The Instigator
maxh
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
kenito001
Con (against)
Winning
54 Points

The "War on Terrorism" is unwinnable and should be ended

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,539 times Debate No: 1243
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (21)

 

maxh

Pro

The goal of the war on terrorism is to eliminate terrorism from the world. The problem with this approach is that there is no way to eliminate an idea-- it is like eliminating capitalism or environmentalism or communism. Although it is possible to reduce the number of people who believe in an idea, it is not possible to eliminate that idea, and therefore no way to truly win the war in terrorism. Because it costs money and lives to support the war on terror, it should only continue if it can be won. But since it cannot be won, it should not continue.
kenito001

Con

The War on Terror is winnable for the US because you misinterpret what the War on Terror is.

The War on Terror began on September 18, 2001 with the Authorization for Use of Military Force. This authorization officially marked the beginning of the War on Terror, and is the legal justification for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The direct purpose is to hinder terrorism domestic and abroad to ensure the safety and security of American citizens. To say that the War on Terror is "unwinnable" is to say that Americans will never be safe. I do concede that Americans will never be COMPLETELY safe, however, it is plausible to instill safety for American citizens. The War on Terror officially ends when this is accomplished. The US is taking the wrong approach for winning the war, but it is revertible to victory. The following course of actions would allow the US to win the War on Terror, thus making the War on Terror "winnable":
1) Stabilize Iraq and explore the possibility of three separate states based on the Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. Establish either a federal government over one Iraq or a central government over three states.
2) Greatly improve the funding given to airport security for all airports receiving international flights. Also improve airport security for all other airports.
3) Install security camera systems on the streets of several major cities such as New York City, LA, Chicago, etc.
4) Don't invade another country unless there is irrefutable evidence to invade.
5) Continue to capture al-Qaeda operatives and other major terrorist leaders to shut down their organizations and cripple their ability to operate and assemble.

Terrorist organizations can be stopped from harming the US by:
1) Preventing them from acquiring WMDs, Nuclear weapons, etc.
2) Cut off their money supply (example: Eradicate opium production in Afghanistan that funds the Taliban)
3) Improve domestic security

These tenants and plans are all pragmatic and can be accomplished

Secondly, to be brief, the War on Terror should not be ended because of the negative implications involved. Withdrawing troops, redeploying forces, and surrendering key strategical advantages would not change anti-American sentiment, and would only forfeit any advantages currently held by the US.
Debate Round No. 1
maxh

Pro

1) Iraq was stable before we invaded. It was, perhaps, not a great place to live, as Saddam Hussein was murdering innocent civilians, but he is no longer in power, and innocent civilians are still being murdered. We've instated a government, and the people have voted. Now we need to rebuild and get out.

2) The increases in airport security are best described as "security theater". There remain numerous holes in security (a commonly discussed scenario is simply setting off a bomb before the security checkpoint, where numerous people will still be killed and many people will be scared-- the point of terrorism). The security there is serves the purpose of creating an illusion of response ("security theater") and being vary annoying and wasting time (the fact that people, even if only jokingly, advise friends and family to arrive days early, when an hour was all that was needed on busy days, is testament to this).

3) Personally, cameras everywhere make me (and many others) feel less safe. Who watches the watchers? Who can say with certainty that ex post facto laws will never exist? Who can say that wearing an orange hat will not someday become a retroactive law carrying the death sentence (unlikely, I know, but it's just an example)? Furthermore, there are private security cameras covering major cities already. How does installing more help?

4) Then why was Iraq invaded? Wasn't the reason for that because Iraq had nuclear weapons? That evidence certainly wasn't irrefutable because it WAS refuted. Then the reason was changed to "Saddam is a bad person". Saddam was removed from power, captured, and executed (he wasn't even tried in an international court-- the court was US run). Still US forces remained. The excuse was then that we needed to stabilize Iraq. Well, the way to do that is to REDUCE forces and change their mission-- to rebuilding Iraq.

5) We do need to capture terrorists (and give them trials), but more terrorists will always come up. Even if Al-Qaeda ceases to exist, there are other terrorist organizations. If we eliminate all terrorist organizations, then people who have similar ideas will form new ones. Do we really want to play Whack-a-Mole on an international scale, except that each round costs a few million dollars instead of 25 cents, and every time we miss, innocent people die?
kenito001

Con

"1) Iraq was stable before we invaded. It was, perhaps, not a great place to live, as Saddam Hussein was murdering innocent civilians, but he is no longer in power, and innocent civilians are still being murdered. We've instated a government, and the people have voted. Now we need to rebuild and get out."
I find the statements of "stable" and "murdering innocent civilians" to be a direct contradiction to one another, especially when used in the same assertion. I do comprehend your point, that Iraq had a stable government and a generally stable society. However, because of the media exposure brought by the US since the invasion, the sectarian violence occurring in Iraq now is in fact less than the violence incurred by not only the three separate groups (Shia, Sunni, Kurd), but also by the genocide committed by Saddam Hussein. Since the Holocaust and World War II, the US and the UN committed themselves to acting as a guise over the entire world to help preserve peace and individual security, vowing to prevent any act of genocide to ever occur again. While the Iraq War may have been improperly implemented while stuck in a web of bureauchratic American politics, a world without Saddam Hussein and an Iraq without Saddam Hussein is certainly a better Iraq. Innocent civilians are still being murdered because that's the nature of the sectarian violence between the three cultural groups. The War on Terrorism can be won because the US CAN rebuild Iraq, and yes, once Iraq is rebuilt, the US may exit. May it be noted, that since the Korean War, the US has kept at least 30,000 troops stationed on the border of North Korea and South Korea. To keep a small number of troops in Iraq to continue to train Iraqi troops and promote peace in Iraq is not a ridiculous claim.

"2) The increases in airport security are best described as "security theater". There remain numerous holes in security (a commonly discussed scenario is simply setting off a bomb before the security checkpoint, where numerous people will still be killed and many people will be scared-- the point of terrorism). The security there is serves the purpose of creating an illusion of response ("security theater") and being vary annoying and wasting time (the fact that people, even if only jokingly, advise friends and family to arrive days early, when an hour was all that was needed on busy days, is testament to this)."
I agree with this point. However, especially with a new President in office on January 20, 2008, there is a great opportunity to give actual improvements to airport security without making a theater out of it, giving Americans more of a mental than literal security. A security theater, I will argue, is beneficial to the US citizens. The only worse situation in an airport than a terrorist plot is a panicked citizenry. By keeping the people calm and confident in their country's security, they will be much less likely to panic and cause chaos without even a bit of influence by terrorists. Airport security is improved annually, as the tests conducted by both government projects and third part organizations using fake bomb parts and weapons have seen an increase in pass rate by the airport security increase annually.

"3) Personally, cameras everywhere make me (and many others) feel less safe. Who watches the watchers? Who can say with certainty that ex post facto laws will never exist? Who can say that wearing an orange hat will not someday become a retroactive law carrying the death sentence (unlikely, I know, but it's just an example)? Furthermore, there are private security cameras covering major cities already. How does installing more help?"
It helps, such as in the instance of the London bus and subway bombings of 2006, it makes it much easier to not only identify the perpetrators but also to find where the bombs or weapons were made or kept. This will provide not only a preemptive measure to preventing terrorist attacks but also help the US piece together evidence if any problems were to occur.

"4) Then why was Iraq invaded? Wasn't the reason for that because Iraq had nuclear weapons? That evidence certainly wasn't irrefutable because it WAS refuted. Then the reason was changed to "Saddam is a bad person". Saddam was removed from power, captured, and executed (he wasn't even tried in an international court-- the court was US run). Still US forces remained. The excuse was then that we needed to stabilize Iraq. Well, the way to do that is to REDUCE forces and change their mission-- to rebuilding Iraq."
The 9/11 Commission report connected Saddam to 9/11, specifically the harboring of suspects involved and giving financial support. Saddam may or may not have been able to transfer WMDs to Syria, but it is known, especially through the writings of Michael O'Hanlon, that Saddam supplied Syria with financial support and traded weapons with them. The threat lies with Syria's ties with the terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Despite whether the invasion of Iraq gave the US a drastic victory in the War on Terror, the invasion in itself should be considered an accomplishment. Additionally, having troops stationed in Iraq keeps Iran in check from threatening the US with nuclear technology. The Iranian President M. Acnhkalneainioea (lol) knows that the US can engage in not only an air but also a ground invasion, leaving Iran to be a sitting duck. The US should begin to reduce forces in Iraq, but there are many benefits to the invasion and to being in there.

"5) We do need to capture terrorists (and give them trials), but more terrorists will always come up. Even if Al-Qaeda ceases to exist, there are other terrorist organizations. If we eliminate all terrorist organizations, then people who have similar ideas will form new ones. Do we really want to play Whack-a-Mole on an international scale, except that each round costs a few million dollars instead of 25 cents, and every time we miss, innocent people die?"
The point of capturing terrorists is to cut off their ability to mobilize and organize. The long-term plan to win the War on Terror is to cut off their money supply and prevent them from acquiring additional weapons or dangerous technologies. For instance, the way to win the war in Afghanistan is to eradicate opiate crops that fund the resurrecting Taliban regime and give the poor farmers a positive incentive my microfinancing. Innocent people shouldn't die at the hands of the US, however, remember, that if it were not for the proactive stance presented by the US, not only would US citizens die, but innocent people all across the globe would die at the hands of corrupt regimes and greedy cartels. Eliminating anti-American sentiment is a challenge, and it can be accomplished by not only freeing innocent people of their anti-American "overlords", but by using the prowess of the American economy to let American entrepreneurs to microfinance and globalize other nations.

The main focus of your arguments is to criticize Iraq on behalf of the anti-War front. Your arguments are certainly coherent and valid, however to ignore the benefits inherent with outing Saddam and fighting the War on Terror is a one-sided approach. In order to win this debate, you must prove that the costs of the War on Terror outweigh the benefits. The greatest value to the government must be the well-being and protection of its citizens. A Constitutional Republic like America, with a government made by the people for the people with minimal corruption (in comparison to fascism and dictatorship), should value its people over all other goals. Do not take this as an ignorant statement intended to violate the value of human life or to justify the murder of innocent people, I merely present it to defend the actions of the American military on behalf of the friends, family, and country that they are fighting for.

Thanks,

The Colonel
Debate Round No. 2
maxh

Pro

Actually, about 600,000 people were killed by Saddam in almost thirty years. The violence in less than five years has killed 87,741 civilians. This does not include deaths of coalition forces. Back-of-the-napkin calculations give us about the same number of civilian deaths after thirty years.

A panicked has their panic confirmed by the security measures that have been taken so far. Although 9/11 showed security to be inadequate, our response was to panic (the goal of a terrorist), which caused such measures to be taken. WE would have done better to frame out security measures as "we now see problems", rather than "Oh no oh no oh no! What will we do!". What we did is exactly what "they" wanted.

Also, the invasion of Iraq has made much of the world dislike the US-- which gives terrorists justification.
kenito001

Con

"Actually, about 600,000 people were killed by Saddam in almost thirty years. The violence in less than five years has killed 87,741 civilians. This does not include deaths of coalition forces. Back-of-the-napkin calculations give us about the same number of civilian deaths after thirty years."

Your statistic about Saddam killing 600,000 people is true, however, the number of years is skewed. Saddam didn't officially take power until June 1979 when he convened a special meeting of Ba'ath party members, 68 of which were put on trial for treason, 22 sentenced to death. He was removed from power, technically, at the start of the Iraq invasion in 2003. So, Saddam was President of Iraq for 24 years. The years after the Persian Gulf War, with the exception of a minor number of possible murders under his regime, the watch of the US and UN prevented Saddam from going out of line as he did in the 1980s, against his own people, with the weapons traded to him by the US. The Gulf War ended in February 1991. This gives Saddam a time frame of 12 years to murder, giving a margin of error to your benefit, 550,000 people (I will assume that at least 50,000 were killed outside of the 12 year span, a very generous number). That's a solid average of 45,833 and one-third persons per year, including the entirety of the Gulf War when Saddam was fighting American troops much more than his own cultural enemies.
Rounding up the length of the Iraq War to 5 years, including the deaths of coalition forces, is 4217 people [http://icasualties.org...] (of the entire coalition, not just the US)((NOTE: The total 4217 was read off the site at 11:04 CST, I am assuming it will change)). Adding this to your total, we get 91958 troops. I will give you another margin of error, and increase this total to 94000 troops. That average, over four years and 8 months (4.75 years) 19789.5 casualties per year.
The average under Saddam's reign, 45,833, is more than double the annual casualty count since 2003.

"A panicked has their panic confirmed by the security measures that have been taken so far. Although 9/11 showed security to be inadequate, our response was to panic (the goal of a terrorist), which caused such measures to be taken. WE would have done better to frame out security measures as "we now see problems", rather than "Oh no oh no oh no! What will we do!". What we did is exactly what "they" wanted."
Having frequently been in other international airports (such as Madrid, Barcelona, London, and New Zealand; New Zealand and London before 9/11 occurred), the US has always had inferior airport security, mainly due to the outcry of American citizens in defense of their individual freedoms and liberties. Don't get me wrong, I am the biggest supporter of personal liberties myself, however, the American government's airport security is slightly improved each year since 2001, but it should be improved more and can be improved more. Taking precautions such as x-raying shoes and not allowing liquids through security makes the implementation of a terrorist plot much more difficult. The goal of a terrorist is not to cause panic. That is the basic definition of a terrorist, but the goal of a Jihadist terrorist is to convert Americans to Islam and have them reject their life of sin. 9/11 was orchestrated as "revenge" against the American people for the "treachery" that the American government has "caused" against the Middle East and Islam alike (I use quotes to state the beliefs of Jihadists, not of my own).

"Also, the invasion of Iraq has made much of the world dislike the US-- which gives terrorists justification."
Terrorists already had enough justification. Once an organization or group has enough justification to convince 19 Saudis and Middle Easterners to give their lives for the cause of taking down the US, then no matter how much more justification we give them it will not make drastic changes. Of course, the US shouldn't bomb and invade every Middle Eastern and Islam country, for efforts that drastic would certainly have a great effect, however, the effect of the Iraq War as a threat to national security is minute compared to the advancements made by US presence.

The most fitting proposition to help stabilize Iraq is Joe Biden's federalist plan [http://biden.senate.gov...], making a soft-partition to establish three separate states of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd that hold autonomous power over one another. If the US looks past the military solutions of Iraq and focuses on establishing political solutions so that our efforts in the invasion are not wasted 15 years from now when another tyrannical dictator takes over, the American government can establish a federalist Iraqi government that can act as an integral ally in the fight towards international peace and security.
Debate Round No. 3
maxh

Pro

maxh forfeited this round.
kenito001

Con

I give my opponent this opportunity to continue their arguments into the 5th and final round. My arguments carry on.
Debate Round No. 4
maxh

Pro

maxh forfeited this round.
kenito001

Con

Thank you for this debate, vote Con. The War on Terror is winnable and should not be ended.

-The Colonel
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
Defaulted CON.
Posted by mjg283 9 years ago
mjg283
"to a certain extent kenito001 is right, however, one man's terrorist may well be another man's freedom fighter"

And one man's Reuters is another man's Al Jazeera:

http://www.thepeoplescube.com...

It still befuddles me exactly how blowing up teens at a discothèque or Sbarro's constitutes "freedom fighting." I guess I'll just never be enlightened enough to understand that one.

Maybe one man's Sbarro's is another man's gulag?

That said, I agree that any "war on terrorism" is by definition unwinnable. Terrorism is not an entity that can be defeated or vanquished -- it's a tactic used by all different groups and individuals. What we are really fighting is a war against Radical Islamic terror gangs.
Posted by AK-47debater 9 years ago
AK-47debater
to a certain extent kenito001 is right, however, one man's terrorist may well be another man's freedom fighter
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U.n
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