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Martial Law in Iraq Would Have Been a Sound Strategy, #2

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,113 times Debate No: 38509
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
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This debate is impossible to accept. If you would like to debate this resolution, either PM me or leave a comment on this debate, thank you.

This is a second attempt at this debate...I found my opponent in the last debate to have not engaged in my arguments and instead talked about the Troubles because, well, he was Irish lol. For reference, here is the first debate:

Anyway, I want to make it absolutely clear that the justification for the invasion of Iraq is irrelevant to this debate, and that what the resolution is about is specific to the occupation, and only the occupation.


Martial Law in Iraq Would Have Been a Sound Strategy


This is an attempt at articulating an alternate framework for the occupation of Iraq, which I consider to have been a monumental failure of American policy. I have no beef with the invasion, and am neutral to the Bush Doctrine, i.e. a policy of pre-emption. However, given how the occupation was executed, and that the occupation was inseparable from the invasion proper, I consider the war in Iraq to have been the largest policy blunder the US has undertaken since non-participation in the League of Nations.

Regardless, this background is opinion, and not up for debate. What this debate will be about is whether or not a strategy surrounding full US military control and responsibility for Iraq during the years following the invasion would have been a sound strategy, instead of the immediate, knee-jerk reaction towards "nation-building" that prioritized propping a puppet "democratic" government in Iraq before it had the means to adequately defend itself.

Three examples of martial law which I will be using as a prototype in how I model this hypothetical Iraqi military government:

1) Japan after WWII, where MacArthur was the military governor of the country,
2) Korea after WWII, where there was an initial phase of self-determination in the South, followed by martial law and overt US military control over South Korean security matters, and
3) Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War, where Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang ruled via martial law until 1987.

The latter two regimes were for all intents and purposes authoritarian dictatorships where generals were heads of state. All three of these regimes received generous US support in its fight against communism.

I will welcome anyone as an opponent who has shown a capacity to debate with rigor, and has demonstrable evidence that they typically do not forfeit debates, and of course has a real interest in this subject.


Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis.

Martial law is usually imposed on a temporary basis when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services), when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law becomes widespread. Fundamentally it is a requirement put on civilian government when [the civilian government] fail[s] to function correctly.

Sound Strategy - a strategy that would have been feasible, actionable, and would have forwarded US interests.


This will be a NO SCORING debate. I am far less concerned with the scoring mechanism of this website, and much more interested in furthering constructive dialogue on this matter. I see the scoring mechanism as being extremely politicized and subject to all manners of corruption, and also see it as an inhibitor to constructive dialogue as many people who vote simply do not want their vote challenged or discussed.

Anyone and everyone is more than welcome to make a decision on this debate, declare a victor, and leave (hopefully) an insightful RFD, I merely ask that no one score this debate.

I will make exception to the scoring of conduct. Any forfeited rounds, ad hominem attacks, or breaching of the rules of this debate will merit a conduct point against the offender. Otherwise, no scoring, thank you.

Although the definition of martial law has been sourced from wikipedia, I humbly ask that the majority of research from both debaters be outside of wikipedia, although you are more than welcome to cite the sources within wikipedia for the purposes of this debate.

Burden of proof is on PRO. If CON decides to bring up a counter-scenario, they are more than welcome to do so, as long as by doing so, they demonstrate that PRO fails to uphold burden of proof.

This debate assumes that the invasion of Iraq occurred. The debate is about the aftermath of the invasion, and does not question nor seek to justify the actual invasion.

4 rounds
1st round acceptance only
2/3 rounds argument and rebuttal (I will be pasting my 2nd round argument from the prior debate)
4th round closing, no new arguments or sources.

10,000 character rounds


I am accepting and seek to clarify several issues with this debate.
Firstly, I am working on the assumption that Martial Law would be imposed by US soldiers on the Iraqi citizenry through a US military run justice system in order to avoid the issues concerning sectarian bias. If this assumption is wrong I would ask the Prop to state so in order to avoid arguing at cross-points
Secondly I would like to clarify as to whether or not the Prop is referring to the Military regime in Korea pre-Korean war or post-Korean war.
I am also assuming the Pro to have BoP, again please inform me if I am mistaken
Finally I would also ask that the Prop specify exactly what 'designated regions' Military Law would be applied to in Iraq.

I would also like to thank wrichcirw for taking a chance on an untested debater and allowing me this opportunity.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank CON for accepting and look forward to an interesting debate. Per my declaration in round #1, I will proffer my argument from the prior debate:


As stated in round #1, we are assuming the invasion of Iraq has already occurred.The matter at hand is how to handle the occupation. I will now paint a picture, unfortunately with 20/20 hindsight, as to how the occupation could have been handled via martial law, how there is historical precedence for my scenario, how it would have been actionable, and how it would have been preferable to the status quo.

I do not need to prove that martial law is the best strategy, only that it is a sound strategy, i.e. "feasible, actionable, and would have forwarded US interests."

Martial Law in Iraq

ML1) First and foremost, cultural sensitivity would have been a top priority. To think Washington had anything close to enough analysts and linguists to get an actual feeling for circumstances in the Middle East is unfortunately not realistic. The consequences of the counter-culture movement stemming from Vietnam created a black-hole in Washington's understanding of foreign affairs, particularly in the Middle East:

"There are many colleges and universities that offer instruction in a wide range of Middle Eastern languages, as well as Islamic history and culture...Yet over time, as the meager number of actual majors in those languages shows, the focus of Title VI subsidies has shifted to area studies.

"The result, writes Kenneth Whitehead, who supervised Title VI during much of the '80s, was that "we were not getting a good value for our dollar. Many of those who studied 'hard' languages (e.g., Arabic, Persian, Chinese) in Title VI-supported programs turned out to be less proficient than they needed to be to work effectively in diplomacy, intelligence, aid-related work, and even international business."

"Perhaps the bigger problem has been Title VI's success in its second mission, to support what has proved to be a thriving academic trend in area studies. The effect has been to discourage government service as a career choice for students in the Middle East field. The radicalization of college campuses during the 1960s dramatically reshaped Islamic studies in particular. [1]

It is worrisome when you realize that MacArthur had it easy in east Asia compared to the US in the Middle East in a post 9/11 world. All MacArthur had to do was to recognize the Emperor of Japan as the sovereign over his people, and by doing so unite the country and make it pliable to US influence. Such a gesture of respect went a long way in shaping Japan's post-war peaceful transition into one of the world's most prominent economies, while enduring years of martial law, while adhering to a constitution the US wrote for them, and while hosting a permanent US occupying force.

To implement a similar gesture of respect, a mandate under this plan would have been to do whatever it took to get these counter-culture academics and especially linguists to reside in Iraq and oversee the diplomatic and cultural policies of the US occupation, and dramatically increase their salaries to compensate. Such a treatment would have been appropriate, as by far the most effective paradigm established in the three examples I brought up in round #1 (Japan, Korea, Taiwan) was the cultural respect paid to the Japanese by MacArthur, and is one very important reason why Japan was by far the most successfully reconstructed state in the region after WWII.

That these Middle-Eastern academics were "peaceniks" would have gone far in establishing the US's intent of securing the region following 9/11, as opposed to what had readily been perceived as vindictiveness and retributive justice by the US against most of the Arab world.

This is probably not the first thing most people think about when they first hear the phrase "martial law". Typically, people associate the phrase with juntas, corruption, and political assassinations and cullings. While I do not dismiss that these would also occur in an occupied Iraq under martial law, I emphasize the definition proffered in round #1, that martial law is merely the stop-gap provided whenever the civilian sector is unable to accomplish their duties. There is nothing inherently "evil" or "unjust" with a state of martial law, something MacArthur aptly demonstrated in his 5 years of military governance in Japan.

ML2) Second, and concomitant in importance to [ML1], a state of martial law would recognize the need of providing the necessary security detail as requested by the Chief of Staff of the US Army in 2003. (video)

This cannot be overemphasized. While many may envision that with more soldiers comes more death, ironically the opposite is true. By following Gen. Shinseki's advice, the US would have been adhering to the Powell Doctrine of utilizing overwhelming force to minimize casualties on both sides - against such a force, opponents typically capitulate.

Furthermore, with such a force, resistance to the US presence would have been minimized out of fear. This would have been the "stick" aspect of persuasion, with [ML1] being the "carrot" aspect. With a minimized resistance, threats to soldiers on the ground would also have been minimized, meaning fewer IEDs, fewer snipings, and fewer ambushes. With fewer casualties amongst the US contingent, there would have been less fear amongst the troops, less nervousness, and less vindictiveness, leading to a smoother occupational experience. There would also have been more accurate accountability and more precise use of force against the proper parties, as intelligence and investigative units on the ground would have been less strained and thus more able to assess the tactical situation on the ground.

Such a contingent has precedence, as Gen. Shinseki had experience with an occupation involving ethnic strife in Bosnia - "his estimate...had been based on experiences as a commander in postwar Bosnia, where the United States sent 50,000 troops to quiet five million people, a population one-fifth that of Iraq." [2]

Such a contingent would also have heeded Gen. Shinseki's own warning (video) that Iraq contained "the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems [such as sectarian violence and civil war]", which itself was echoing the advice of generals during the first Gulf War:

"Had the United States and the United Kingdom gone on alone to capture Baghdad [in 1991]...we would have been considered occupying powers and therefore would have been responsible for all the costs of maintaining or restoring government, education and other services for the people of Iraq." [3]

Instead of following this advice, the Bush Administration threw Gen. Shinseki under a bus.

With enough troops, instead of the tiny "green zone" established in Baghdad following the invasion, we may have been able to secure the entire city. That alone would have given insurgents much fewer opportunities to conduct guerrilla tactics in an "urban jungle", as there would have been far fewer places for these insurgents to hide in Baghdad proper. This would have given the Iraqi police forces more time to train, and with fewer disruptions or casualties. This would have hastened an orderly transition to a viable Iraqi government and police force, thereby decreasing the duration of our occupation, and accomplishing the goal of "nation-building".

ML3) This point is relatively simple - while the costs of such a policy would have been orders of magnitude more expensive than what was actually incurred (which was already monolithic), occupational costs would initially have been covered through 9/11 war bonds sold to the public. While I do not question that Saddam Hussein was not involved in the planning and execution of 9/11, it is unquestionable that Saddam took any and every opportunity to threaten US interests in the region, to include sponsoring jihadist extremists whenever possible, and so such a tangential linking of 9/11 to Iraq would have been appropriate.

Such a policy would have inspired the typically profound self-sacrifice in America that typically accompanies acts of war, which would have led to less of the profligate behavior in the US that resulted in the 2008 financial crisis that also occurred under Bush's watch.

By 2003, the American economy had already recovered from the dot-com bust, which by itself wasn't a large hit to the economy as a whole, the stock market notwithstanding. The American populace, given Bush's 90%+ approval ratings and a healthier balance sheet, would have been accommodating to such a policy.

With a viable occupation force, the costs of the occupation would have decreased going forward, instead of increasing as occurred during Bush's term. The occupation itself would also have been shorter, thereby lowering the overall costs of war.

This covers the feasibility aspect of implementing martial law.


The policy that the Bush administration forwarded did NOT advance US interests. It left an Iraq "at the brink," too weak to defend itself from neighbors such as Iran, thereby strengthening the hand of our enemies. [4] It directly contributed to an explosion in oil prices, even though the US is the world's largest oil consumer and importer by far, thereby weakening our economy. It was funded not by debt sold to the American people, but debt sold to China, thereby weakening our global economic clout.

My strategy (admittedly with 20/20 hindsight) rectifies these failings and replaces it with a sound strategy - "feasible, actionable, and would have forwarded US interests."

I await CON's rebuttal.



In this round I aim to refute all of the Pro"s arguments and demonstrate that the Pro has as of yet failed to prove that Martial Law would have been in anyway feasible or actionable. As far as possible my refutations will be put forward in the same order as the Pro"s points.
The most obvious issue with the Pro"s statement that " First and foremost, cultural sensitivity would have been a top priority" is that the US government would be unable to accommodate for an increase in "Cultural sensitivity" is that, as the Pro states, the US did not have enough analysts to for any reliable sense of the situation in the Middle-East. In fact "in 2002 only 6 undergraduates in the entire US earned degrees in Arabic Language." Furthermore by October 2004 the FBI still had "120,000 hours of pre-Sept. 11 "terrorism-related" recordings." Which remained translated [1]. This demonstrates two things; firstly the USA was woefully ill equipped to attempt to engage with the people of Iraq on a cultural level, secondly it suffered from a chronic inability to attract those with the ability to bridge the already stated gap between reality and the desire of the Prop. In fact "[from] Title VI-funded centers"not just Middle Eastern ones"only 2.3 percent worked for the federal government, while another .9 percent entered the military."[1] This demonstrates that the shortage would be far from easy to overcome and that the Prop"s strategy of "cultural sensitivity" first and foremost is little more than a pipedream. However without the cultural awareness the Prop suggested it would be nigh impossible for US to take on the role of Law Giver in Iraq, undermining the feasibility of the project.

The next issue with the argument is the Prop"s use of the example of Japan as an idyll of functional Martial Law. The primary issue with the use of the Japanese example is that it is fundamentally incomparable with the situation in Iraq. The biggest excluder being that Japan was pacified with the use of the Atomic Bomb and remains the only nation in the world to have been subjected to such an attack. "The essence of what I saw and heard was that Japan was on her last legs when the war ended. Morale, which began to ebb in the latter part of 1944, had reached an exceedingly low level by the early summer of 1945,". This quote from Dr. Alexander H. Leighton [2] shows that the spirit of the Japanese was broken in the wake of the WW2 a phrase that simply cannot be applied to the peoples of Iraq after the invasion by US forces as evidenced by their continuous resistance to US occupation. A second excluder would be the fact that the Japanese can be considered (to a certain degree) a single people (Ethnic makeup-Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%)[3] whilst Iraq cannot be (Ethnic makeup-Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%)[3] the ethnic makeup of Iraq was one of the key issues faced by Coalition forces faced and was correctly identified as such by General Shinseki who declared Iraq to have "the kind of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems" [4]. Furthermore the Pro attributes the recovery of Japan to the imposition of Martial Law when it had far more to do with the Cold War dynamic as America"s "strategic interests led the U.S. to allow Japan to export to the US while protecting its domestic market, enabling the formation of cartels and non-market driven factors in Japanese economy"[5]. This undermines the Pro"s assessment that the success of the Japanese model is in anyway applicable to the situation in Iraq and renders the comparison void.

The Prop"s description of the deployment of academic "Peaceniks" as a method of showing the US intent of "securing" the region after 9/11 lacks any proper evidence to back it up and is for all intents and purposes an opinion. "Moreover, as the late Edward Said argued in his immensely influential book Orientalism (1978), Western writers and scholars were complicit in the further subjugation of the region." [1] The move proposed by the Pro of implanting a learned American Elite into Iraq has more than slight imperialistic connotations and may in fact do more to damage the credibility of the US with Iraqis. This would decrease trust in any American lead regime making Martial Law an increasingly preposterous suggestion. Furthermore the Prop makes the assumption that the US government would be able to attract such people with bribery in spite of their political opinions without providing any form of evidence that such a scheme has or will ever work I will consider it opinion and move on.

The core of the Prop"s argument stands on the assumption that America was capable at the time of implementing a state of Martial Law on Iraq. The Prop uses the example of General Shinseki"s occupation and implementation of Martial Law in Bosnia as an example citing that General Shinseki succeeded in implementing the regime in Bosnia (Population 5 million) with 50,000 troops a ratio of 1 soldier per every 100 citizens.

The population of Iraq in 2001 was roughly 25 million [6] at their highest US troop figures in Afghanistan totalled 157,800 (during the troop surge in 2007) [7] in other words the troop to citizen in Iraq was 155 citizens per soldier in other words an increase of roughly 3/5ths in the ratio. Against this backdrop Martial Law becomes in-actionable, in the words of Senator Lindsey Graham "[The US] never had enough troops to begin with" [8]. This proves that the Pro"s suggestion that had the US could "Utilise overwhelming force" is nonsense. The US lacked the resources to implement Martial Law in Iraq. The Prop"s idea that coalition forces may have been capable of securing the entirety of Baghdad is an impossibility whilst maintaining nationwide Martial Law. General Shinseki in fact advised against "fighting a 12 division war" with a "10 division army" [8]

To move on to the Prop"s final point I would like to point out that the Prop"s assertion that the Patriot Bonds would have covered the early expense of the mass occupation of Iraq is a complete fantasy and is again not backed up with any facts or statistics. In 8 years the Patriot Bond system managed to raise $10.9 Billion for government usage [9]. For a war that cost the US $500,000 a minute according to the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes. [10] Considering that the Prop has already conceded that the implementation of Martial Law would be "orders of magnitude" more expensive than the historical invasion the Prop"s assertion in no way stands up thus subverting the Prop"s theory of balanced budgets producing a happier populace.
In conclusion the US had neither the manpower nor the money in order to make Martial Law feasible in Iraq. Furthermore the concept of importing cultural knowledge makes little to know sense and may even be viewed as antagonistic.

I await the Prop"s response.

[4]See Pro"s video in round 1

[8] -;
Debate Round No. 2


I thank CON for posting a substantive rebuttal to my arguments. Regardless, there are fundamental flaws throughout CON's case. I will deconstruct below.


Cultural Sensitivity

PRO/CON agree that the number of Arabic linguistics majors in US universities was appallingly low in 2002. However, there were two significant factors present in 2002 that mitigate CON's "6 linguists" number and would make my proposal feasible:

CS1) The Defense Language Institute (DLI) is not included in CON's number. DLI is a facility in Monterey, CA, that trains linguists for the Department of Defense (DoD). According to Congressional testimony (pg. 22404), 365 students graduated from the DLI Arabic program in 2002, which significantly augments the 6 linguists PRO cited that graduated in the civilian sector. [5]

The DLI program involves 6 hours of daily instruction 5 days a week, with daily homework and mandatory study hall sessions for the duration of the program, which for Arabic is 63 weeks. A student thus receives more language instruction in one day through this program than a college student would receive in one week, thereby equating this Arabic program to over 315 weeks of equivalent college instruction, or over 6 years worth of intensive college-equivalent language training.

The curriculum consists of 39 units solely dedicated to language instruction (equivalent to 8-12 semesters of language instruction), 2 units to geography, and 4 units to foreign culture. [6]

CS2) As one can see, the shortfall of this language-intensive DoD program is indeed area studies and cultural sensitivity, which is a perfect complement to civilian university programs dealing with the Middle East, where area studies is a strength. As PRO's own source states:

"...the 9/11 commission is mistaken about the paucity of programs...There are many colleges and universities that offer instruction in a wide range of Middle Eastern languages, as well as Islamic history and culture. In fact, a portion of the federal government's $90 million of Title VI funding currently goes to 17 institutes at schools across the country *—from NYU to Michigan to UCLA—that do nothing but grant degrees in subjects touching on the Middle East." [7]

To summarize, the strengths in civilian programs deal with cultural sensitivity, and the strengths in DoD programs deal with language proficiency. A merging of the participants of the two programs would thus have compensated and complemented the strengths inherent in both programs, and led to a capable, feasible, and culturally sensitive contingent of specialists deployable to the Middle East by 2003.


Many of CON's points pertaining to security are either wildly inaccurate or do not demonstrate an understanding of my arguments in round #2.

S1) While undeniably horrific, the casualties suffered by Japan from the a-bomb strikes are dwarfed by the firebombing campaign preceding it; this campaign, as CON himself stated, had already all but guaranteed capitulation of some sort from Japan; the a-bombs only sped up the timeframe. While, the US enjoyed asymmetry of power from nuclear weapons against Japan in WWII, the US similarly enjoyed assemetry of power vis a vis Iraq in 2003.

The conditions for capitulation in both the Japanese and Iraqi scenarios thus have a proportional equivalence to them; for Japan, it took several years and two a-bombs to achieve capitulation due to a credible Japanese resistance. For Iraq, it took less than one month due to the almost complete lack of credible resistance wrought by nearly a decade of crippling sanctions against Iraq.

At any rate, capitulation was achieved, and thus we had an opportunity for occupation in both cases.

S2) CON assumes his argument when stating that "the spirit of the Japanese was broken in the wake of the WW2 a phrase that simply cannot be applied to the peoples of Iraq after the invasion by US forces as evidenced by their continuous resistance to US occupation."

As I have stated in round #2, Japan more than likely would have put up a resistance had the US not displayed cultural sensitivity by co-opting the emperor of Japan - by doing so, Japanese resistance was curtailed before it even became an issue. In Iraq, the US did almost nothing to display any sort of cultural sensitivity; instead of co-optation, we have Abu Ghraib and sectarian violence. CON could not have brought more solid proof of the validity of PRO's plan, that with cultural sensitivity, resistance would have been minimized, thus facilitating securing the country.

S3) PRO/CON agree that the ethnic makeup of Iraq in 2003 was materially different from that of Japan following WWII. However, it is much more homogeneous than Bosnia [8], which experienced a marked decline in violence following UN occupation per Shinseki's advisement of an adequate occupation force. [9]

S4) CON states "recovery of Japan...had far more to do with the Cold War dynamic." CON's statement is off the mark. There would have been no "Cold War dynamic" in Japan had it not been for the peace secured via martial law beforehand. The foundation of security laid by martial law allows for reconstruction to occur. Japan would have had nothing "to export to the US while protecting its domestic market," because without the foundation of security, Japan would have had neither a domestic nor an export-oriented industrial capacity. Instead, it would have been mired in guerrilla warfare and civil strife for years if not decades, like Iraq.

S5) CON criticizes my [ML1] point from round #2: "deployment of academic "Peaceniks" for all intents and purposes an opinion."

First of all, PRO's scenario is a hypothetical, no question. Regardless, PRO has brought up plenty of sources and evidence that this method would have been feasible, actionable and would have forwarded US interests.

I also point out that CON's stance is also opinion. CON's point is thus not a valid rebuttal.

S6) CON is worried about "slight imperialistic connotations," ignoring the fact that nearly every aspect of PRO's plan involves OVERT imperialistic connotations regarding the US presence in the Middle East. This is no question a realist power play, in line with the Bush Doctrine, and in line with the treatment of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil".

CON then states that "[imperialism] would decrease trust in any American lead [sic] regime," completely failing to take into account that it worked just fine in Japan, which was another overt imperialist venture by America. We wrote Japan's constitution. Japan turned out just fine.

S7) CON then makes a mess of the numerous statistics stemming from Shinseki's testimony in my NYT article. CON is correct that Senator Lindsey Graham thought that "[The US] never had enough troops to begin with," but this is precisely because the US did not follow Shinseki's advice. Had the US followed Shinseki's advice by increasing troop/civilian ratios to what it was in Bosnia, we would have had enough troops to secure the region, to include especially Baghdad.

CON is correct that "General Shinseki in fact advised against "fighting a 12 division war" with a "10 division army" - we indeed fought a "12 division war with a 10 division army" because we did not take Shinseki's advice to fight a 12 division war with a 12 division army. Again, had we followed Shinseki's advice, as I advocate in my proposal, none of this would not have been a problem.

War Bonds

CON makes the claim that war bonds constitute a "complete fantasy...not backed up with any facts or statistics." My proposal was based off of facts and statistics stemming from the precedence of floating war bonds set by WWII.

During WWII, the US spent more than $300 billion against the Axis powers, or $4 trillion in today's dollars. [10] More than $185 billion of that was funded through war bonds [11], which were paid off in 10 years due to a booming economy post-WWII. Given that Iraq was a tiny threat compared to the Axis powers, we can assume the initial flotation of war bonds would have been far smaller than the $4 trillion mark, perhaps just $500 billion or so, if even that much. Recall that hostilities ended within 1 month in Iraq, whereas WWII took America years to fight. This is easily within US capabilities to finance; Iraq alone is not a major theatre of war for the US.

As stated in round #2, war bonds would have made Americans more cognizant of the sacrifices necessary for war, would have cut American profligacy thus lessening the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, and would have made America far less dependent on foreign financing for the federal budget.


CON confuses several aspects of my case, and does not seem to be able to recognize the combining of cultural sensitivity and martial law into a cohesive strategy; CON repeatedly only argues against one point without considering the impact of the other. My strategy is in line with "smart power" application per the dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Joseph Nye's theories (only the first 5 minutes of video); by combining coercion with persuasion, we get a much more effective and potent foreign policy. The Bush administration completely failed to even consider soft power, and displayed exceptional hubris through an inadequate hard power deployment. My proposal seeks to remedy both these short comings.

I await CON's rebuttal.


Cultural Awareness Program
CS1) The Defence Language Institute (DLI) is not included in CON's number. - I am willing to concede that I was unaware of the DLI's numbers but their presence in no way alter the fact that by 2004 the US government had too few translators for the Prop's Cultural awareness program.

"The New York Times recently reported that the FBI has yet to translate more than 120,000 hours of pre-Sept. 11 "terrorism-related" recordings"- [1]

This news article shows that the US government did not have enough translators by 2004 to have translated all the information gathered pertaining to the Sept. 11th attacks in spite of the DLI's graduates.

This means that unless the Prop planned to subtract translators from the security services and front line troops, where they were needed most (and even then poorly supplied)[11] there simply were not enough translators to launch the Prop's ambitious Cultural Awareness plan until several years after 2004, let alone the 2003 date set by the Prop, by which time it may well be too late to win round the majority of supporters that the Prop's plan requires to function. The merging of the DLI and Title IV programs would be of little help to boosting the number of interpreters recruited. The Prop does not appear to have considered the logistics of the Cultural Awareness program.



The Prop appears to have misunderstood the mainstay of the Con's argument over the Japanese case. I am contesting the fact that Japan was far more subdued before the imposition of martial law by the US than Iraq would have been in this hypothetical situation. For example as the Prop stated Japan was at war for 5 years before its surrender, Iraq a mere one month. Over this period of time Japan suffered a population decline of over one million, mostly young men serving in the military [12] unlike Iraq, in which the population continued to increase, even during the year of 2003-2004 and skyrocketed there after [13]. In other words Japan had lost the majority of the section of its population most likely to resist occupation by the US. Comparatively Iraq underwent no such loss, in fact the average age in Iraq today is 21 whilst the average age for an insurgent is "early twenties" [14]. This shows that whilst Japan's population tended away from the average age for an insurgent Iraq's has tended towards it. This contrast in domestic makeup, not to mention the ethnic tensions present in Iraq, admitted to by the Prop, demonstrates that Iraq is less likely to respond favourably to martial law than Japan in 1945 was, undermining the Prop's belief that similar tactics may be deployed in both situations. Furthermore the Prop has not as of yet put forward a gesture that might have an effect similar to the US co-opting of the Emperor and until the Prop does Con will consider no such action to exist.

Prop also has yet to produce any evidence that proves that cultural sensitivity minimises resistance or that an army fighting an insurgency is capable of implementing such a cultural action. If the Prop considers the state to be other wise Con would request they state their proof clearly in their next argument.

S3) Con has already dealt with the differences between Bosnia and Iraq and as Prop has failed to bring up any new points on this issue Con will consider it dealt with.

S4) Con would request that Prop provides evidence to back up this point, Con would also suggest that the Prop examines the Domino/Rotten apple theory and the importance of the geographical location of Japan before suggesting that American occupation comes before Cold war interest in Japan.
S5) Con refutes Prop's statement that "I also point out that CON's stance is also opinion. CON's point is thus not a valid rebuttal.". Con would point to the argument of Edward Said put forward in his book "Orientalism" that western scholars were "implicit in the further subjugation of the region" .[1] Con referenced this point in the refuted statement. The point clearly shows that Western scholars are associated with imperialism in the middle east. It can be drawn from this that the Prop's idea of parachuting western scholars into Iraq may well prove to be inflammatory.

Furthermore Con has re-examined the Prop's statement that: " That these Middle-Eastern academics were "peaceniks" would have gone far in establishing the US's intent of securing the region following 9/11, as opposed to what had readily been perceived as vindictiveness and retributive justice by the US against most of the Arab world." The Prop does not provided proof to back up this statement. The Prop appears to be operating on the assumption that academic peaceniks are viewed as benign in the Middle East. An assumption disproved by Edward Said's point.

S6) Con would contest the following statement " We wrote Japan's constitution. Japan turned out just fine." Con refutes that any nation with an economy that has been in stagnation for over a decade and who's main cultural export is tentacle porn can be said to have "turned out just fine."

NB: although Con was joking about the tentacle porn the economic point still stands.

S7) Con would point out that at no point in the Prop's round 2 speech was a military build up referenced. Also Con would point out that Prop has not put forward any arguments or theories pertaining to how to increase troops numbers without introducing elements to the US army that would make the enforcement of Martial Law in Iraq more difficult.

War Bonds
The Con would like to bring the Patriot bond scheme [9] to the attention of the Prop, a war bonds scheme launched in the US in the wake of 9/11 to fund a military response. The Con has already brought this point up but Prop appears to have completely ignored it and instead come up with the fantasy figure of "$500 Billion". Con has already stated the amount of money raised by the Patriot scheme over 8 years as $10.9 Billion. The Con would ask that the Prop actually read the argument put forward in round two over this very issue.


The US did not contain enough fluent Arabic speakers to staff its own security forces let alone its' army or the Prop's Cultural Awareness Program. This renders the Program unfeasible.

Secondly the Japanese comparison to Iraq does not stand up to close scrutiny and cannot be used as evidence that the Prop's Cultural Awareness program would work. Furthermore the Prop has yet to put forward an action that would be as significant culturally to the Iraqi people as the Co-opting of the emperor was to the Japanese.

The Prop has yet to put forward any proposal for how he would allow the US to fight a 12 division war considering it had only a 10 division army.

The Prop has yet to deal with the financial issues laid out by the Con in round 2 in any substantial way.

I await the Prop's response.




Debate Round No. 3


I thank CON for engaging in my arguments in rigorous debate, which was quite enjoyable.

I note that CON is new, so I will chalk it up to inexperience and not more insidious debating tactics that CON asks PRO for sources in the final round, when neither PRO/CON can proffer new sources.

I will also note that CON accuses PRO of dropped points; this is more due to CON's excessive use of third-person and passive tense, which at times did not lend to clear argumentation from CON. Regardless, as CON has clarified dropped points, I will address what CON thinks PRO dropped.



CS1) Again, PRO/CON agree that the number of graduates in the Middle Eastern languages was atrociously low. I will note that CON's 120,000 hour number is specific only to the FBI, and not to the government as a whole, and that the FBI, being a domestic organization, may have had much lesser need in ordinary circumstances for such translation skills, which may have led to the FBI specifically being overloaded. Military operations in the Middle East would have been irrelevant to the FBI's situation specifically.

Furthermore, CON focuses only on the shortfall numbers in linguists, not accounting for what has already been sourced and documented as a much greater preponderance of area studies graduates in the Middle Eastern field. America also is home to millions of Muslim Americans, many of whom are first-generation immigrants fluent in Middle Eastern languages. With enough monetary incentive, it is easily conceivable that had the US government been serious about such a cultural awareness program, it could have and would have been implemented. One billion dollars annually into such a program would have been around 1% of what was spent on the concomitant military campaign, and would have afforded a robust cultural program several times the size of all government grants to the civilian academic sector.

On logistics, CON's point cannot be taken seriously. Logistics is probably the easiest part of the puzzle. The US has no shortage of bureaucratic and administrative personnel for such efforts, and the military would have easily provided the logistical backbone of any local administration.


S1, S2) CON's point here also cannot be taken seriously. CON's point in comparing Japanese to Iraqi demographics and the comparative loss of civilian lives in Japan is all but advocating that the US cull the Iraqi population. While such a culling of any civilian population save that of nuclear powers would have been a relatively simple task for the US military, it is simply not an effective means of quelling resistance or gaining support. The population loss in Japan made little difference as to whether or not the Japanese people would have resisted; this is evidenced in CON's own chart, which shows that Afghanistan faced a similar decrease in population in the 80s, only to have mounted an even fiercer resistance against the Soviets (CON's round #3 source #13). Bottom line, CON's demographics argument is absolutely wrong-headed and totally irrelevant to getting the local population to comply with US demands.

Capitulation is capitulation; the US got both Iraq and Japan to capitulate to terms the US demanded. Had the US been able to properly secure Iraq with a proper military contingent, and show cultural respect as they did in Japan, the insurgency that CON speaks about would have been prevented, as it was in Japan.

S3) CON ignores my arguments regarding the fact that Bosnia was home to a much more heterogeneous population than Iraq, and that by following Shinseki's advised amount of occupation forces in that theater, resistance decreased dramatically. CON's point about heterogeneity is thus not credible. Again, had the US brought a proper occupation force into Iraq per Shinseki's advice in the video, sectarian violence would have been much less of an issue, if even an issue.

S4) CON is asking for evidence that without security, Japan would not have been able to industrialize. This is non-sensical and trivial. Without proper security, not even the basics are available - there would be no courts, no police, rampant crime, zero government services, and more than likely a chaotic civilian sector with unstable food/water/health care provisions.

CON's request pertaining to the Domino Theory is wholly off the mark and again non-sensical. As already stated, any and all "cold war dynamics" pertaining to Japan were first made possible by securing the country. CON is for whatever reason advocating that we build a house without laying a proper foundation.

Bottom line, the recovery of Japan was first and foremost contingent upon properly securing the country, which was accomplished first and foremost by imposing martial law in the country. After security had been assured, then and only then did the US begin to utilize Japan as part of a containment strategy against communism.

S5) CON's point about "imperialist" Middle Eastern scholars is ridiculous. These scholars are all well-versed in Said's writings - indeed the Slate article I sourced explicitly named Said as the intellectual architect of the "peacenik" sentiments prominent amongst Middle Eastern studies academics. To think that such scholars would have seemed "imperialistic" is absurd.

The more likely conflict, once the cultural program was initiated, would have been between these well-compensated peacenik scholars and the rest of the US government establishment. Such conflict would have served as an example of a vibrant democracy where all opinions are voiced, heard, and given proper accord and respect. As long as the administration remained steady with prioritizing the cultural awareness program, the perspective of these academics would not have been marginalized.

S6) CON's point about a "weak" Japanese economy is absolutely absurd. Japan is one of the most prominent economies in the world. Japan's economy is much stronger than most if not all of Western Europe, has some of the highest standards of living in the world, as well as one of the highest GDP-per-capita. Japan turned out just fine.

S7) My scenario assumes that the US government actually followed Shinseki's recommendation of "several hundred thousand troops" deployed to Iraq. I don't know how or why CON thinks that there was no mention of a troop buildup. That has been the entire focus of this section on security throughout this entire debate. It seems CON has completely misunderstood PRO's case on this critical point.

The US easily had enough troops to meet Shinseki's target - we did it in the first Gulf War, we could have done it in the Iraq War.

CON's point about more troops equating to less security is ridiculous. Perhaps CON would also recommend that we de-fund local police departments in order to deter crime.

War Bonds

I did not understand what CON was originally referring to regarding Patriot Bonds, as I originally assumed CON was talking about WWII bonds. CON's source only mentions it in one sentence from an article almost entirely about WWII war bonds.

"Patriot bonds" were not war bonds. Without a clear cause or a clear enemy, there's every reason to think that these bonds did not have any appeal and thus resulted in CON's anemic number.

As already stated, Bush had a 90% approval rating following 9/11. Had he advocated for war AND sacrifice, there's every reason to think he had the political capital to do so, and that these war bonds would have sold well - as stated (and CON ignored), there is ready precedence for such sacrifice via war bonds from WWII. Instead, Bush advocated for war WITHOUT sacrifice from the American people, and so instead of floating war bonds, we borrowed $1 trillion from China instead (far more than my $500 billion number), thereby selling our future to foreign powers.


The US has a deep multi-cultural reservoir from which it can source a cultural contingent that can fit any theater, to include Iraq. Beyond the government numbers that CON myopically focuses upon, PRO has demonstrated that there was a robustly funded area studies Middle Eastern program in the civilian sector, in addition to millions of Muslim Americans that, with enough incentive, would have made such an initiative feasible and actionable.

This cultural contingent would have softened the footprint of an adequate occupation force, per Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki's recommendation. With proper security, Iraq would have been secure. CON does not contest that such a force would have been able to secure all of Baghdad, instead of just the Green Zone, and that this alone would have dramatically decreased violence in Iraq's most important city. With proper security, sectarian violence would have been minimized, US objectives would have been more easily accomplished, and a proper transition to US-friendly autonomous Iraqi government would have occurred. Troop withdrawals also would have begun earlier, as they did in Japan following WWII. The US initially occupied Japan with over a half million troops...almost all of these withdrew within 5 years, and left Japan in better shape than it was before the occupation.

Much of this would have been funded by war bonds, so that America would have understood the meaning of sacrifice that accompanies any war. Such sacrifice would have led to belt-tightening, which would have stemmed the tide of the profligate debt binge that nearly destroyed the US economy in 2008. War bonds sold directly to the American people would have also made the US less reliant upon foreign governments to fund its own operations.

I thank CON for a rigorous debate, and remind audiences that this is a NO SCORING debate. You are welcome to vote, leave an RFD, give constructive feedback and declare a winner - I only ask that scoring be left out of the vote. Thank you.


Wakenshaw forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
Thanks. =)
Posted by ararmer1919 5 years ago
Awesome debate wrichcirw. You've got me convinced that martial law would have worked.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago

You did not mention anything about martial law in Ireland in the debate. You may say it has relevance, but it was not (at all) apparent in the debate proper, which led me to conclude that you were just espousing your perspective regardless of its relevance to the resolution or to my arguments.

At this point, I still do not know what relevance any of your statements about Ireland have in regards to the validity of martial law.
Posted by Duncan 5 years ago
Wrichcirw, not to whip a dead horse or anything, but I was doing my Histroy revision. Ireland did have martial law installed in some towns in 1881 under Arthur Balfour, the Chief Secretary. It later turned into a massacre when police fired on an angry mob in Mitchelstown. Arthur became known as Bloody Balfour and it gave a lot of support to the Home Rule party which demanded more freedom from Britain. So there was a point to my mentioning of Ireland after all. Not putting this here for winning's sake, but only because I felt you wanted a ful discussion, precisely why you asked for a no-voting debate last time.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
Hmmm, strange. What happened to CON's final round?

Pity, because it was quite good, IMHO.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
" In this point the Prop demonstrates an impressive ignorance"

Ad hom. Unwarranted.


"Prop cannot dismiss the prejudices of history as "absurd"."

I do not. You failed to follow the dynamic I described, that academics would be fully cognizant of history and would probably advocate something vastly different from it.


Your S7) is unintelligible. As far as 400,000+ troops, the US fielded more than that during the first Gulf War while maintaining all their other overseas commitments. It's easily possible, would have reduced casualties, and led to a smoother occupation.


The rest of your points I will chalk up to simple disagreements. The ones I cited however I thought were based off a complete misunderstanding of my arguments, which you noted were "clear and concise".
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
"Than a nation peopled by the elderly and war weary, wracked with guilt at atrocities they inflicted on others and who were initially the aggressor nation."

This is borderline ridiculous. Most Japanese found their cause just and were anything but "wracked with guilt".

Japan also was not populated with the elderly in 1945. You are confusing modern demographics in your advocacy. Nowhere did you ever state what Japan's age demographic was in 1945.


"The key difference between Bosnia and Iraq was the troop to population ratio."

Sigh. You fail to realize that what Shinseki was advocating for Iraq was that exact same troop to population ratio. I make this clear multiple times throughout the debate.


"This drastic disparity in proportional strength explains the key difference between the two occupations."

Yes, because we did not follow Shinseki's advice. Had we followed it (which you seem to completely fail to realize was the entire point of the security aspect of this debate) we would have had the proportional numbers, and would have secured the country.

This part of the debate was exceptionally frustrating, because you seemed to follow the flow for the rest of it, but this was by far the most significant point in the debate, and you completely misunderstood it.


"The Prop has also evidently misunderstood the Domino/Rotten apple theories if the Prop regards them as "Wildly off the mark". The basic principle of these two theories is that each country that falls to communism increases the odds that its neighbours will also succumb to it. "

You failed to understand my point here as well. In order for the domino theory to even be applicable, you first need dominos. Without securing the country, you don't even have dominos set up to even begin to worry about them falling to communism. All you have is civil strife and violence. This also was crystal clear in my argumentation.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
CON: "The Prop's point with regards to first generation Arabic speaking citizens of the US is ill thought out. Firstly the Prop cannot honestly believe that at no point during the last 8 years it has at no point occurred to members of the US administration that this section of the community could be utilised. The fact that they have not been, en masse, stands as testament to the concerns held by those in power about the potential security risk this group posed."

Hmmm...I must say I found this paragraph particularly disturbing. It is precisely because of sentiments like this that the US should have pursued a cultural sensitivity campaign.

When it comes to culture and "good will", perception is everything. We treated Muslims with hostility before, during, and after 9/11, so they responded with fear and suspicion. Had we been more accepting, this group may not have been the security risk you think they are in the first place (and indeed are far from being a security risk even today).
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
I normally wouldn't comment until after the debate is over, but this guy is just so cute I can't resist:


"MacArthur's attitude rather than the complete defeat of their military and economy was the reason the Japanese accepted surrender."

lol, the issues surrounding the Japanese surrender are irrelevant to the issues surrounding the occupation following. They are two separate issues. Macarthur's "attitude" was relevant to the occupation, and the a-bombs and carpet-bombing were relevant to the surrender.

The Afghani numbers corroborate my perspective. The Soviets culled the afghanis similar to how the Japanese were culled, but the Afghan resistance against the Soviets was picture-perfect opposite of what the US experienced in Japan...due to Macarthur's "attitude".

"Prop also has yet to produce any evidence that proves that cultural sensitivity minimises resistance or that an army fighting an insurgency is capable of implementing such a cultural action."
And thereby fails to meet his BoP....

lol, because co-opting the Japanese emperor and the lack of resistance of the US occupation following is not evidence.


But it's ok. I know you're too pre-occupied with your zoo to actually read carefully or think rationally.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 5 years ago
"The Prop appears to have misunderstood the mainstay of the Con's argument over the Japanese case."
That's an understatement he ignored it completely and just reasserted that MacArthur's attitude rather than the complete defeat of their military and economy was the reason the Japanese accepted surrender.

"Prop also has yet to produce any evidence that proves that cultural sensitivity minimises resistance or that an army fighting an insurgency is capable of implementing such a cultural action."
And thereby fails to meet his BoP....
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by rross 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit.