The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
wrichcirw
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points

The United States military should be reduced in half.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
wrichcirw
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,075 times Debate No: 28710
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (103)
Votes (11)

 

Danielle

Pro

Greetings and thank you in advance to my opponent for accepting this debate.

It is my contention that the U.S. military should be substantially reduced in size and scope. This includes the number of personnel, goals, and overall military spending. The military shall refer to every branch of the armed forces. Although I am an anarchist, I will be arguing from the perspective that the U.S. military should exist and be federally funded through taxes to avoid any tangents about the proper role and responsibility of government (though I'm sure that will be a factor in the debate, I don't want to be arguing from the position of anarchism as I think that would deter from the overall quality and discussion).

I'd like to wish my opponent luck. I will provide my opening arguments in R2. While character limits will be enforced, it will be permissible to post our sources (no analysis or description from within) on another page if need-be.

Regards,

Danielle
wrichcirw

Con

I thank my opponent for initiating this challenge.

While my opponent would like to avoid a philosophical discussion between anarchism and realism, I do believe that, given the former embraces international anarchy while the latter actively attempts to enact a controlled environment amidst the anarchy, this debate may be slightly more philosophical in nature than a pure number crunching exercise. Given the international implications of lowering the US military budget, I think such a philosophical discussion may not only be wholly warranted, but also central to the debate.

Cheers, and good luck. Accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

The primary purpose of the military is to defend its country from actual or perceived threats. The question is whether or not the U.S. military would be able to fulfill this mission if reduced in size by half.

The U.S. spends 58 % of the total defense dollars paid out by the world's top 10 military powers. With its unparalleled global reach, the US outspends China, the next-biggest military power, by nearly 6-to-1. It outspends the next biggest competitor, Japan, by 12-to-1 and so on [1]. I doubt that my opponent will be arguing against the reality that the cost to maintain the U.S. military is exorbitant, and easily dwarfs the amount any other country spends in this regard. On defense, we spend more than the next 26 nations combined - 25 of whom are allies!

There are significant repercussions to this economic burden. Placing an enormous debt that tax payers simply and quite literally can not afford hurts our economic standing in the world. The U.S. is losing financial credibility which is the real source of power and influence in a global economy. Moreover, it's taking money away from funding other/better causes such as education, combating poverty, infrastructure, research, etc. The money required to eradicate hunger for everyone in the world has been estimated at 30 billion dollars per year - what the world spends on the military every 8 days.

Security is of paramount importance for prosperity, but to what extent is a military attack on the U.S. realistic? Considering no other nation comes close to the resources they allocate toward their military, it would be naive to assume that any major super power would find it productive to wage an attack on one of the most influential nations in the world. Indeed, the U.S. still has more sophisticated weapons and military technology than any other nation [2, 3]. There is no nation on the planet that poses a real threat to the U.S. in the way that the USSR did during the Cold War.

Our ever-expanding institution is creating an arms race throughout the globe. This is counterproductive to inhibiting war. Indeed, crafting predetermined alliances "just in case" was one of the primary causes of WWI. The UN's entire budget is less than 2% of the world's military expenditure. It is revealing that the world can spend so much on their military, but contribute so little to the efforts of global security, international cooperation, and peace.

Excessive military spending is used to maintain unwarranted control of the U.S. population, assert a level of political dominance, and foster the dangerous and very real Military Industrial Complex that is crippling our economy and putting citizens in danger. As long as there is profit in war and politicians have connections to war profiteers, the world will never know peace. A militaristic arms race is detrimental and only helps those who benefit from investment in war materials, such as defense contractors. Politicians support these industries because they have both direct and indirect ties to individuals and corporations who benefit from an expanding military.

Many countries rely on militaristic prowess to maintain systematic control over a population in the name of security, such as North Korea. Further, what originally starts as technology for military security tends to evolve into something else. For instance, the U.S. has now made it legal to utilize spy drones against its own citizens for surveillance [4]. Our civil liberties are being taken away while the government grows and military becomes more powerful: obvious trends of fascist inclinations. New policies like the NDAA, which allows "indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President" is also scary and a direct violation of our Constitutional rights. The military should protect against internal threats, but not help violate the rights of its own citizens.

The NDAA bill also awards the military 650 billion dollars for additional military supplies. While every other facet of government is scaling back, the military is not. The Marine Corps Times said, "the Armed Services Committee's proposals on major weapon programs were left unscathed" [5].

The Global Peace Index attempted to quantify the value of peace, and rank countries based on quantitative data and qualitative scores from a range of sources. The top ranking nations on the global peace index were New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland, and Slovenia [6]. Most of these countries spend very little on their military. While strategic alliances are important, one repercussion of U.S. expenditure is that other countries can afford to spend a lot less on their own. Many countries have outsourced their defense to us, which is problematic and unfair for obvious reasons.

In terms of self-defense, the U.S. is concerned mostly with terrorism. Terrorism is typically fought as an act of guerrilla warfare. An individual strapping a bomb to themselves and blowing up a bus is not realistically made impotent by adding a million soldiers to our army, or developing better weapon technology. In fact, fighting fire with fire has been proven counterproductive, as our highest defense officials have acknowledged that our military presence in the U.S. has facilitated the recruitment of terrorists, and made us less safe [7].

Terrorism should be dealt with by addressing the underlying causes, and exploring potential solutions outside of outright violence and aggression. Military invasions cannot stop small-scale terrorism attempts, and developing a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy is necessary. Suggestions include increased intelligence sharing, renditions, and specialized raids on terrorist bases, safe havens and training camps [8]. This would be more prudent than having a bunch of kids running a muck amidst great danger in the Middle East, getting nothing out of it but an ugly uniform and bad case of PTSD.

In 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a task force to study what causes terrorism. It concluded "Muslims do not hate our freedom but rather they hate our policies. Specifically, American direct intervention in the Muslim world through our one sided support in favor of Israel, support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and most of all, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan" [9]. Of course this occupation would significantly decrease if the size and scope of our military were reduced. The fact that we have no business having such a strong presence there is evidenced by the fact that our leaders had to exaggerate and blatantly lie in order to warrant our presence there in the first place. That was over a decade ago, and I invite my opponent to point out all of the ways our occupation has been successful, necessary or beneficial to the U.S. on a cost/benefit analysis.

We have troops in more than 150 countries around the world. Rather than focus on man power, we should be focusing on cyber-terrorism. In 2009, Chinese spies hacked the Pentagon's $300 billion F-35 fighter jet project. In an age where cyber security is our biggest threat, increasing our brain power that government's can invest in is more important than having such a massive military. The single greatest threat to our national security is an EMP: having our electrical grid destroyed by an enemy with a low-cost, short range, ship-launched missile armed with a nuclear warhead. The consequences would be far-reaching, with long-lasting, continent-wide crippling effects to our electricity-dependant infrastructure. This is the only (most) realistic form of attack against the U.S., and investing in military expansion won't help. On the other hand, I've argued why the current size and scope of this institution is dangerous and counterproductive.

SOURCES: http://debate.org...
wrichcirw

Con

I will first give a brief outline of realist theory, address my opponent's points, and then demonstrate that while seemingly substantive, they are wholly off the mark in framing US military spending in a historical and geopolitical context.



Realism

Realism is quite simple:

"Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to be the hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power to survive." [1]

In plain English, this description at its core is very much like a common board game, RISK. In fact, the similarities are startling.
  • The goal is the same: achieve hegemony.
  • Attack opponents when they are weak.
  • No one, except your opponent, knows what your opponent is up to.
  • By attaining more territory, you become stronger.
  • Only borders need to be heavily defended - inland states face no significant risk.
  • Territories belong to the sovereign whose armies occupy the land.
  • Any sign of weakness on your part is an opportunity for your opponent.
  • The more opponents there are, the more total armies will be fielded. This is an arms race.
  • The fewer opponents there are, the fewer total armies will be fielded.
  • World peace is a result of achieving hegemony.

[2, grossly paraphrased, it's in there somewhere]

It is less important that these are viable strategies to a board game, than whether or not these strategies can actually be observed in reality. I will demonstrate that this is indeed the case.


Rebuttal

(PRO's words are in quoted italics.)


1) My opponent has advanced a very common argument, that our military spending vis a vis other nations seems to be abnormally large - "we spend more than the next 26 nations combined - 25 of whom are allies!"

While true, what she omits is that US military spending is at historic lows:

"Between 2010 and 2015, total defense spending is set to fall from 4.9 percent to 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), even though the nation has assigned more missions to the military over the past two decades." [3]

"...tables from the Office of Management and Budget show[] national defense spending was below 5 percent only in the late 1940s, late 1970s and since the start of the early 1990s." [4]

What this means is that since the early 1990s, we have achieved Pax Americana. If our military spending is at historic lows, that means that GLOBAL military spending is even lower. That "we spend more than the next 26 nations combined" is NOT a sign that our budget is abnormally large, but rather that global military budgets are at unprecedented lows.

Therefore, my opponent's assertion that "Our ever-expanding institution is creating an arms race throughout the globe" is wholly irresponsible and nothing more than unsubstantiated fear-mongering.

As you can see, this conforms to realism - "We [DO] have troops in more than 150 countries around the world," and because we do, there are very few borders to defend, and thus very little total military spending globally.

Why is this the case? Let's analyse the American border. You may think it's the 50 states, but follow on a map if you will - amongst those "150 countries", we have military bases in England, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, (no bases, but India is an allied country), Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, and Alaska. Now, connect the dots, and you should be able to draw a distinct border. Neat, isn't it? Russia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, and some neighboring countries are on one side, and our armies are on the other. This is the American border - recall that armies hold ground belonging to the sovereign. Countries within our border have unprecedentedly low military spending, because we provide protection. We are able to do so and STILL keep our military spending at historic lows. This is Pax Americana. There are very, very few opponents on the board. There are very, very few borders (imagine if each and every country in the world bordered a potential enemy, and then imagine how many more militarized borders there would be).

What would happen if we pulled out? All of our "allies" (I call them protectorates) would all of a sudden require military protection. That neat border you just drew? It would vanish. This means that each and every state, no longer an American protectorate, would be bordering a potential enemy, one whose intentions they simply do not know. They would need to militarize to protect themselves. BY WITHDRAWING OUR TROOP PRESENCE, A REAL GLOBAL ARMS RACE WOULD BEGIN.

This one point alone discredits most of my opponent's case.


2) My opponent makes the false assertion that "The NDAA bill also awards the military 650 billion dollars for additional military supplies." This assertion is sourced from a blog that has Condi Rice as a "Thought Leader" because she answered one (and only one) question during an interview. [5]

The NDAA IS the US military budget. It pays for soldiers' salaries, for equipment maintenance, for wrapping up wars, as well as alleged "military supplies". The proposed 2013 NDAA bill of $650 billion is LOWER than the 2012 NDAA bill. There is nothing "additional" about this spending. The trend is towards lower spending, not nearly close to half of what it is today, but a bit lower. This is appropriate, given our current economic situation.


3) Regarding terrorism, we are lowering our military spending without compromising our counter-terrorism abilities, have withdrawn out of Iraq, and soon Afghanistan as well. I fully agree with PRO that we need to focus on the underlying causes of terrorism.


4) Iraq was a huge mistake. The Arab Spring proved that usurping dictators does NOT require 200,000 troops, years of armed conflict, and hundreds of billions of dollars of unnecessary ADDITIONAL military spending. More than likely, if Saddam was alive when Mubarak was ousted from office, Iraq would also have underwent something similar, making a transition to democracy much easier and less painful for Iraqis. Keep in mind that the military is on HER side on this one. [6] Bush went against the advice of the Army Chief of Staff in 2003. [7]

RIP Norman Schwarzkopf

Schwarzkopf wrote that had "we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like a dinosaur in the tar pit -- we would still be there, and we, not the [UN], would be bearing the costs of that occupation." (Sept 1992)

http://debate.org...
http://www.cnn.com...

Points 3) and 4) have no relevance to the resolution.


5) I'm glad my opponent brought out cyber security! However, my opponent offers no solution to this problem, other than to increase "brain power". As security is a military concern, it follows that the answer is more military spending when we can afford to do so. The military is keenly aware of this threat. [8] My opponent has weakened her own case and has bolstered my own.


My opponent needs to proffer an alternative to current reality to have a viable case. Your move.


[1] Mearsheimer, John (2001). The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 35.
[2] http://www.theatlantic.com...#

[3] http://www.foreignpolicyi.org...
[4] http://www.politifact.com...
[5] http://www.policymic.com...
[6] http://www.nytimes.com...
[7] http://www.nytimes.com...
[8] http://online.wsj.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

In the last round, Con never talked about our real or perceived threats-- to what extent they allegedly exist and can cause harm, nor whether or not the U.S. military would be able to defend itself adequately against these threats even if it was reduced in size by half. We can.

To begin, my opponent talked about realism and hegemony. Con must prove that hegemony is and should be our goal. At our country's inception, the intention was for the U.S. to maintain policies of non-interventionism. Our aim was to avoid all wars not related to direct self-defense. This policy is founded on the notion that a state should not interfere in the internal politics of another state, based upon the principles of state sovereignty and self-determination. Hegemony directly contradicts this notion by encouraging imperialism.

Imperialism is detrimental. Obviously, it has a history of creating slave systems of dominant nations via military prowess. Further, imperialism goes hand in hand with racism (nationalism), xenophobia, culture wars, etc. all which serve as an incentive for terrorism. Moreover, the us vs. them mentality stands only to support an elite, ruling class of war profiteers. If war were not profitable, it would not be pursued. It is only profitable to particular groups: those in defense industries such as arms; companies contracted with or by the U.S. government; etc. Meanwhile, it makes us less safe. Con hasn't challenged the argument/source documenting that our foreign policy and militaristic occupation is fostering terrorism and anti-American hostility.

In his article 'War: Who Profits and Who Pays,' Brad Miller explains "The people support the wars because the [Federal Reserve] can facilitate the borrowing of trillions that will be someone elses" problem... But what most Americans don"t realize is that they are impoverishing themselves now and enriching a few now because they are supporting the Federal Reserve"s devaluing of the dollar, which is causing the inflation that we are all feeling today. The average citizen doesn"t profit from war. It impoverishes us. It doesn"t make us safer; it actually makes us less safe."

In the same fashion, Smedley Butler, the most decorated marine at the time of his death proclaimed "The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill? This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations" [1].

War isn't good for most people. The human (mental, emotional) element of harm is unbearable. Expecting countries to be more responsible for their own defense would not necessarily cause havoc as Con contests. This is blatant fear mongering-- the kind of shameless, detrimental propaganda that politicians have relied on to maintain the ridiculously unwarranted size and scope of the military up until now. "All you have to do is tell [the people] they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" - Nazi Hermann Goering on bringing the people to the bidding of their leaders [2]. This has been done and repeatedly warned about throughout history [3].

Con says that cutting the military is what REALLY would cause an arms race, saying that I was foolish and misguided for noting that we currently have and are encouraging one now. This confuses me, because earlier he said that we need to acknowledge via Realism the reality that an arms race currently exists. Hmm. Clarify-- are we currently fostering an arms race, and is this good?

Con scoffs at my brain power suggestion despite agreeing with me. Our primary defense will continue to develop as a high tech industry which would thrive in both the state and private sector. Computer technology, software development, coding, cyber security, etc. are all fields highly prevalent to our defense. In that case, the U.S. should focus less on acquiring more, expensive weapons, and policing the globe quite literally like a Risk map as my opponent points out.

Instead, we should focus on developing the "brain power" of being able to dominate through figuring out better, more advanced weapons far more efficiently. We also need to be smarter about our weapons and what kind of warfare we impose. Perhaps we would be better off circumcising our opponents economically- by hindering their trade, culturally- by creating dissonance both internally and externally, politically- by strategizing ways to stifle their growth and success, including creating alliances (not necessarily militaristic in nature) with other nations, etc. Perhaps even biochemical warfare...

Moving on.

Con didn't at all address the massive economic burden our defense budget has placed on the U.S. As I explained, this is not only an immoral burden, but quite literally ruining America's economic standing in the world. We simply can not afford the size and scope of our current militaristic endeavors, which is undoubtedly gravely detrimental to our financial standing. This is THE biggest threat to our security and livelihood. Con cannot ignore this, nor simply gloss over the fact that we could be saving or investing this money toward more worthy causes.

More importantly, NO MONEY = NO MILITARY. This alone negates my opponent's entire case. If our economy collapses, or takes a serious economic hit as we are on course to do, our security would be severely threatened and any romanticized, unwarranted Patriotic notions of Pax Americana would be laughably inconceivable.

Con also dropped how the military is being used to oppress the American people, emulating signs of fascist-lite policies that are harmful to our rights and security from our own government. Extend.

Moreover, Con ignored the argument regarding the Military Industrial Complex. The reality of its existence is paramount to my case. The vast majority of U.S. military actions in the last ~20 years have had little to nothing to do with protecting us from enemies, potential or otherwise. Instead, they've been an attempt to justify the existence of the MIC in a world where America has no legitimate enemies, so it must create some.

After the collapse of the USSR, we found out that the Soviet threat to us was greatly exaggerated. My opponent tries to make it appear as if it's some amazing argument in his favor that defense spending is at "historic lows." The reality is that this isn't important, as it obviously doesn't justify past spending and I've already explained the cause and effect of that growth. This point is irrelevant regardless of how bold or large the font is in which Con chooses to type it in.

Con must explain who our enemies are today and to what extent they are dangerous. To suggest that we ought to imagine the worst case scenario and continue to build up our arms recklessly with no intention to ever stop or slow down (as my opponent implied) is absurd. We cannot ignore the reality of this financial burden, and its overall impact on our national security and global foreign policy as well as impact on the entire world. That would be irresponsible, embarrassingly immoral - frankly unacceptable.

We have other ways of maintaining a balance of power, including but not limited to focusing on our economic prowess (which mandates cuts from the military), being more proactive in peaceful engagements rather than ruling through force and militaristic dominance, investing in computer technology and the sciences rather than man power where it DOES concern our legitimate defense, and adopting more fair and reasonable alliances (eg. not alienating every Muslim country by blindly supporting Israel), etc.

Cutting our military does not mean cutting defense [4]. The resolution is affirmed.

SOURCES: http://debate.org...
wrichcirw

Con



- PRO's statements in quoted italics
- Sources continued from round #2

Rebuttal

1) "In the last round, Con never talked about our real or perceived threats..." See #14.


2) "U.S. military would be able to defend itself adequately...if it was reduced in size by half. We can." How so? I can't address this if you have no argument.


3) I will address PRO's next point by altering her assertion (my additions in bold):

"At our country's inception, the intention was for the U.S. to maintain policies of non-interventionism IN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS. WE INTERVENED IN NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS ALL DAY LONG VIA MANIFEST DESTINY. [9] Our aim was to avoid all wars not related to direct self-defense VIS A VIS EUROPEAN POWERS BECAUSE WE WERE TOO WEAK COMPARED TO THEM (War of 1812, we started it, Brits burned down the White House). [10] This policy is founded on the notion that a state should not interfere in the internal politics of another EUROPEAN state, based upon the principles of state sovereignty and self-determination BECAUSE NATIVE AMERICANS DID NOT ORGANIZE AROUND STATE STRUCTURES AND WERE TOO WEAK TO RESIST OUR BURGEONING MILITARY MIGHT. [9] [PRO's IDEOLOGY] directly contradicts this notion by [DISCOURAGING] imperialism."

As soon as self defense after Revolution was no longer an issue, we went on the offensive. We nearly committed genocide against Native Americans in order to expand our borders from coast to coast via Manifest Destiny. Once our borders were secure and we became strong enough to challenge Europe directly, we did, during WWI and WWII. Then we went to Asia and set up bases in Korea and Japan. This is realism. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPERIALIST POWER.

I have just proved "that hegemony is and should be our goal." It has ALWAYS been our goal.


4) "Imperialism is detrimental..." I concur. "States are but a necessary evil." - Thomas Paine [11] What would occur WITHOUT the hegemonic impulse would be a GREATER EVIL.

Case in point: WWI. After WWI, we did NOT join the League of Nations. [12] We became isolationist. [12] Europe suffered from a power vacuum caused by the collapse of Weimar Germany (invasion of Ruhr). [12] Without a hegemon to fill this vacuum, the Nazis were born and filled this vacuum themselves. A GIGANTIC ARMS RACE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN AND THE HOLOCAUST ERUPTED FROM OUR PACIFISTIC AND ISOLATIONIST POLICY. The end result was the worst war the world has ever seen. Both isolationist idealism [12] and Democratic Peace Theory fail to explain the rise of Nazi Germany ("The Ruhr crisis strongly disconfirms democratic peace theory" [13]) and the threat it posed. Realism explains this succinctly. One prevents such tragedy via the hegemonic impulse.

World wars have not happened since, because we have moved our armies into Europe directly. We are the world's policeman now.


5) "The average citizen doesn"t profit from war. It impoverishes us..." I fully agree. It is clear from my round #2 statements that I do NOT advocate war, I advocate hegemony. To the extent that hegemony can be achieved peacefully, such as through events like the Arab Spring, [14] it is the more optimal outcome than war.


6) "Expecting countries to be more responsible for their own defense would not necessarily cause havoc as Con contests..." Wholly misguided. If countries became "more responsible for their own defense", their own defense spending would increase. To the extent that a country increases defense spending, so its neighboring countries would also increase defense spending. AN ARMS RACE WOULD BEGIN.


7) "...earlier he said that we need to acknowledge via Realism the reality that an arms race currently exists." I never said this. I have used the phrase PAX AMERICANA repeatedly - The American Peace. PRO did not bother to quote me and is being careless or deceitful here.

I quote myself:

"US military spending is at historic lows."
"...global military budgets are at unprecedented lows."

THEREFORE, There is no arms race currently.

PRO has not contested these facts AT ALL.


8) PRO, on cyber security: "...the U.S. should focus less on acquiring more, expensive weapons, and policing the globe..." Absolutely misguided. The threat consists of conventional AND cyber-security threats. BOTH kinds of deterrent are necessary.


9) "...we should focus on developing the "brain power"...to dominate through figuring out better, more advanced weapons far more efficiently...We also need to be smarter about our weapons and what kind of warfare we impose." PRO is advocating military research here. THEREFORE IT FOLLOWS THAT SHE IS ADVOCATING AN INCREASE IN THE MILITARY BUDGET TO DO SO. SHE IS CONCEDING HER CASE HERE.


10) "More importantly, NO MONEY = NO MILITARY." Our economy is growing. [15] Spending cuts hit the military as well as entitlement benefits. These cuts are appropriate. PRO's suggestion that we cut military spending in half is NOT appropriate. We are not cutting entitlement benefits by half.


11) "Con also dropped how the military is being used to oppress the American people, emulating signs of fascist-lite policies..." Incorrect. I found this WHOLLY IRRELEVANT TO THE DEBATE. MY OPPONENT HAS A BEEF WITH THE FBI AND HOMELAND SECURITY, NOT THE MILITARY. [16]


12) "Con ignored the argument regarding the Military Industrial Complex [MIC]." No, I EMBRACED IT. Military spending is at historic lows. Our military is stronger, better, and faster, and we do it with a smaller percentage of the economy and fewer people THANKS TO THE MIC AND ITS RESEARCH CAPABILITIES.


13) "After the collapse of the USSR, we found out that the Soviet threat to us was greatly exaggerated."

a) The Russians are now again a threat. [17]
b) Had we moved in (peacefully or otherwise) after the collapse of the USSR, we would have neutralized this potential threat before Putin took power in 1999. Instead, we were treated to this fiasco (see video).

Think about how distracted Clinton was because of the Lewinsky scandal, and how much more focused he would have been on our foreign policy WITHOUT the scandal.




14) "Con must explain who our enemies are today and to what extent they are dangerous."

Our enemies lie outside our borders, as I drew up in round #2 and PRO left uncontested. I've already explained the danger:

No one, except your opponent, knows what your opponent is up to.
Any sign of weakness on your part is an opportunity for your opponent. [2]



15) "Cutting our military does not mean cutting defense." Yes it does. [1], [2]


Conclusion

War is terrible.

Realism avoids war whenever possible for EXACTLY the reasons PRO cites. For example, the Louisiana purchase and the Arab Spring advanced hegemonic goals without war. Recall that world peace is achieved via hegemony (no more opponents). [2]

PRO does not offer a countervailing theory. PRO dropped most of her assertions from round #2. Therefore, my sourced and substantiated claims from round #2 and #3 are affirmed. Military spending is fine as it is.




---

I will [lastly] apologize for posting content in the comments section. It is common knowledge that we have exited Iraq and that all significant military expenditures related to that theater have been drawn down, therefore Iraq is irrelevant to the topic at hand. While responding to my opponent's question about Iraq, I noticed that we were no longer debating anything, and I began to treat her question as an honest inquiry. I ran out of room while responding, so I posted some extra info in the comments section. Again, my apologies if it was inappropriate.

Iraq in my mind is the worst foreign policy disaster since exiting the League of Nations. It is the worst foreign policy decision made by the US in nearly 100 years. Both PRO and CON are in agreement with this sentiment, that the war in Iraq was seriously misguided.

I hope the space I have used to post this apology will suffice to make up for my comments in the comment thread.


Sources:

http://debate.org...


Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Bringing many troops home would significantly decrease military personnel, and thus save money on weapon supply and pay outs to soldiers (salary, benefits, etc.).

As for investing in "brain power," we could save money by considering the power/utility of weapons we choose to invest in, as well as the quality of training rather than the number of our soldiers (think Israel without conscription). A professional, well-equipped and well-trained force will defeat a bigger, not as advanced army that's 10x its size. So, we need to apply a better allocation of resources.

I have NOT "conceded my case" by suggesting we improve our method and scope of research. I've suggested being more efficient by focusing on the right things. We need stability in modernization programs along with clarity in technology forecasting in order to promote a real and substantial return on research and development. The future points towards smaller, but more lethal force packages under one-star officers designed for missions of limited duration and scope - not mass armies created for territorial conquest and occupation.

TIME journalist Douglas A. Macgreggor says to save money we should "Reduce redundant command-and-control overhead and establish Joint Force Commands. Standing up permanent Joint Force Commands in a reduced number of regional combatant commands bring together the aerospace, naval and land warfare expertise from the four functional areas: ISR, Strike, Maneuver and Sustainment in one command" [1].

European settlers did not set a precedent for American imperialism just because they (wrongfully) barely considered Native Americans human. Con misrepresents history when he suggests we went after Native Americans only after the Revolutionary War which is obviously not true. Besides, this doesn't prove hegemony has always been our goal nor that it should be. Considering there hasn't been perpetual peace, either our best efforts have yet to achieve it, or it doesn't work. We're involved in several wars right now.

The main cause of WWII were the repercussions of the Treaty of Versailles post WWI - a treaty based on President Woodrow Wilson's 14-point plan. In choosing to appease Hitler, the LON did fail; however, not because of the U.S. The LON couldn't utilize its main weapon of asking member countries to stop trading with an aggressive country, because A) they could still trade with non-member countries, and B) when the world was hit by depression in the late 1920s, countries were reluctant to lose trading partners. Moreover, the League had no army of its own, and could not respond quickly to stop an act of aggression [2]. The U.S. couldn't save the day.

It's abusive and unrealistic to suggest that every injustice could have been prevented if only the U.S. had done a little more global policing on tax payer dime. Additionally, Con hasn't proven that it's because of our policing there hasn't been a WWIII. More realistic explanations for that include the nature of warfare and its potential repercussions post atom-bomb. Furthermore, let's consider the two things that would have most likely caused WWIII: the war in Afghanistan, and the Cuban Missile Crisis [3]. Both of these directly involve American interventionism, and both were avoided by the U.S. scaling back its military presence (Cuba removed the missiles facing the U.S. only after Kennedy agreed to remove missiles in Turkey as part of a deal struck with Khrushchev.) In fact, Kennedy himself opposed Pax Americana [4].

The US distributes $14B annually in military assistance which can and should be scaled back. Taking sides overseas has led to far more problems than it has benefits, even if not at first glance. History has shown that the US has many times taken the wrong side with detrimental effects - eg. the creation or facilitation of terrorist groups [5].

I pointed out that NO MONEY = NO MILITARY to which Con replied our economy is growing. A 3% rise in the GDP does not even begin to put a dent in the economic turmoil this country is facing. Here's a link to our current national debt at over 16 trillion dollars [6].

Con says he "fully agrees" that war impoverishes us, yet supports militaristic expansion which includes acts of war (see: Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, etc.). Con has mostly dropped ALL of my economic contentions, saying only it would be inappropriate to cut the military in half because we are not cutting "entitlements" in half. Not all spending is created equal. Extend my arguments on how we can and should put military spending toward better uses.

Con says that expecting other countries to fund their own defense would cause an arms race. There already IS an arms race [7] and it is wholly unrealistic to suggest that the U.S. could ever stifle that on a global scale. Con's solution is to wage an arms race against the entire world, by expecting the U.S. to single-handledly be the most dominant by FAR in order to achieve Pax Americana. Even at our MASSIVE current size, many political scientists deny Pax Americana has been achieved-- we lack the economic and militaristic prowess.

While Con says military spending is at historic lows, he ignores that our military budget has closed to doubled in the past ~10 years. I also explained that after the collapse of the USSR, we found out that the Soviet threat to us was greatly exaggerated. This is relevant because so are most of our other so-called threats. Our military spending then didn't have to be that high. I also explained that past spending doesn't justify how much we should spend now - especially when that takes into account two world wars.

Extend all of my arguments regarding the military oppressing U.S. citizens. I've outlined policies specifically pertaining to the military and not the FBI or Homeland Security as Con suggests (eg. NDAA).

Con confirms the existence of the MIC and says it's a good thing! That is absurd for all of the reasons Eisenhower warned: it wastes taxpayer money fabricating or exaggerating a need for defense supplies specifically to make war profiteers rich - not because there is an actual need.

Con says "world peace is achieved through hegemony - no more opponents." It is unrealistic to assume there can EVER be "no more opponents." The only way that would be feasible is if you had a single world-government. In that case, the military would need to protect the government from the people. Con ignores the dangers, abuses and probable futility of eternally seeking to expand your miitary at all costs.

Con wrongfully claims I have dropped my contentions from R2. I did not. That round crafted a case explaining the size and scope of our military. Con accepted those arguments (thus I did NOT drop them), and instead defended the size and scope of the military. My R3 attacked his defense.

I gave multiple examples iof how we could maintain a balance of power in the world with a smaller military. I also explained how we can circumcise our opponent's economically, culturally, and politically. Con never denied this or challenged any of my suggestions.

Keep in mind it's too late for Con to respond to any dropped arguments.

There is no mission statement indicating our goal or desire includes being the world’s police, peacemaker, or trying to advance our culture or causes around the world. Instead, our military is supposed to be for common defense of our security and liberty. If we are not being legitimately threatened or attacked, we can absolutely scale back our operations.

Significantly reducing the American military into a coherent, far more affordable operational framework is essential to rationalize modernization, as well as extract greater capability and advancements from the existing force. The best way to enhance national security, promote our economic interests, and provide moral leadership is to get our own economy in order. We should and perhaps must cut military spending.

>> Sources located in same link from R2/3 <<
wrichcirw

Con

At the end of round #3, my case was affirmed. PRO did not contest that military spending is at record lows, and that we live in a time of relative peace. I will extend ALL of my round #2 and #3 arguments.

As PRO is making arguments in the final round - indeed a LOT of arguments, I will also do the same instead of a traditional closing.

- PRO's statements in quoted italics
- Sources con't from rounds #2, #3


Rebuttal


1) "A professional, well-equipped and well-trained force will defeat a bigger, not as advanced army that's 10x its size." What PRO fails to mention is that losses are minimized by use of OVERWHELMING FORCE. Against a force that a military cannot win, capitulation is the common outcome. This is why Saddam gave up after only 38 days in the Gulf War. This reduces casualties on both sides and minimizes the horror of warfare. 3,664 civilians died in the Gulf War. [29]

If we take PRO's suggestion, we will NOT command an overwhelming force. Our military will become subject to unreasonable expenditure, higher casualties, and prolonged conflict - we may run the risk of not winning a conflict. Such misguided thinking is EXACTLY what Rumsfeld as SecDef recommended to Bush/Cheney, [7] and because of that, we have the legacy of the War in Iraq. [6] The civilian body count from the War in Iraq is now OVER 100,000. [30]

2) "I have NOT "conceded my case... The future points towards smaller, but more lethal force packages..." Software engineers are some of the best and highest paid jobs in America. [18], [19] ANY talk about developing cyber-security will point to a LARGER, MUCH LARGER military budget.

3) I agree that we "should "Reduce redundant command-and-control overhead and establish Joint Force Commands." However, the savings from doing so would be minimal. Per PRO's source, cutting 10 four-star commands down to four would save the military about $1.5 million in personnel costs, a LOT less than a drop in the bucket - each O-10 (4 star general) earns less than $200,000 per year. [20] PRO's source does not quantify any financial benefits, and for good reason - THEY ARE MINIMAL.

4) "European settlers did not set a precedent for American imperialism..." Correct. They set a precedent for EUROPEAN IMPERIALISM. i.e. IRRELEVANT.

5) "Con misrepresents history when he suggests we went after Native Americans only after the Revolutionary War which is obviously not true. " PRO is misrepresenting history - before the Revolutionary War, there was no concept of "We the People". We belonged to Europe, we belonged to THEM. AGAIN, IRRELEVANT.

6) More mad-libs, again, my comments in bold:

"The main cause of WWII were the repercussions of the Treaty of Versailles post WWI - a treaty based on President Woodrow Wilson's 14-point plan I.E. THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS (LON). In choosing to appease Hitler, the LON did fail; however, not because of the U.S BECAUSE WE WERE ISOLATIONIST, WE DID NOT BELONG TO THE LON. The LON couldn't utilize its [SECONDARY] weapon of asking member countries to stop trading with an aggressive country...THE LON'S MAIN WEAPON WAS PEACEKEEPING VIA THE MILITARY MIGHT OF ITS CONSTITUENTS, AND IT WAS MISSING BY FAR ITS BIGGEST CONSTITUENT, THE US. Moreover, the League had no STANDING army of its own, and could not respond quickly to stop an act of aggression... NEITHER DID THE UN...EXPLAIN THE UN'S MILITARY PRESENCE IN KOREA [21], AND DURING THE GULF WAR.[22] IT WAS ALMOST ALL US MILITARY PERSONNEL. The U.S. couldn't save the day." YES WE COULD HAVE, BUT WE DIDN'T DUE TO OUR ISOLATIONIST IDEOLOGY.


7) PRO, on WWIII: "let's consider...Afghanistan, and the Cuban Missile Crisis [CMC]..." To think that Afghanistan would have caused WWIII is ridiculous. What about Vietnam? That was much bloodier and much more interventionalist on our part, yet no WWIII.

Had we relented in the CMC, the USSR would have called our bluff on our nuclear deterrent. They would have become emboldened, and would have had NUCLEAR MISSILES AIMED AT US 100 MILES OFF THE COAST OF FLORIDA. PRO IS ADVOCATING INSANITY HERE.

Kennedy's foreign policy was a shipwreck. Kennedy prosecuted the Vietnam War. [23] Kennedy CAUSED the CMC via the Bay of Pigs - hostile militant action against Cuba. [24] Of course such a misguided President on foreign policy would oppose Pax Americana - Kennedy WANTED an arms race - this is evident in his prosecution of Cuba and Vietnam. Thankfully he regained his senses by preventing WWIII via CMC, a war that history would have remembered as KENNEDY'S WAR. Kennedy died, and LBJ carried Kennedy's Vietnam legacy and was crucified over it.

8) "...our current national debt at over 16 trillion dollars..." Then cut entitlements. They are less necessary than the military, yet WE SPEND FOUR TIMES AS MUCH ON ENTITLEMENTS THAN WE DO THE MILITARY. [25], [26], [27]

9) "The US distributes $14B annually in military assistance..." This is less than 0.3% of the military budget. [28]

10) "Con has mostly dropped ALL of my economic contentions..." PRO HAS no economic contentions. Mine are clear:

"US military spending is at historic lows."
"...global military budgets are at unprecedented lows."


11) PRO's unsubstantiated assertions about the MIC were addressed in round #3.

12) PRO's "extend arguments" via NDAA is a strawman. The military is not responsible for the domestic atrocities conducted by the FBI and Homeland Security.

13) "It is unrealistic to assume there can EVER be "no more opponents." The only way that would be feasible is if you had a single world-government. " PRO has just defined hegemony for me. "In that case, the military would need to protect the government from the people. " No, the government IS the people - WE THE PEOPLE. We live in a democracy, not a fascist totalitarian state. We will need a small police force, yes, but not a military. This is the end goal, but until then, the military is a necessary evil.

14) "Con wrongfully claims I have dropped my contentions from R2. I did not. That round crafted a case explaining the size and scope of our military." PRO does not contest CON's assertions of the size and scope of the military. Again,

"US military spending is at historic lows."
"...global military budgets are at unprecedented lows."


PRO dropped this, and thereby conceded most of her case.

15) "I gave multiple examples iof [sic] how we could maintain a balance of power in the world with a smaller military. " ALL REBUTTED. Advocating balance of power is what led to WWI. [31] I am advocating OVERWHELMING FORCE via hegemony...a force WE CAN AFFORD, a force that results in lasting peace.

16) "Keep in mind it's too late for Con to respond to any dropped arguments." PRO has dropped so many of my arguments that it's clear who has met BoP, and it is not PRO.

17) "If we are not being legitimately threatened or attacked, we can absolutely scale back our operations."

a) I have advanced a real world scenario that conforms to realist theory - my opponent has nothing but wishful thinking.
b) I have demonstrated how this has resulted in a unparalleled peace, and how by unreasonably scaling back our operations, a GLOBAL ARMS RACE WOULD BEGIN.

18) "Significantly reducing the American military into a coherent, far more affordable operational framework is essential to rationalize modernization, as well as extract greater capability and advancements from the existing force."

I agree that we can make our military more efficient, and PRO's suggestions about combining commands and reigning in foreign military assistance have some merit. COMBINED, THESE TWO PROPOSALS MAKE UP LESS THAN 0.3% OF THE MILITARY BUDGET. [28]



I have nothing to add. My case is substantial. I have met BoP even though BoP is not on me. PRO has no countervailing theory, and cannot articulate a realistic scenario. I expected PRO to argue the anarchist's case, but she has not. Therefore, PRO HAS NO CASE.

Extend Rounds #2, 3 assertions. MILITARY SPENDING IS FINE AS IT IS. VOTE CON.

Sources:
http://debate.org...
Debate Round No. 4
103 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by proglib 4 years ago
proglib
I really enjoyed this debate, AND the comments/RFD discussion.

Also, I'm REALLY glad to see Dylancatlow clarify his vote.

I haven't read all the comments, so I don't know if his RFD was any better explained somewhere (I still think it was a weak RFD for giving 3 argument points to Con, but you've all seen much more limited RFD I imagine.) However, it is fair to give those 3 points to Con as many people stated much more coherently than I could (or Dylancatlow did?:)

As I said in my earlier comments, if I could vote Con would have won 3 for argument, and Pro would have won 2 for style and coherence. (similar to some of the voters.)

This is coming from someone who STRONGLY agreed with Pro ahead of time, and still has a hard time accepting that we can't find a LOT to cut out of our budget and that imperialism ("hegemony") likely has more costs than benefits.

Cheers and thanks for the entertaining discussion all!
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Lol, another thing..... I didn't vote bomb you. I only gave con 3 points until I was countered. However, since your argument was based on your false fact, you didn't make good arguments, either
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Also, I have recenty come across another phone number of which I will use to counter my counter. Actually 3 in fact.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Danielle, making up statistics is nothing to scoff at, especially when you were off by such a large amount. You didn't even address per capita spending nor the relation of the budget to the us gdp and population.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 4 years ago
Logic_on_rails
I can't actually vote, but I feel like giving some insight into what would be my hypothetical RFD; the debate had many interesting points worthy of noting, although do forgive me if I project my own views in the RFD. Aside from the debate, wrichcirw, the formatting is more than a dash too blatant. Highlighting is useful, but you have more bolded or italicised text than normal text...

Firstly, Danielle convinced me that the budget ought to be reduced. Points like funding behind terrorism operations being ill-spent and cyber security being of the utmost importance supported Danielle's side. Wrichcirw, while cyber security spending should increase as per Danielle's arguments it would be in exchange for a strong downfall in more traditional areas like infantry, or at least that was the implication. Of course, Danielle also raised other points.

Unfortunately for Danielle the resolution was not 'should the US military be reduced' ; the word 'half' was explicitly stated.

Wrichcirw clearly outlines realism and Pax Americana, which provides a compelling case for a strong American military. Danielle did attempt to say that the US foreign policy ought to be non-interventionist, but didn't make a sufficient case vs. wrichcirw's realism. I would have liked to see something like DPT come up as a counteracting point to realism, but it wasn't raised. The crux of this argument came down to (for me) whether the US had enough hegemony to retain hegemony despite the budget being cut in half.

Con adequately argued that it couldn't.

Had Pro raised DPT, Obama's pivot to Asia and other points she might have attacked realism as a framework. With realism as the framework I had to support Con. I'll reiterate that Danielle convinced me that the military ought to be cut, but without explicitly laying out an estimate of the size of her reductions and Con's realist framework, I must hand arguments to Con.

A good debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Oh, and of course thanks Danielle for this opportunity. :D
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
In my own defense though, and after some voluminous conversations on this matter, I'm not the only one with a clarity issue in this debate. Many of PRO's paragraphs had multiple points and no clear topic sentence. I was very much surprised at the kind of points some people via PM were able to connect in PRO's arguments which I had either wholly dismissed or felt were addressed via a completely different line of thinking.

Anyway, this has been an interesting exercise. To all the voters (even walrus :) I just want to say thanks for the feedback.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Yeah I agree that this debate highlighted numerous issues with clarity that I can work on. :)
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
wrichcirw, I'll reply to your message later, but you have to understand that most of us here vote on tabula rasa. Literally all you would've had to do to win my vote, and many others I suspect, would be to *clearly* point out that her arguments didnt justify cutting it in half (you sort of touched on it in your last round, but you were mostly going for a solvency attack, IE she didnt actually cut the budget in half, but not that she wasnt even arguing the resolution). I know it seems obvious, and it *is*, but instead of clearly pointing it out you argued head to head against her arguments. You never said, for example, that her arguments were extra-resolutional but wrong anyway, instead you just argued against them. I took that as an implicit concession that they meet the resolutional criteria--you cant expect the judge to make those conclusions for you, even if they are obvious...you need to explain them.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
From what I'm getting, the bottom line is that people think Danielle made some arguments. I agree Danielle made some arguments.

I did not see how the vast majority of her arguments in any way lead to the conclusion that "The United States military should be reduced in half". People are making this connection for her, assuming that every argument she makes somehow magically leads to affirming the resolution.

There were some that I thought would lead in that direction, especially anything that questions why we need a military in the first place. I was verbose in answering these arguments. The rest I found, and still find, to be largely irrelevant to the resolution. I addressed them with whatever space I had left, but given that they did not affirm the resolution, there was simply not much to address.

VERY FEW PEOPLE have actually said flat out that most of Danielle's arguments do not support the resolution. I find this troubling, and is also why I place very VERY little value in the voting here.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by rross 4 years ago
rross
DaniellewrichcirwTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It annoys me to vote this way, because I liked everything Pro said. Probably, it would be be better to reduce the military. However, as others have said, in the debate it wasn't clear exactly what cuts would be made, the extent, or the effect of them except in a general way. So had to take con's word about costs and casualties.
Vote Placed by MochaShakaKhan 4 years ago
MochaShakaKhan
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm tie-ing arguments as pro convinced me there should be a significant reduction in military spending, but never got me there in terms of full-out halving it. I am giving her s/g because con's overuse of bold-face, italics, underlining and font-size changes made his arguments a headache to read.
Vote Placed by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not use legitimate statistics regarding military spending in relation to other countries.
Vote Placed by Stupidwalrus 4 years ago
Stupidwalrus
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: So, this is going to get confusing. I'm awarding arguments to Danielle on my own, and then I'm countering Dylancatlow's additional 4 points. rfd in comments
Vote Placed by Raisor 4 years ago
Raisor
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro, the United States military budget does not exceed that of the next 26 nations. Please don't make up statistics. Edit: countering my counter. Any further counters will be countered.
Vote Placed by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
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Reasons for voting decision: See Comments
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Dylancat's argument vote. I haven't read this yet so I don't know if the source vote is warranted but at least *some* justification is provided.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: This was not a well-argued debate. Pro makes dozens of unsupported claims. to carry the case, she should have cited some expert military opinion that half the budget would be adequate. Similarly, Con should have given the implications of the cuts and provided expert opinion of the inadequacy. For example, it's likely that the entire U.S. Navy would have to disappear -- but Con provided no such arguments. Since Pro had the burden of proof, I'll give arguments to Con. It takes substantial evidence to prove that half is enough. "The military should get every penny it needs -- and not a penny more." is the standard. Con's annoying formatting with way too much bolding, underlining, and large fonts. I'm gratefully he didn't master blinking text. It interfered with following the debate.