The Instigator
rougeagent21
Pro (for)
Losing
35 Points
The Contender
Johnicle
Con (against)
Winning
62 Points

Water boarding is a just method of gaining information from terrorists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 16 votes the winner is...
Johnicle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,859 times Debate No: 7055
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (35)
Votes (16)

 

rougeagent21

Pro

I stand in affirmation. I will allow my opponent to open. Why is water boarding unjust?
Johnicle

Con

Thank you for this debate and good luck:

I negate: Waterboarding is a just method of gaining information from terrorists.

CONTENTION 1: FRAMEWORK

A. ‘Just' is the term to be proven/disproven.
-The resolution asks us what is ‘just'. It is therefore urgent to define just, which is defined (from http://dictionary.reference.com......) as, "guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness"… It is therefore necessary for the burden of proof to lie within the pro side as meeting these four criteria. Failure to do so, fails to prove that this action in question is just, and therefore would require a con vote.

B. Waterboarding defined.
Spencer Ackerman explains what a former Navy Seal Instructor explained as what waterboarding is (http://www.democraticunderground.com...)
- "Waterboarding is a controlled drowning... It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim's face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral. Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again."
-The former Navy Seal Instructor essentially concludes with this, "Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period. There is no way to gloss over it or sugarcoat it."

*My opponent must therefore prove that this torturous act is guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness in order to get information out of the ‘terrorist.'

CONTENTION 2: WATERBOARDING, IS NOT TRUTHFUL

A. Water boarding fails the Geneva Convention.
-We, the United States, has signed onto the Geneva Convention that very specifically states that we, as the United States, can NOT waterboard because it is considered a form of torture. Failing this truth that it IS torturous and failing the truth that we promised to keep simply means it is NOT just.

B. Water boarding gets inaccurate information.
-When people are put under such sadistic conditions, investigation after investigation reveals the exact same results. NO valuable information is ever forfeited from these ‘terrorists'. Christopher Hitchens underwent the procedure known as water boarding, he concluded several things including A) It is drowning, B) It is torture, C) It provides no valuable information. (http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com...) If my opponent wants to provide evidence for the opposite, I will gladly provide more investigative evidence from several sources (including MSNBC of January 2009: NO VALUABLE INFORMATION FROM "several sources")

C. Although some terrorists undergo the technique, there is no way of telling who actually is a terrorist.
-Yes, the resolution asks us about the treatment of terrorists, but in the flimsy military tribunals, there is no real telling who actually is a terrorist. Take Murat Kurnaz for example (CNN 60 Minutes), he was found ‘red-handed' in the act of being a white man on a bus and was immediately labeled as a terrorist. He was waterboarded for information he didn't have and he essentially wasted 5 years of his life. Now, in our system he is was a ‘terrorist', but that doesn't mean he actually was. Justifying torture for the real terrorists MUST ALSO justify it knowing that we will mess up... A LOT. In fact, CBS of 2009 said that out of the hundreds of ‘terrorists' at Guantanamo Bay, only 3 were ever found guilty. These Military Tribunals were meant to convict ‘terrorists' quickly and accurately, and as CBS described, we failed both.

CONTENTION 3: WATERBOARDING HAS NO REASONING.

-Waterboarding is meant to prevent the actions of terrorist activities. Unfortunately, it provokes them. Men that have gone through our prison system and feared their lives on a daily basis often explained that they were not terrorists going in, but they were terrorist leaving. They basically said if this is the way they want to treat me, then I am ready to fight. This just goes to show, which war are we fighting? Because currently, it is one where wrong men are suspected, and wrong men are tortured.
-http://www.mcclatchydc.com...

CONTENTION 4: WATERBOARDING FAILS JUSTICE (defined as giving each their ‘due')

A. No trial equals no conviction
-We do not need to convict someone to label them a terrorist. This is an essential key to justice, yet we fail to give them a fair trial (failing justice).

B. NO ONE is due torture.
-Are we not fighting people (terrorists) because their acts are wrong? (yes)... Then WHY do we sink to their sadistic level, but moreover, why would we EVER call it ‘just'? We are lowering our standards to the exact thing we are fighting. Terrorist is defined (from http://dictionary.reference.com...) as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce"... From this definition you can see that WE HAVE BECOME THE VERY THING WE ARE FIGHTING.

CONTENTION 5: WATERBOARDING FAILS FAIRNESS.

A. It is not fair to the wrongly convicted.

B. It is not fair to the citizens at home.
1. We create MORE terrorists.
2. Our Internatinoal Relations are DESTROYED.

In the end, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind and that is what we are doing. It is not JUST.

Steam Rolled.
Debate Round No. 1
rougeagent21

Pro

Alright, so to start things off, I will agree with my opponents definitions. I will also concede his contention 1. I don't really see how this is a contention, rather than an observation, but oh well. I will first attack his case, and then move on to my own.

HIS CONTENTION 2: WATERBOARDING, IS NOT TRUTHFUL

He starts this off by stating that the Geneva Conventions say that a country can't water board because it is considered torture. It is true that this was stated. However, THERE IS AN EXCEPTION. Please read this following excerpt from the Geneva Conventions: "Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention. (GCIV Article 5)"

This certainly frees the US from ANY hold the Conventions had on its water boarding terrorists. His point falls.

His point B claims that water boarding gets inaccurate information. Well, what would my opponent suggest instead? Consider this situation: "Hey terrorist, tell us when the next attack is!" "Uh, no." "Oh, OK, just go back to your cell."
Great, what did that accomplish? As my opponent described with such detail, water boarding can be very, well lets just say, encouraging for the truth.

His point C is irrelevant to this debate. We are talking about TERRORISTS. Not "suspected terrorists," or any other term that is questionable. I will disregard this point.

HIS CONTENTION 3: WATERBOARDING HAS NO REASONING

He gives an example in this contention of how water boarding "provokes" terrorism. Please note also that this example was NOT of a terrorist, but of an innocent man. Again, this is irrelevant to the debate, and his point again falls.

HIS CONTENTION 4: WATERBOARDING FAILS JUSTICE (defined as giving each their ‘due')

In his point A, my opponent complains that since we don't try terrorists, they are not being given their due. The problems with this are twofold. One, that is a "problem" with the justice system, not its implementations. Second, "terrorists" HAVE NO RIGHTS. Under the rules of war, non-uniformed fighters inflicting terror on civilians HAVE NO RIGHTS. We cannot violate their rights, if they have none. My opponent will probably argue, "But they are humans! They DO have rights!" Well, they did. Then they murdered and robbed. Period.

For his point B, he says that no one is due torture. Please refer to my last counter-argument to also refute this point.

HIS CONTENTION 5: WATERBOARDING FAILS FAIRNESS

Point A is again, irrelevant.

Part 1 of point B has already been refuted, he is just repeating an argument. As for the second part, he gives no warrant. The Geneva convention? This has already been refuted.

Now, it taking out my opponent's case, I have actually built up my own. He challenges me to show why water boarding is fair, just, etc. I have already done this by neutralizing his arguments. Water boarding IS truthful, reasonable, just, and fair. Now, according to my opponent's framework contention, I have won the debate for my proof of the above statement. Ending on that note, I urge an affirmative ballot. Thank you.

http://dictionary.reference.com...
http://wikipedia.org...
http://www.mcclatchydc.com...
Johnicle

Con

Thank you for and good luck with the conclusion of the debate:

CONTENTION 1: Goes completely dropped in the last speech. He agreed with my definitions, but moreover, he agreed with my framework. It is therefore necessary that he complies with proving that the action of waterboarding just through ALL scopes of truth, reason, justice, and fairness. Failing one of these fails the definition of ‘just' and therefore urges a CON vote!

Furthermore, flow through what waterboarding is. We are intentionally drowning these people. This is torture. America stands for something greater than this but yet my opponent calls it just with literally no warrants.

-Group my opponents "case":

-He shows no positive ground for waterboarding. My opponent tried to refute my mitigation points, but fails to offer any positive reasoning to why waterboarding is GUIDED by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. In other words, I showed why it is not guided... he said why it is not, NOT guided, but failed to show how it WAS guided... This alone urges a CON vote!

CONTENTION 2: TRUTH

A. Geneva Convention-->

1) FALSIFIED INFORMATION
---My opponent provided a quote from the Geneva Convention, but failed to finish the article where it specifically states, "In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention."
---Now, we break both of these. Cross-apply the Murat Kunaz case where we failed to properly give him a trial, but nevertheless he was a "confirmed terrorist" AND he was innocent. Yet he was tortured for information that he did not have.

2) The Geneva Convention IS broken.
---QUOTE: "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

B. Gaining information-->

1) Kant's Categorical Imperative.
---Look to the MEANS of this action, not the ends. Is the act of gaining this information just? The answer is no. Torture is never just, and that is where the debate is regardless of whether or not we gain this information. I contend that even the means of this are sure to get false information because the means are so cruel.

2) A Terrorist going back to their cell is better than preventing a non-existent attack.
---To be completely honest, when have all of these falsified tips, they add up to make it a waste of time and money for the fake ones, and uncertainty for the real ones. Do I advocate not interrogating them? No, I believe we need this information. But I just don't believe that it is just to make them feel like they are going to die to force information out of them regardless of whether it is real or not. Flow through to the end of this debate that research after research has shown the same thing... Torture does NOT obtain useful and credible information. They lie just to make it end and why shouldn't they to be honest?

C. Terrorist
---My opponent gleefully argued that he is only talking about ‘ACTUAL terrorists.' I'm glad he brought this up because this is one of the big problem with terrorism. We vaguely categorize HUNDREDS of people into this category falsely. My opponent says we need to torture these horrible people, but by law, Murat Kurnaz was one of these people, but that doesn't mean he was one. It's like saying that people on death row should all be tortured, when in reality, they as WELL might be innocent. But as I have shown, the system to determine ‘terrorist' or ‘non-terrorist' is so bad, that to even approve the resolution puts innocent people in danger of being waterboarded AS WELL AS actual terrorists.

So in essence, he says he will only torture terrorists, and I'm sure that's what people thought when they tortured the innocent.

CONTENTION 3: REASON

I would like to see my opponents magic wand that he uses to find out what a terrorist is. Because to be completely honest, terrorism defined is acts of terror that WE the United States ACTUALLY PERFORM OURSELVES. One such example IS waterboarding.

Alright, so let's say we don't have a magic wand here, and we use pragmatism for a while. We find people D, E, U, W, and Z guilty of being ‘terrorists'. The proof presented is willing to say that only ONE of those people has ever done anything related to terrorism in their lives, but yet, by the definition of terrorist, it is OUR determination. This definition fits terrorist, but more importantly, fits this debate. THE UNITED STATES DECIDES IF YOU ARE A TERRORIST, NOT MY OPPONENTS MAGIC WAND!

CONTENTION 4: JUSTICE

1) Yes, there is a problem with the justice system. The SAME justice system that decides whether you will be treated like dirt... or let go. Is this just? (not at all :)

2) "Terrorists have no rights"... HAHAHAHA

-Just like the Jews?
-Just like black people?
-Just like people who put water down people's throats and repeatedly beat them in the stomach so that they inhale the water and ACTUALLY begin to drown? (oh wait)

---If anything, we have become the very thing we have been fighting for all of these years. The communists in Russia used these exact same methods. We condemned it then but now we do it ourselves. The terrorists torture the innocent. We condemned it, but now we do it ourselves. We are currently living under a double standard. Giving one entity due A, but giving ourselves the special, due B. This does NOT uphold justice, particularily when your mechinism for determining guilt is so vague and uncertain.

CONTENTION 5: FAIRNESS

He drops international tensions. Flow this through. It unfairly represents me.

Because of this, waterboarding fails Truth, Reason, Justice, AND Fairness. He needs all these to be just but gets none!

OVER AND OUT!
Debate Round No. 2
rougeagent21

Pro

Seeing as both my opponent and myself bring up numerous points, I will only address the core of this debate in my final speech. Back to the basics!

Essentially, to win this debate, one MUST PROVE why water boarding is either true, reasonable, just, and fair, or not. Whoever achieves this will win the debate.

TRUTHFUL

Water boarding is truthful. We tell the convicts ahead of time that they will either cooperate, or undergo the procedure. We are true to our word. If they comply, there is no need to even use water boarding.

REASONABLE

As stated, convicts are given a reasonable proposition: Give us the information, and you will not be hurt. If these convicts are really terrorists, (which according to this debate, THEY ARE, NO QUESTIONS ASKED) then they have the option to give the truth. This again upholds the truthfulness, as well as the reason behind water boarding.

JUST

Water boarding is just. It gives each his due. (Or, to be politically correct, her due) Look no further than Cromwell's freedom rights, Locke's inalienable rights, or the US Constitution. My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. If your fist touches my nose, you lose your rights. Terrorists have obviously violated the rights of others, and therefore no longer retain their own. Since terrorists are due nothing, that is what they will JUSTLY recieve if they fail to comply.

FAIR

Water boarding is also fair. Again, giving each his/her due. If you break someone else's rights, you forfeit your own. THAT IS FAIR. Period.

As I have proved, water boarding is truthful, reasonable, just, and fair. Because of this, I must affirm.
Johnicle

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for a great debate. But let's finish this:

First of all, I would like to pull through my interpretation of the framework. This not only goes dropped, but intentionally dropped. This means two things:

1) In order to be ‘just', the action must be guided by truth, reason, justice, AND fairness. Losing anyone of these loses the idea of what is just, and losses the round for my opponent.
2) Waterboarding is horrific activity that doesn't simulate drowning, it IS forced drowning of these "terrorists." It is therefore without a doubt, torture.

I will now go to voting issues, which happens to basically be the definition of ‘just'. Judges: If you accept any of these as not being upheld by the act of waterboarding, it is not just, and it therefore must be a CON vote!

1: Truth

---We have broken the Geneva Convention (dropped).
-The United States has signed onto the Geneva Convention, but since waterboarding breaks this, we break the truth by breaking the promise of proper treatment of prisoners. My opponent said the Geneva Convention had an exception, however, as I have shown, this regarded simply to the right to remain silent, and in no way justified the use of cruel and unusual punishment (waterboarding) to get this information.

---Several terrorists are confirmed but yet are still innocent (dropped).
-What you really need to take out of this debate is that the process for determining "guilt" for terrorists is extremely vague and inconclusive. But yet, my opponent suggests that we should essentially torture anyway. This is not ‘just' because it does not live up to what is true.
---(Information is false (dropped))
-Furthermore, these terrorists either A) Know nothing because they are innocent of any terroristic activities or B) Will say anything to get out of the torture. So when you look back to the resolution that asks if it is just to get this information out of terrorist, how can you call it just when the information received isn't reliable? (*proven from "several sources) This fails truth and therefore, fails to be capable of even coming close to being ‘just'.

My opponent made his first argument as to why he upholds truth. And although this is too late and ought not be considered by the judges, it must be rebutted by simply this. If I promise you something, it does not guarantee truth. ‘I promise that I will kill you'... now, even if I comply to this, you will see that this does not uphold any sort of truth whatsoever. Finally, you will see that this ‘promise' we give to them is basically if you are a terrorist, you will be tortured. But to the point that our process of determining this is so weak and unreliable, you will find that we can't even keep this process fairly.

2: Reaon

---Since the terrorists can be innocent argument goes dropped, so does the only argument against the provoking of other terrorist activities. Therefore, the reasoning to do this act of waterboarding becomes moot. But moreover, because of the unreliable information, gives another reason that there is no reason to perform waterboarding.

---Also, my opponent said that we give them a chance. Although once again we may be asking them for information that they do not have. (I am an American but I do not have all information on the American army, AND I could very well be mistaken for a Canadian).

3: Justice

---My opponent claims that if I touch someone's nose, then I am due the death penalty. This is of course ridiculous. The point of that quote (actually quoted as: The right to swing your fist ends where the other man's nose begins), is meant to limit your freedom to only risk what is yours, but do not risk other people's welfare. If anything, this is a reason to NOT to use waterboarding (again this is a new argument and really should not be accepted). There is another saying that says, "An eye for an eye will make the world go blind." So let's look at this for a while. Terrorists do bad, we waterboard them. We did bad, so other countries get upset and attack us (which is actually happening by the way (provoke argument)). Those countries do bad, and now the whole world is blind (if you will). We must cap this evil, and it starts by recognizing waterboarding as FURTHERING terrorism and is therefore UNJUST.

---We do not give terrorists a proper trial (dropped).
-How can we give people their appropriate due without an appropriate (or no) trial. This is ESSENTIAL for justice yet we give nothing.

---NO ONE is due torture.
-We must end this evil. There is absolutely no justification for making someone feel hopeless... or like they are going to die. They are our enemy

4: Fairness

---Waterboarding decreases the quality of international tensions. (dropped)
-This is completely unfair to me. My country is literally hated right now because of our immature actions (waterboarding). These tensions will increase the chances for war, and make NO deterence effect for when WE get caught by the enemy in the future. If I become a POW, if I were to be tortured, I don't want it to be because we did it to them, but I want to be able to say that YOU are the enemy, not that we did the same to you.

---By torturing the "terrorists", we provoke them to become terrorists (dropped)
-When we say that 'you are a terrorist', it doesn't matter if they actual are because they have now fallen into the system. The problem is, you probably didn't have a problem with America going in, but you WILL getting out. This is why we must treat our prisoners as fellow humans, rather than pieces of dirt that aren't worthy of being on our shoes.

In the end, the 4 REQUIRED pillars of being 'just' do not stand in any manner whatsoever. He needs ALL 4, he gets none. To leave you with this debate, I offer this statement.

'WE OUGHT TO BE FIGHTING TERRORISM, NOT CREATING IT!'

-Therefore, vote CON.

Thank you for this debate!
Debate Round No. 3
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 21 through 30 records.
Posted by Nail_Bat 5 years ago
Nail_Bat
Guys, rouge has a point. After all, if they weren't turrists, they wouldn't be getting tortured now, would they? And if you think the government might have accidentally labeled an innocent man a terrorist, that means you have no faith in the government, which means you hate America, which pretty much makes you're a terrorist! So you're either a terrorist, or you believe only terrorists get waterboarded. Flawless logic!
Posted by NItEMArE129 5 years ago
NItEMArE129
So is it just to enact pain and the threat of death upon another in order to gain possibly false information? There is a reason for the amendment that demands "no cruel and unusual punishment."
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
Johnicle
btw... sorry for my rudeness throughout the round. This is something I am very passionate about.
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
Johnicle
Murat Kurnaz was confirmed. So have people that have gotten the death penalty. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" (that no "terrorist" actually gets) = confirmed but does NOT = terrorist guarentee.

(this is just for clarification by the way)
Posted by rougeagent21 5 years ago
rougeagent21
That is for another debate. THIS debate is ONLY on whether or not it is just for CONFIRMED TERRORISTS to undergo water boarding.
Posted by NItEMArE129 5 years ago
NItEMArE129
No, I was just being sarcastic like you. But you know, if you think that stopping terrorists before they kill people is easy, then you're completely wrong. Because A). if you screw up once, it's over. If you torture an innocent person you are GOING to get shut down. B). This is akin to stopping murders before they happen. You expect us to read people's minds?
Posted by rougeagent21 5 years ago
rougeagent21
Wow, actually, that was just an example, not for the different aspects to be taken individually. Are you disagreeing with the whole example, or just trying to be difficult? ;)
Posted by NItEMArE129 5 years ago
NItEMArE129
According to rougeagent's logic...
Anybody that wears a turban, robes, blows up bombs, or fires AK's at people is a terrorist. Which means that all priests (who wear robes), people that live in desert regions where culture includes turbans, anybody on the bomb squad that has accidentally blown up a bomb, all bombers in the US military and indeed the rest of the world, and people that use the AK 47 EVER are terrorists. QUICK! Let's kill them and torture them for information! But if we want to kill them, we can't wear robes or turbans, use bombs, or shoot them with AK 47's!
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 5 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Not EVERY terrorist is a suicide bomber, Johnicle.
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
Johnicle
Actually Rouge... it is not even CLOSE to that obvious. Part of the problem is we can't catch them before because it can be spontaneous and we can hardly catch them after (like your example) because they are dead.
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