The Instigator
Fairness
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Jingle_Bombs
Con (against)
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What determines victory and defeat in war?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 438 times Debate No: 90324
Debate Rounds (5)
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Fairness

Pro

What determines who wins or loses in war?

I believe that determining the victor in wars that do not end with a clear cut winner or loser, even agreed upon stalemates has a victor and loser as well.

The most important deciding factor in determining who wins or loses is the side that achieved the objective that that warring power went to war over. Other less important factors could be which side lost more battles, lives, ect.

I'd like to have a fully designed... pyramid? of deciding factors for winners or losers which could be used for future possible debates on war.

In my opinion, the highest determining factor is achieving the objective that one side goes to war to achieve. The aggressor has, in my opinion, the burden of proof sort of speak, a higher level of, I don't know... If neither side achieved the objectives that each side had, then the aggressor would take the loss for starting the war.

So the top of the pyramid is the aggressor's objectives
second to top is defender's objective
whom gets the better bargain from the peace treaty
battles won
loss of life and resources

If my opponent has a better understanding of how to determine the victor and loser, I would be very happy to hear it.

This is not so much as a debate, more like a discussion. There doesn't have to be a winner or loser here. I'd prefer no one votes on this. However, you can by picking the better pyramid. This is just something that can help create some kind of guideline for other debates we might take part in and wish to provide this as a counter to ones own definition.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Interesting question.

According to Clausewitz, "war is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill out will." Whereas the purpose of military force should be about destroying the enemy's physical and moral means of resistance to our will.

This can be defined as: R = M x W

R = Resistance
M = Means to wage war
W = Will to wage war.

We win when the enemy's R approaches zero. It's getting there however that's hard.
Debate Round No. 1
Fairness

Pro

Some wars end with both sides R reaches 0, I want to create some kind of method of determining who wins and who loses. Most times those kind of wars have peace treaties with clear terms favorable to one side or another. Some doesn't, from most important factors to least.

I'd still have it as aggressor's goals then defenders goals, if neither achieved them, then the winner is whom got the better deal in the peace treaty, equal terms then by battles won, by some odd chance that they won equal number of battles, then by death toll... I don't know how to call it if each side lost the same amount.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

I would say then that national survival is the #1 most important factor.

You objectively lose when you get conquered or annexed. Continuity of government therefore, is essential for any R to exist.

After that, defining victory does become a bit blurred. War is both a physical and a moral struggle, so I'd be lying to you if I said politics and perspectives did not play a part.

For instance, an argument can be made that Saddam Hussein's main objective in the 1991 gulf war was regime survival, he therefore claimed to have won the war.

It would help though to know what kind of war you wish to define; limited, total, real, civil, or absolute?
Debate Round No. 2
Fairness

Pro

All of them. The reason for Saddam's invasion of Kuwait was the conquest of Kuwaiti territory. Kuwait's goal was survival, UN objectives were to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. There wasn't any real goal of Iraqi regime change in 1991. By my own little pyramid, Iraq loses the war on every level.

Not every war is about conquest of entire nation states and regime changes. Therefore a nation's survival as an objective isn't a real goal. Some wars are about religion, resources, small swaths of territory or whatever the reasons.

I believe every war can be decided upon on the factors I've presented. The Korean War doesn't have any peace treaty, only a cease fire that has lasted for like 6 decades. Despite that, North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union lost that war in my pyramid.

The communist side fought the war for a string of goals that failed to be realized while the UN achieved theirs.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

"The reason for Saddam's invasion of Kuwait was the conquest of Kuwaiti territory. Kuwait's goal was survival, UN objectives were to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. There wasn't any real goal of Iraqi regime change in 1991. By my own little pyramid, Iraq loses the war on every level."

Your own little pyrmaid based on what? Your perspective?

According to Saddam's point of view, he had just survived the single largest military invasion since world war ii, defied the UN security council to its face (including 5 of the world's nuclear powers), bombed Israel without retaliation, created a record $700 million oil spill disaster, committed international terrorism & genocide, had his presidential palace bombed, and then lived to talk smack about it.

"Therefore a nation's survival as an objective isn't a real goal."
Sorry, but this is one of the most intellectually bankrupt statements I have ever heard.

If national survival isn't a #1 goal, why do countries have defense departments at all?

"Some wars are about religion, resources, small swaths of territory or whatever the reasons."

And yet all wars must be fought with physical and material means, meaning you lose if you have no more land, people, or materials left to build an army with.

"Despite that, North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union lost that war in my pyramid."

And yet, according to your own little pyramid, an argument could be made that the US won the Vietnam war, which goes against the opinion of just about every reputable historian there is.

1) Aggressive Objective - N.Vietnam failed to take control of S.Vietnam prior to the Paris Peace Accords
2) Defender Objective - Prior to pullout, the US succeed in preventing N.Vietnam from occupying S.Vietnam
3) Peace Treaty - The Nixon Admin got exactly what it wanted at the Paris Peace Accords, an independent S. Vietnam and a ceasefire.
4) Battles - The US won all major battles.
5) Loss of life and resources - 455,000 –1,170,000 N. Vietnam dead > 58,000 US dead.

"I believe every war can be decided upon on the factors I've presented."

No, because unless your willing to completely exterminate the enemy through territorial conquest, much of what we label as a victory will depend on political perspective.
Debate Round No. 3
Fairness

Pro

"Your own little pyrmaid based on what? Your perspective?"

Yea, and no one has yet to rebut it.

"According to Saddam's point of view, he had just survived the single largest military invasion since world war ii, defied the UN security council to its face (including 5 of the world's nuclear powers), bombed Israel without retaliation, created a record $700 million oil spill disaster, committed international terrorism & genocide, had his presidential palace bombed, and then lived to talk smack about it. "

Moot, the sole point of Saddam's decision to invade Kuwait was to annex Kuwait. His personal opinion that he lived to tell the tale is irrelevant. His nation failed to achieve the objectives that he and his armed forces set out to achieve. UN and American objectives were not to overthrown him but to preserve Kuwait's territorial integrity.

This explains why the United States didn't make the removal of Saddam from power an objective in the Gulf War.

https://www.youtube.com...

Since there was no goals to remove him, there was no real goal to prevent him from losing power in Iraq cause the world wasn't trying to remove him from Iraq.

"Sorry, but this is one of the most intellectually bankrupt statements I have ever heard.

If national survival isn't a #1 goal, why do countries have defense departments at all?"

Ignoramus.. A nation fighting for self preservation is its #1 goal when it is actually fighting for self preservation, when that nation's survival isn't being fought for it is not. Common sense, Russia was not fighting for their nation's survival in the Russo-Japanese War from 1904-1905, therefore it wasn't a goal in that war that Russia was fighting for at all. Russia had up to 1 million men and could have drafted millions more, and an apparent abundance of resources but it wasn't a total war like you try to make every war out to be. Russia didn't feel the cost was worth it, still had 950,000+ soldiers with the ability to draft millions more yet lost still cause the objectives that each side had fought for ended with Russia not achieving them.

Defense departments before they were known as defense departments were war departments. The first department of defense was in India cause the other names sounded aggressive and wasn't consistent with traditions. The name is just a name, they are there to protect ones own interest in the world. Regardless to what they are there for, war is about achieving things that one couldn't get through peaceful means. When war begins and objectives outlined victory and defeat are given to the side that achieved its aims and the other side did not.

"And yet all wars must be fought with physical and material means, meaning you lose if you have no more land, people, or materials left to build an army with. "

Pure ignorance, wars don't always end when one side is exhausted of resources, manpower, and territory. A lot end when one side feels that the cost isn't worth the prize being fought for. Such conclusions can still see one side with enough men and resources to fight years more. Like Russia vs Japan... The Korean War is another great example of your ignorance. Cina wanted American forces off the Korean peninsula, North Korea wanted South Korea, Soviet Union wanted to spread communism and influence. They lost cause America remains there, South Korea still exist, and the spread of communism was hurt by the fact South Korea left the war with more territory then it did before the war. However, the Soviets, a superpower, was by no means exhausted by any means.

"And yet, according to your own little pyramid, an argument could be made that the US won the Vietnam war, which goes against the opinion of just about every reputable historian there is.

1) Aggressive Objective - N.Vietnam failed to take control of S.Vietnam prior to the Paris Peace Accords
2) Defender Objective - Prior to pullout, the US succeed in preventing N.Vietnam from occupying S.Vietnam
3) Peace Treaty - The Nixon Admin got exactly what it wanted at the Paris Peace Accords, an independent S. Vietnam and a ceasefire.
4) Battles - The US won all major battles.
5) Loss of life and resources - 455,000 "1,170,000 N. Vietnam dead > 58,000 US dead."

And that would mean the United States won the Vietnam War that was fought between 1955-1973.

The Vietnam War that began after that peace treaty has no addition to American wins/loses after the United States left with the preservation of South Vietnam in 1973. People consider it a loss to the United States simply due to South Vietnamese failure in 1975 when South Vietnam lost negating what the United States paid for up until the point of the signing of the Paris Peace Accord.

The Vietnam War can be minimized to 3 people fighting a 2v1. North Vietnam got the shhit kicked out of him for the majority of the fight against the United States and South Vietnam. Then came the peace, each side stopped fighting, North didn't get what he was fighting for and The United States went home. North and South caught their breaths. Then came the second fight, North wins, that doesn't mean the United States lost.

I suppose you will consider the United States lost the Korean War that was fought between 1950-1953 if the North attacks the South and the United States isn't there to help South Korea today and the North wins.

A win doesn't turn into loss when what you achieved in the first fight is negated in the second fight. The war the United States fought that ended in 1973 isn't the same war that ended in 1975. A peace treaty officially ended that war, a new war began afterwards.

Perspectives are subjective, facts are not. Sides goes to war for certain reasons which are known as objectives, if those objectives are not reached then you lose.

Of course going by your reasoning of political perspective... Saddam lost the Gulf War and the United States won when the United States finally overthrew him from power in 2003. Or we can call this what it is... BS
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Jingle_Bombs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Fairness

Pro

... Extend.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

"Of course going by your reasoning of political perspective... Saddam lost the Gulf War and the United States won when the United States finally overthrew him from power in 2003. Or we can call this what it is... BS"

It’s not my reasoning, it’s Saddam’s. Surviving the single largest military invasion since World War II (along with a US airstrike), is no BS feat.

Again, Saddam's main political objective in 1991 was regime survival, he therefore claimed a propaganda win against the United States who did in fact try to kill him.

"Yea, and no one has yet to rebut it. [Pyramid]"

We just did. And you said it yourself, “perspectives are subjective, facts are not.”

Your entire little pyramid again consists only of your opinion and your criteria, whereas my equation (R=M*W) can be tested and proved scientifically.

The only way to defeat a nation in a war is to reduce that nation’s ability to defend itself or govern itself to zero. You can’t claim victory for instance, if your land was annexed or your government was conquered. In the meanwhile, any other metric (especially those involving political/military objectives) must rely on some form of subjective opinion.

"Regardless to what they are there for [Defense Departments], war is about achieving things that one couldn't get through peaceful means."

Not exactly. Your right that war is about achieving goals through the use of force, but the word "force" implies a physical struggle. You cannot create force if you do not have an army, and you won't have an army if all your people and material means needed to wage war have been exhausted, scattered, or destroyed. Survival therefore, is paramount for any effective military resistance to exist.

We must also keep in mind that the primary reason for state's to have defense/war departments in the first place is to deter war and protect national borders.

Here is the official mission statement from the US Department of Defense: https://www.performance.gov...

"The mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the United States."

"Pure ignorance, wars don't always end when one side is exhausted of resources, manpower, and territory. A lot end when one side feels that the cost isn't worth the prize being fought for."

Which is the same thing. Opponents being to give up when their resources become expended and their survival becomes threatened.

"Such conclusions can still see one side with enough men and resources to fight years more."

Not without it impacting quality of life, economic output, land & material resources, or continuity of government.

Each of which are paramount to a functioning nation state.

"The Korean War is another great example of your ignorance. China wanted American forces off the Korean peninsula, North Korea wanted South Korea, Soviet Union wanted to spread communism and influence. They lost cause America remains there, South Korea still exist, and the spread of communism was hurt by the fact South Korea left the war with more territory then it did before the war."

No. The war ended as is did because Eisenhower threatened to use nukes if China and the DPRK refused to signed the armistice (http://millercenter.org...)

"However, the Soviets, a superpower, was by no means exhausted by any means".

Yet the Cold War played out as it did because nobody wanted to blow themselves up.

"And that would mean the United States won the Vietnam War that was fought between 1955-1973."

Be aware then that your little pyramid goes against the popular ingrained opinion of most academic historians.

The best win/loss metric in my opinion is still R=W*M, whereas we should judge each conflict as its own physical and moral struggle. Of course we always have the option to win wars scientifically through physical attrition and annihilation of the enemy, but anything less that must still rely in someways on our own moral opinions.
Debate Round No. 5
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