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The Contender
Con (against)
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US/Allies should authorized use of greater military force against Isis.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 450 times Debate No: 79027
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing statements (No New Arguments)

Argument: The United States should deepen its military action in fighting Isis.

Lets make this a constructing arguement. I ask for no 'attitude', or foul language.

Allies: Middle East allies, European allies.


Thanks Parkerwil11 for proposing a debate on this important topic. I am very intersted in this topic and will gladly debate you. I look forward to learning from your different perspective and hope to bring some insights from my side as well. I plan on keeping this civil and clean and ask the same from you as well. Best of luck to you!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting, I look forward to seeing your side of the argument as well!

Isis- Terrorist network that has significant ground forces and has influence on social media. Threatens peace in the Middle East and poses a international threat to the United States of America, Great Britain, France, and several more key world powers.

Military Capabilities of ISIS.

In the summer of 2014 there was a significant increase in the number of ISIS operatives, which until June was estimated at about 15,000.In recent months thousands of new operatives have enlisted in its ranks from Syria, Iraq and other countries. The rise in number is a result of ISIS’S military successes and the self declaration of the Islamic Caliphate, which made it more attractive. The increase in its revenues after it took over the infrastructure, especially the oil fields , also made it easier to recruit new operatives by promising them high salaries.

In ITIC assessment today ISIS has about 25,000 operatives in Iraq and Syria, although there are slightly higher Western estimates. An estimated 12,000 are Syrian and Iraqi (their number and ration rose in the summer of 2014) and more than 13,000 are foreign fighters from the Arab-Muslim world and Western countries.

Western estimates of ISIS operatives range from between 20,000 and 30,000.

Financial Capabilities of ISIS.

ISIS is the richest terrorist organization in the world. It took over most of the oil and gas fields (6-8 oilfields) in Syria and several oilfields in Iraq. Its main source of revenue is the profit it makes from marketing petroleum products, estimated at several million dollars a day. Other sources of revenue include various criminal activities, collecting taxes from local residents or demanding protection money, demanding head taxes from non-Muslims, donations from the rich and ransoming captives. Following the aerial attacks by the Americans and their allies which focused on ISIS’s oil refineries, its oil profits declined to about $1 million a day (, October 30, 2014).

Thus ISIS is an extraordinary example of a terrorist organization that acquired quasi-national financial capabilities though military success. The large sums of money flowing into its coffers every month liberate it from dependence on Al-Qaeda and donors in the Arab-Muslim world, and provide it with financial independence. That enables it to increase the number of its fighters, feeds the momentum of its military successes, allows it to establish alternative governmental systems in its self-declared Caliphate State and to wage an intensive battle for hearts and minds throughout the world to glorify its reputation and increases its capabilities.

ISIS is fighting for more land day by day, and everyday taking in millions of dollars, with that money they can acquire more soldiers, more tanks, ammo, weapons, etc. The United States can 'bomb' Isis as much as they want but that will not defeat the terrorist threats.

US International Threats


"More than 20,000 foreigners have gone to fight for ISIS, the terror group that controls portions of Iraq and Syria, experts have told Congress. "

'Three teenage girls who set out from a Denver suburb apparently bound for Syria to join extremists were sent home to their parents after they were stopped in Germany, U.S. officials said.

The teens -- two sisters of Somali descent and a friend whose family is Sudanese, according to a Denver community leader -- were detained when their flight landed in Frankfurt on Friday after the FBI flagged their passports.'

ISIS encourages US citizens to commit terrorist attacks in our home country. They are constantly recruiting US citizens online to fight against their own homeland, and our allies homeland. ISIS beheads our people and the US does little more to stop this.

What we should do.

  • First thing is first, the United States should be cutting off their oil supply which allows them to be able to fight in the middle east.
  • US should start off with increasing bombings.
  • US should no longer trust Iraq to fight ISIS off for us, US military personal should be stationed in Iraq bases.

A. Let me clarify. I am not suggesting a full out ground troops war. But Iraq Armed Forces have proved they are unable to fight Isis. If we could launch a large scale counter-attack on the ground from Iraq, that would open the door to begin securing Iraq; as well as encouraging other Allies to do the same. The fact is, if we just do minor bombings, doing minimal damage; we are allowing ISIS to continue growing. Bombings will not defeat ISIS at all! They will continue to grow, becoming more powerful, and more attractive. The country's moral is getting low, we need to take a stand to ISIS and show them that, if you dare to kill our people, our soldiers, then you will get a taste of the power of the United States Airforce, and Army. We should NEVER allow our people to be cruelly murdered at the hand of terrorists who seek to destroy us. Again, they will not, and can not be defeated by simple bombings; as well the US cannot do this alone. The US should encourage our allies to fight with more intensity.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”




Thanks to parkerwil11 for opening a debate that is sure to be interesting and will have great points on both sides. Issues like this are complicated precisely because there are some compelling reasons for and against increasing military intervention.

The United States should not increase its military intervention against the Islamic State. Of the many reasons to not escalate is the fact that our intervention in Iraq caused the rise of ISIS in the first place. This coupled with the fact that terrorism as a tactic is not easy to deter by traditional means, makes any action we take politically useful for ISIS. Interjecting US ground forces into the region is not the solution. The solution is to equip and empower the people who are fighting for their countries now to get the job done.

1. Foreign Intervention caused the rise of ISIS.

Our ill advised adventure in Iraq toppled a military dictatorship and left a power vacuum and instability which ISIS exploited. We replaced the harsh regime with a government that is corrupt and that does not listen to all of it's citizens, which ISIS fights against. We sent every member of the Ba'athist party packing, people that ISIS now employs. According to accounts from former ISIS members and analysts interviewed by the Washington Post, the majority of the high ranking officials in ISIS are former Iraqi officials.

"Even with the influx of thousands of foreign fighters, almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes, according to Iraqis, Syrians and analysts who study the group."[1]

Beyond our installation of a corrupt government we have provided a rich quarry of high powered and high tech weapons for ISIS to plunder from a government unwilling or unable to defend itself. The United States pours billions of dollars worth of weapons to most major powers in the region every year. Missiles, tanks, helicopters and bombs. Jon Stewart famously covered this very fact and said "We're the United States we're like the Oprah of Middle East weapon systems. ... Well it's a good thing we flooded our allies with sophisticated weapons because they're gonna need them to fend off all of our other sophisticated weapons."[2] Our policies are often short sighted and lead to more problems than they solve. For instance our support of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 80s trained the majority of terrorists that we face now. One of them, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, would learn in Afghanistan and go on to found an organization that would become Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the front runner to ISIS.

Osama Bin Laden's goal with 9/11 was to draw the United States into a wider regional conflict. To this extent he was successful. The goal of ISIS is to not only establish a caliphate, but to draw us back into the region. The instability, death and destruction that we bring with us is the fuel that jihadis and extremists need to keep their fires of hatred and power still burning.

2. Terrorism is hard to deter by traditional means.

Escalating our involvement means an attempt at deterrence-by-punishment. In a paper published in 2014, Max Abrahms examines why traditional deterrence is not effective against terrorists. He notes that deterrence is based on "influencing the adversary by reducing the utility of his actions. Unfortunately, neither approach is likely to succeed since terrorists are generally motivated by such a wide variety of personal and strategic aims that they are liable to derive utility from their actions regardless of how governments respond."[3] By attacking them we provide them utility by making us into the bad guy. The traditional aims of terrorism are either concessions from a government or provocation. Response by escalation would play right into their hands. For this reason Abrahms suggests deterrence by deligitimization. By eroding their support structures we have a better tactic because the people who support ISIS can be deterred by other means. If we make their support for ISIS politically costly their support structures will fail.

3. We need to empower and equip the people who live there to control their own destiny.

The problem we have is that we refuse to arm and aid the best fighters in the region and we are committed to the old colonial boundaries of the region. The Kurdish people are the only force from the region that is willing, able and effective at fighting ISIS. The biggest case in point would be the siege of Kobani. In the fall of 2014 the Islamic State made a push to eliminate one of the last pockets of resistance on the Turkish border, Kobani Canton. For months they moved forward capturing town after town until they had the Kurdish YPG and YPJ trapped in a small section of the city. As a primer the YPG is one of the finest light infantry formations currently operating in the world right now. The YPJ is the women's protection units, just as fierce as their male counterparts they fought along their side to retake their city. The Kurds, with extensive help and coordination from the USAF were able to repel the invaders and eventually drove them completely out of Kobani Canton after a long struggle. The Kurds are our best option on the ground right now. Under 3,000 YPG, YPJ, FSA and Peshmerga infantry defeated a well supplied force of 9,000 ISIS fighters equipped with rockets, artillery and tanks.[4]

Despite being ready to fight and destroy ISIS, the Kurds find themselves in a hard place. The United States won't help them as much as they should because Turkey despises the Kurds. They have been fighting against PKK rebels in their country for decades. Recently the Turks have joined the air campaign against ISIS and their first action was to bomb the Kurds who are fighting ISIS. The Kurds have no homeland and have varying degrees of autonomy throughout the countries they do live in. In Turkey they are oppressed and in Iraq they have autonomy over their region in the north. The US needs to focus on helping them take on ISIS and carve out a stable, Kurdish homeland. The Kurds are progressive and support women's rights and the rights of all to worship how they please. I urge you to read the Constitution of the Rojava Cantons.[5] It shows their dedication to human rights and proves that they are the only viable partner to securing peace in the region. Article 28 for example holds that men and women are equal in the eyes of the law. Article 31 protects the right for everyone to worship how they please. Article 32 protects the right to freely associate. The Kurds are the most progressive voice in the region and despite this we continue to write them off because of our alliance with Turkey.


Debate Round No. 2


"We need to empower and equip the people who live there to control their own destiny."

That was one of the problems, we would arm the Iraqi's and then they would abandon them and run away, giving those things to ISIS. As well, it is our destiny as well, as they do encourage and conduct terrorist actions against The US itself.

In-action would inevitably allow ISIS to continue to grow. Now, what is one thing that all major terrorist have in common? Money!. The US Military would need to crush their oil supply.

"As ISIS fighters expand their control, it is in the border region, in villages like Besaslan, where the Islamic State group can make some of the money it needs to finance its wars. Oil-smuggling operations involving millions of barrels have recently been uncovered."[1]

ISIS will continue to grow, and grow until they a daring enough to make a strong attack against one of allies, such as Israel, Turkey, Jordan, etc; in which case, we would be forced to protect our allies. Unless a world leader steps forward to put his foot down and say, 'We will not allow ISIS, a terrorist origination to continue to grow in wealth, and power.

"Terrorism is hard to deter by traditional means."

No country can defeat terrorism, but they can at least try to minimize it; with serious terrorist threats, the US needs to do all possible to try to prevent that from coming into play. Our people are being killed by ISIS, and that should never be taken lightly.

There is a difference from Terrorist person(s), and a military force. ISIS has both, and we need to focus on that military force. We obviously cannot trust Iraq to fight ISIS for us. We need to unite with Turkey, Egypt, and possibly Israel to fight against ISIS, before they get too strong.

"Foreign Intervention caused the rise of ISIS."

Our Politics in Iraq is what helped cause the rise of ISIS. We can no longer, or we should no longer resort to Politics in Iraq, but now military action against those who seek to destroy us.

ISIS has tanks, planes, soldiers, abundant weapons, and money. If decide to just leave and not do anything to stop them... then they have the potential to grow much more, to become ever more powerful, and allow them to attack a nation and possibly take it over. That would be devastating.

We cannot wait and allow them to grow more powerful, the longer we wait, the more military troops we would need to invest in them to stop them.

The book: The Iraq Study Group



I'd like to thank my opponent for his opening remarks. He raises some interesting points.

1. Military Strength of ISIS

While the rise in fighters is troubling it is worth noting that regional forces are well equipped to handle this issue. My opponent cites the estimate of fighters between 20,000 and 30,000. If this number is accurate it is far outweighed by the recruitment numbers of just one regional force, the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga are the armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan and their current strength is 270,000.[1] The armed forces of Iraq currently number 271,400.[2] These two forces, while not as strong as the US Military are well equipped and capable of taking on the ISIS in Iraq. The YPG in Rojava number 50,000 with another 7,000-10,000 YPJ fighters.

The numbers just don't add up for justifying intensifying US Military Intervention in the region. While our military possesses many capabilities that would assist in the fight, it is not the solution to the issue. We will have to leave eventually and when we do, these forces will have to protect their people and territory. We were unsuccessful at eliminating Al Qaeda in Iraq when we were there, there is no reason to believe that another costly deployment would have a different effect on the current situation. It is however clear that our involvement would intensify recruiting efforts by legitimizing their narrative that this is a fight for an Islamic Caliphate in the region.[4]

2. Financial Capabilities of ISIS

I will concede the factual claim that ISIS is the richest terrorist organization in the world. Their control over oil in their occupied territory is troubling but again, it is not something that US involvement would be able to stop all together. The reason for this being that ISIS controls oil facilities in Iraq as well as in Syria.[3]

I have an issue with the assertion that this money enables ISIS to acquire more tanks, as their armor and military vehicles are all plundered. They cannot buy these weapons on the black market.

The air campaign is sufficient to slow their extraction of petroleum and their profit from these activities. The problem we face is that the black market for this cheap oil is not something that can be eradicated with bombs, bullets and boots on the ground.[5] We can only diminish their capabilities, not end them entirely.

My opponent is correct in his assertion that bombing alone will not stop this organization. We need to work with our partners on the ground to remove their revenue sources.

3. US International Threats

It is true that young minds are easily manipulated to attempt to move to the caliphate. This is because of their unprecedented propaganda campaign on social media. Again this is not something that increased US involvement will cure. In fact by increasing our involvement we provide a boon to their recruitment efforts.[4]

To prevent foreign fighters streaming into the country we need to work to discourage their message, not to intensify it. We need to work with our allies in the region, most importantly Turkey, to control the flow of fighters into Syria illegally. These fighters need to transit international boundaries to arrive in the Caliphate and in order to prevent this we need stricter controls on immigration and travel in the neighboring countries.[6]

Furthermore his contention that ISIS encourages US citizens to commit terrorist attacks on US soil is accurate, but an alarmist position. We cannot fight battles against every cleric that calls for attacks against the US. Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Hezbollah and Hamas all call for attacks against America, but we should not increase our military footprint in every country where they are operating. Their actions and exhortations are an attempt into goading us into further conflict which inflates their numbers and legitimizes their existence.[4]

4. What we should do.

Pro suggests three ways to increase our assault on ISIS. The first one is to cut off their oil supply. While it is possible to slow their oil supply, as I have stated it is impossible to completely remove it without conducting a massive offensive that would deprive them of Syria's oil fields. It is estimated that ISIS controls nearly all of Syria's oil fields. The total output of these fields is roughly 380,000 barrels per day.[3] Unless Pro is advocating a ground war in Syria this is not a possible solution.

His second suggestion is to increase bombings. This is an area where we agree. I believe that we need to intensify our air campaign against ISIS. The problem with this is that bombings need to be targeted. Without Forward Air Controllers to call in strikes this is a tough task. To aid in this we have been training fighters from the FSA and other militias to assist. The problem with this is that the training is not happening fast enough.[7]

Finally he asserts that we should no longer trust Iraq to fight ISIS for us and that US military personnel should be stationed in Iraqi bases. This is not a sustainable or wise solution to the problem. Not only does it put our military in harms way for a region that is not necessary to our national security, it will increase recruiting efforts for ISIS.[4] It will also exacerbate tensions with regional players such as Iran and Syria.

He rightly notes that Iraqi armed forces are unwilling or unable to fight ISIS effectively. We need to pressure the Iraqi government to beef up their army's response to this crisis. The current advisory role we have is invaluable to this effort. Also our allies in the region are unwilling to commit ground forces, not because of inaction on our part, but because they are largely fighting their own localized conflicts. Saudi Arabia is currently engaged with Houthi Rebels in Yemen.[8] Jordan cannot be persuaded to fight ISIS alone because they have no do in the fight. Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq using Shia militias and their special forces.

Perhaps to prevent the murder of American citizens as Pro suggests, we should focus on changing our foreign policy of intervention and imperialism. The effects of colonialism, most notably the imposition of Sykes-Picot provide the greatest impetus to these terrorist organizations. This arbitrary boundary and division of Syria and Iraq between French and British Mandates laid the foundation for conflict. Rather than letting the people of the region determine their own destiny following WW1, these two great powers divided the land for themselves instead of following through on the promise for an Arab kingdom. I know this will be seen by those who hold our military an international influence in high regard as surrender, but it isn't it is an acceptance of the principles that our government is founded on. The right to self rule and self determination. If America really wants to secure peace in the Middle East, it starts with us righting the wrongs of the past, not perpetuating them.


Debate Round No. 3


parkerwil11 forfeited this round.


CaptainAhab forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Midnight1131 1 year ago
3. Dangers of ISIS

This argument was brought up by Pro. Who outlined the military and financial capabilities of ISIS. And also the threat they pose on media, luring in foreigners to fight for them. This argument is important because it shows the threat ISIS poses to the US, and addresses the reasons that they should uses greater force. Con addresses the military strength argument well enough, showing that if Pro's estimates are correct, then the Peshmerga already outnumber ISIS by many thousands of fighters, add that with that of the Iraqi forces and the two are more than capable of taking care of ISIS in Iraq. The rebuttal to financial capabilities was a bit shaky. Con states that all of ISIS' armor and equipment is plundered, but provides no source. They also concede that greater military force will diminish their capabilities. For international threats, Con shows that increased involvement in fact helps their recruitment efforts.

This point is a tie, as Con does successfully refute the media and military strength arguments, they do not do the same with financial capabilities.

So in the end it's 3-1 in the favour of Con. And that's why my vote goes to Con.
Posted by Midnight1131 1 year ago
2. Next, the problems of heading over to the Middle East

Con presents this argument. In short they state that the rise of ISIS was first caused by foreign intervention, and the power vacuum it left behind. He also brings up the amount of weapons that ISIS has plundered from the Iraqi government that were given to them from the US gov't. Pro's rebuttal to this starts off with a mistake. They state that it was "our politics in Iraq" which caused the rise of ISIS, and that we shouldn't resort to politics anymore, and take military action against those who seek to destroy us. This rebuttal is pretty lacking, and also plays into Con's argument. This statement of Pro's is very reminiscent of the arguments made for the Iraq war. Back then, the US "took military action against those who sought to destroy them," and it didn't turn out to well, and led to ISIS, which is what Con has been saying all along. Since Pro's rebuttal doesn't actually address Con's argument that foreign intervention caused the rise of ISIS, and instead is just another call to arms without much reason behind it, this argument also goes to Con. Right now it's 2-0 Con.
Posted by Midnight1131 1 year ago
So below are the broad arguments that were made here.

1. Effectiveness of a larger military campaign against them [Pro suggests a large scale ground attack]
2. Dangers of heading over to the Middle East [citizens will be dependent on the US for protection, undesirable results of past interventions
3. Threats ISIS poses

1. So first off, the effectiveness arguments.

Pro lays out some things the US could do. These are mostly reasonable, such as cutting off their oil supply and increasing air strikes. However then Pro states that "the US shouldn't trust Iraq to fight ISIS for us." This is greatly overstating the role the US is obligated to play in this crisis. ISIS is first and foremost the problem of Iraq and the other countries in that region.

This argument was really brought up by Con though. Con argues that you traditional means of force and punishment will not deter terrorism. He explains that by attacking terrorists, governments give terrorists more reasons to make them out to be the bad guys.

Pro's rebuttal was kind of weak. He says no country can defeat terrorism, but can try to minimize it. Pro doesn't actually give any way of how we would minimize it, without escalating the situation, as the paper Con brought up said we would, if we used the same means of force against ISIS. Pro's rebuttal here doesn't refute that point at all. Since Pro's rebuttal didn't actually address the issue against fighting ISIS by force, nor Con's recommendation of de-legitimization, I give this argument to Con. Right now it's 1-0 Con.
Posted by CaptainAhab 1 year ago
No apology needed. I hope she feels better. If you feel like writing a rebuttal or conclusion feel free to leave it in the comments. I will wait till the end of the time limit to post my conclusion.
Posted by parkerwil11 1 year ago
I'd like to apologies for missing my round, my niece has been in the hospital sick, and I want to be with her rather than debating.
Posted by parkerwil11 1 year ago
@cap Ah, I knew I never said that lol. I thought either I was going crazy., or you where. Alright then!
Posted by CaptainAhab 1 year ago
@parkerwil11 not you, the tin foil hat wearing gentleman that posted the original comment. lol.
Posted by parkerwil11 1 year ago
@Captain Where did I even say that?
Posted by CaptainAhab 1 year ago
"CIA created entities?" Show your work.
Posted by robertacollier 1 year ago
If you want to fight enemies like boogeymen, CIA created entities, etc., then go right ahead. Everyone who is for it should get their as$es over there.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: [RFD in comments]