The Instigator
cherrychocolate
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points
The Contender
Conspicuous_Conservative
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points

War on Terror

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,577 times Debate No: 304
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (16)

 

cherrychocolate

Con

What exactly is a "war on terror" supposed to mean? And furthermore, when does it end? When no one hates anyone else anymore? Isn't that a little idealistic?
The way I see it, this "war on terror" is really just an excuse to start defying those pesky little rules like our Constitution, the Geneva conventions even the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Things like torture of prisoners, suspension of habeus corpus, and suppression of the freedom of expression as (supposedly) protected by the First Amendment are all justified with that handy phrase, "we're at war."
"With whom?" one might ask.
"With terror! Hadn't you heard?"
So now we're in an interminable state of warfare, and therefore such offenses as Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and so forth will be infinitely justifyable.
Anyone else a little worried yet?
Conspicuous_Conservative

Pro

First of all I would like to tell you although I disagree with your opinion I will gladly defend your right to have your opinion. Now as you can tell from my picture and my profile I am an independent conservative that serves in the US Army. This does not make me a Bush bot (honestly until the troop surge he was miss managing the war). I too dislike the term "War on Terror", but call it what you will we are doing the right thing. Their where ties to Al-Qaeda pre 09/11 existing in Iraq and our job was to dethrown an evil dictator in Sadam and remove all remaining terrorists. We are currently their trying to prevent terrorist attacks, teach tactics to Iraqi police and provide security until the government can be established. Now you made valid points pertaining to Guantannamo about civil liberty abuses. it is true that these terrorist are not given fourteenth and sixth amendment rights, but you have failed to state the fact that those rights only pertain to American CITIZENS or events that occur on American soil. I am really stunned that you would use the Geneva Convention in this argument because terrorist combatants do not fall under Geneva laws because they do not wear uniforms and they fight in civilian areas with the attention on propaganda. I would like to question the fact you state we torture, would you be able to give an example of torture tactics we use and the nimber of casualties from these supposed tortures. Thanks for taking your time to read this and I will patiently await your response
Debate Round No. 1
cherrychocolate

Con

In response to your defending my right to have my opinion - I appreciate that and am glad you haven't taken unreasonable offense, and agree with you; though I disagree I'm pleased to proclaim your right to maintain your own opinion.
But where do you get the notion that it was "our job" to dethrone a dictator? I'm not saying I supported Hussein but there are plenty of other dictators out there, I don't see us going after them. If the war had been fought on behalf of the innocent citizens of Iraq, for their sake and their protection, I don't think I'd have any real objections. But I cannot believe that those were anything close to the motives of the Bush administration, since there are worse persecutions going elsewhere - China, Myanmar, Sudan, Somalia - and our government turns a sometimes blind, sometimes merely unmotivated eye. Nor can I believe that it was truly in the interests of protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction - I have yet to see convincing proof that such weapons ever existed, or that Iraq would have had the balls to level them against us; and furthermore, if that is sufficient motivation to go to war, then why is North Korea still untouched, even unthreatened by us? In all honesty, I cannot think of why we went to war in Iraq - I'm truly baffled. But I can't support a war of which I can't see the purpose. As another point of interest - since I've seen no conclusive statistics on it myself - does anyone have any idea what the ratio is of projected deaths at the hands of Hussein the evil dictator versus actual deaths caused by the turmoil we stirred up? Just wondering...
Now, since when do civil rights pertain only to American citizens? Oh, yes, I understand that legally they only apply to citizens; but don't we have those rights because they are considered "inalienable" and so on? When our founding fathers asserted those rights they weren't American citizens yet - there was no America to be a citizen of. Yet they asserted the rights, not as Americans and therefore privileged above citizens of other nations; but as human beings and therefore granted rights which no government had the right to violate, and by which they declared that the government that had nevertheless violated those rights no longer held authority over them. And so shouldn't the same rights extend, in principle, to everyone? How can you possibly say that another has fewer rights than you because s/he had the misfortune of not being born in the United States?
When I refer to injustices in the legal system, I do not refer to people actually caught with illegal weapons on their persons, or anything of the sort. I refer to random people, usually of Arabic descent, sometimes American citizens, arrested and held without charge; sometimes for days, sometimes for months, sometimes for years. I refer to lawyers instructed to defend these hapless victims - and then not being told so much as the charges against them, or allowed to bring witnesses to present their cases. I refer to an utter absence of trial, but instead a legal system based on an annual hearing at which the defendant and his lawyer - be he fortunate enough to have one - may argue a case which has never been presented. If these people have actually done something wrong, then let it be stated publicly, that their crimes may be known and denounced; and if they have only been arrested on behalf of their skin tone or nationality, then let us be honest - we are a country who grow more xenophobic and racist with each causeless arrest.
I would be more than happy to provide support for my contention that we are a torturing nation, if you'd care to peruse any or all of the following sources (yes they are all New York Times articles; it's the only paper I read consistently and, though it's far from perfect, I regard it as my most reliable news source)
On the impracticality of torture regarding the extraction of information: http://www.nytimes.com...
On the findings of the Red Cross regarding torture at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center: http://www.nytimes.com...
On torture tactics used in a detention center in Baghdad, as reported by a pair of detained American citizens: http://www.nytimes.com...
I apologize if after this it takes me some time to respond again and appreciate your patience in advance.
Conspicuous_Conservative

Pro

Once again it is nice to hear from you and let me start by saying that just because you disagree with the President's strategies I know that doesn't make you agree with Hussein or any dictator for that matter and if anyone accuses you of that they are ignorant and naive. With that said I must state that though you have a valid point that their are many other dictators that have yet been touched by us, I would agree, but you must realize we had so much evidence to go into Iraq and people still give the US grief whether it is foreign governments and their disapproval of our country or whether it is democrats and their disapproval of the Bush administration advocating another conflict with another dictator could tear this country apart even farther. Now you state that their are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but we know their are still some or they have used some because the US gave them chemical weapons to combat Iran. Just follow this link to quotes from the Clinton Administration regarding Saddam and the state of Iraq <http://www.snopes.com...
If you need any further evidence you can go to the following link to see a written dialogue of President Clinton's address to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also Pentagon Staff regarding the threat Iraq poses with its weapons of mass destruction. <http://www.cnn.com...;

Dealing with the torture you say we do and how deadly it is follow this link you will see that our supposed torture not only saves American lives and the lives of all of our allies <http://www.ibdeditorials.com...;. It is far less dangerous and inhumane then the treatment that is being seen from terrorist upon civilians ex. Beheading of Nick Berg. To compare water boarding or putting underwear on prisoners heads to what terrorist do is very misguided and I feel you are slightly miss informed. By the way here is a torture guide book found by US Armed forces showing how Al-Qaeda tortures.

Although I couldn't find an exact number the following is a new clip found in the Washington Post (8/28/98):

The Washington Post's Gas Attack

Today's outrage was yesterday's no big deal

By Seth Ackerman

In the midst of the 1998 standoff over Iraqi weapons inspections, an almost frantic editorial ran in the Washington Post (8/28/98). Brimming with urgency, the editorialise declared that "22 days have now passed without United Nations inspections of Saddam Hussein's weapons-making capabilities. That is 22 days during which he could work unimpeded to develop chemical, biological and nuclear arms. This is a dictator who has used chemical weapons, on his own people and on his enemies, and who would use them again."

It wasn't the first reminder from the Post that Iraq has used gas. From time to time the editorialises drop references to "Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons against his own people" (3/13/02). "He has used such weapons before," they note (1/7/99), "against his own people." "Saddam Hussein has indeed used poison gas to murder thousands of his own people" (2/3/02). "He is a man who had used chemical weapons on his own people" (6/8/91)--and he also heads "a regime that has used poison gas on its own people" (11/13/97).

Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas in the 1980's is, for the Post, Exhibit A--proof that 1) Iraq poses a terrifying threat to the world; 2) the global oil embargo on Iraq must be maintained; 3) the U.S. and other countries should periodically bomb Iraq when it is seen to be defying Washington; and 4) the U.S. should overthrow the Iraqi government by force when the right moment arises.

"Only Saddam Hussein's removal from power can ultimately erase the threat that Iraq currently poses to its region and the world," the Post wrote in a typical editorial (12/17/98)--proving the point a few paragraphs later by once again recalling Saddam's use, a decade earlier, of the aforementioned "weapons...against his own people."

It has been almost 15 years since Iraq last made use of chemical arms. If the memory of Baghdad's use of poison gas in the now largely forgotten Iran/Iraq War (1980-88) still conjures up such violent reactions from the Washington Post more than a decade later, one wonders: What must the paper's fury have been like at the very moment of the deed, in the aftermath of the carnage, when the horror of Saddam's cruelty stood fresh in the mind, without years of distance to mellow the shock? How did the Post react when Iraq actually used poison gas "on his own people and on his enemies"?

Thank you for the time and I will await your response good night.
Debate Round No. 2
cherrychocolate

Con

If the administration is being grief, from either foreign or domestic entities, I can't say I feel very much sympathy. The president decided on a unilateral course of action against the stated wishes of almost every other country in the world (as represented in the UN), including a few allies, as well as many people within this country. He cannot have expected anything but animosity to have arisen from such blatant disregard for their opinions. The decision was made and now the inevitable consequences are being dealt out.
The first link you provided led me to a snopes site - to which I will give credit for credibility - but it merely listed quotes from Democrats saying that they also thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I remind you that I am not here to advocate on behalf of the Democratic party; though my beliefs generally align with their stated causes I cannot actually support them due to my general low of opinion of politicians across the board, though I suppose I might think minutely better of one who at least pretends to believe in something good. The point I am getting at is that I really don't care if every politician in the country attacked Iraq for having weapons; politicians' words don't convince me. It may have been trendy at the time, before this war took so many lives, to denounce Hussein, and so until and unless some actual proof of a weapons program is produced I will remain unconvinced. Which is far from to say that I think it unlikely that there were such weapons - on the contrary, I think it very likely; but "very likely" is just not good enough, in my book, to go to war. We have stirred up extensive turmoil that will not subside for years and probably decades, and will probably only be quelled with the ascension of another dictator to power. We can't just reach into another country, destroy the system that was in place - no matter how corrupted and harmful it might have been - and expect that life will go on for the citizens of that nation without major mishap. It was short-sighted, hasty, and entirely out of line.
Your other two links gave me error messages when I tried to view them.
Regarding torture: it is not its potential deadliness that I have a problem with - I accept that very few people actually die from torture. But I do consider waterboarding to be torture, because though it leaves no scars on the body, it causes an intense state of mental distress that is nothing to be sneered at. Degradation is also a form of torture. Any human being has a right to basic dignity, and to strip them of that is to lower them to the state of dogs or machines, something lacking sentience. When the Nazis wanted to break people in their concentration camps, they took away their names, branded them with numbers, and treated them like cattle. Holocaust survivors have described the effects of the process they underwent to make them feel inhuman and there is no denying that such acts as, for example, stripping a prisoner of his clothes and forcing him to remain in an uncomfortable and submissive position for hours on end has sever psychological effects.
All I can say is that the rest of your counterargument really kind of states my point for me. As you've acknowledged, I am not pro-terrorist or pro-Al Qaeda or anything of the sort. I would denounce what they are doing as loudly as I do the actions of the Bush administration if I thought it would do any good. But for you to feel the need to compare our actions to such repressive and inhuman organizations really shows how low our practices have sunk, that they need to be set beside those of (legitimate) terrorists to put them in an acceptable light. We need hardly be congratulated on having practices above those of Al Qaeda - it's expected. If a child walks up to an adult and slaps his kneecap, and the adult refrains from kicking the child, you're not going to see a whole lot of people running over to say, That was well-done. We are supposed to be, we claim to be, pioneers of human and civil rights; yet how can we claim such an honor when we strip prisoners - and I will restate that they are often arrested and held without any charges being brought against them, a point which you have neglected to respond to - of any human dignity, and deliberately cause physical discomfort and psychological torture? I might add that for all your comparisons to Al Qaeda, in which we come out the better, comparisons have also been made to Soviet torture tactics, and we have been found to be on very much the same page as they were. The articles I posted last time state explore these points in greater detail but I will make them again nevertheless: many of our so-called "interrogation" techniques are taken from a training program for helping brace U.S. soldiers against torture they may face at the hands of immoral enemies, compiled during the Cold War using torture tactics known to be employed by the Soviet Union; and such techniques have proven, time and again, to produce words, not of honesty, but of whatever category and making whatever point the captive thinks his tormentors want to hear. Of course some of them have confessed to being members of a terrorist organization - they're being tortured and think that those magic words will make it end, will make sure they never have to face that drowning feeling again, or be left dripping in a cold cell to contract pneumonia, or whatever practice has been latest employed against them.
As for the article you included at the end of your response: I fail to see how it and the evidence it presents really does all that much to support your argument. The use of poison gas on his own people, while tragic, can hardly be used as evidence that he intends to attack other nations - we hardly expect attack from China, and they are equally cruel to their dissident citizens, or from Sudan, whose president Omar Al-Bashir is engaged in his second genocide. I fail also to see the cognizant leap between the knowledge that such poison gas is being used and the assertion that we should bomb Iraq; if the people of that country are already suffering poison gas under the regime, do they need the added grief of having bombs dropped on their homes? And is a ruler so callous as to actively attack his own people actually going to care if bombs are dropped on their homes? I just don't understand the reasoning at all.
I must confess myself also not entirely impressed with the use of a Post editorial to communicate a point regarding the Iraq war: firstly, because it's an editorial, and those are supposed to be very opinionated, one-sided and provocative - otherwise they won't sell; and secondly, because in this debate, at least, I am quarreling with the War on Terror and not so much the war in Iraq, a distinction I feel must be made to fully understand the points I am making.
I apologize if any of that gave offense as I meant no disrespect; I simply didn't understand your choice of sources to support your argument and so responded only to those parts that I saw as relevant to my own arguments, but would welcome clarification if I somehow missed the point of what you were trying to say.
Conspicuous_Conservative

Pro

I receive this all the time, the US media has portrayed every prison guard or member of the Military evil after one event that was seen on TV. I was also at Guantanamo, even though I wasn't responsible for watching prisoners the entire time like 31D I still had to make sure and give prisoners received meals and the guards received the equipment they need. I saw prisoners who where well treated most of the time. We had to make sure they where fed Hall' al meals. Hall' al meals are similar to Kosher meals for Jewish people. We had to give them the ability to pray five times daily with prayer rugs we had to specially order. We had to provide them with Korans for study they received specially cooked meals so contrary to what you think it wasn't torture that is comparable to anything the Nazi's did.

There is nothing I can do to convince you that the current war that we are in is not something that can be solely blamed upon the Bush Administration because the facts are their we had the Clinton administration telling US that Saddam and his regime where priority one. With the polarization of the Country you stated that we should have attacked China, North Korea, Sudan or some other nation with a dictator that was comparable to Saddam but it would have came to the same situation we are in today, half the country condemning the Bush administration. If we attack terrorists with as much passion as the media and more than half the country attacks Bush we would be done or near that point. I do not support Bush in all he does I would rather have him leave the war too the generals who where trained in strategies lead us to victory but much like Vietnam we are winning as long as the media doesn't beat us Bush and the War on Terrorism will go down in history as a just cause.

Thank you for the discussion cherrychocolate hope to see you around and please whether you approve of the President or not do always believe that all of US in the military torture prisoners or treat people with disrespect.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by C-Mach 8 years ago
C-Mach
The Geneva Conventions don't apply to terrorists, as it specifically states.
Posted by Novan_Leon 8 years ago
Novan_Leon
The trouble with those who oppose the Iraq War is that they don't understand the context of the political landscape today.

States such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. sponsor terrorism. In order to change this, there needs to be a long-term cultural change in that part of the world; a cultural change that emphasizes the priorities of the common people (the majority) versus those of the radical terrorists (a minority). The success of democracy in the middle east is an important stepping stone towards promoting this change. Iraq was a prime target for this effort due to their confirmed possession of chemical weapons, Saddam's interest in nuclear weapons and his continual noncooperation with the UN inspectors (the UN promised Saddam serious consequences if they did not cooperate, by the way, but the UN failed to follow up on that promise).

Looking back, history will see Bush and the Iraq War as a good thing for the world overall. I think the largest problem on the anti-war side of the aisle is that they don't see the seriousness of the Islamo-fascist movement. These people are evil as in 'Hitler' evil (if not worse). These are the people that strap explosives to a baby and blow the baby to bits in order to kill a politician. They want to do this to you and your baby too.
Posted by Curtispov11 8 years ago
Curtispov11
way to go cherry chocolate...

the war on terror is supposed to be a war on terrorism, which by definition is "using violence on civilians to intimidate the public"

Our effed-up government used "terrorism" as a scapegoat word so that they could invade Iraq.

The truth is that people don't know the difference between the war on terrorism and the war in iraq

and for that, they are all BRAINWASHED
Posted by IamMe90 8 years ago
IamMe90
Con is just better at making convincing arguments, I'm not even going to lie. Persuasive syntax and diction play a fairly important part in text-based debating, and cherrychocolate has that down.

But uh, use more paragraphs con. It's kind of annoying to get a wall of text in your face.
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