The Instigator
TheRussian
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
whiteflame
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

War has more benefit than harm

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,963 times Debate No: 51859
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

TheRussian

Pro

Although it sounds bad, I would like to argue that war DOES have more benefit than harm. Please begin your argument.
whiteflame

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for offering this interesting subject of debate, and since he's requested that I begin this debate, I will do so.

First and foremost, I'd like to define the parameters of this debate. What we'll be discussing, at least chiefly, is the incidence of actual declarations of war. These will mostly be formal, and will chiefly include conflicts initiated by governmental bodies. As such, wars include those conflicts that involve substantial troop movements on both sides of a given conflict. We can discuss small-scale troop movements, though those will not be the focus of this debate.

Second, I think it's important to state what the burdens are in this debate. Since the topic is "War has more benefit than harm," we are discussing both wars going forward and past wars within this context. Both of us should endeavor to use examples in support of our side in this debate, i.e. it is my burden to present evidence that war has been harmful, and his to present evidence that war has been beneficial. We will assess this not strictly based on preponderance of evidence, but also based on its quality. A larger benefit can counter many smaller harms, and visa versa. Also, a more likely harm can counter many less likely benefits. We can weigh these within the debate, but it is mainly up to voters to assess these arguments.

I would say that the burden of proof is chiefly on Pro. As war is generally viewed as harmful by the wider population (as I will explain throughout this post), it is up to Pro to dissuade voters of that view. He effectively has the highest mountain to climb in this debate, and therefore a failure on his part to turn opinion for war should presume a Con ballot.

With that, I'm going to launch into my arguments.

1) Loss of life

This is probably the biggest concern with regards to war, and with good reason. We can reasonably quantify resources lost or gained. These are easily amenable to utilizing numbers because we have assigned them value. The value of human life (or, for that matter, of any life) is more difficult to assess because it does not come with a set cost.

And this is with good reason. The prospect of merely quantifying life lost is one that dehumanizes people, relegating them to the state of being a statistic without a name, family, friends, history, or any characteristics. This is what war does " it homogenizes people, turning them into faceless, soulless numbers signifying death, displacement, famine, injury, and disease, and this is fundamentally its biggest harm. Loss of life persists in any world, but only in one in which war remains a tremendous concern to societies across the planet does this reach its apex.

The number of lives ended as a result of wars across history remains somewhat uncertain, and estimates range. However, given reasonable estimates and just taking into account the top 10 deadly wars and conflicts of which we are aware, some 290 million lives have been lost.[1] And each of those lives is now relegated to a statistic, many forgotten and buried in unmarked graves. The effect of their loss is felt specifically by their families and friends who suffer the deep emotional pains, while more broadly, the effect of their loss is impossible to determine. We can say that they would have likely contributed demonstrably to their various economies, and that those attached to them would have also contributed further than actually occurred.

As I suggested, however, the loss of life isn't determined solely by those killed in military actions. During the expansion of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan and his descendants burned cities to the ground, returned vast tracts of land and all that sat upon it to grass fields, and forced countless peoples out of their homes. They caused the collapse of societies, incited terror that was felt deeply by nations ahead of them and, most importantly, spread the Black Plague to China and Europe, indirectly resulting in the deaths of countless millions.[2, 3] This is just one example of extensive harms that resulted from warfare and wouldn't have occurred to nearly the same extent if not for its presence. The First World War made the spread of the 1918 pandemic of influenza all the simpler and more deadly.[4] Wars are a tremendous part of the reason for malaria's worldwide spread and continued persistence.[5] That's not to mention that wars don't just increase the presence of disease, but rather have been known to cause such disturbances in the availability of food, housing, and medical services as to make the disease burden more strongly felt. This is the case in El Salvador, where, during their civil war in the 80's and 90's, managed to dramatically increase the burden of tuberculosis on the general population.[6]

2) General costs

These are more easily quantifiable, though they will normally be viewed as costs of a given war for the country at large rather than for its citizens directly, and often misses the individual costs. However, we can say something, at least, just looking at these numbers. The costs of WWI for the U.S. alone, adjusted for inflation, were $334 billion. WWII comes in at a whopping $4.1 trillion, and these are for wars we entered late. Vietnam cost us $738 billion, Iraq $784 billion (at least through 2010).[7] Each of these came at the price of essential services at home, which led to people wallowing in poverty and hunger, often with limited access to education, medical services and housing.

And these are for the country that fielded few attacks on their own soil. Whole cities were leveled in the European conflict during WWII. London was reduced to rubble, and 250,000 were left homeless by the end of 1940 alone.[8] Discounting the tremendous human cost, these people suddenly became liabilities for the general economy, requiring tremendous amounts of housing, food and water in order to stay alive. We could talk about all of the cities destroyed in Russia, where tens of millions died during Hitler's invasion, or we could talk about the Holocaust and the impact of those lost lives (on top of other genocides in Rwanda and Sudan, and their efforts to erase whole groups of people and what that means, though I'll likely be focusing on that in the next round), or the long-term effects of irradiated lands as a result of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but all of these things directly link to lost life in terms of lost labor and therefore lost economic potential.

3) Cycle of violence

This is normally discussed in the context of domestic abuse, but it applies here as well. The goal during war is normally to seek benefits for the attacking country, otherwise the costs of war simply outweigh the benefits. And the country being attacked is most certainly experiencing high levels of distress and a desire to return the harms visited upon them, at least in the vast majority of instances. This means that war is an endless cycle. This distress and desire for revenge magnifies all of the harms I've discussed here by making the process of going to war one that endlessly visits upon the general population of the world. As such, while Pro may be able to prove that there are benefits to certain wars, the reality that they engender more wars means that he has to prove that a very significant majority of warfare is beneficial, otherwise the harms of these additional wars would simply outweigh the individual benefits.

With that, I'll hand the debate back to Pro to provide his case.

1, http://necrometrics.com...
2. https://suite.io...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://virus.stanford.edu...
5. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov...
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
7. http://www.fas.org...
8. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
TheRussian

Pro

I agree, I do have a large mountain to climb, but it is not impossible. I will start with some refutes and then get into my argument.

"Loss of life"
Luckily, the population can be restored. Take for example WWII. The USSR sustained by far the heaviest losses, but recovered a little under a decade. Other countries recovered in even less time.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"As such, while Pro may be able to prove that there are benefits to certain wars, the reality that they engender more wars means that he has to prove that a very significant majority of warfare is beneficial"
Every war is beneficial in one way or another, which I will discuss shortly.

I would to start by saying that war is necessary. War occurs regularly and relieves social tensions. War always was, and always will be because after a certain amount of time of disagreement between two groups, they solve it with armed conflict. In fact, war can be regarded as a resolution of an already present conflict. Before the beginning of the war, the people were already unhappy (which is why they began fighting), after the war is over, the conflict is resolved. One way, or another. If there was no war, then people would be constantly unhappy with something/someone that they cannot remove.

I will begin with the spread of technology. In ancient times, when one nation would invade another, the nations would exchange technology such as agricultural techniques/tools. When the Europeans came to the Americas, they brought with them crops. These crops were adopted by the natives and in the long run, resulted in a large population "boom" because there was now an excess in food supply. The Europeans also brought animals such as pigs, horses and cattle. The indigenous peoples also adopted these which allowed for an even greater population as well as better transportation.
http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org...
http://www.gilderlehrman.org...
Although many natives were killed by Europeans and diseases, they benefited greatly from the Columbian Exchange and prospered. Their population recovered and progressed even more because of European technology that was brought to the New World. This happens over and over again throughout history. Another example would be the Crusades. Although the Christians were only victorious in one of the four major Crusades, the knights brought back Muslim knowledge, books and technologies that increased quality of life in disease, famine and war ravaged Europe.
http://www.history.com...

Culture is spread as well. When culture and ideas are spread, this results in regions being more diverse, which causes more new ideas, meaning that there is more progress in technological and social fields. The most common way culture is spread is by war.

Finally, war causes an extreme jump in industrial production and technological advancement. For example, in WW2, because of the need for more machines and resources, the Soviet industries skyrocketed. The following categories doubled, in not tripled, in production during the war: amount of steel, fuel, building materials and transportation services.
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk...
The production of war machines, of course, also increased greatly.
http://www.nationalww2museum.org...
Not only did the quantity greatly increase, but the quality as well. In war, a country needs to out-number, out-gun and out-produce its opponent. This means that new technologies are made that increase public transportation, agriculture and food supply, and medicine.
War is a period of very much growth because so much more effective technology is introduced.

You mention the spread of influenza during WWI, although this did cause damage, it led to very much advancement in the medical field. Had there not been the sharp need to make a cure, then influenza might have still been a large problem today. Blood transfusions and new sterilizing techniques were some of many jumps in the medicine as a result of WWI.
http://prezi.com...
whiteflame

Con

I'll just quickly thank my opponent for a riveting speech, and launch straight into some counter rebuttal before rebutting his case directly.

On loss of life, Pro's contention is that the population was restored, so all's fine and dandy! Well, if he read my point more carefully, he would have noticed that I spurned this sort of numbers evaluation from the outset. The mentality that we can reduce human lives to numbers and "recover" what we lose is the epitome of dehumanization. One human is replaced by another, just like we can always build new homes. Except that a human being is not a home. A human being has a personality, an identity all their own. To say that more children being born into the world thereafter and recovering the population is to treat those lives as interchangeable, a homogenized set of DNA with little to no purpose. By making this argument, Pro is essentially conceding not only that war does this, but that recovery from war expands upon this practice of dehumanization.

But overall, this point is just absurd. Restoration of a population is not better than population growth. Pro can't just argue that the harms disappeared as a result of the population reaching its former apex when it could have been significantly higher by that point.

Pro drops my second point entirely. This will factor into my rebuttal on his case, since this is essentially a massive turn on a major contention of his.

Pro also drops my third contention. By doing so, and by acquiescing to the burdens I've elucidated in the round, Pro now has a mighty steep mountain to climb.

So before I get into his points, let's reevaluate those burdens. Remember what I said in the first round, that he has to turn opinion. This isn't possible with a solely correlative argument. The reality that war is sometimes accompanied by beneficial outcomes doesn't mean that war was responsible for those outcomes. It is part of Pro's burden of proof to show a causative link between war and its benefits. But aside from that, he must also show that the benefits outweigh the harms. Therefore, it is not enough to, as he put it, show that "every war Is beneficial in one way or another." He has to show that it is net positive, not just that it has some benefits.

I will argue in this rebuttal that he has met neither of these burdens.

He talks about relieving social tensions. First, this is an assertion without anything in the way of support. Second, it's blatantly illogical. The way to relieve tensions is to kill countless numbers of people? That tends to produce enmity, which leads to a cycle of violence. As I showed in my third contention, war creates this cycle. As such, each war begets a new war by riling up emotions and creating a strong desire for revenge. Third, I don't see why war is necessary. Pro essentially asserts that it must occur, but many civilizations throughout the history of the planet didn't go to war with one another despite tensions. Diplomacy, changes in trade relations, and international cooperation are very effective means for preventing conflict in the absence of war. Fourth, even if war is a certainty, that doesn't make it net beneficial. If it's a certain harm, then Pro is doing himself no favors with this point.

He talks about the spread of technology, and how agriculture and domesticated animals have benefited conquered cultures in the long run. First, Pro provides absolutely no analysis as to how war specifically made this possible. He says that Europeans came to America and brought crops. This didn't require that they then go to war with the Native Americans, wiping out the vast majority of their population and culture in the process of passing on that knowledge. Second, this is much more easily and much more beneficially accomplished by establishing trade relations, something that doesn't require any conflict at all. Third, Pro even admits that the harms the Europeans brought through conflict were substantial, again only stating that this is balanced by their future prospering. I refer back to my points regarding dehumanization, as this is the same basic point.

Pro essentially states that, since Christians benefited from the exchange, we should write off all the harms done to the Muslim and Jewish peoples as a result of those Crusades. It's not enough for Pro to prove that one side benefited marginally from a given conflict " he has to prove that the net outcome (that means both sides) was beneficial. In this case, one side benefited somewhat from something they could have received without war, losing untold numbers of people in the process (so, at best, a small win), while the other suffered egregiously without any benefit whatsoever.

Pro talks about spreading culture. First off, this is something that's accomplished by migration and emigration to a much more beneficial extent. These things don't require war. Second, the type of spread Pro is discussing here is a forced one, meaning the subjugation of the ideas of one culture to another. This doesn't diversify ideas " if anything, it reduces that diversity by forcing various cultures to think like the imperialistic one that's conquering them. Third, simply spreading culture doesn't yield the benefits he talks about. That culture has to be integrated into the general community, treated with some measure of equality, and regarded with some interest. War does nothing of the sort, instead providing impetus to spurn these ideas and subjugate them to the national will. This, again, homogenizes attitudes, reducing diversity on a national scale.

The idea of an "extreme jump" in technology is discussed, but this is no better warranted. First, these advancements most certainly don't require warfare. The impetus to pursue machines of war certainly increases, but Pro never adequately explains why the production of those specific items benefits the population at large. He tries to create a link between that advancement and industrialization in general, but simply doesn't get there. All of the increase in steel, fuel, building material and transportation services that occur under warfare are accounted for simply in the costs for continued warfare, and Pro never shows that these increases actually benefited the wider society directly.

Second, these increases are net harmful. They did vast amounts of environmental damage, depleted necessary resources for a war effort rather than for domestic benefits, and went to the express purpose of killing tens of millions in WWII.

Third, my second contention is a direct turn on this entire point. All of that money " the millions, billions and trillions spent in war efforts " could have been spent on education, medicine, infrastructure, civil services, imports, or anything within the common good. Any of these would have been more net beneficial. Every single aircraft, tank, ship, gun, round of ammunition and uniform, only made necessary by the presence of war, all things listed in Con's link, is a loss to domestic benefits. That's not to mention that the lives lost could all have played significant roles in expanding their individual economies, ballooning the resources that they would have had available.

Lastly, he establishes that influenza is a thing of the past because of WWI. First, influenza is most certainly not cured. We have a vaccine that's only effective some of the time because the surface proteins continually mutate. As a result, it is still a big problem today. Second, the vaccine didn't come out until 1945. Third, war did not make it possible. Medical research did. Fourth, blood transfusions and new sterilizing techniques didn't result from WWI. In fact, the efforts by many scientists to create new and more destructive weapons likely held back much of this research. These became available as a result of pandemics generally being a problem, not due to the inordinate death toll of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in particular.

I'll hand the debate back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
TheRussian

Pro

"Well, if he read my point more carefully, he would have noticed that I spurned this sort of numbers evaluation from the outset."
I read your point very carefully, but in this case, the "personality" of a person is irrelevant. In war, as cruel as it may sound, a person is a resource, and all people are equal before the "eyes" of war.

"2) General costs"
Although large amounts of money are spent, it is not going completely to waste. If successful, the operation will result in the country prospering. Whether the invaders are taking land (meaning resources), a strategic location (advantage over others) or resources directly, the country's profits will most likely outweigh its losses. For example, Con mentions Iraq. Although much money was spent on the war, the amount of oil extracted is enormous. The profits were massive and easily outweighed the cost of waging the war.
http://www.cnn.com...

"3) Cycle of violence"
This section supports my claim that war is inevitable and relieves social tensions.

"The way to relieve tensions is to kill countless numbers of people? That tends to produce enmity, which leads to a cycle of violence"
In Round 1, Con said that "This distress and desire for revenge magnifies all of the harms I've discussed here by making the process of going to war one that endlessly visits upon the general population of the world." I agree, people will want revenge and that creates social tensions. People are unhappy. How is the conflict resolved? By war. There is no other way. Con mentions diplomacy but that does not change a peoples attitude towards another nation. It simply creates a legal barrier which may easily be broken. (As seen in WWII when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was broken by the Germans).

"This didn't require that they then go to war with the Native Americans, wiping out the vast majority of their population and culture in the process of passing on that knowledge."
Con claims that the spread of technology and culture (as well as advances in medicine and industry) do not require war. They may not REQUIRE it, but war is a very effective catalyst for the things mentioned above. Yes, spreading crops and livestock did not REQUIRE that the Europeans go to war with the natives, but had the Europeans decided to not come to the New World, it might have been centuries until the natives would even come close to the level of progress that the Europeans were already at. The Europeans needed colonies and resources, so they went to war. They gained the colonies and resources, meaning that the war's losses were outweighed by profits. Same with the the natives, although their population took a heavy hit, they came in contact and adopted a level of technological advancement that has not been seen yet on the American continent.

"Christians benefited from the exchange, we should write off all the harms done to the Muslim and Jewish peoples as a result of those Crusades. It's not enough for Pro to prove that one side benefited marginally from a given conflict " he has to prove that the net outcome (that means both sides) was beneficial."
The Muslims considered this war as a success because they won the Holy Land. They benefited and if the Christians had won, there would most likely be conflict even more violent over this territory today. I would also like to note that Con uses "marginal" to describe the benefits of Europe from this conflict and I disagree. The knights brought back with them very much technology and many goods that greatly improved European living conditions. Cotton clothing, food and spices, paper, the ship compass, algebra, chemistry, irrigation and more. These are (by today's standards) the most basic necessities yet the Europeans only received them through war.
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...

"First off, this is something that's accomplished by migration and emigration to a much more beneficial extent. These things don't require war."
If war was not waged, countries would remain isolated and migration would be minimal.

"Second, the type of spread Pro is discussing here is a forced one, meaning the subjugation of the ideas of one culture to another. This doesn't diversify ideas if anything, it reduces that diversity by forcing various cultures to think like the imperialistic one that's conquering them."
This is not necessarily true. For example, the conquering Mongols did not impose the culture or religion upon those they conquered. They were very religiously tolerant and the culture of Mongols and those they conquered mixed naturally, not by forcing people to think a certain way.
http://www.fsmitha.com...
Same with the conquering Muslims. They did not force their religion upon the conquered people, they simply required them to pay a tax called "jizya".
http://www.britannica.com...

"First, these advancements most certainly don't require warfare. The impetus to pursue machines of war certainly increases, but Pro never adequately explains why the production of those specific items benefits the population at large"
It does not REQUIRE warfare, but as mentioned above, war is a very effective catalyst. It might have taken decades to develop more effective engines (that can be used outside of war), better techniques for building planes (that can be used outside of war) and other technology. The presence of war accelerates the production and development of such technologies.

"As a result, it is still a big problem today. Second, the vaccine didn't come out until 1945. Third, war did not make it possible. Medical research did. Fourth, blood transfusions and new sterilizing techniques didn't result from WWI."
Very much progress was made during WWI for the cure of influenza (since it was such a problem), and yes, war did not make it possible, but war accelerated the progress because people NEEDED to help the soldiers. It was not passive. I will provide yet another source to support my claims regarding blood transfusions and sterilizing techniques and note that my opponent has provided no sources to support his above statements.
http://ncpedia.org...

I would also like to say that the building of enormous empires had benefited even those who they conquered. Although my opponent said that they basically destroyed everything in their path and caused nothing but destruction, that is not true. They had a very possible effect on trade and fused the Eastern and Western hemisphere. Trade increased greatly (benefiting EVERYONE) and the Silk Road became much safer to travel. As a result, the conquering by Mongols had much more benefit than harm. This concept can be extended to other empires that connect the world, increasing trade and sharing technology.
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu...
whiteflame

Con

Thanks to my opponent, and let's get started.

1) Loss of life.

"...in this case, the 'personality' of a person is irrelevant. In war, as cruel as it may sound, a person is a resource, and all people are equal before the "eyes" of war."

Voters, this is the concession of the debate. This is literally all I need to win it. Pro is conceding that war erases personality, turns people into resources, and dehumanizes on a vast scale. And all of his points throughout this debate just supercharge my argument. He says that more lives have been born into the world and sustained as a result of war, again focusing on numbers and effectively making the problem worse. He said in the last round that even recovery from war is essentially this same numbers game writ large, where new people "replace" dead people.

Let me make this clearer. Pro cannot simply sit here and say that increased lives equals better outcomes (even if he can prove that). He has to prove that war is net beneficial. When he agrees that war effectively turns humans into resources, he's granting that the mass dehumanization occurs, and therefore that lives as a whole are only worth their value to society at large. He is effectively removing the importance of these lives and degrading them to nothing. And each life that is produced by resources created through war, or is born to "replace" lives lost, is actually functioning as more dehumanization. The population may be increasing, but its overall value as a result of being a collection of individuals perceived as the same, without personality or individuality, diminishes dramatically.

2) General costs

Pro ignores the fact that those resources garnered from Iraq were lost by Iraq, and the resource drain that occurred is damaging to them. Pro doesn't explain where the oil extraction benefited Iraq. His own source shows that they've been harmed by the lack of oil to meet basic energy needs. In fact, the only point Pro makes here is that the U.S. benefited economically as a result, which is also contended by his own link. Yes, oil companies have benefited, but not the U.S. itself, which experiences in fact lower levels of total employment due to reliance on foreign companies.

More importantly, Pro never explains how these oil benefits outweigh the costs of lost life. That continued dehumanization isn't going to be overcome by increased profits.

3) Cycle of violence

Pro is mishandling this. No, it doesn't support his claims that war relieves social tensions. The whole purpose of this point is to say that war only increases tensions between nations, breeding more war, more tension, and as such, more dehumanization.

Pro's sole response to my point here is an assertion with some very odd logic. He's essentially trying to assert that war calms the aggressor down, so everyone's more calm afterward. People want revenge for war committed against them. They resolve it by war. That war creates more tensions, with create more war. One side resolves its tensions by creating tensions in the other side, which causes more war. It's an endless cycle.

His response to diplomacy is that it doesn't work. First off, it does, especially in recent history (look to the Israel-Jordan Treaty, the North Atlantic Treaty, and the Treaty of San Francisco)[1]. He drops my responses about changing trade relations and international cooperation, both of which can and do affect behavior. This is seen most notably and recently with Russia.[2] He also ignores the fact that tensions exist regardless of the action taken, and since war only redistributes and exacerbates those tensions, it's worse than any of the alternatives. Lastly, he drops my point that inevitability doesn't make it beneficial. Even if he's right that war is the only possible outcome, it's still net harmful.

Before I go on, I'd like to return to burdens, something Pro has left untouched. Remember, it's not enough for Pro to prove that some wars are beneficial, and, in proving that a war is beneficial, it's not enough to say that that war is beneficial to one side. Pro has to show that the costs of a large majority of wars to both sides are outweighed by the benefits of those wars to both sides. Not only that, but he has to show that it is causative in its benefits, not just correlative. He also has to show that these benefits are unique to, or are at least significantly better as a result of, war. This will play into my further responses.

Onto examples.

Pro talks about how Native Americans were benefited. I'd say this links back to my point about dehumanization pretty strongly, but beyond that, he never explains why war was necessary to spread resources and knowledge. The entire purpose of the Age of Discovery was to establish trade routes, not initiate war.[3] He never states why that trade route was impossible just because they ran into America instead.

Pro comes back to the Crusades. He essentially says that, despite millions of lives lost, the Muslims won the Holy Land. They already had it. You don't benefit from winning what you already have. Pro then states that it was a huge win because of all those great technologies. Again, I'd say that he's hard pressed to show that the millions of lives lost in the Crusades justifies the acquisition of this technology, but he also drops my response that they could have acquired these technologies through trade.

Pro asserts that migration and emigration would be less without war. This is nonsense. The presence of war is what creates an impetus to never go to the country you're fighting. Pro will have to prove that isolationist policies are common in the absence of war, and that war causes these to disappear.

Pro looks at the Mongols and Muslims. At best, these are two examples of conquerors allowing religious diversity that didn't last beyond their reigns. It's not a benefit of war, and Pro is not responsive to my point that war actually homogenizes views by giving strong reason to spurn them.

Pro then asserts his main point, which is that war is a catalyst for technological advance. I don't think he does enough here to prove this. He's saying that it's only a result of a need for military vehicles that engine technology was accelerated and better planes were made. This isn't enough to prove the point. He doesn't explain why the money and research spent on creating these wouldn't have been likely to exist in the absence of war (the percent of budget spent on it is actually pretty independent of warfare[4]), nor does he say why the time, energy and funds required to go through war don't negatively affect their advancement. Extend my points about how war drains resources for this research.

Even if he's right, voters can go ahead and extend my points about environmental damage, depleted resources and killing tens of millions as harms that push back any benefit of catalysis. Better to have waited a few more years (though we have no idea from Pro's arguments just how much it sped up the process, if at all).

On influenza, Pro asserts that we made progress during WWI on a vaccine, but never shows that that's true. The U.S. developed the first vaccine in the 1940's, which seems to disprove his claim. Again, Pro asserts that blood transfusions and sterilizing techniques would only have occurred as a result of war, but neither his first source nor this one support it. It says "advances in some medical techniques kept pace with the mass destruction of war," but there's no assumption that war brought about those advances, or even made them happen faster. This is just another unwarranted assertion.

Back to Pro.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://politicsandpolicy.org...
3. http://www.the-map-as-history.com...
4. http://www.thetransportpolitic.com...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
TheRussian

Pro

"Pro is conceding that war erases personality,"
No, it does not erase personality. In fact, war is a chance for personality to shine. Only in war can the bravest show their bravery. Only in war can the greatest generals prove themselves and have their name written down in history for eternity.

"Pro cannot simply sit here and say that increased lives equals better outcomes (even if he can prove that)."
Unfortunately, I do not understand Con's logic here. If I can prove it, then won't that give me every right to sit here and say that?

"but its overall value as a result of being a collection of individuals perceived as the same, without personality or individuality"
How is it different from regular life? As I mentioned above, war separates the weak from the strong. The strong truly get their chance to shine, to be written down in the history books and remembered for centuries. They can prove themselves like never before. The strongest personalities are separated from the weak, a chance they would not get in regular life.

"Pro ignores the fact that those resources garnered from Iraq were lost by Iraq, and the resource drain that occurred is damaging to them. Pro doesn't explain where the oil extraction benefited Iraq"
Iraq was benefited because they gained liberty. Their oil money was turned to food, not palaces like their leader was doing before. Now, Iraq is recovering very well from their totalitarian regime.
http://www.war-in-iraq.org...

"3) Cycle of violence"
Read the below quote:
There are benefits of the necessary evil called war. War doesn"t always mean guns and violence. Sometimes war is taking a stand for something you believe it. It may be the war on crime or the war on drugs. War can benefit a community by encouraging citizens to come together to take a stand against something that is threatening their neighborhood. War is recognizing something is causing harm and being vocal about it to create awareness.
http://www.ask.com...
War is when you take a stand for something you believe in. War is the climax, the resolution to a problem. It ends violence. Take for example police men. They go to war with criminals every single day. Now imagine if they were NOT there to go to war with the criminals. Would life be better or worse?

"This is seen most notably and recently with Russia"
Because of such strong "trade relations" and "international cooperation" of this age, the fact that Russia and US are throwing sanctions at each other only damage the world. Neither the US, nor Russia, nor any other country of the world is benefiting from these trade relations.

"he never explains why war was necessary to spread resources and knowledge."
As I have said several times now, war is not necessary. War is a catalyst. It accelerates the development of human civilization.

"the Muslims won the Holy Land. They already had it. You don't benefit from winning what you already have. Pro then states that it was a huge win because of all those great technologies. Again, I'd say that he's hard pressed to show that the millions of lives lost in the Crusades justifies the acquisition of this technology, but he also drops my response that they could have acquired these technologies through trade."
Had the Muslims NOT lost so many lives defending, they would NOT have the Holy Land. The USSR was defending itself in WW2 and lost millions and millions of lives yes? Is it still regarded as a great gain and victory? Yes.

"The presence of war is what creates an impetus to never go to the country you're fighting."
The US has picked fights, physical and economical, with an unprecedented amount of countries, yet immigrants are still flowing in from all over the world.

"He's saying that it's only a result of a need for military vehicles that engine technology was accelerated and better planes were made. This isn't enough to prove the point. He doesn't explain why the money and research spent on creating these wouldn't have been likely to exist in the absence of war (the percent of budget spent on it is actually pretty independent of warfare[4])"
Those were just specific examples. As a result of war, countries develop everything from better engines (for any kind of vehicle), higher quality metals, more efficient methods of obtaining and using fuel, and better techniques for the construction of everything from planes, to cars to buildings. Just because something is used for war does not mean the concept cannot be used to benefit society in a peaceful time. Take for example nuclear energy. It can be used as a weapon of mass destruction as well as a source of "green" energy.

"Better to have waited a few more years"
You might be right, but over time, those "few more years" add up. Had there been no war through human history, we might still be in the medieval age. So much development was pushed by the need to defend a country and be bigger and stronger than others that without this need, humans would have no reason to so actively develop themselves.

"On influenza, Pro asserts that we made progress during WWI on a vaccine, but never shows that that's true. The U.S. developed the first vaccine in the 1940's, which seems to disprove his claim. Again, Pro asserts that blood transfusions and sterilizing techniques would only have occurred as a result of war, but neither his first source nor this one support it. It says "advances in some medical techniques kept pace with the mass destruction of war," "
I have now cited multiple sources stating that much progress was made during WW1 for a vaccine but my opponent disagrees and shows no evidence. Therefore, I can dismiss half of the above paragraph. My opponent quotes my source, and that in itself shows that war is a catalyst for medical advancement. People didn't die before on such a massive scale, and the fact that "medical techniques kept pace with the mass destruction" shows that much progress was made.

Think about this. India, being predominantly Hindu and Jain throughout its history is not too "violent". They believe in non-violence and therefore have not waged many wars with the outside wars. Look at where they are. Yes, they are developing, but their economy, infrastructure and quality of life is far behind other countries who (coincidentally) have been waging wars for centuries. Just a coincidence that some of the most aggressive countries in the world are at the top? I think not.

Thank you for the good debate.
whiteflame

Con

One last hearty thanks to my opponent.

Let's start by clarifying Pro's burdens one last time. He has to prove two things:

1) War produces causally linked benefits that outweigh its harms in a substantial majority of instances, and
2) Those benefits are superior to what could be accomplished by alternate methods

Note that both of these are agreed throughout the rounds by Pro. And he's not meeting either of them.

The easiest place to see this is with the dehumanization argument. I've spent several rounds clarifying this point, and Pro just didn't respond to the central analysis that playing the numbers game with lives is inherently dehumanizing, and that war does this to a far greater extent than anything else.

Pro has two responses to this. The first is that lives are increased on the whole in the future. Of course, this only buys further into the argument I'm making, and actually worsens his case. I've shown this in previous rounds.

But we get a new argument in the fourth round. Pro says that it doesn't actually erase personality (in contradiction to his R3 assertion that "a person is a resource, and all people are equal before the 'eyes' of war), but rather just creates opportunities for some soldiers to shine. Multiple responses. First, this only applies to fighting men and women. At best, this argument is solely mitigation, since every single civilian life is still going to be erased in totality. Second, this is, again, supercharging my argument. You're now increasing dehumanization by providing an impetus to kill more effectively and broadly in order to get noticed. Third, this only applies to a scant few. We're talking about a few great generals, at most, who get their names in the history books. Fourth, this still erases personalities, even for them. They become known solely for their military exploits, and other traits disappear behind a glossy veneer.

As long as voters are buying this dehumanization argument, it's game over right here. Even if you buy that Pro is net increasing the number of lives in the world, he's doing it by buying into the mentality that those lives are essentially interchangeable and worth no more than basic resources. All human life loses meaning under Pro's mentality. That's enough to vote Con.

But let's talk about the other major arguments.

We've discussed a good deal about resources and who gets them at the end of various conflicts. Pro simply fails to prove that war often, or even rarely, benefits both sides. He's given multiple examples.

In Iraq, he's told us that the U.S. took massive amounts of oil to make up for the costs of the war effort. But now, he tells us that their oil money was turned into food! The link is useless, mainly because it was written in 2003, and therefore is nowhere near up-to-date. Here's a link that's from January of this year, and no, they're not in good shape.[1] That's in large part the result of our taking much of their resources and using them to cover costs of war.

In the Crusades, he tells us that the Muslims won the Holy Land, and that's a huge victory. He's right. Problem is, victory =/= gain. The Holy Land, as I have pointed out multiple times, was theirs before the war started. Their status didn't improve as a result of victory. It harmed them, killing millions. Pro never contests this, simply asserting that victory is its own reward. We don't say that the USSR gained Russia as a result of winning WWII, though they did expand through the Iron Curtain.

However, where the examples really matter is in the alternatives, all of which Pro drops in the final round.

Pro drops the Native American example, so extend my argument that all of the benefits to them in the long term would have resulted from establishing trade routes, and would have been demonstrably more beneficial in that instance, since it would have cost far fewer lives and encouraged cooperation.

Pro drops my point on the Crusades that trade could have made those technologies available to Europe.

Pro drops my point that treaties have been effective, even after I provided him with 3 examples of this. He continues to drop my point about how changing trade relations and international cooperation can affect behavior, his only response to this being one that ignores my [2] from the previous round and simply asserting that they don't work. All his points about war creating stability fall away as a result of these points and the cycle of violence argument.

These are huge examples that matter greatly to this debate. It's not enough for Pro to show that war is net beneficial compared to nothing happening, he has to show how the alternatives don't stack up. He hasn't done that.

The rest of this debate is focused on the outcomes of war, and what it actually leads to.

Pro's response on the cycle of violence is still wanting. Wars will perpetuate other wars in continual cycles, meaning death only leads to more death. He provides new analysis about how not all wars are full scale between two nations, but from the start of this debate, that's the only kind of war we've discussed. He can't suddenly throw a wrench in in the final round. The war on drugs is not a great example for him anyway, since it has bred massive amounts of violence.[2] The rest of these are not actually wars. Taking a stand against something is not a war, and neither is being vocal about something. The link itself is to an About.com page referencing a book of nothing but opinion, not to mention a dramatically different opinion from the one Pro has espoused throughout this debate.

Lastly, the catalyst line. He's still not doing enough here. Pro hasn't proved that this catalysis can't happen outside of war, nor that war is the best catalyst. I've shown that spending on civilian enterprises can and does lead to the same advances. He doesn't state how much faster it occurred, what funds were specifically spent in war that wouldn't have been spent otherwise, nor does he even contradict my point that transportation spending (his most strongly made point on this end) doesn't even correlate with wartime spending.

He says that the years add up. As he never proves that it takes years in the absence of war, I have some trouble believing that that value is real, but more importantly, he never states why those years matter more than the millions of lives lost. I would say that those lives will always outweigh, and that being behind a few years in technology never warrants this kind of mass death.

Finally, we get back to influenza. Neither of Pro's two links said anywhere (I checked) that "much progress was made during WWI for a vaccine." I did give evidence " I cited the actual date the influenza vaccine was made, and if he'd read the link, it also says that, while they tried everything they could think of in 1918, the only method that worked was "transfusing blood from recovered patients to new victims," and not very well. The progress only started in 1931, when viral growth in embryonated hens' eggs was reported. Until then, scientists were just spinning their wheels.

In fact, neither of Pro's links on the subject of medical advancements even supports his point, and if he had read the line I quoted more carefully, he would have seen this was true. They both say that medical advancements moved fast during wartime, but neither asserts that those advancements occurred because of wartime. Correlation =/= causation.

Pro does tack on this thing about India, but it's an extraneous example that tries to correlate going to war with advancement as a nation, and it's just as flawed as the rest.

In all, Pro has simply failed to uphold his burdens in this debate, providing only weak support for the resolution when the harms of war are so glaring, and little to no response to alternate methods. Vote Con.

1. http://www.cnn.com...
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
no problem. same to you.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Yeah, I was getting worried there. I've appreciated this debate as well, thanks for making it and being consistent in posting.
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
haha, I sent that last round in with 34 seconds left on the clock! Anyway, thank you for the great debate. This is probably one of the most interesting and intense debates I've had so far. *shakes opponent's hand*
Posted by Technition 2 years ago
Technition
If you don't somebody else surely will...
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Jifpop09
I would play the cost of human life card.
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
Great! Then let's get started, shall we?
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
That's fine. I'm OK with the prospect of discussing formal wars as the main subject of debate.
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
I would like to use this defition: a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

I would prefer to discuss more "honest" wars, by that I mean wars that people are fighting for their very nation's survival (WW2) or when one nation is conquering another (more ancient wars). Not the modern, political and economic-based wars in which humans are traded for money. But, of course, that is war too and can be used in the debate.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
By "war," are you referring to all conflict?
Posted by TheRussian 2 years ago
TheRussian
What would you like me to specify?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by travis18352 2 years ago
travis18352
TheRussianwhiteflameTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: this was a pretty even debate but con used better sources.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
Relativist
TheRussianwhiteflameTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The debate was about net harm or benefits, as such all factors are to be considered. Both debaters should consider both side of the spectrums instead of focusing on just one side? Pro makes valiant effort, but had one major weakness, loop sided arguments. This weakness ran throughout the debate. Basically, his argument merely focused on just 1 side(shown through Iraq,Mongols, WW1) failing to consider the other side of the river. This weakness is the reason he lost the debate. Furthermore he flip flops on personality which confuses me as he said that lives are resources and personalities are irrelevant, then asserted that in war, personalities shine.slight win for con on this issue. On medicine, the same weakness was yet again seen although much of it was causal correlative. Same weakness, as such points to Con .So 3-0 win on arguments warrants 3 points. Thanks to both debaters.