The Instigator
SpannerWrench
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Dill777
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The "War on Terror" is a futile effort and a waste of resources.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,984 times Debate No: 69641
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (0)

 

SpannerWrench

Pro

Before I start I want it to be clear that I do not support terrorism. In fact this debate highlights how I think terrorism could be dealt with more effectively. I do not want to discuss patriotism in this debate. I wish to discuss why using U.S resources to fight terrorism is a poor decision.

Terrorism is an idea and not a physical force that can be stopped once and for all. By engaging terrorists we not only legitimize them as an opponent, but we waste resources and spread their name to more people.

The latter is a major issue, because the number one goal of terrorists is to spread their cause and their name to as many people as possible. Another goal of terrorists is to cripple their target or frighten others until they give into their demands.

As long as America exists as a country, it will be the target for terrorists. Since terrorism is an idea, then there is no snuffing it out once and for all. If terrorism cannot be stopped, then The U.S. cannot continue poring infinite resources into fighting terrorism.

As said in the beginning, fighting terrorism only helps to highlight them in the media and spread their cause. Money and resources would be better spent on defense of the homeland.
Dill777

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for creating this argument, and being at least seemingly reasonable.

Terrorism and Islamic extremism are ideas that are a poison to humanity, their purpose is to incite fear in those that oppose them and ultimately destroy them. It cannot be stopped completely and indefinitely, but the same is similarly true with corruption. My point being is that we don't give up on the matter of corruption, why would we give up on the fight against terror? We need to work towards reducing the strength of terrorist groups in the middle east, and lower the prominence of radical Islam. They are truly crimes against humanity, regardless of if you support the US or not, killing innocents is wrong.

If we give in to the demands of terrorists, we give them a power over us. If we allow them to have that power over us, they will not cease in their efforts to destroy our society piece by piece. Why? The answer is simple, they hate us. Regardless of whether we are in their lands or not, they despise what we are and everything we stand for. Freedom and liberty, they resent these things we hold dear. They believe in forcing their will upon others, their final goal is to kill those who do not follow their beliefs, and then impose them upon the public.

Terrorism will indeed come for us as long as we exist, however that does not mean we shouldn't our fight. We need to crack down on terrorist groups and work to tear apart the hierarchy of their organizations. However we cannot stop there, more needs to be done. We need to hold countries that support terrorism accountable, whether through sanctions, or war if it comes to it.

Giving in to the demands of terrorists is what truly allows them to further their cause, there is a reason we don't negotiate with them.
Debate Round No. 1
SpannerWrench

Pro

Thank you for your response. Let us continue...

I still don't feel like you addressed what I stated as terrorist goals in the beginning of my argument. I also don't think that you understood what I meant when I said, "Money and resources would be better spent on defense of the homeland."

The U.S could focus more on homeland security and counter intelligence. I don't think we should "ignore" it. Shoring up defenses and having agents to warn us of attacks is far from ignoring terrorism. Further from that, we as a people can try to show other countries that we are not the hypocritical American dogs they think we are. Think, is the key word here, as I do not necessarily believe these stereotypes. However, blowing up their buildings and shooting their people is just as terrifying to them as it is to us.

Their cause is to incite fear, a "poison," as you called it. When the U.S continues engagements, it shows that we believe the terrorists are a big enough threat to publicly announce a war against them. In a way, this very fact makes the terrorist somewhat successful. The govt. could just make an announcement saying not to worry about the terrorists and that counter intelligence agencies are working to prevent future attacks. The terrorists want us to attack them back, they want us to be afraid and react.

Do you think that these terrorist never expected the U.S might send in the troops. They want our attention. Just like that bully in the bus. If you hit them, they hit you back, if you pull a gun they may pull theirs, but if you raise your arms up in defense or just walk away, you avoid conflict all together. Terrorists and extremists in the Middle East are the same way. we know what they like to do, we know where they are (generally by country), so why give them what they want? Attention.

People in the Middle East have been mired in never ending war since before the 1800s. They believe their ideals are the true way. It's instinct to them. Our engagements with them are like hitting a bees nest with a bat. You can expect the same violent reaction every time. Just because you stuck your finger in the hole really slowly this time won't get you a different reaction than a bunch of stings.

The U.S has tired to encourage education and woman's rights, but the extremists see that Western influence is "poisoning" their country and way of life. This is actually somewhat true. We believe we have better ways of teaching and doing things, and we try not to be biased, but the truth is that we can't help but project American ideals (the good and the bad).

As someone said before in the comments, a farmer that would otherwise be indifferent about the war loses his wife to a drone strike, and suddenly he has a good reason to pick up arms against the U.S. How can we proclaim life liberty and the pursuit of happiness when we feel justified to destroy families and infrastructure?

What makes you think that a few years of targeted bombing and forced government reform will change the minds of people who have known war for so long? I don't want to get into why I don't think the U.S should act as the world's police, that is not the target of this argument. However I will say that I think the U.S has a lot to improve in internal affairs and infrastructure before we are ready to take on such a "noble" task.

Reinforcing and advancing homeland defense systems, including improving warning systems and counterintelligence, could be far more effective at stopping terrorist attacks on U.S soil. Terrorists are bullies, if we close the chinks in our armor they will have a hard time doing anything. The harder we make it to hit us the less inclined they will be tor try.
Dill777

Con

"I still don't feel like you addressed what I stated as terrorist goals in the beginning of my argument."
Alright, I will correct my mistake then.

"[...]the number one goal of terrorists is to spread their cause and their name to as many people as possible."
That is indeed a goal of terrorists, surely this is one thing we can agree upon. However I don't see how a lack of intervention abroad, since you are against foreign intervention (at least on its current level) in the interest of stopping terrorism, truly if we step back and give them space they shall grow to fill it. What I mean to say is, if we do not inhibit their efforts through military means and those of intelligence, they will succeed in their goal of spreading, as there is nothing stopping them. When a forest fire first catches, what is necessary is human intervention, lest it grow immensely and leave behind a charred waste. However their goals also include changing society to their liking, enforcing conformity, and killing anyone who will not conform or that stands in their way. If we were to leave them be, they could grow in power, and perhaps even form a new Muslim Empire. What would stop them? We wouldn't be opposing them, and some countries even wish to assist their efforts.

"Another goal of terrorists is to cripple their target or frighten others until they give into their demands."
If we were to pull out of the middle east, that would actually be surrendering to their goal. If we cease to fight their efforts, we will be giving in to their demands and wishes, and they will succeed.

"I also don't think that you understood what I meant when I said, 'Money and resources would be better spent on defense of the homeland.'"
I understood perfectly, I still disagree with it. Resources should be allocated to the defense of our mainland, however that is not all they should be directed towards. We should focus our funds also upon combating terrorism abroad, and gaining intelligence regarding the organization of their groups and any possible support received from sympathetic governments.

We need to focus on homeland security and counter intelligence while at the same time not forgetting about taking action overseas.

"I don't think we should 'ignore' it"
Let me clarify, you do not think we should address the issue overseas, and to engage them is only legitimizing them, and is a waste, as you stated. Essentially, that is ignoring the problem, at least a portion of it.

Their cause is not to incite fear, they incite fear to further their cause. Terrorists are a threat, which is precisely why we have to engage them overseas. If we sit back and allow them to work, that is what will allow them to succeed. If we stand idly by, we will be allowing them to dominate people and regions.

"The govt. could just make an announcement saying not to worry about the terrorists and that counter intelligence agencies are working to prevent future attacks."
They do that already sometimes, it's hardly settling.

"The terrorists want us to attack them back, they want us to be afraid and react."
What they want is for us to give into their demands.

Terrorists want us out of their way, they want to control people and society. They want to impose their will upon people, and they hate us for being against their personal beliefs and for fighting to prevent the increase of their domination in the middle east.

"If you hit them, they hit you back, if you pull a gun they may pull theirs, but if you raise your arms up in defense or just walk away, you avoid conflict all together"
In an idealist's world, that might be fine and true, but this is reality.

"we know what they like to do, we know where they are (generally by country), so why give them what they want"
If we allow them to dominate the region and its people, then we really are giving them what they want.

Not all people in the middle east hold the arrogant violent views of the terrorist extremists, but those who do dominate the peaceful ones. If we allow them to do so, it will not end. It will be a long battle, but it isn't for naught. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we can't turn back now.

We need to keep doing all we can to encourage freedom in this region, and opposing Islamic extremism. It will take time, but it will lead to a better future in the long run.

"As someone said before in the comments, a farmer that would otherwise be indifferent about the war loses his wife to a drone strike, and suddenly he has a good reason to pick up arms against the U.S. How can we proclaim life liberty and the pursuit of happiness when we feel justified to destroy families and infrastructure?"
War is a terrible thing, but sometimes it is what is necessary. Those people are put down by the terrorist groups even without our presence, we need to end it. Sometimes someone has to get blood on their hands, so in the future other people don't have to.

"What makes you think that a few years of targeted bombing and forced government reform will change the minds of people who have known war for so long?"
Well that's hardly an accurate representation of my stance, somewhat of a straw man really.

"However I will say that I think the U.S has a lot to improve in internal affairs and infrastructure before we are ready to take on such a "noble" task."
It is more difficult to stop something once in motion, than to let it continue. We can still fix ourselves simultaneously.

We need to continue the effort, at home, and overseas.
Debate Round No. 2
SpannerWrench

Pro

Before we get started, I we both strayed from the original prompt.

You seem hard struck on combating terrorism, that is fine. It"s a good goal, but I am speaking specifically about how the U.S had decided to handle the situation and how it is going to drain the treasury (already in debt) and spawn more hate from extremists.

You say war is a terrible thing, but we need to make sacrifices to stop terrorism. If terrorist were in London, and we didn't agree with how their government was handling it, do you think that the same tactics we use in the Middle East would be accepted? Would it be acceptable for us to permanently deploy troops to keep the peace in Europe, Asia, Africa too?

I know this isn't about other countries, but I think you assume too much when you say war is a terrible thing, but it has to be done. That in itself is a debate.

("What makes you think that a few years of targeted bombing and forced government reform will change the minds of people who have known war for so long?"
Well that's hardly an accurate representation of my stance, somewhat of a straw man really.)

Is that really a straw man argument, because this is what I mean..?

You said that, "However their goals also include changing society to their liking, enforcing conformity, and killing anyone who will not conform or that stands in their way."

Part of what infuriates the extremists is that they see us in the same exact light as above. The middle east has had extremists, before and after the U.S even existed. To them, we are children getting involved in their holy war. It's very similar to the crusades.

You say that we "need" to control them, to slow the growth of terrorism. Need is an important word, because it basically encompass this entire argument. I have been arguing that the U.S "needs" to scale back and change to more concentrated ops and humanitarian aid to build up infrastructure. You believe that the current course of troops, bombing runs, and other more direct approaches are necessary.
(correct me if I'm wrong about the above)

If I accept that we "need" to continue the course like you believe, then how long will the war continue?

Will it stop after we cripple ISIS? No, there will likely be new terrorist cells targeting us by then, or even splinter cells of ISIS. So the U.S continues the good fight, stemming the growth of those new cells for another campaign. There will always be another Osama, or Sudam, that is the nature ot the war torn Middle East.

Like I have said multiple times before, the Middle east has been stuck in countless internal conflicts for a very long time and the end to this theme is nowhere in sight. As long as there is conflict, there is a possibility of terrorist that oppose the U.S. Because we "need" this war in order to keep terrorists in check, we will be fighting with no foreseeable end.
I am no economist, but a never ending war is not sustainable. Especially while other important aspects of running the country are on the table. And as seen by the very people we are fighting, never ending conflict is not great for your people. As my original argument stated "The War on Terror is a futile effort and a waste of resources."

During this never ending war we have hypothetically decided is necessary, the media, both foreign and domestic, continue to broadcast stories about the War on Terror in the Middle East. This helps to fulfill one of the goals of terrorism we agreed upon, which is to, "...spread their cause and their name to as many people as possible."

"Another goal of terrorists is to cripple their target or frighten others until they give into their demands."

Which you replied...
"If we were to pull out of the middle east, that would actually be surrendering to their goal. If we cease to fight their efforts, we will be giving in to their demands and wishes, and they will succeed."

We may be giving into their demand to leave, but my argument is that we can"t afford not to.

I want to refocus on what this argument is really about. I am not arguing that terrorists should be ignored. I am arguing that the current way the U.S chooses to engage terrorism in the Middle East is a waste of resources and that in the current way, the U.S can"t possibly win.

You don"t defeat terrorism, it is a collection of thoughts and ideas just like religion. Entire countries have tried to destroy other religions since the day people of different religions met each other. If you really think we need to continue to combat this just as the govt. is right now, then we are looking at freakish spending, deaths of countless innocents, and a blatant turn of the shoulder to countless internal affairs in the U.S that need funding and attention.

This is not about terrorist getting what they want overseas. It"s lord of the flies over there. The power struggles will continue to happen no matter who we blow up or shoot. That is, unless the U.S makes changes to their tactics in this "War on Terrorism."

My proposal, which I admit was not clear in the beginning of this argument, is a change of tactics.

Providing humanitarian aid and conducting ops like the one that ended with Osama Bin Ladin's death seems much more productive. If we want to get rid of terrorism, then we need the people there to become educated in a way that stops hostility. We need to help improve infrastructure and stand up for the innocent populace.

I don"t want to get into too much detail with what changes should be made, because the important point is that the current tactics are not working nor going to work.

The current strategy is only slowing their progress, but not solving the problem. You say that the terrorists outnumber the peaceful citizens, then how is allowing casualties of the people we are supposed to protect, helping?
Dill777

Con

Dill777 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by myleemckinney 2 years ago
myleemckinney
SpannerWrench, I didn"t want to comment on a highly controversial issue like this, but I can"t help it because I feel so strongly about it. Terrorism is NOT an idea. Terrorism is a REAL tangible thing. It is ISIS. It is al Qaeda. It is the two pilots who trained for months to fly the planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11. We do not engage terrorists, THEY SEEK US OUT. We did NOT start this war. Do you watch the news at all? Two weeks ago, the religious leader of Iran went on television and said "DEATH TO AMERICA" and chanted it with his people. Would you not call this terrorism? Would you say that the idea of "DEATH TO AMERICA" is okay? You say you are not a supporter of terrorism, but refusing to acknowledge it"s existence just as bad. What suggestions do you have to offer that make "dealing with terrorism" more effective? We are fighting them every way we know how.
Posted by SpannerWrench 2 years ago
SpannerWrench
@Dill777

Sorry you didn't get to respond. I was looking forward to reading.
Posted by Dill777 2 years ago
Dill777
God damn..
I thought I still had time
Posted by SpannerWrench 2 years ago
SpannerWrench
@Idiosyncratic
Thanks for the response. I can see where you are coming from with the strikes against ISIS recently. The intelligence gathering seemed much more sufficient than past engagements, and this time a local force Jordan, was in complete support.

This is exactly what I'm talking about though. After all the blundering around in the Middle east, this series of strikes seemed much more organized. It also felt more "justified," because it was a response to a recent war crime and backed by the foreign nation effected.

However, I think that the media hypes up the threat of ISIS to a degree (for the sake of news stations and politicians alike). They have no reason not to and everything to gain. The war is already unpopular with many voters and this retaliation makes the U.S. look more organized in their efforts. It also forms relations with the Jordanians.

That is not to say that ISIS could very well be as powerful and dangerous as claimed, but I find it hard to believe that ISIS is the most capable force of extremists that decided to go on a power trip, at this time or in the past of the Middle Eastern conflict. I also find in pretty unlikely that this group of rebels could conquer all of the territory required to become a meaningful threat against any organized military of any large nation.

I agree that the threat shouldn't be ignored, but I doubt nay opposing force in the Middle east would let it get that far. Even if ISIS did get more organized and seize territory, they will only be making themselves a bigger target for U.S forces. Right now they have small bases and convoys spread around their territory. If they build any large standing forces, it would be simple for the U.S Intel to search and destroy these bases.

We have numbers, technology, intel. Their best weapon so far has been burning people alive and kidnapping. If they were a bigger threat they would be holding cities hostage and threatening to blow up our embassies.

Hope it won't c
Posted by imnotacop 2 years ago
imnotacop
I'm not apposed to combating terrorist, I'm apposed to interventionism. We had no reason to enter Iraq, and no reason to be engaged in war in the middle east. If someone from Canada attacked china, would you be okay with Chinese forces coming to Idaho? The whole idea that we need to intervene in foreign affairs is ridiculous and you admit I'm correct on my reasoning for this. It's idiotic that you can sit there and say I'm right in my reasoning but wrong in my conclusion when you ignore the reasoning entirely to reach yours. You said it yourself, they recruit no matter what, which means there is no end to this war. Do you believe the term war is peace? Engaging in a war implies end goals, and there is no end goal, there is no finally to this war other than turning it into reactionary policing rather than military interventionism. And reactionary doesn't mean after the fact, you can react to implication, it's called intent. Your answer, you admit, causes more recruitment, yet you argue in favor of continuing the action to cause that. So are you pro terrorism? You're arguing in favor of a solution creating more terrorists, so you must be.
That's why you don't want to debate me, not your scapegoat reason. You know that if you debate, then there's a winner and a loser, you don't want that, so don't give me you "why are you apposed to discussing it" bull. I offered you a debate, and you turned it down. I'm now apposed to discussing it, you're apposed to a final answer.
Posted by Idiosyncratic 2 years ago
Idiosyncratic
@imnotacop, if you know more than me on the subject, then why are you opposed to discussing it openly here? As I told someone else recently, I have a busy schedule, and do not have the time to research and dig sources for a formal debate. I am open to talking about it here, when I can.
Posted by Idiosyncratic 2 years ago
Idiosyncratic
@SpannerWrench you make a fair point. Sending humanitarian aid would be more productive than just airstrikes. And I suppose I was not entirely fair, (although I wasn't picking and choosing, just bringing something up that caught my eye) but yes, perhaps spec ops, and sending supplies to those who actually live over there and are interested in fighting for themselves would be a good way to go. However, I do believe that the airstrikes were necessary at the time, mainly to halt ISIS/ISIL from gaining the entire region to themselves. But now? Yes, I suppose sending aid and supplies would be better than airstrikes. But personally, completely ignoring the situation, and just focusing on defense, would not have been a good solution when they were conquering the middle east.
Posted by imnotacop 2 years ago
imnotacop
Feel free to challenge me. I obviously know more than you on the subject, it'd be a good win for me.
Posted by SpannerWrench 2 years ago
SpannerWrench
@Idiosyncratic And as I said before, these people's beliefs run back thousands of year so the last person they want to listen to is a kid country like the U.S. Can you imagine if a new country formed within the next 200 years and told U.S we were wrong in our way of life?

Yes there are those that want our help there, but the U.S needs to do a way better job if they want to convince these people we want to help. Shooting and blowing up people while doing some humanitarian stuff on the side is not the way to go.
Posted by SpannerWrench 2 years ago
SpannerWrench
@Idiosyncratic You seem to pic and choose parts of my text while disregarding others. "Putting our arms up defensively," was symbolic for more than what you make it out to be.

Multiple times I have said that we should not ignore terrorism. However the U.S cannot change the Middle East. They have been stuck in violent conflict longer than the U.S has even existed as a country. Providing humanitarian aid and conducting ops like the one that ended with Osama Bin Ladin's death seems much more productive. If we want to get rid of terrorism, then we need the people there to become educated in a way that stops hostility. Poking someone with a big stick is not the best learning environment.
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