The Instigator
Swetha
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
charlesdarwood
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

War on an enemy by a country is necessary or not.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,399 times Debate No: 12620
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

Swetha

Con

I think that war on a country who is always troubling is not necessary. They should follow non-violence. If a country starts a war the country which is facing the war will get more angry and will make the situation worse even if the country which started want to stop.
charlesdarwood

Pro

First, let me thank you the opportunity to debate you.

My argument is simple. Since your claim that a country should never start a war is normative--that is, it specifies what one *ought* to do--it must necessarily abide one of the following two ethical forms:

(1a) It is wrong to start a war because doing so is intrinsically bad.
(1b) It is wrong to start a war because doing so will result in something bad.

The first possibility (a) evinces a deontological ethical character. Any violation thereof is bad for no reason ancillary to the act of starting a war--it is bad simply because starting wars is bad. Therefore no conceivable circumstances could ever suffice to justify its violation. Now, the ultimate basis for one's holding such an ethical position might be contractarian, or religious, or perhaps based on some kind of Kantian modal calculus--it doesn't matter.

But on (b), a teleological ethical notion, one evaluates the ethical propriety of an action based not on a simple principle of an action, but on its outcome or its intended outcome. Inasmuch as you condemned war--in the abbreviated argument you posted earlier--on the basis of its making "the situation worse," it's clear that your opposition to war is not motivated by a principled pacifist stand but rather by a supposition contingent on variable real-world facts. (However, until you more completely argue your position, I will remain agnostic to its specific morals.)

But no matter how you argue you will have to contend with the following problems:

If you argue that war is always wrong, *no matter what,* then your argument could not be disconfirmed even in theory. Because nothing I could say would ever change your mind, such an argument would not be an argument at all; it would instead be an impotent tautological cliche'.

But if, on the other hand, you argue that starting a war is wrong by virtue of what you personally foresee occurring thereafter, you run into two different problems:

(2a) First, the only guarantee you have that starting a war will result badly (we might say that it would "make things worse than they were before") is your own fallible intuition. On what credible basis can one make such a bold assertion? None! You might, on the basis of some statistical data, say, argue that it is probable, or even that it is nearly certain, that the outcome should be worse. But you cannot--and in fact nobody could--predict how a war will turn out. Moreover, there is the related problem of your determining whether or not things actually *are* better thereafter. But this is a promise of futility, because at whichever point in the future you make such a judgment, the ethical basis upon which it was made may thereafter change, and in so doing, perjure your assessment.

(2b) Second, you are committed to the idea that every war is bad, when in fact there is, spread throughout the annals of history, clear evidence to the contrary; wars have proven necessary, wars have resulted in the greater good, and there have been wars, that, were they not waged, would have entailed outcomes much, much worse. But you have to regard all of these wars--World War II and the Childrens' Crusade--as being immoral categorical equals. You can of course do so, but what you cannot do is simultaneously make your argument with any kind of coherence.

Furthermore, if it can be shown that you oppose a war that, if waged, would bring about a state of affairs better than that which would obtain otherwise, then you are *not* opposed to war on a teleological basis at all. Your opposition--in this putative scenario--would be of the inadequate deontological variety instead.

So, in order to coherently make your case, you *must* be willing to acknowledge at least the possibility that starting a war could make things better than they would be if no war were to occur. This might seem like I'm asking you to argue on my behalf, but the alternative would be that your argument is necessarily, rather than contingently, true, and that's no argument at all.
Debate Round No. 1
Swetha

Con

I should thank you for accepting to debate on the following topic. Okay, let us consider two situations. Example India, Pakistan.
1] Already Pakistan is waiting for the right opportunity to destroy India. And most of the people, are waiting to take a revenge. In that case if India starts a war and "if" it wins then Pakistan which is already angry will get more angry. It will satisfy the proverb 'Adding fuel to the war'. In that situation, it will be a win-loose situation. So if it follows non-violence and some comprising talks in which both the countries are satisfied then I am sure it is a win-win situation. It will get compromised easily and it will be the end of the enemity. I agree that it wont stop within a fraction of second. But patience is needed. A leader should be very careful in taking each and every step. If India takes a wrong step then whole plan will be collapsed and the people will loose the faith in the country.
2} If any of the two countries decide to take war then there will be following consequences.
a] Lose of life, property, peace, economy crisis, the country will not be able to concentrate in the development of the country. So both the countries will be fighting and other countries will be developing.
And I am not saying this a 'no matter what' attitude. It is my opinion.
You are saying about the victory a country is about to enjoy after winning the war. But I am speaking about the situation during the war, in the battle field, and the situation of the country which is going to loose. Winning is a matter of second but having humanity is not a matter of a second; it is matter of a life time. Of course, there has been some benefits in war but you should agree that merits are less in number compared to the demerits. You said that World war II is immoral. I say that not only World war II all the wars are immoral. How can the government kill it's own citizen by engaging in the war. I am sure that if the members are less in the army a government which is ready to start a war will also be ready to engage engineers in war. It's motive is to win. In that point it does not matter whether the war is for good or bad. If a country wins the war it will be remembered but the country which compromised with huge efforts will be remembered more. As a girl born in the land in which non-violence was practised to achieve freedom and a land which teaches us patience and non-violence I take the side, that the country should not wage a war at any cost and should go for peace talks.
charlesdarwood

Pro

Thank you for your reply.

Before I respond to your argument I want to emphasize, so you don't infer otherwise, that I'm not stridently pro-war"; that is, I don't have any respect for the ideals of nationalism, expansionism, colonialism, imperialism, or manifest destiny. I believe war is necessary only as a last resort in cases of self defense and exceptional charges of international social justice.

In the case of your first example, you identify several reasons why India should not wage war on Pakistan. By your argument, to wage such a war would entail anger, escalation, violence, and revenge, so India instead should prefer a non-violent compromise--and I agree. But in distinguishing a specific example to buttress your argument that war is not justified you necessarily imply that there are cases in which war *is* justified--otherwise, what is the point of making note of political conditions applicable to a single conflict? Of course countries should always prefer non-violent compromise to war. However--and this is my point--it is not always possible to do so and therefore war is sometimes necessary.

You subsequently argue that the "merits [of war] are less in number compared to the demerits" and that countries "should not wage war at any cost." But these two ideas are contradictory. For if the merits of war should exceed the demerits, then by your logic war would be justified--a contingency you reject. Thus your argument contains two claims: (1) that war is not justified for the reason that its merits never outweigh its demerits, and (2) war is necessarily immoral. Both cannot be true.

I believe that some wars are just. The Allied Forces' action in World War II, in my opinion--and contrary to the opinion you have ascribed to me--was justified. But whether or not the Allies started the war or even whether or not their actions were justified, does not, as far as this debate goes, validate or invalidate my argument. It is enough, by your logic, that some war--past or future--be justified.

Now I'm not sure which war-time commodity you mean to calculate in 'merits' and 'demerits', but I'm going to assume that any reasonable definition of these terms would include the loss of lives. But there have been, and there will be, cases in which going to war results in the loss of fewer lives than not going to war. This is true not only of the lives of one country's combatants, but of the soldiers and citizens of every country in the conflict.

It is commonly argued that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example, was justified because the counterfactual inevitability was the loss of far more lives in a ground war. This may or may not be true; I am not arguing that it is. However, if it were true it would disconfirm your claim that the demerits of war always outweigh its merits. (The utilitarian consideration of life in this example applies as well to other conceivable commodities, especially inasmuch as most war-time conceptions of merit are derivative therefrom.) Such was the explicit justification for war in 28 percent of the 289 wars surveyed in a study by Erich H. Witte & Susanne Halverscheid. Of course, I can't prove that 28 percent of wars are justified. I can't prove that 2.8 percent of wars are justified. But yours is a logical, not a historical argument. Therefore, unless you can prove that every war is not justified--you have the burden of proof here--then your argument from merit is not justified.

However, if your opposition to war is just a manifestation of your ideological opposition to something more fundamental--as you imply--then your argument, to the extent that you adduce consequential conditions for the moral character of war, is self-refuting. War cannot be wrong for the reason that it increases anger, per your example, if it is wrong "at any cost."

However, If you truly believe that war is wrong because violence is necessarily wrong, then I invite you (in another debate, alas) to explain to me how it is that allowing a genocide to occur could be preferable to preventing it.
Debate Round No. 2
Swetha

Con

You mentioned that 28 percent of the 289 wars surveyed were jistified. What about the remaining 72%. It is of course unjustified. One of the unjustified war is the Iraq war. Iraq war waged for all the wrong reasons from weapons of mass destruction to liberation, and the only way to undo our misdeeds is by removing President Bush from office. So, most of them agree that it is unjustified and you also mentioned that 78% of wars are unjustified. This does not need a separate survey. It states in the survey you mentioned already. And to debate on a topic we need logic and some proof. I have mentioned in the previous round about my logical thinking and the proof is in the survey you mentioned earlier.
To say the truth, I should thank you for giving me such valid points. Frankly speaking, I started this debate with a idea that all wars are wrong. But your argument made me understand that all wars are not wrong and we can use violence when necessary that is rarely. I was searching an opponent who thought wars is always necessary but instead I got a better opponent who thinks war is necessary when there is no other way. According to me, round 1 is intro and round 2 is the thing I want to say that is the content and the third round is the conclusion.
Conclusion: I conclude that wars are necessary when there is no other way. And we should think twice or thrice before starting a war.
charlesdarwood

Pro

I don't know if 28% of wars are justified, but I doubt it.The study to which I referred concluded merely that 28% of the time the *claimed* justification for war was utilitarian. I think the number is much lower. In any event, it is not my intent to argue this statistic, or to argue which wars were or were not justified. My argument is that war can be justified, a point to which you seem to have come around. For that reason--and at the risk of losing my combative fortitude--I must say I agree completely with your conclusion.

I hope there aren't many people who believe that "war is always necessary." Should you encounter a Hegelian, however, perhaps this debate will prove helpful.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Rodriguez47 6 years ago
Rodriguez47
War is never justified. Comment or message me so thinks otherwise.
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
"evinces a deontological ethical character" Great phrase! I'm not sure what it means, but I like it.
Posted by Korashk 6 years ago
Korashk
How could you be con to this resolution? It either is necessary or it isn't necessary. Those are the only two options. It can't not be one of those.
Posted by feverish 6 years ago
feverish
You have great English for a non-native speaker Swetha but I can't help being slightly amused by the juxtaposition in extremis between charlesdarwood's voracious verbosity and your linguistic limitations.
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