War on Terrorism
Debate Rounds (5)
First, allow me to make a distinction between ideas and forces. The US did not stop Nazism, it never stopped it, there are still Neo-Nazis today. They stopped the German military under Hitler, who were operating under the ideology of Nazism. You can't kill/destroy an idea. You can kill/destroy military forces that use that idea. Terrorists are, in most cases, not a single, allied force, but can be anyone. Anyone.
Secondly, I don't believe passing anti-Muslim laws will reduce terrorism. Firstly, before any of the Muslim-terrorist controversy, this a clear denial of the first amendment, in the Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." People clearly have a right to the freedom of religion. The Supreme Court has declared such laws unconstitutional, and yet you want to bring them back. I am not calling you evil, nor bad, nor a terrible person. From a logical, non-sentimental perspective this is in conflict with the First Amendment, therefore the Constitution, and furthermore against the very principles of our country, democracy, etc. In addition, you are suggesting there is a direct correlation between the Islam faith and terrorism. The jihadist terrorists are to Islam as the KKK or the WBC are to Christianity: they are a small, extreme minority. Islam is, in fact, a peaceful God-worshipping religion that preaches love and peace. The fundamental Muslim laws this legislation is banning in no way incite violence against people of opposing religions. Such laws are an example of the bigotry and religious intolerance this "war on terror" encourages. If we are to eliminate terrorism, we as Americans must first learn about it. How many Americans really understand what terrorism is, how many really understand the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, why we are there. How many Americans understand the Muslim faith? Probably very few. You cannot speak badly of a religion based on what you hear from pundits and bigots. Islam does not encourage violence at all. In fact, here is a quote from it:
"O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other (not that you should despise one another). Indeed the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous." Chapter 49, Verse 13
So my conventions are basically:
1) Such a "war on terror" encourages relgious bigotry and hatred.
2) Such a war is very costly, and not beneficial enough to outweigh negatives (cost, civiliand deaths, etc.)
3) Americans have a warped view of what a "terrorist" is. You gotta know the enemy.
4) Terrorism is an idea, not associated solely with any country or group. You cannot declare war on it and win. If you want to stop terrorism, start in America. More security, more safety is essential. This does not mean restricting freedom of speech, religion, etc.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, shook the nation to its core and challenged the prevailing notion that America was invulnerable to attack. Only a handful of people could have predicted that terrorists would have used airplanes as flying bombs to unleash terror and devastation on American soil. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, which killed over three thousand people, money was poured into the airline industry to prevent other jets from being hijacked in the same way.
It soon became clear, however, that much more than just the airline industry needed protection from terrorism. Indeed, it did not take officials long to develop a list of sectors of society that were, on closer inspection, dangerously vulnerable to attack. The nearly eight thousand miles of borders the United States shares with Mexico and Canada were uncomfortably open, as were its twelve thousand miles of coastline. The nation's trucking, rail lines, and nuclear power plants also had very little security in place. National landmarks also seemed particularly defenseless; American treasures, such as Mount Rushmore and Ellis Island, appeared especially prone to attack because of their symbolic value. To take on the enormous task of safeguarding the nation, the Department of Homeland Security was created in the months following September 11.
Among the daunting tasks the new department is responsible for is figuring out exactly who is in the country, and with what intentions. America is an open society, one that values individual privacy and freedom of choice and movement. Indeed, because of these qualities, America has traditionally been a beacon of freedom and opportunity to those around the world. After September 11, however, living in an open society seemed suddenly like a liability rather than an asset. After all, the September 11 terrorists had used legal channels to enter the country. Officials realized that radically new approaches would be needed to apprehend terrorists who had managed to blend into society.
Part of the sweeping changes that occurred after September 11 thus affected privacy and freedom. The USA PATRIOT Act was adopted, which expands government powers and intelligence capabilities in order to ferret out terrorists living in the United States. Another program, called Total Information Awareness (TIA), was also developed to enhance intelligence capabilities and gather information about the civilian population. These two programs have met mixed reactions; some people appreciate efforts to scrutinize the population and claim they have nothing to hide; others complain that the new measures violate the civil liberties of ordinary Americans and contend that such breaches of privacy have little to do with counterterrorism.
In addition to changes at home, the war on terror immediately spread overseas. Indeed, stamping out foreign-born terrorism became a key tenet of U.S. policy. To this end, in October 2001 U.S. and coalition forces ousted the fundamentalist Taliban government of Afghanistan. Many Americans saw this war as a direct retaliation for the September 11 attacks, as the Taliban had sheltered September 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. In 2003 U.S. forces fought another war in Iraq to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein. The Bush administration claimed that his regime was building weapons of mass destruction and had ties to terrorist groups. These military incursions made clear that America would be active abroad in its war on terrorism. A variety of operations continue overseas in a multitude of countries that are linked to terrorism in some way. Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Libya, North Korea, Indonesia, and Europe are just some of the places where the United States has undertaken military, intelligence, and diplomatic operations relating to its war on terror.
Although monumental changes have taken place since September 11, it remains, on the whole, unclear whether these efforts to reduce terrorism are indeed working. In fact, a dizzying array of conclusions has been drawn, making it nearly impossible to achieve consensus on the effectiveness of the war. For example, President George W. Bush, one of the most vocal supporters of the war on terrorism, claims that terrorists are being caught and thus the war on terrorism is succeeding. As he said in his State of the Union address in January 2003, "We have the terrorists on the run. We're keeping them on the run. One by one, the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice." National Review contributor Kate O'Beirne agrees, confidently lauding the achievements of the war on terrorism:
In the past two years, terrorist cells in Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle, and Portland, Ore., have been dismantled; criminal charges have been brought against 225 suspected terrorists; and 132 of those suspects have been convicted. Terrorists haven't carried out another attack here because the domestic war on terrorism, aimed at prevention, has worked.
Other observers, however, look at the same list of accomplishments and conclude that when one terrorist is removed, a hundred step up to take his or her place. Author Scott Holleran, contributor to Capitalism Magazine, argued this point in a September 8, 2003, article entitled "Why We're Losing the War on Terror":
The White House has made much of the fact that two-thirds of al Qaeda's leadership has been caught. Picking off top ter- rorists one by one will not win this war. As one Taliban fighter scoffed, when asked by the Associated Press to comment on [al] Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's capture: "There are lots of people who can do his work."
Indeed, critics of the war on terrorism believe it has in fact enlarged the terrorist problem and inspired more terrorists to take up arms against the United States. In her August 20, 2003, article "How America Created a Terrorist Haven," New York Times reporter Jessica Stern wrote:
[The] bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad [Iraq] was the latest evidence that America has taken a country that was not a terrorist threat and turned it into one. . . . The occupation [of Iraq by American troops] has given disparate groups from various countries a common battlefield on which to fight a common enemy.
Thus, measuring success seems to be a matter of how one interprets the facts. Because of this, evaluating the war on terrorism is very complicated.
Another factor preventing the public from determining whether efforts to reduce terrorism have been successful has to do with secrecy. Many of the details of the war on terrorism are kept secret, in large part for security reasons. For example, if intelligence officers are able to infiltrate terrorist cells and make key arrests, those arrests will need to be kept from the public so as to prevent the enemy from learning who among them has been captured. Indeed, only a very select group of high ranking officials will even be aware that certain operations are ongoing. President Bush acknowledged this necessity when he addressed Congress on September 20, 2001, saying, "Our response [to the attacks of September 11, 2001] involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success."
These secret fronts of the war on terror make it difficult to gauge its success, and it remains nearly impossible for the average citizen to monitor the war's progress. This secrecy has elicited many different reactions from Americans; some have supported the claim that secrecy is necessary. These Americans trust that their government will protect them as best it can. The secrecy has not boded well with others, however, who are accustomed to living in an open society where their government's actions are subject to public scrutiny.
Perhaps the most difficult challenge facing those trying to evaluate the war is its ambiguous nature: Does the absence of attacks in the United States indicate that security measures are working, or that attacks have not been attempted? The absence of terrorism at home is indeed an eerie and confusing phenomenon. In late 2002 author Bill Powell pondered this predicament in an article for Fortune magazine:
It has been a year since September 11 . . . and nothing has happened since. For all the warnings, for all the rumors of imminent dirty nukes, arrests of shoe bombers, and suspected sleeper cells, there has not, remarkably, been another attack. Not many people a year ago would have pre- dicted that. It would be nice, therefore, to think that nothing like what happened then could happen now. That the merciful quiet at home in the year since the 11th has been because we have taken the war to the enemy abroad and become vigilant and smart at home.
In many ways, 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 there is another attack. It is only then that changes to security will receive their first true test, and whatever weaknesses were left unaddressed will be made horribly clear. The viewpoints presented in At Issue: Are Efforts to Reduce Terrorism Successful? explore the gamut of actions being taken in the war against terrorism and offer insight into the wide range of interpretations of their success.
thedude346 forfeited this round.
I disagree with the increased Islamophobia. As I said, persecuting Muslims and restricting freedom of speech just because of some extremists really isn't smart. And going to bomb the hell out of all these Middle Eastern Countries can't help much, either
Over 90% of terrorism in the United States is NOT committed by Muslim groups.
If we sacrifice our freedoms, but also restrict the freedoms of others. If we discrimnate against people because of their religion, and pass legislation against that religion... the terrorists have won.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||0|
Reasons for voting decision: 5 minute debate rounds, and arguments in the comments really don't count...
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.