the strangest argument yet. First, there's no warrant as to how they solve. Secondly, these "Brave American soldiers" are the ones experiencing the problem of overstretch. PMC's solve the problem by giving us an additional supply of troops so we have more to work with.

In conclusion, I urge an aff vote because he has never denied the ability of PMC's to solve genocides and civil wars. Biggest point in the round, as this outweighs everything in the neg case. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


B345T forfeited this round.


My opponent concedes all my arguments, please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 3


B345T forfeited this round.


Well my opponent has quit the debate, please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by B345T 5 years ago
What a shame :/ This was a nice debate, but I was caught up with quite some work, and 3 debate tournaments... added up with no sleep xD

Good debate my friend.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
Nah its fairly different.

GodFate, there are other LDers on here, someone will take it.
Posted by GodFate 5 years ago
I just started a new debate with the exact same resolution as this right before I saw this debate.
Posted by B345T 5 years ago
Yes, I am very aware of the fact that the case is somewhat close to your previous opponents'. This is because we worked together for some time, and have close, if not the same cases.
Posted by B345T 5 years ago
Correct, I accidentally pressed 4 rounds.. hehe :)
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
Oh and since its ld format I assume we will leave round 4 blank? LD style only takes up 3.

R1: Intro, AC
Round 2: NC, AR
Round 3: NR, 2AR
Round 4: ...profit?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits.