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The USFG should eliminate its nukes RFD

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4/23/2016 9:38:01 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
The debate

Resolution: The United States federal government should eliminate its nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force.

Pro requested that I vote on this debate.

My personal view on the topic sides with Pro; I believe that all nuclear weapons ought to be disarmed primarily because of the atrocity pointlessness of warfare. Regardless, I will judge the debate "tabula rasa" because tabula rasa sounds awesome.

The BoP is by default shared because the resolution is normative. The resolution is normative because the resolution posits a "should" proposition. The debaters can argue over the BoP and conclude a shift of BoP there, but by default, it is shared.

I am posting this in the forums for a few reasons. Firstly, it stimulates quality voting. When people are able to readily see what a good vote looks like, and how they should vote, it encourages them to vote likewise. Secondly, it gives a good platform for discussion of the RFD. If someone has qualms with it, they are able to reply and quote directly the part in discussion, I get a notification about it, and the discussion over the RFD is made public so that others can learn from it. Thirdly, I get to show off and have more attention XD

Regretfully, Pro has made the debate an opt-in standard, so I have to give a thorough analysis. Another side note: when I put headings for the contentions I was focusing on, I didn"t make them the exact wording as the titles in the debate. The way I titled it makes more sense, so if you don"t like it, deal with it :)

Pro"s Plan
I start with Pro"s plan for affirming the resolution. The plan consists of passing legislation that requires eliminating the entire nuclear-armed ICBM force. The first problem I see here is that if Pro is going to go through the trouble of creating a plan, it should be thorough. Having a plan isn"t necessary, or really relevant at all unless the opponent brings up an argument about the realistic circumstances of carrying out the proposition. The reason Pro makes a plan upfront and early is to, in a sense, do a defensive argument against this notion; to have a clear framework that would cover anything Con might bring up. Because of this, I find that having a clear and thorough plan expected, given you don"t have to make one at all. It's not mandatory.

The problem with Pro"s plan is that it doesn"t describe the method in which to eliminate the nuclear force. The are many qualms with disarming a nuclear warhead. The danger in it, the cost, etc. This is the most important objection Con could bring up as a realistic circumstances of carrying out the proposition, and Pro"s defensive argument (plan). Regardless, Con does not respond to the plan at all, or propose anything relevant to the plan, so this becomes irrelevant in my decision, as it has no offensive impact.

Potential for Disaster
I"m focusing on Pro"s contention 1 right now.

Pro argues that having possession of nuclear warheads leads to lots of close-calls that can end in disaster. If we didn"t have nuclear warheads, this high risk would disappear. This is a compelling case, given the severity of nuclear bombings. But this is something Pro doesn"t harp on enough. The amount of impact Pro"s argument has is entirely dependent on the severity of nuclear weapons. It is common knowledge that nuclear bombs cause disaster, but judging from a tabula rasa, this should be explained, or at least, taken advantage of. The more Pro stresses how terrible a nuclear bombing is, the more impact I give this argument. Pro should definitely take advantage of this then, and play up the fact that having a nuclear bomb go off is literally the worst thing that can ever happen. Pro later mentions that this would result in millions deaths in contention 3, but this was obviously a coincidence. This should be expounded upon in the same contention.

Regardless, Pro brings up all the different ways that possessing nuclear bombs poses a risk of things going wrong: leaving silo blast doors open, not fixing broken doors, and just overall poor security. Pro also brings up how outdated the technology is, but it isn"t explained why it's relevant to security, functionality, etc. As long as the floppy disks are still functioning efficiently, it doesn"t really matter how outdated it is. Pro needs to explain to me how having floppy disks is detrimental to security, or functionality, or something. But I am not given any impact here. Pro also points out how many officers in charge of the weapons are irresponsible and untrustworthy, being in drug gangs, breaking laws (fake poker chips), etc.

Pro argues that the only way to eliminate the risk would be to eliminate nuclear warheads. Trying to fix the program won"t work because the Air Force doesn"t care about the ICBM program at all. So the only way to eliminate the risk is to affirm the resolution.

Con responds to this contention by arguing that it is unreasonable to single out ICBMs as not being secure, rather than the other platforms. For example, SLBMs could be hijacked by pirates. Pro contends this by arguing that SLBMs have stronger security than ICBMs because the Air Force actually cares about the other branches, and thus is willing to revamp security features. Pro also points out that Con presents no evidence that the other branches are any less secure, thus I have no reason to accept Con"s rebuttal. Con forfeits the next round, so both of these points still stand, and Con"s rebuttal fails. Pro"s argument stands.

Pro argues that if we maintain the ICBMs, they must be modernized. Pro shows that the cost of this modernization is over 1 trillion dollars, thus, in order to save 1 trillion dollars, we ought to eliminate the nuclear weapons.

Pro also argues that removing the US"s hold of nuclear warheads will deter Russia and Turkey from becoming nuclear states, deterring an all out nuclear war.

ICBMs are ineffective
The beginning of this contention is essentially a defensive argument against Con arguing that ICBMs are necessary because they are effective in warfare, or deterring warfare. There"s no offensive impact here. Pro explains that ICBMs are easily detectable by satellite, making them an ineffective weapon and that ICBMs aren"t effective in deterring war, SLBMs are.

Now for the offensive portion. Pro argues that miscalculations can result in escalation of the war situation. This is because once launched, they cannot be recalled. The chance of having miscalculations would thus result in all out nuclear war, escalating a war scenario.

Con"s Arguments
Con does not group his arguments into contentions, thus I won"t be grouping them into specific headings as I did with Pro"s opening arguments. Even if I were able to pick apart the individual arguments, they are two short; consisting of two or three sentences. It seems easier to just group it all together here. So these are Con"s offensive arguments, refutations to specific contentions are included in those headings.

Con argues that being able to launch nuclear weapons is crucial to having a good defense, which is important in having given that the US"s adversaries hold them. Con posits that if we take away one of the triads, it would weaken the entire structure, which is bad given we have to be strong in our increasingly unstable world. Yet Pro already covered this argument. Pro argued that SLBMs are sufficient for deterrence, thus removing ICBMs would not weaken the triad. I ought to prefer Pro on this since Con gave no explanation for why removing one triad would weaken the entire program significantly, or why having ICBMs is crucial to our defense. Both of these are unwarranted, and Pro cites the head of The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. So although this is an appeal to authority, it is better than no reason
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4/23/2016 9:38:37 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
ing, which Con holds. Thus I side Pro on this.

Con also argues that ICBMs are easiest to operate (can be shot from anywhere), thus making it an efficient defense. Pro responds two ways: pointing out that it is unwarranted, and turning it. I agree with the latter, but Pro"s former is wrong. Con does warrant the argument. Warranting is reasoning for why the claim is true. If the claim is that the ICBM is effective, Con provides reasoning for why this is true by explaining, "they could be used to launch missiles from roads, on back of trucks, rail etc." This is valid reasoning, and is something that Pro doesn"t contend with. Thus, Pro"s assertion that the argument is unwarranted is false. But the latter, turning the argument, is valid. Pro shows that giving easy usability furthers his point about de-escalation. Therefore, Con"s argument is shown to actually support Pro, the impact is transferred to Pro"s side.

This debate is easy to judge, Con had only two offensive points. The first of which was negated completely by Pro, and the second was turned to Pro"s side. So at the end of the debate, Con has no offensive impact for me at all. Realistically, Pro didn"t even have to present any case arguments at all, since Con"s second argument was turned. Regardless, Pro had the potential for disaster, cost of modernization, and decreased de-escalation. These win by default since they are going against nothing, so analysis of impacts is not needed. Pro wins.
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4/24/2016 2:03:25 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
Thanks for the extensive RFD and the vote, Hayd.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass