The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
35 Points

US policies established after 9/11 have substantially reduced the risk of terrorist acts on the US

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,265 times Debate No: 11943
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (7)




The format for this debate will be as follows:

Round 1: Presentation of our respective cases.
Rounds 2 and 3: Refuting our opponent's cases while reconstructing our own.
Round 4: Final focus- state why you have won the debate based on the previous information. DO NOT present any new arguments. Responding to a question asked in the previous round is okay.

Let us begin!

I negate the resolution. RESOLVED: U.S. policies established after September 11, 2001 have substantially reduced the risk of terrorist acts against the United States.

I will first provide definitions from Oxford Dictionary to ensure a clean and fair debate.

Policy: a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government
Substantially: (1) to a great or significant extent, or (2) for the most part, essentially
Reduce: make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size
Risk: the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen
Terrorist (according to the U.S. Law Code): premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents

In order to win this debate, PRO must prove three things:

(1) There is a risk of terrorist actions against the United States.
(2) This risk since September 11, 2001 has been SUBSTANTIALLY reduced.
(3) This substantial reduction in risk has been a DIRECT result of U.S. policies established after September 11, 2001.

With that said, I wish my opponent the best of luck.



Sub-Point A: The War on Terror in General Is a Failure

The entire U.S. policy on terrorism has been blatantly illogical. As Robert Higgs, a Senior Fellow of the Independent Institute writes, "Terrorism is a form of action available to virtually any determined adult anywhere, anytime. [As a result] the War on terrorism…can only be a figure of speech." We can therefore see that all the nuclear weapons in the world cannot prevent one man from launching an attack on innocent civilians. From Afghanistan and Iraq, where a Taliban presence is increasing despite our presence there, to Europe, where strikes against civilians continue to make headlines, it is clearly not in the best interest of the United States to continue to act as the defenders of all humanity.

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Sub-Point B: The War in Iraq Increases the U.S.'s Risk of Being Attacked

Far from reducing the risk of terrorist acts, United States occupation of Iraq has actually increased the threat of terrorism. According to a 2006 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, "The Iraq conflict is now the "celebrated cause" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement." The report goes on to say that "The increased role of Iraqis in managing the operations of al-Qaeda in Iraq...leads veteran foreign jihadists to focus their efforts on external operations." So although key terrorist leaders may be apprehended by U.S. forces, our presence in Iraq gives Al-Qaeda a golden opportunity to spread anti-U.S. sentiments, which in turn will increase the number of, albeit unorganized, push to bring harm to the U.S.

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Sub-Point C: Taliban Presence is Increasing in Afghanistan

Similarly to our occupation of Iraq, our presence in Afghanistan is doing nothing to stem the increase in terrorist activity. According to a report by the Council of Foreign Relations, "before its ouster by U.S.-led forces in 2001, the Taliban controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan's territory." Since then, Taliban presence has climbed to a permanent presence of 54% in 2006, and then to 72% by 2008, despite the attrition efforts of U.S. policy. As a result we can see that terrorism has not been decreasing in Afghanistan since 9/11, but that in fact terror has been steadily on the rise. U.S. anti-terror policies have clearly failed to stem the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the net risk that future terrorist acts will occur has increased as a result.



Sub-Point A: More United States Citizens are Partaking in Terrorism

As the War on Terror has dragged on, more and more American citizens are now participating in acts of terrorism. According to a Brookings Institution essay by Daniel Byman, "On Oct. 28, 2008, Shirwa Ahmed became the first American suicide bomber. Mr. Ahmed killed himself in Somalia's civil war on behalf of the Islamist group al Shabaab. al Qaeda's No. 2 Mr. al-Zawahiri called Shabaab advances in Somalia "a step on the path of victory of Islam, while Shabaab would pledge allegiance to Mr. bin Laden." Byman goes on to write that "[the Nov. 5, 2009 The Fort Hood shootings, the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, are also troubling, as they may show that an unstable American Muslim might express his anger through political violence." In other words, America is beginning to learn that some of our own can and will go to great lengths to kill their fellow citizens.

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Sub-Point B: The Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, an Integral Part of the U.S.'s Terror Policy, Has Not Incarcerated "The Worst of the Worst"

Many supporters of the Bush Administration's policies have claimed that the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility has substantially stopped high-profile combatants from committing terrorist acts. However, according to a September 2007 article by David Cole, "the Pentagon's Combatant Status Review Tribunal's own findings categorized only 8 percent of some 500 detainees held there in 2006 as fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban." This shows that, by and large, Guantanamo was simply a waste of money and was used to play to the public's fears. In fact, the stated report also finds that "More than half of the 775 Guant´┐Żnamo detainees have now been released, suggesting that they may not have been "the worst of the worst" after all.



My opponent must prove that Bush's policies directly prevented another tragic attack like 9/11 from occurring. However, we can see that there is no evidence to show that is the case. Jeremy Shapiro writes, "There have been no terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11, but it's not clear whether the government's efforts have made the difference." Eight years elapsed between the World Trade Center bombing and 9/11, so were Clinton's policies then keeping us safe? Scholar Lauri S. Friedman sums up this concept by stating, "Americans can only speculate on whether efforts to reduce terrorism have met with success. While the efforts to prevent terrorism are visible all around us, their efficacy may not be definitively known until another attack. It is only then that changes to security will receive their true test, and what weaknesses were left unaddressed will be made horribly clear."


Because of the above justifications, it is clear that U.S. policies established after September 11, 2001 have NOT substantially reduced the risk of terrorist acts against the United States. It is for this reason that a vote in negation is necessary. Please vote CON, and I await my opponent's response.


I thank my opponent for posting this debate, and wish him the very best of luck. This topic is timely because my super awesome team is using it for practice this month. Therefore, it is clearly the bomb diggity. As my opponent stands in negation of this debate, I will ask you to assume that a risk of terrorist action against the United States exists, or else we would not be debating this topic. Thank you.

I will now move on to present my own case. Though you will find that my first two contentions should be in direct clash with those of my opponent's, I will refrain from addressing his specific points in detail until Round 2 so that we both have an equal opportunity to refute each others points. With that being said, I am in firm affirmation of this resolution for a few key reasons.

First, on balance, the United States military policy against terror has substantially reduced the risk of terrorist attacks. Military policy in Afghanistan has reduced the threat of terrorism. The war in Afghanistan was the first phase of U.S. military action against terror, and began in October of 2001. By November of that same year, the Taliban regime was dismantled, and it was officially collapsed by December 9, 2001. The United States follows this success by beginning reconstruction of the Afghan government, and an interim government was put in place in June 2002. By May 2003, an end to major combat is announced (1). In 2005, President Bush and President Karzai signed a joint declaration of strategic partnership to prosecute, "the war against international terror and the struggle against violent extremism" (2). Though fighting still occurs in Afghanistan at times, the country now has a democratic base that is no longer beneficial for terrorism to flourish. American military action in Afghanistan was a success simply because it destroyed the Taliban. Information from shows that since, "the fall of the Taliban, al Qaeda funding has drastically decreased" (3). It is simple logic that by reducing the funds of terrorists by eliminating their benefactors, we reduce their potential to cause harm. Military policy in Iraq has also reduced the threat of terrorism.
Similarly, the Iraq War began with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. By just April 2003, the regime of Saddam Hussein collapsed and control of Iraq is handed over to a new, democratic government about a year later in June 2004 (4). Just as in the Afghanistan case, the Iraq War must be viewed as having successfully reduced the threat of terrorism because it successfully reduced the means of terrorists to survive by eliminating Hussein's sponsorship of terrorism in the nation (5).

Secondly, domestic policies concerning terrorism have reduced the threat of terrorism in the United States.The President's Surveillance Program and Patriot Act have been effective. The President's Surveillance Program and Patriot Act, both of which were authorized as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and includes wiretapping and classified surveillance activities, has been highly effective in finding and stopping terrorist plots. Though much information is classified, government reports show that communications from al-Queda have been collected as a result of this program to, "detect and prevent attacks inside the United States" (6). Furthermore, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez stated in 2005 that, "the PATRIOT Act has been very effective in helping law enforcement disrupt terrorist cells, prevent terrorist attacks, and prosecute terrorists" (7). Clearly domestic policies that allow wiretapping and similar activities have been extremely helpful in reducing terrorist threats because they are actually allowing U.S. personnel to find and stop attacks. Aside from the specific legislation discussed above, new generalized policies have also proved effective in reducing terrorism. James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation wrote that as of 2007, "the government has uncovered and thwarted at least 16 terrorist conspiracies in the United States and helped disrupt major plots aimed atAmerica or U.S. persons in Canada, Britain, and, most recently, Germany" (10). He contends that the strengthened policies of post-9/11 America make the United States a harder target for terrorists. Similarly, in an interview Peter D. Feaver of Duke University stated that, "we're much more alert, much more on guard. We have
closed up stupid vulnerabilities, and we have taken prudent correctives to law enforcement procedures that had hampered us before, all of which has made it harder for them to do what was easier before 9/11. Put it altogether and that explains why there has not been another terrorist attack" (11). There are quotes from many more experts that I will be happy to provide in following rounds, but the general consensus is that our post-9/11 policy has substantially decreased the risk of terrorist attacks on the nation.

Finally, after the U.S. response to 9/11, few organized terrorist groups will consider attacking the United States. John Mueller, a professor of Political Science at Ohio University, writes in Cato Unbound that after the American response to 9/11, haters now see less value in attacking the United States. He says that, "the key result [of 9/11] among jihadis and religious nationalists was a vehement rejection of Al Qaeda's strategy and methods, particularly after reactions to the 9/11 attacks and subsequent terrorism in Muslim countries brought suppression of the movement" (8). Though there have been a few isolated attempts since 9/11, no comparable large-scale attempt has surfaced since then. This is because other terrorist groups have seen America's quick action against the 9/11 perpetrators, and they have no desire to suffer the same consequences. All actions and policies taken by the United States since 9/11 have effectively cowed other organized terrorist groups from plotting against us, thus substantially reducing the risk. Furthermore, a new American attitude in general has discouraged further plots and decreased risk of attack. New policies are responsible for such attitudes. Fred Burton and Scott Stewart of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. write that, "the 9/11 attacks sparked a sea change in attitudes within law enforcement and intelligence circles. Counterterrorism — aggressively collecting intelligence pertaining to terrorism and pursuing terrorist leads — is now a priority" (9). They go on to explain that this new attitude is very discouraging for would-be attackers, as it makes attacks all the more difficult and risky. Due to new policies and attitude shifts, Americans themselves are responsible for decreasing their own risk of harm.

In conclusion, I encourage a very strong vote in affirmation. Because our military and domestic policies, as well as our overall reaction to 9/11, have substantially reduced the risk of terrorist acts on the United States, I see no other way to vote.

We are all well aware that the war on terror is by no means popular with many people, nor are the domestic policies of President Bush. As you vote, please put all personal opinions aside and consider only the merits of this debate. Thank you for a fair vote.

(8) http://www.cato...
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge! I am confident that this debate will be fun as well as intellectually stimulating.

With that said, I will first address my opponent's contentions while simultaneously reinforcing my own. Throughout the debate, I will write using many headings and subheadings (as opposed to a traditional paragraph/essay format) for easy readability. I urge my opponent to do the same.

==========HER CASE==========

----------INTRO PARAGRAPH----------

One of the first things my opponent said was in response to my condition that in order for Pro to win this debate, she must prove that there has been a risk of terrorist actions against the United States. Her response was that "we should assume that a risk of terrorist action against the United States exists, or else we would not be debating this topic." As a prelude to my objection to this statement, I will first provide a definition for the term "risk."

Risk [noun]: the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Now my objections to my opponent's above assertion:

A) My opponent seems to be trying to say that a risk of terrorist acts against the United States exists because "the resolution says so." However, since it is the resolution itself that we are debating as being either true or untrue, that reason alone cannot be considered credible evidence to support her assumption.

B) Also, because my opponent has provided no other evidence besides "the resolution says so," we can successfully remove that assumption from the debate, because that is exactly what it is: a baseless, unfounded assumption.

My opponent has not objected to the conditions that I laid out at the beginning of my case that shows what must be proven for Pro to win the debate. Since my opponent failed to prove the first specification listed, she has already failed to uphold the resolution. So even if I concede the rest of her case, Con has won the debate at this point.

But I won't concede her case...

----------CONTENTION 1 (MILITARY ACTION)----------

A) Afghanistan

My opponent claims that terrorism in Afghanistan is not as great a threat because the Taliban was toppled in 2001. The notion that the Taliban was toppled in 2001 however actually supports my case. In 2001, the Taliban had just been ousted from Afghanistan and was in disarray, so I presented only a very little threat at the time. Since then, however, as I have shown in my case, Taliban-controlled territory has increased from almost 0% in 2001 to 54% in 2006 and then to 72% by 2008. We can therefore see that because Taliban influence has been increasing, the threat of terrorism has actually been increasing, certainly not decreasing as the resolution and my opponent suggest.

She also pointed out that "Al-Qaeda funding as drastically decreased." However just because centralized funding has depreciated doesn't mean that acts of terror are less likely. In fact, because Al-Qaeda finances are not consolidated anymore, "simple logic" suggests that terrorist acts would be more likely to occur from rogue, unaffiliated individuals that would be harder to trace and catch.

B) Iraq

Similar to her Afghanistan argument, my opponent claims that the threat of terrorism in Iraq has been reduced because removing Saddam Hussein from power "eliminat[ed] Hussein's sponsorship of terrorism in the nation." That may have been the case in 2003, but seven years have elapsed. Despite the stop in Hussein's sponsorship of terrorism, I have shown that the Iraq war has resulted in increased anti-U.S. sentiments, and thus has increased terrorism. A study by the NYU school of Law, shows "that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks," mostly because "the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus" (1). Because of this, the notion that Hussein no longer sponsors terrorism is outweighed by the proven increase of terrorism in Iraq.

----------CONTENTION 2 (DOMESTIC POLICIES)----------

Surveillance Program and Patriot Act

My opponent has not shown any examples of these programs being effective. She said that communications from Al-Qaeda have been collected, but she has not provided any evidence to show how this data has been used to disrupt terror policies, or if the data has even stopped terrorist acts from being attempted. If acts of terror have even been attempted, the Con side would be supported because nowhere in this resolution does it say that terrorist acts must be successful.

Generalized Policies

If my opponent is correct in saying that "16 terrorist conspiracies" have been thwarted, this actually supports the Con side that 16 terrorist acts (albeit unsuccessful ones) were taking place, thus showing how terrorism on United States soil has increased (see Contention 2, Sub-Point A).

Alleged Lack of Terrorist Attacks Since 9/11

My opponent claims that U.S. policies have helped prevent another terrorist attacks since 9/11. However, we can see that a terrorist attack has occurred since 9/11, as evidenced by the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood shootings. Other attempts such as anthrax, the "underwear-bomber," and the recent Times Square plot were only unsuccessful because of measures and events that were completely unrelated to U.S. anti-terror policies.


It is in this contention that my opponent commits the logical fallacy of "Dicto simpliciter," (i.e. a sweeping generalization) (2). My opponent is correct in saying that there has not been another attack similar to 9/11 in size and scope. However, the resolution refers to "terrorist acts" in general. Even if it is unlikely that large-scale, organized terror groups will attack the United States, I have shown in my case that future terrorist acts would most likely come from a rogue, disorganized terrorist group or from individuals (the latter has already occurred multiple times). Because it is incorrect to assume that because another 9/11 is unlikely to occur, it is unlikely that any terror acts will occur, this argument can be removed from the debate.

My opponent also claimed that changes American attitudes have discouraged would-be attackers. Seeing as how she has not evidenced what these attitudes might be, this argument cannot be taken into consideration.

Therefore, because both of the core arguments of this contention have been shown to not be credible, my opponent's third contention can successfully be thrown out at this point in the debate.


My opponent has not only failed to prove by any measure how large a risk of terror there has been (which must be done in order to prove that the risk has been reduced), she has failed to show that there has been a risk at all. Because the first of my listed conditions was not met, neither could the other two have been. It is because of this (and all of my above counter-arguments) that my opponent has failed to prove the resolution to be true.

The resolution has therefore been negated. Thank you, and please vote Con.

I await my opponent's response.



Since this is a site of intellectuals, I hope that my opponent is not having trouble understanding me essay-style cases. If this is truly a problem, I will be happy to write Rounds 3 and 4 in a simpler style. Let's focus on the resolution rather than criticizing each others style of writing. Thank you.

There is a major point of inconsistency that we must first discuss. My opponent claims that it is the Pro's burden to prove that a risk of terrorism exists, or has existed since 2001. He then misunderstood my point that it is unnecessary for me to prove this and stated that my argument is simply "because the resolution says so". Please allow me to clarify: my argument is that I do not need to prove any risk exists, because my opponent already did so in his first constructive essay. The majority of his case is based on an INCREASED RISK of terrorism, especially his first contention, sub-point B, and his second contention, sub-point A. How can there be an increased risk if there is no risk in the first place? My opponent has blatantly contradicted himself, and while I would never make the arrogant assertion that Pro has won the debate at this point based on this failure and I could win even if I conceded the rest of his case, I would still urge the voters to keep this in mind as they choose a winner.Let's move on to address my opponent's first constructive essay.

First, he claimed that U.S. military action against terror has failed. This is a flawed argument because my opponent has failed to recognize that a U.S. military action does not equate to a U.S. policy. According to Princeton WordNet, a policy is, "a plan of action" (2). An action is simply, "something done" according to the same source (3). Clearly a policy is what leads to action, not the action itself. In order to win this point, my opponent needs to specifically prove that U.S. policy has failed against terrorism, not U.S. military action.
However, I will address his claims about military action anyway to prevent any confusion about points that have or have not been conceded.
A: He contends that the war in terror in general is a failure, and goes on to note that "all the nuclear weapons in the world cannot prevent one man from launching an attack on innocent civilians". This is irrelevant, and based on an appeal to probability. Perhaps all the nuclear weapons in the world cannot stop one man from launching an attack, but the New York City authorities certainly can. If you will remember, they are the ones who have prevented "one man from launching an attack on innocent civilians" on multiple occasions, including the subway bombing plot of September (4). The war on terror is not only being fought successfully abroad, but also here at home, where our own local authorities are successfully decreasing our risk of attack by finding and arresting terrorists, as in this case.
B: Secondly, my opponent brought up the point that our presence in Iraq cases anti-American sentiment, thereby increasing terrorism abroad. However, he failed to provide a link as to how more anti-American sentiment causes a greater risk for terrorist acts against the U.S. How does more haters of America lead to more risk for attack? Even if we assumed this is true, I would just point you back to my own case, that proves our policies actually increase this risk substantially, regardless of how many people are involved.
C: Next, my opponent claimed that Taliban presence in Afghanistan is increasing. Again, he failed to provide a link as to how this in itself increases risk of terrorist acts. I would point out that my opponent is making use of a logical fallacy called cum hoc ergo propter hoc, which means correlation does not imply causation. Furthermore, my opponent further contradicts himself by saying that the Taliban has increased from 90% in 2001 to...72% in 2008? Seems like a decrease to me.

Secondly, he said that the Bush Administration's policies were unsuccessful. His first sub-point was that more American citizens are partaking in terrorism, yet he fails to give specific numbers on how many Americans were involved in terrorism in 2001 and how many are involved in it now. That information is needed for this argument to stand. In his second sub-point, my opponent discussed Guantanamo Bay and how only 8% of those incarcerated as of 2008 were Taliban or Al-Qaeda fighters. This actually supports my case. The risk of terrorism has been decreased by that much. My granny always said that every little bit counts, and that certainly applies in this case.

Lastly, he states that there is no proof that new policies have prevented attacks from occurring. My question, then, is where are all of these attacks? My opponent's case rests largely on his claim that terrorism is on the rise. If terrorism is on the rise, as he claims, and our policies don't work, as he claims, why has there not been another successful attack since 9/11? And since there has not been another successful organized attack since then, what is preventing them if not our new policies?

I will now move on to defend my own case. I claimed that the war in Afghanistan has been successful, but my opponent contends that the Taliban has actually increased from almost 0% in 2001 to 72% in 2008. This is completely false, and I believe he even presented different numbers in his own case. Greg Bruno of the Council of Foreign Relations writes that, "before its ouster by U.S.-led forces in 2001, the Taliban controlled some 90 percent of Afghanistan's territory" (5). So there has been a massive decrease in Taliban-controlled territory since 2001. My opponent then claimed that a decrease in funding does not mean a decrease in risk, and cites the greater likelihood of attacks from rogue individuals. This supports my case as well, because he concedes that our military policy has decentralized Al Qaeda. A lone, unfunded individual is inherently less of a risk to the nation than a well-funded, organized group. To refute my sub-point about the success in Iraq, my opponent simply again cited an increase in anti-American sentiment, which he must prove to increase the risk of terrorist acts.

Secondly, I discussed successful U.S. policies such as the Patriot Act and President's Surveillance Program. He claimed that I provide no examples of these acts being successful. Sadly, I am not privy to classified information that would contain such examples. Rather, I have provided quotes from reliable government officials that prove this point. My opponent then claims that any act of terror supports Con, whether it is successful or not, however this is a faulty argument because we have no idea how many terrorist attacks were planned before 2001 as compared to that number after 2001. My opponent would need to provide the number of planned, attempted, and successful attacks before 2001 and after 2001 in order to prove this claim. As to the Fort Hood shooting, this is still greatly disputed as to whether it was an actual terrorist attack or the act of a madman. Until such facts are indisputable, this shooting should be disregarded in this debate.

Lastly, I presented evidence showing that terrorists are unlikely to attack the US. My opponent claims that IN THE FUTURE, terrorist attacks WOULD come from rogue groups or individuals. Again he commits the logical fallacy appeal to probability. While he suggests something may happen in the future, my contention is based on how terrorists are discouraged from attacking RIGHT NOW. My argument stands. My opponent then writes that I have not discussed what changes in attitude have occurred. He must have missed my long quote on counterterrorism.

In conclusion, I urge a very strong vote in affirmation, not only because of my opponent's excessive contradictions and false information, but because the risk of terrorism truly has been substantially reduced. Thank you.

Click to see sources:
Debate Round No. 2


<<<<<<<<<< MY CASE >>>>>>>>>>


The main point of my argument was not to prove that a risk does not exist or even deny that a risk has existed. I simply showed that my opponent hasn't proved what risk she references in the first place. In order for a risk to be reduced, a bench mark value must be shown in order to indicate a change taking place.

My opponent will probably tell me that the above assertion will apply to my case as well, as she claims that my whole case is based on that the risk of terrorist acts is increasing. That claim is false. I do not have to show that the risk of terrorists attacks has most definitely, unequivocally increased. I just need to show that there is no earthly way that the risk has decreased, whatever that risk might be. It is not Con's duty to provide an entire counter-resolution to prove. It is just my job to negate, and that is it.


My opponent claims that U.S. military action nothing to do with U.S. policy. However, surely my opponent knows that military action cannot take place if a plan of action (a.k.a. a "policy") has not been considered. For clarity, please consult my syllogism:

-"Operation Iraqi Freedom" (2003-2008 under Bush [1]) and "Operation New Dawn (under President Obama [2]) are the strategies U.S. military actions adhere to in Iraq.

-"Operation Enduring Freedom" is the name of the strategy U.S. military actions have adhere to in Afghanistan (3).

-An operation is "a planned process or series of acts especially of a practical or mechanical nature" (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

-An operation is synonymous with a "plan of action," in other words, a policy.

-Therefore, U.S. policy equates with the U.S. military action occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regarding the New York City subway bombing plot, as I have said before, even it was ultimately foiled, terrorists acts were still taking place in organizing the attack. Therefore, seeing as terrorist attacks were occurring regardless of the outcome of the attack, this example does support Pro's case.


I have repeatedly shown in my case, in quoting the Office of National Intelligence, that U.S. occupation in Iraq increases anti-U.S. sentiments which in turn increases the amount of Iraqis turning to terrorism with the intention of harming the U.S. The more terrorists there are that want to harm the United States, the greater the chance (a.k.a. risk) that they will commit terrorist acts against the United States.


My opponent has asked how Taliban expansion links to an increased risk in terrorist acts. To make my point more understandable, I will show another syllogism:

-The more a terrorist groups expands geographically, the more resources it can access.

-The more resources a terrorist group has access to, the more terrorist acts it has the opportunity to commit.

-If a group's intention is to harm the United States, the more acts it has the opportunity to commit, the greater risk the group possesses to the United States.

-The Taliban is a terrorist group with an intention to harm the United States.

-Therefore, Taliban expansion is increasing the risk of terrorist acts against the United States.

Even though the Taliban was toppled by U.S. forces in 2003, the reduction has only been short term. The Taliban is now INCREASING. The resolution does not state 2001 as a bench mark time frame to compare when terror groups were a threat to how they fare now. The resolution only says 2001 to specify exactly on which U.S. policies this debate will hinge. Because of this, we can plainly see that Taliban influence at this point in time is increasing in Afghanistan.


U.S. Citizen Terrorists

The gist of my argument here was that despite domestic policies, United States citizens still partake in terrorist activities. That was really all I was trying to imply with this point.

Guantanamo Bay

My opponent is trying to claim that my citation of only 8% of Gitmo detainees being terrorists supports her case because "the risk of terrorism has been decreased by that much." That statement makes no sense, and my opponent never elaborated on it. The point I was making regarding Gitmo was that the detention center cannot be considered effective in housing "the worst of the worst" because 92% of detainees were not high profile combatants in the first place.

No Proof of Policies Being Effective
"...he states that there is no proof that new policies have prevented attacks from occurring. My question, then, is where are all these attacks?"

First of all, the Fort Hood shooting (which I will explain in detail a little later) has occurred, which shows that a terrorist attack has occurred, even though it was not on as grand a scale as 9/11.

Second, it is with this statement that my opponent commits the fallacy of an appeal to ignorance (4). Just because a policy has been created to stop an attack from occurring, and an attack hasn't occurred, does not mean that the policy itself has stopped the attack. Con does not have the burden to create a brand-new pseudo-resolution to show every single external possibility to explain the lack of another 9/11. Pro must show step-by-step how post-9/11 policies have stopped an attack from occurring to fulfill the necessary burden of proof to uphold the resolution. I have negated this repeatedly, Con has won this point.

<<<<<<<<<< MY OPPONENT'S CASE >>>>>>>>>>



Regarding the Taliban, I addressed the point of the Taliban's increase versus decrease already when defending my own case.

Regarding the decentralization of Al-Qaeda, this does not mean that terrorist acts are less likely to occur. In fact, it means that these rogue individuals are more difficult to track and are unpredictable because they are not attached to a large, organized group. The magnitude or grandiose of these acts are irrelevant.


All the points of this topic I responded to in the analysis of my own case.


Patriot Act and Surveillance Program

The only evidence my opponent has on these programs being successful is a quote by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales was a member of Bush's counsel when he was governor of Texas, a top Bush Administration official, and helped create and promote Bush's policies (5). Therefore, this quote cannot be accepted as an unbiased source seeing as it also contains no concrete statistics. Since the only evidence supporting her argument that the Patriot Act and Surveillance Program has been successful has been shown to be unreliable, the argument can not be legitimate in this debate.

Terror Acts

Again, my point here is that acts of terror transpire regardless of domestic policies in place. This shows that these policies have not been successful for a scarcity of terrorist acts taking place.

Ford Hood

Being a terrorist and madman are not mutually exclusive. Major Hasan, the person responsible for the shootings, used email to contact Al-Qaeda (6). Since Hasan contacted a terrorist group, and he committed a successful terrorist act, it can be concluded that Hasan is a terrorist.


"My opponent claims that IN THE FUTURE, terrorist attacks WOULD come from rogue groups or individuals. Again he commits the logical fallacy appeal to probability," says my opponent in the last round.

What she does not understand is that is exactly what we are debating. As I said, a risk is "the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome WILL happen." This indicates the future. Clearly my argument stands because it's perfectly in line with the resolution in predicting what WILL take place.

I also showed that not matter what attitudes there may be, terrorism in the U.S. still takes place.

Pro hasn't shown the resolution to be true. Con has negated accordingly. Vote Con.


I owe my opponent an apology, seeing as how we are not on the same page as to what entails a risk of terrorist acts. I would direct him back to the resolution, which says "the risk of terrorist acts on the US". Therefore, the risk I'm referencing is any hazard (1) that would allow terrorists to act against the United States. It's pretty straightforward, but since my opponent insisted that I provide a definition, we will assume that this definition stands. Since my opponent wrote that he does not need to prove that risk has increased, I thank him for conceding his sub-points A and B under his first contention. In order for these contentions to stand, he must prove that the risk of terrorist acts has been increased, and in order to do that, he must concede that there are indeed risks present...contrary to what he wrote in his second constructive essay. I will now move into his case.

First, I would like to clarify that I never claimed U.S. policy and military action have nothing to do with each other. This is an underhanded move by my opponent, a logical fallacy I like to call "shoving words into someone else's mouth". Of course they are intertwined with each other. My point was simply that in order to prove the resolution, which deals with U.S. policies, my opponent must focus on the policies that lead to the action, not the action itself. Policy does not equate with action, as he claims, but only leads to it. Therefore we must throw out his first contention entirely. To address the bombing plot that my opponent claims is indicative of increased risk, I would like to provide an analogy that will negate many of his other claims as well.

The statistics for teens who die in alcohol-related car wrecks are terrible. Sadly, no matter what, there will always be alcohol, and there will always be people who drive drunk. However, I think we can all agree that wearing your seatbelt will decrease your risk of dying in an alcohol-related wreck. Teens who adhere to local curfew laws decrease their risk. Teens who follow traffic laws decrease their risk. And both teens and adults who are deterred by laws from drinking and driving decrease their risk. So seatbelts, curfew, and laws are all responsible for helping decrease the risk of a teenager dying in an alcohol-related crash. Likewise, though my opponent is correct that people who wish the U.S. harm will always be present, our policies that have been implemented since 2001 effectively decrease the risk of terrorist acts on the U.S.

Secondly, my opponent continues to claim that our domestic policies do not decrease the risk of terrorist acts on the U.S. He mentions again the possibility of citizen terrorists, but again, going back to my analogy, just because the potential for hazard exists does not mean that it does. This point is irrelevant. He then asked me to elaborate on my claim concerning Guantanamo Bay, which I will be happy to do. According to his own sources, 8% of Gitmo detainees are terrorists. Even though the percentage is small, it still proves beyond a doubt that the U.S. is reducing the risk of terrorism by detaining terrorists. Terrorists are killers, and when we can detain just one of them, that seems a substantial reduction when weighing American lives in the balance. My opponent pointed out that 92% of the detainees were not high-profile combatants, but they still could prove a hazard to the U.S. Therefore it's good that they are locked up. He also wrote that Guantanamo Bay is ineffective in detaining "the worst of the worst", but this is irrelevant. Who cares whether they're the worst or not? Every terrorism suspect we lock up is a reduction in risk.

His third contention was that there are no proof of policies being effective. He mentions the Fort Hood shooting, which has not even been undeniably proven a terrorist attack. Even if it was such an attack, this was an act of domestic terrorism, which really cannot be applied to this resolution. Our own citizens attacking us is substantially different from someone on the outside attacking on an organized. Under my opponent's philosophy, too many things could be considered terrorism and it makes the resolution too broad. We should be content to debate the resolution as it was meant to be debated when it was written in 2007 when it was written. This protects the integrity of the debate and ensures that neither side has the upperhand.

I will allow my opponent's backtracking and refusal to answer my questions slide. This only strengthens my case, as he offers absolutely no reason for an attack not happening. Resorting to accusing one's opponent of logical fallacies is not sufficient to prove one's point. Sure, point out my fallacies by all means, but answer the question. He demands that I outline exactly how U.S. policies have prevented an attack thus far, and I have done so. Our policies substantially decrease the risk of terrorist acts by successfully implementing military policy, domestic policy, and deterring terrorists from action. If my opponent has questions about why a similar attack has not occurred since 9/11, I would urge him to reread my constructive essays.

I will now move on to my own case.

My first contention concerned our military policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I mostly refuted everything my opponent had to say against these in my first paragraph. However, he does make a claim that the decentralization of Al-Qaeda. He claims that in fact, this decentralization will lead to more rogue individuals who are actually more dangerous. However, unless my opponent can provide specific examples or quotes from experts of this ever happening, there is no way for him to warrant this claim.

As far as my evidence for domestic policies go, my opponent claims that I have only a quote to back up my claim that domestic policies like the Patriot Act substantially reduce the risk of terroist acts. I suppose he forgot that in my first constructive essay, I provided a link ( to a government report that shows new policies since 2001 as being effective. That being said, the argument that a source such as a quote is biased is a weak and noncommittal argument. Rather than turning this into a debate of sources, I would urge my opponent to stick to the merits of my argument itself.

I have already addressed the argument that terrorist acts still transpire. Just because they still happen doesn't mean the risk is not being reduced. As for the Fort Hood shooting, my opponent should have proven beyond a doubt with evidence that this was a terrorist attack, rather than a more random event. He has not done so. Please remember that new information may be introduced in the Final Focus round.

My opponent still did not address my original third contention claim that new counterterrorism policies substantially reduce the risk.

Pro has clearly won this debate. My opponents arguments are mostly based on hypothetical considerations. Vote Pro!

Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for a wonderful debate. In this last round, I will tie the whole debate back to the resolution and show why Con has won.

========== MEANING OF RESOLUTION ==========

Resolved: U.S. policies established after September 11, 2001 have substantially reduced the threat of terrorist acts against the United States.

---------- Scope ----------

My opponent claimed in Round 3 that domestic terrorism doesn't apply to the resolution. I urge her to read the resolution one more time. Does it say anything about DOMESTIC acts of terror? No. It simply refers to terrorist acts in general. Therefore, domestic, international, or extraterrestrial acts of terrorism would still apply to the resolution. Whatever my opponent claims the intent of the resolution may be is irrelevant; we can only take the motion at its word.

---------- Definition of Risk ----------

Pro's definition of risk provided in Round 3 is "a hazard." Just for clarification, "hazard," is a synonym of "risk" and also has the exact same definition I provided for "risk" in Round 1. Therefore, my opponent's introduction of the word "hazard" does not change anything.

---------- Pro's Criteria For Winning ----------

I would like to reiterate the conditions in which Pro must win this debate (my opponent never objected to these terms so I assume she agrees).

(1) There is a risk of terrorist actions against the United States.
(2) This risk since September 11, 2001 has been SUBSTANTIALLY reduced.
(3) This substantial reduction in risk has been a DIRECT result of U.S. policies established after September 11, 2001.

After going through each key voting point one last time, I will return to the above criteria and show they have not been fulfilled.

========== MILITARY ACTION ==========

---------- Increased Risk ----------

Claiming I don't HAVE to prove that the risk of terrorism has increased doesn't mean I concede all the points that make that claim. I can still show how terrorism has increased, but as I said in Round 3, it isn't a requirement to negate the resolution. There are many paths Con could have taken, and an increased risk was just one of them. My first and second sub-points under my first contention simply stated whatever the risk might be, it had to have increased. There is no reason to concede these points, and my opponent was only trying to skirt around these topics instead of addressing them directly.

---------- Military Policy v.s. Action ----------

My opponent has only tried to confuse the issue. I showed in my second Round 3 syllogism (that my opponent never objected to) that because U.S. military policy EQUATES with (i.e. is equal to or is the same as) U.S. military action, it is applicable to the resolution. A policy can only be judged by the actions that result from it (contrary to my opponent's subsequent analogical attempt) so my point stands.

---------- Iraq ----------

My opponent said I did not cite my claim of the disorganization of terrorists in Iraq. I would like to direct her to my Contention 1, Sub-Point B where I cited the Office of National Intelligence. My opponent never questioned that anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq is increasing, so I assume she agrees. Because we are on the same page at that point, I have appropriately shown how this increase in sentiments makes terrorists more inclined to harm the U.S., thus indicating a heightening risk. Con has clearly won this point, because my opponent's only counter-evidence was that Hussein's sponsor of terrorism had ended, and my opponent never defended that point once I negated it.

---------- Afghanistan ----------

Because my opponent never addressed my syllogism on Taliban expansion in the last round, I'll assume she agrees with it. Therefore, she has effectively conceded that Taliban expansion increases the risk of terrorist acts against the United States. Because I have shown that the Taliban is currently expanding, the U.S. military policy on Afghanistan has been unsuccessful, and this point effectively flows to the Con side.

========== DOMESTIC POLICIES ==========

---------- Patriot Act, Surveillance Program and General Policies ----------

I showed in Round 2 that while my opponent shows the INTENT of domestic policies, she hasn't shown how they have decreased the risk. In cases where terrorist acts where thwarted, I showed that does not necessarily indicate a decrease in risk of terrorist acts. It may decrease the risk of SUCCESSFUL acts but my opponent agreed that UNSUCCESSFUL acts also fall under the banner of terrorist acts.

Regarding the quote from Alberto Gonzales, my opponent never denied that the source wasn't biased. Seeing as I negated both the information from and have shown that Gonzales cannot be considered a credible source, the general policies argument has been negated.

---------- Guantanamo Bay ----------

Even if 8% of real terrorists being locked up represents a reduction in terrorism, my opponent never indicated that it would have been a SUBSTANTIAL reduction. Pro therefore failed to successfully tie this point to her side of the resolution, so this argument still supports Con.

---------- Fort Hood ----------

I gave evidence in Round 3 showing that Major Hasan was a terrorist who committed a terrorist act (also showing that you can be both a madman and a terrorist). I have given evidence on the Fort Hood shooting since the first round, and seeing as my opponent gave no counter-attestations showing why Major Hasan was not a terrorist, my evidence must stand.


You can see my negation of my opponent's third contention in Round 2. Her only response to my rebuttal was that a risk doesn't apply to what may happen in the future. In Round 3 I showed how a risk actually is precisely indicative of future events. Since in Round 3 her only recovery was that I never addressed her third contention (which I actually did address in Round 2), we can see that Con has won on this point as well.


Let us now return to the three criteria that I listed at the beginning of this round that shows what my opponent must prove in order for the resolution to be affirmed. As I said before, keep in mind that she agreed to these terms.

---------- (1) There is a risk of terrorist acts against the United States ----------

Despite my requests, Pro has never established the risk that terrorists posed to the United States on September 11, 2001. That had to have been shown for the risk to be reduced. In 2001 was there a large risk of terrorist acts, or a relatively small one? The fact that 9/11 occurred doesn't indicate a large or 100% risk. Even if it was a 0.0000000001% possibility (small risk) the attack still could have occurred. Therefore, because a baseline risk was never established, we can't compare the risk now to the risk then. As a result the first criterion was not upheld.

---------- (2) This Risk Since September 11, 2001 Has Been SUBSTANTIALLY Reduced ----------

I showed in Round 1 that "substantial" means "for the most part" or "to a great or significant extent." My opponent never showed, even IF her arguments show that the risk (albeit one she never defined) was reduced, that the reduction was substantial. A way to measure the reduction must have been provided to show it was substantial, and because it never was provided, this second criterion has not been upheld.

---------- U.S. Policy Causing Substantial Reduction ----------

This goes in line with the other two criteria and with my counter-arguments. Because I have shown that policies have failed and that criteria (1) and (2) were not upheld, this criterion has not been upheld either.

Pro never met the burden required to uphold the resolution and was negated accordingly. Con therefore has won this debate. Thank you and vote CON.


While there are probably a lot of people out there who would be quite content never to read another constructive essay about Mr. Nick, Nick should be responsible for his own actions. Before I get moving here, let me point out that I should note that by indiscriminately assigning value to practically everything, Nick has made "experience" all-important. His experiences, however, are detached from any consideration of what is good or true, which means that they will almost certainly condone universal oppression in a matter of days. He speaks like a true defender of the status quo—a status quo, we should not forget, that enables him to create a system of exclusivism characterized by confidential files, closed courts, gag orders, and statutory immunity. Nick offers his hirelings a vehicle of sorts for their revenge fantasies. He will almost certainly tiptoe around that glaringly evident fact because if he didn't, you might come to realize that while decent people sit by, snore, and have their maws open, he is out wooing over uppity, vile lie-virtuosi by using tactics such as scapegoating, reductionist and simplistic solutions, demagoguery, and a conspiracy theory of history. Nevertheless, I can state with absolute certainty that if I wanted to brainwash and manipulate a large segment of the population, I would convince them that Nick is the ultimate authority on what's right and what's wrong. In fact, that's exactly what Nick does as part of his quest to entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of the ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice of rotten fault-finders.

By now, the reader has discerned that what I call wild, fastidious pickpockets represent one of the most bookish wings of gutless sexism you can possibly find. So let me just add that prudence is no vice. Cowardice—especially his unimaginative form of it—is.

There's a lot of talk nowadays about Nick's insecure "compromises" but not much action. If you looked up "devious" in the dictionary, you'd probably see Nick's picture. We can quibble about many of the details but we can't quibble about the fundamental fact that we must move as expeditiously as possible to comment on a phenomenon that has and will continue to snooker people of every stripe into believing that national-security interests can and should be sidestepped whenever Nick's personal interests are at stake. Let's start by informing people that Nick acts as if he were King of the World. This hauteur is astonishing, staggering, and mind-boggling.

Nick somehow manages to get away with spreading lies (he has his moral compass in tact), distortions (the majority of doctrinaire psychopaths are heroes, if not saints), and misplaced idealism (everyone with a different set of beliefs from his is going to get a one-way ticket to Hell). However, when I try to respond in kind, I get censored faster than you can say "sphygmomanometric". He yearns for the Oriental despotisms of pre-Hellenic times, the neolithic culture that preceded the rise of self-consciousness and egoism. By the same token, Nick abhors the current era, in which people are free to appeal not to the contented and satisfied but embrace those tormented by suffering, those without peace, the unhappy and the discontented.

Please don't ask me to marginalize the traditions and truths upon which our nation's greatness sits. I simply can't do that. Nick contends that we should all bear the brunt of his actions and that, therefore, all major world powers are controlled by a covert group of "insiders". This bizarre pattern of thinking leads to strange conclusions. For example, it convinces sanctimonious vagabonds (as distinct from the patronizing pamphleteers who prefer to chirrup while hopping from cloud to cloud in Nephelococcygia) that the worst classes of effrontive rabble-rousers there are should be given absolute authority to keep essential documents hidden from the public until they become politically moot. In reality, contrariwise, if Nick's jealous jibes became more widespread, it would spell the ruination of this country. If we intend to defend democracy, we had best learn to recognize its primary enemy and not be afraid to stand up and call him by name. That name is Mr. Nick.

Vote Pro.
We have all the cookies.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Fandango 4 years ago
We can debate but eventually one has to look at the facts. There have been more attempted acts of foreign terrorism on US soil since 9/11 than the previous 10 decades combined. Have w foiled them? Sure, but this doesn't detract from the fact there' been an increased risk of terrorism as manifested by the attempts.

source: Terrorist watch and
Posted by lindseyloo92 4 years ago
Haha, sorry Nick. You know, I was writing my Final Focus, and then suddenly I had this vision of the expression on your face once you figured out that I totally threw the last round.

And I couldn't resist, Nick. I just couldn't. That vision called to me and I had to give in.

Sorry most favorite partner. XD
Posted by Steelerman6794 4 years ago
Lindsey, way to use Complaint Generator to ruin the end of a perfectly good debate. We'll see how this turns out.
Posted by lindseyloo92 5 years ago
"Please remember that new information may be introduced in the Final Focus round."
This should have said may NOT be. Lol Nick, look at me subconsciously trying to give you all kinds of breaks, oh favoritest partner of mine.
Posted by lindseyloo92 5 years ago
Haha, yep, I fell asleep,woke up, saw that it was 8:30, and I was like CRAP! Lol I knew you would be happy. Sorry to crush your hopes of me forfeiting. :D
Posted by Steelerman6794 5 years ago
And just when I was about to write a "my opponent has forfeited" speech too. Now I actually have to work.
Posted by lindseyloo92 5 years ago
Nick, I posted that with 43 seconds to go. I feel like a boss. XD
Posted by lindseyloo92 5 years ago
Oh, any my address to Nick's first contention, second sub-point where it reads "Even if we assumed this is true, I would just point you back to my own case, that proves our policies actually increase this risk substantially, regardless of how many people are involved." should say DECREASE this risk substantially. Thank you.
Posted by lindseyloo92 5 years ago
I'm thinking my sources link for Round 2 is not working, so here they are:

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