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The Contender
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Post 9/11 security measures

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,751 times Debate No: 22342
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




The resolution is Resolved: The benefits of post-9/11 security measures outweigh the harms to personal freedoms. I am negating.

A post 9/11 security measure will be defined as a measure enacted after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 with the intention of preventing or mitigating a future attack.

Round one is for acceptance. Round two is for constructives, no rebuttals until round three. Debaters are permitted to create a seperate "debate" to place sources in (such as (


I accept your challenge! I look forward to a very constructive debate with you.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting.

Howard Kunreuther once said that when analyzing the benefits of post 9/11 security measures, we cannot look to the question of “are we safer” but rather “How much should we be willing to pay for a small reduction in probabilities that are already extremely low?”. As will be made clear shortly, the costs of post-9/11 security measures are monumental, and their benefits virtually nonexistent.

Further, recall that actions which hinder an individual’s ability to exercise their personal freedom is an act of aggression even if unintended.

Contention one: Post 9/11 security measures have killed thousands of innocent people and will lead to more terrorism.

As of March 12, 2012 the United States has lost some 5921 servicemen and women[1] fighting the supposed “war on terror”, alongside over 500 coalition troops, and documents leaked by wikileaks tell us that the civilian casualties have been enormous: namely 122,000 killed in Iraq[2], 12,793[3] in Afghanistan, 2,234 killed in Pakistan[4], and countless others via drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia. As I write this, U.S. military operations are taking place in 5 theatres of operation, at an overall cost of $1.1 trillion [5]. Conversely, only 19000 insurgents have been killed in Iraq[6], making the casualty ratio of civilians to combatants a horrifying 6.4: 1. The impact of this on the United States is threefold: First, the United States now has less soldiers, resources, and capital to defend itself against actual threats, second U.S. hegemony declines not only because of a bloodied nose in soldier casualties and economic catastrophe, but also the negative public opinion that will undoubtedly come when you invade multiple countries and kill thousands of civilians (global opinion of the US has slipped since 2002[7]), thus making our allies and potential allies less cooperative and increasing the probability of war; third U.S. intervention actually increases terrorism, as CATO institute writes[8]:

“ ..a strong correlation exists between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.”

President Clinton even admitted this in 1998[9], stating: “Americans are targets of terrorism in part because we have unique leadership responsibilities in the world, because we act to advance peace and democracy, and because we stand united against terrorism.”

The logic of this seems irrefutable anyway, people will naturally be less favorable of the U.S. when it invades their country and kills their people.

Contention two: Terrorism is an illusory threat.

Mueller and Stewart write[10]:

“As can be seen, annual terrorism fatality risks, particularly for areas outside of war zones, are less than one in one million and therefore generally lie within the range regulators deem safe or acceptable, requiring no further regulations, particularly those likely to be expensive. They are similar to the risks of using home appliances (200 deaths per year in the United States) or of commercial aviation (103 deaths per year). Compared with dying at the hands of a terrorist, Americans are twice as likely to perish in a natural disaster and nearly a thousand times more likely to be killed in some type of accident. The same general conclusion holds when the full damage inflicted by terrorists — not only the loss of life but direct and indirect economic costs — is aggregated. As a hazard, terrorism, at least outside of war zones, does not inflict enough damage to justify substantially increasing expenditures to deal with it.”

Indeed, while 9/11 was undoubtedly a terrible tragedy, so are thousands of other deaths throughout the country every year. Further, pre-9/11 terrorism was actually in a decline and even today terrorism has still not reached its all-time high. As Brian Jenkins writes[11]:

“The scale of the September 11, 2001, attacks tended to obliterate America’s memory of pre-9/11 terrorism, yet measured by the number of terrorist attacks, the volume of domestic terrorist activity was much greater in the 1970s. That tumultuous decade saw 60 to 70 terrorist incidents, mostly bombings, on U.S. soil every year—a level of terrorist activity 15 to 20 times that seen in the years since 9/11, even when foiled plots are counted as incidents. And in the nine-year period from 1970 to 1978, 72 people died in terrorist incidents, more than five times the number killed by jihadist terrorists in the United States in the almost nine years since 9/11.”

We can thus see that in over 70 recorded instances of terrorism, only one was anywhere close to the scale of 9/11. This strongly suggests that 9/11 was, to use the layman’s phrase, an isolated incident. All of the supposed security measures implemented are thus little more than massive, incredibly dangerous, and deadly, over reactions.

Contention three: Post 9/11 security measures have led to a disastrous and unnecessary loss of liberty.

Presuming the rhetoric is true, that terrorists fight the United States and its allies because we are the “free world”, the conclusion would be made that the ultimate goal of the terrorists would be either the total annihilation of the West or a loss of personal freedoms in the West. The ultimate goal of the West in the war on terror would thus be a preservation of liberty and ultimately the annihilation of terrorist ideology.

Let’s examine the effects of post 9/11 security measures on these goals:

As elaborated above, the kill ratio of “terrorists” to civilians in the wars is 1: 6.4, and terrorist ideology will increase so long as the United States continues to meddle in the affairs of others. The west is thus losing the war on terror from this perspective. As to the preservation of liberty, the war is already lost.

Indeed, as Randolph Bourne so famously stated, war is the health of the state; John Denson writes[12]: “Even in a just and successful war, the result is one step forward in the defense of freedom, and then two steps backward to increase and centralize government power in order to engage in the war.” War is thus something that inherently leads to less freedoms.

First the government gained the following powers via the PATRIOT act[13]: The power to search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation, to jail Americans indefinitely without a trial, to monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity, to monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons, to prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation, and to jail Americans without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. (US citizens (labeled "unlawful combatants") have been held incommunicado and refused attorneys.). Finally, on September 30th 2011[14], the government made a de facto gain of one of the few powers it had left: the power to murder its own civilians with impunity. Anwar Al-Aulaqi, a U.S. citizen in Yemen was intentionally killed by the government with no judicial process because he was a suspected terrorist.

We have lost our fundamental liberties in the face of an invisible threat. The terrorists are thus winning and we've become what we despise.

My Opponent must prove

A. Either the lives of U.S. citizens are intrinsically more valuable than those of Afghan/Iraqi citizens or that terrorism would have reached a height to outweigh the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed.

B. 9/11 was not an isolated incident and more terrorism would’ve followed without his policies.

C. U.S. meddling in foreign affairs doesn’t facilitate more terrorism.

D. That the losses of liberty are justified in the face of an invisible threat.

E. Post 9/11 represents a unique time in which the restriction of personal freedoms is justified.

Before that, the resolution is sufficiently negated.




Spartan136 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent forfeited


Spartan136 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Spartan136 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
I am still debating [zing] if I should take this and probably lose
Posted by frozen_eclipse 6 years ago
I'm in the same position as the
Posted by Spartan136 6 years ago
I debated this for a school tournament! I dont know whether i want to do it again, plus, i lost my cases
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
Nah, your debates are pretty good and I keep losing...
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
Fourtouble: I wouldn't rule anything out :). I don't see why not

although reading through your debates, I have little doubt that the result will end up significantly better for you the second time around
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
thett3, would you ever be interested in doing the Monarchy/Democracy debate again?
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
Dam, if I weren't already in the middle of two debates I'd take this...
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
That's the fundamental disagreement, but I intend to have multiple avenues of attack; otherwise the resolution would simply be "Law is more precious than liberty" or something.

And yep: Good question, I have noticed that too.
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
Is this resolution basically an debate over Security vs Personal Liberty?
Posted by Yep 6 years ago
Old PF topic >.< whats up with everyone suddenly doing resolutions in LD and PF from months ago?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by frozen_eclipse 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: obviously con wins since there was no refutting was done buy the opponent....silence equals concurrence