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U.S. Military Intervention

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,434 times Debate No: 74650
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




5 rounds. 72 hours. 10,000 words. This is an acceptance round.


I accept your challenge gladly, and I hope that you will go into it with an open mind.

A few questions to just get you thinking before we begin the debate: Where would Europe and Asia be without US intervention in the First and Second World Wars? What would Korea look like if we had decided not to help them defend their country? How much different would Vietnam look if we followed through and actually won the war? Would Grenada have been better off if we just left them under their dictator?

I am pretty sure you know the answer to these questions, and hope you will take them into account in the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


First, take a look at this
The debt from the wars we have fought abroad cost 6 trillion. And note, this was written one year ago, so it's not even current. There is probably a higher number. Now take a look at this number.
At the end of FY 2015 the total government debt in the United States, including federal, state, and local, is expected to be $21.694 trillion.

So now I ask you, in you're opinion, do you think we can continue to fight wars abroad and continue to deliver foreign aid, and somehow stay on to of this debt? Do you think we will be able to continue nation building with this type of debt. We're using money to blow up bridges in Afganistan and then rebuild them, when there are most pressing issues here in the United States, and other more important things we could use this money for.
This link also shows you that back during the Republican Primaries for the 2012 election, Ron Paul got the most donations from the military out of all of them. Note that Ron Paul was a candidate that WANTED to bring the troops home from overseas.

I never objected to the U.S intervening in World War 2, because we were provoked into fighting the day the Japanese armed forces bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which after we went to war with the Axis powers.
The Vietnam War was a pointless waste of money, time, and lives. We also now know that the Golf of Tonkin incident was a false flag operation. Vietnam also wouldn't look too much different if we won. South Vietnam had many coups and military dictatorships. The main difference is that the rulers of the Vietnamese people wouldn't be communist. Vietnam still would have many innocent lives lost and the poverty that succedes the war.

The Korean War was unconstitutional. Only congress has the power to declare war, not the president. Here is an excerpt from Archives.Gov

"President Harry S. Truman quickly committed American forces to a combined United Nations military effort and named Gen. Douglas MacArthur Commander of the U.N. forces. Fifteen other nations also sent troops under the U.N. command. Truman did not seek a formal declaration of war from Congress; officially, America's presence in Korea amounted to no more than a "police action."
America's involvement was not a "police action" It was a war that lasted 3 long years.

While Grenada was a dictatorship, the attack was unprovoked as the government had done nothing to directly attack any Forces of the United States Military, and had not attacked the U.S. You also contradicted yourself by saying they would be better off without a dictatorship, when South Vietnam was one.


Ok, those are all good points. I frequently discuss this topic with some of my more libertarian friends, and there is some truth behind them. There are certainly some repercussions that arise from investing so much in foreign nations. However, I will give some examples of how if we do not intervene, consequences are far more harmful.

Lets take a look at Vietnam. You stated "Vietnam also wouldn't look too much different if we won." I strongly disagree. The US had essentially won the war in Vietnam. They had won every major battle, and had bombed the North into ruins. Yet, the reason we threw away victory was because the will of the American people was broken. As the US pulled out, chaos ensued. There are surprisingly few recollections under way today of the final ignominious chapter of our Vietnam agony, when the U.S. was chased out of Saigon. Maybe a few people recall how wrong the left was about what they predicted would take place after the U.S. finally bugged out of southeast Asia. (We didn"t just bug out; we also cut off aid to our friends and allies in the region, degrading their own chances for self-defense and survival.) Let"s recall what leading liberals had to say at the time, especially about Cambodia. Anthony Lewis wrote in the New York Times: "What future possibility could be more terrible that the reality of what is happening in Cambodia now?" It was, Lewis wrote a few weeks later, only our "cultural arrogance" that led us to believe that "our way of life must prevail." New York Times reporter David Andelman wrote that the vast majority of Cambodians "do not voice any concern about such issues as the shape of a peace or possible postwar reprisals," while another Times reporter, Sydney Schanberg, wrote that "it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." Sen. Alan Cranston said that "the "bloodbath" that some people fear after the fighting stops if the [Khmer Rouge] insurgents take over is only conjecture." The Los Angeles Times said the aid cutoff was "for the good of the suffering Cambodians themselves." Columnist Joseph Kraft asked, "Does it really matter whether Cambodia goes Communist?" And after South Vietnam followed Cambodia"s fall, the New York Times carried a news story, datelined Phnom Penh, with the headline: "Indochina Without Americans: For Most, a Better Life." [3]

Despite these absurd claims that we were making it worse for the Vietnamese, what actually happened is very different and much more disturbing. William Shawcross, a fierce critic of American policy in Vietnam later expressed second thoughts about the attitude of the antiwar left toward Indochina. Shawcross wrote in 1994:
"[T]hose of us who opposed the American war in Indochina should be extremely humble in the face of the appalling aftermath: a form of genocide in Cambodia and horrific tyranny in both Vietnam and Laos. Looking back on my own coverage for The Sunday Times of the South Vietnamese war effort of 1970-75, I think I concentrated too easily on the corruption and incompetence of the South Vietnamese and their American allies, was too ignorant of the inhuman Hanoi regime, and far too willing to believe that a victory by the Communists would provide a better future. But after the Communist victory came the refugees to Thailand and the floods of boat people desperately seeking to escape the Cambodian killing fields and the Vietnamese gulags. Their eloquent testimony should have put paid to all illusions." [2]

So next, let"s take a look at the results of two different foreign policies. Look at Ronald Reagan, who live by the model phrase "Peace through Strength" and then Obama"s weak handed approach. Which one had better results? This question is disgustingly easy to answer. Reagan"s policies ended the Cold War, and I would be happy to debate you on that if you wish. Obama"s weaker approach has done nothing to stop the advance of Russia in Ukraine, Assad and Al-Qaeda in Syria and ISIS in the Middle East. Events are quickly spiraling out of control, as these violent and aggressive groups threaten millions. This clearly seems is the far more damaging policy.

You brought up WW2 saying that were were justified to join because we were provoked. This is a very dangerous way to live, not entering a conflict until the very moment our enemies desire us to enter. Millions of lives could have been saved in WW2 if the USA had recognized the threat that Nazi Germany posed to the world, and had take swift action to prevent the catastrophic war from breaking out.

Finally, I want to address your discussion points on the debt. This is true that military spending is significant. However, it pales in comparison with our current spending trend. The fiscal budget of 2015 shows that right now less than 15% of the total GDP. Compare this to 33% to social security and 27% to medicare and other health programs (both of which are predicted to rise HUGELY once the Obummer Care train get rolling). Should we really be cutting back on a valuable asset like the American Military when we have programs so huge that they alone could consume all revenue in the US in 15-25 years? It is pretty obvious that these huge programs should be cut, rather than the relatively small amount spent on the military [1].

So, in conclusion, Vietnam was most definitely not better off after we left. They suffered greatly under the brutal communist regime. The weak handed approach to foreign affairs always results in more chaos and bloodshed abroad than does a powerful approach. And finally, rather than cutting funds for our military, we should look to cut less vital and useful programs.

Debate Round No. 2


ThatLibertarian forfeited this round.


Awaiting your response.

To be fair, I will not post any new arguments this round. I presume that you have more pressing issues and I totally understand.
Debate Round No. 3


Ok, some good points. But first

I never said that the Vietnamese people were better off if we left. It's just that it would likely be the same result. Here is an excerpt about some of the coups and junta's of South Vietnam
"Di""'����€�m's removal and assassination set off a period of political instability and declining legitimacy of the Saigon government. General D""'†��""'†��ng V""'„�'n Minh became president, but after only three months, he was ousted in January 1964 by General Nguy""'����€�n Kh""'"'��nh. Phan Kh""'�����c S""'�����u was named head of state, but power remained with a junta of generals led by Kh""'"'��nh, which soon fell to infighting"
And sorry that some of the characters got mixed up in the copy and paste. But anyway, I dint really feel we should be talking about whether Vietnam would look different, but about the numerous live and money lost while fighting. Overall, the U.S. Shouldn't have been involved in any way, as the entire conflict was a ridiculous waste of lives by depraved politicians and beaurocrats. America comes first. We have enough problems at home, it's not in our interest to go abroad and get ourselves involved in more.

Yes, Even though the military budget is huge, a number of other government programs cost massive amounts money and should either be cut in funding, or eliminated completely, such as Obama Care. Although, I also advocate. It just that but also almost no spending on foreign aid or any other nation building type of program.

Also, I feel that Obama's approach has been too hawkish, such as Drones being able to target American citizens without trial, and other things such as Libya. I do support the United States going after Al-Qaeda, as we were provoked. I also support the bombing of ISIS forces since they harmed a U.S. citizen, although I do not want another costly and useless ground war with many consequences such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We almost went into Syria, another costly mistake had we done it. Americans are sick of their neighbors coming home in body bags for no reason, and their tax dollars being spent on a war that we had no business in, such as the Syrian Civil War, a conflict that the U.S. should not enter, because there forces have done nothing to provoke the U.S. into fighting a war. We shouldn't go to war because some country far away is fighing a civil war. And even though Assad's regime is not a good one, just like other totalitarian governments, we have no business in intervening.

Also, yourself being a conservative, does not like big government. But war is the biggest excuse to grow the government in size and take away civil liberties and freedom such as congress authorizing the PATRIOT ACT.


You are right, we need to look at the bigger picture in this debate. However, I still do not see how "it would likely be the same result [if we had stayed in Vietnam]." That just doesn't seem to make sense. If we had stayed and finished off the North Vietnamese Communist regime, they still would have taken over and massacared the Cambodians and Sout Vietnmese? Not very likely.

"'s not in our interest to go abroad and get ourselves involved in more."

This appears to be your main premise for your following arguments. I would like to begin by pointing out some simple and obvious examples of why this is a very unwise course of action.

First off, the world wars. I mentioned it before, but look what finally made the US enter these wars. When we were attacked. "...the U.S. should not enter, because there forces have done nothing to provoke the U.S. into fighting a war." You say we should not enter a conflict until we are provoked. Tell that to the families of the 1,500 who died on the Lusitania. Or the relatives of the 4,000 casualties in Pearl Harbor. Or the children of the 3,000 killed on September 11th [1,2,3]. My point is, if we wait long enough, we will eventually be forced or 'provoked' into entering the conflict anyway, so why not take action on our own terms instead of those of our enemies?

On to Syria. According to former US assistant secretary of state, James Dobbins, "The situation today in Syria bears considerable resemblance to that of a year ago in Libya" [4].In both cases an aroused population is seeking to oust a long established dictator, and is being savagely repressed as a result. In both cases, rather remarkably, the rest of the Arab world, including a number of equally authoritarian regimes, has sided with the popular uprising and called for the overthrow of the existing regime. In both cases, some level of external intervention will probably be needed to ensure such an outcome.

Here are some powerful reasons that the US should intervene in the Syrian conflict:
American intervention would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world. Iran has showered aid on Syria and even sent advisers from its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to assist Mr. Assad. Iran knows that if his regime fell, it would lose its most important base in the Arab world and a supply line to pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Second, a more muscular American policy could keep the conflict from spreading. Syria’s civil war has already exacerbated sectarian strife in Lebanon and Iraq — and the Turkish government has accused Mr. Assad of supporting Kurdish militants in order to inflame tensions between the Kurds and Turkey.

Third, by training and equipping reliable partners within Syria’s internal opposition, America could create a bulwark against extremist groups like Al Qaeda, which are present and are seeking safe havens in ungoverned corners of Syria.

Fourth, American leadership on Syria could improve relations with key allies like Turkey and Qatar. Both the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Qatari counterpart have criticized the United States for offering only nonlethal support to the rebellion. Both favor establishing a no-fly zone and “safe zones” for civilians in Syrian territory.

Finally, from an American standpoint, the United States has much to gain from regime change—even more in Syria than in Libya.Ultimately, Western powers have no choice but to intervene. Until outside forces compel them to stop, the Assads will continue their murderous rampage with utter impunity. Negotiations have failed, sanctions have failed.

Our closest friends in the region — including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Israel — would like to see Assad toppled as soon as possible. France and Britain could also be counted on to help, as they did in Libya. Yet none of them will move until America does.

As you may have heard, the Syrian rebels have turned to Al-Queda and other terrorist organizations for aid. Can you think of a reason why this is? It is because the US failed to aid them in their struggle for freedom, so they turned to someone else for that help, which happened to be Al-Queda.

Ok, now for my question to you: You have not adressed my example of how a strong foreign policy can actullay bring peace to the world. Again, look at Ronald Reagan's presidency. He inherited a mess. And he turned it into a beautiful example of how a strong foreign policy really works.

Please give your thoughts and rebuttals on these important issues.






Debate Round No. 4


ThatLibertarian forfeited this round.


Well everyone, I was really enjoyed this debate, but I am saddened that Con had to forfeit several rounds. ;(

I would be glad to re-do or pick up this debate again later if Con wishes, so we can properly finish it.

I will restate my strongest point again: Compare the world today, a product of Obama's weak, isolationist policy, with that of Ronald Reagan, who defeated the mighty Soviet Union and brought peace and prosperity to America. Looking back on history, it is clear that when America decides to sit back and let the world be, it really turns into a mess and threatens not only only out allies, but America as well.

Thank you, and please vote PRO!!!
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago

So, what was this debate about?

Seriously, I'm asking this question by the end of the debate, and I shouldn't be. I'm unclear if this is a referendum on previous U.S. military interventions (an historical debate) or an assessment of whether the U.S. should continue to intervene in other nations (a policy debate). Neither side is particularly clear about this, and both sides get distracted from each of these debates to try and address the other.

There's numerous other distractions as well. I've mentioned this a few times to Con before, but I'll mention it again: bringing tremendous bias into the equation by saying things like "Obummer" isn't going to help you. It certainly doesn't here. The red herring of focusing on other economic factors that have nothing to do with the military just does nothing for me either, because it doesn't change the fact that military spending is a large part of the budget and becomes much larger as a result of interventions. You can't eliminate that fact by presenting another means to get the money.

Still, at some point, I have to decide this thing, which means I have to pick a topic. Since the course of the debate takes it towards the policy end, that's how I'm going to assess it. Pro's case shows that intervention comes with high financial costs and substantial human costs. Con grants the former and states that the latter is untrue, that intervention can protect many human lives and prevent surprise attacks. Pro never responds to this point, nor does he address the comparison between Reagan and Obama. Despite my misgivings with the comparison and with the points as a whole, the forfeits leave these untouched, and therefore I must accept them. Since I'm not given a reason to prefer economic outcomes or any susbtantiations of the claim that interventions lead to more lives lost, I pick up Con on lives.
Posted by doctorcsss 1 year ago
Yeah me too. AP exams this week, finals next week.
Posted by ThatLibertarian 1 year ago
Thanks Doctor. Yeah I have been really busy with studying and stuff and other personal issues. Thanks for vouching for me.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. Conduct to Con for the forfeits.
Vote Placed by Varrack 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Pro for Con's double forfeit. As for arguments, I read this debate and don't believe I can make a good enough decision to award either side those points. Con's forfeits shortened the debate quite a bit, which made it hard to decide in the long term. Both sides dropped some points and Pro made new some new arguments in the last round, which I don't find quite fair to the Con side because of the site's rule that arguments are typically not made in the last round. Con didn't respond however, so the win goes to Pro.