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The Contender
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The Second Gulf War (Iraq war) can be defended

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 640 times Debate No: 116280
Debate Rounds (4)
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Good luck to my opponent. I hope this shall be an entertaining and informative discussion for both us and the audience. The result of this debate does not in anyway delegitimise the ability of wither me or my opponent as a debater but is merely a reflection on this question.

In order to have a productive discussion I would like to set up some rules of consent:

1) No use of uncivil or hateful language
2) No slandering of libel
3) A forfeit is an automatic loss
4) Cite sources when you can otherwise they can just be ignored

In this debate I have to prove that the war in Iraq from 2003-2011 can be defended. By that I mean that I can morally uphold the decision to go into Iraq, the actions of forces in Iraq and the aftermath left from the war and subsequent allied occupation.

defensible - justifiable by argument.

I have three points as to why it can be defended and they all concern the decision to go into Iraq. The other actions surrounding the war do not need me to argue on however I will rebut any counter-points relating to other aspects of the war to make sure that all aspects of the war are covered.

Argument 1:

The Baathist regime was murderous and genocidal. Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who committed multiple crimes against his own people including executions and torture. One example of this was the use of cyanide gas during the chemical weapons attack on Halabja in 1988 in which over 5000 Kurdish civilians died.

His regime was also responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Iraqi marshes throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Civilians were often strapped to tanks in order to act as human shields as they would shoot up civilian areas in order to put down protests.

An estimated 2 million Iraqi people were directly or indirectly murdered by Saddam's totalitarian regime over a 24 year period. This murdering was constant over that period and even up to the last months the discovery of mass graves in the Northern desert sparked great criticism of the regime. Tony Blair even explained during the war that one of the reasons he was so determined to join the American intervention was because he himself had been shown the pictures of the mass graves. Thus I think that in order to stop this killing by the regime it was reasonable for the allied force to intervene merely on humanitarian grounds. Considering the low levels of death in war (many of whom were armed soldiers), the intervention was justified and thus the war is defensible.

Argument 2:

The war in Iraq can be defended because the Iraqi regime was destabilising and war-mongering. Saddam had started a war within the 1st year of his leadership of the country. The Iran-Iraq war was started by Saddam himself when he ordered his troops to illegally invade Iran. This 8 year long war cost 750 000 to 1 500 000 lives and the use of chemical weapons was widespread, especially by the Iraqi side. Furthermore, it greatly affected western and global economies. Iraq and Iran's oil revenues were reduced in many cases to 10% of pre-war levels. Both countries became massively indebted. Iraq owed up to 100 billion dollars and this caused immense potential for instability in the Western world since oil prices (which increased) were and still are critical to the success of all world economies. Saddam then invaded Kuwait illegally, once again causing more economic crises. The instability caused by the warmongering actions of the Iraqi regime was enough to warrant action from the west on more than 2 occasions and considering that Saddam was posed to invade Saudi Arabia and threaten economic warfare on the west and the whole world, the intervention can be defended. To an extent, it was about oil. However, this is reasonable since oil was being used as a weapon.

Argument 3:

The war can be defended because Saddam Hussein broke international conventions of weapons of mass destruction. Chemical and biological weapons do count as weapons of mass destruction and there is overwhelming evidence to show that they were used. Furthermore, although Saddam did not have nuclear weapons in 2003, clearly he was in the process of obtaining them. This is described in this pre-war article:

The regime had purchased materials from other countries and nuclear weapons firms and also had the teams of nuclear engineers on the ground in Iraq. My argument is that had we not intervened then, Saddam could easily have the bomb now. We could not have said that North Korea was a nuclear threat in 2003 but look how close they were to getting a usable nuclear missile in 2017. The same could be said for Iran, which is now probably the greatest nuclear threat. Therefore, based on the fact that the regime did have WMDs which warrant intervention and that they were well on their way to going nuclear the Iraq war was justified for the security of the future of the world.


The conduct in the war itself is debatable but one thing is certain. The brutality of the regime before the war greatly outweighs the suffering and loss of life afterwards. This is cause for intervention and was used as a reasonable form of justification at the time. Secondly, Iraq was a destabilising and growing threat which directly caused economic concerns for the west. Those countries affected therefore have a stake in the events in the gulf. Saddam's many illegal wars were justification for an invasion and the second gulf war was in many ways an extension of the 1st. Bush Senior tried to contain Saddam but after weapons inspectors were abused and deported and no-fly zones constantly ignored, these violations warranted a continuation of the 1st gulf war. Finally, the world should celebrate the prevention of yet another serious and more unscrupulous nuclear threat today as well as the respect shown towards the UN convention on WMDs which Saddam had flouted on countless occasions.

Sometimes, war, although seemingly immoral is justified for betterment of everyone else. A brief period of terrible violence can be justified when the backdrop is one of decades of horrendous murder, far worse wars and nuclear threats.


The history of the second Iraq war stretches further back than both the first Iraq war, and the Iran-Iraq war. It's no secret that the United States(among other western countries and the Soviet Union) financially and logistically aided Iraq during their war with Iran. Anybody who claims that the United States aided Iraq for any reason other than getting back at Iran for the hostage situation is either ignorant of the facts, or has an ulterior motive for their justifications (I'm speaking in general, not insinuating my opponent in any way!). I think the rub comes from my opponent's justification of the second Iraq war. I feel my opponent would need to justify the first Iraq war, AND the aid that the United States, France, and the Soviet Union gave to Iraq during their war with Iran. If we want to split hairs (which I do), my opponent would need to justify the coup the United States staged in Iran (circa 1953) which overthrew the democratically elected prime minister and put in a western friendly shah. The second Iraq war was just another saga in an ongoing sequence of events the United States, France, "Great"Briton, and the Soviet Union used to finance war for profit. These wars were not for the benefit of anybody except for companies with military contracts. I will ask my opponent how he/she can financially, morally, and logically justify the United States aiding a country that used chemical weapons on the Iranian military and Iranian civilians, only to turn and declare war on the very country they aided, within five years time? This is an obvious case of war just for the sake of financial gains for companies with military contracts! I'm not sure if my opponent has stock in boeing, but if I were a betting man/woman, I wouldn't consider it a long shot if he/she did.

I don't know if any of you ever read Don Quixote, but I believe most people misinterpret it's true meaning because it was meant to be hyperbolic. It was not meant to be taken literally. If we as freedom loving citizens are expected to come to the aid of some other oppressed people every time someone cries poverty, then we cease to be free. Of course the images of gassed out villages makes us ashamed to be human, and to know that humans are capable of such egregious horrors, but we can't fight everyone's battles. The moment we got involved with middle eastern politics, we entered into an ongoing sequence that can only prove to propagate more wars. It's a little peculiar how my opponent only brought up the "humanitarian" argument when talking about Saddam Husseins gassing of Iraqi citizens, but relocates the gassing of Iranian civilians to his/her argument of WMD's. Or perhaps it's not peculiar, it was calculated. It would be against the best interest of my opponent to point that out. Whyyyyyy? Because when Saddam Hussein had the support of the US, France, and the Soviet Union he was gassing Iranians. How's my opponents "humanitarian" argument going to "morally defend" that fact?

I'm not sure if my opponent realises that the "documents" that "prove" Iraq's quest to build WMD's, has been shown to be erroneous and not trustworthy. Under the headline-weapons of mass destruction, we can see that the CIA doubted the accuracy of the documents my opponent calls upon. This, coupled with the fact that no WMD's , or any means to produce them were ever found. The Bush administration began to shift the focus of the rationale for war from WMD's to humanitarian reasons. The WMD argument is soooo outdated and soooo debunked.

I would never say that any country is justified when invading other countries, but Iraq did have a reason for invading Kuwait. Kuwait was exceeding it's OPEC quota, which was actually bringing the price of oil down (contrary to my opponents claim), which in turn was making it more difficult for Iraq to make money from their oil output. Iraq was not the only country that was irate at Kuwait for doing that. Furthermore, my opponents claim that Iraq was going to attack Saudi Arabia is merely conjecture, maybe some solid evidence could sway my opinion on that, but not until then.

My opponent claims that the war in Iraq went from 2003 to 2011, does he/she not want to discuss the redeployment of troops in 2014? Is the war really over yet? Can my opponent prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the second Iraq war will not lead to yet another war? I assert that my opponent cannot financially, morally, or logically "defend" the second Iraq war!
Debate Round No. 1


Let's be clear. This is not a debate about the history of American interventionist policy. It's a debate about whether one specific intervention was justified. I don't have to justify every action that the USA and Britain ever did in the Middle-east in the 20th century in order to conclude that one specific intervention was justified. They are separate but linked issues. I do not believe we should have overthrown Mossadeq in 1953 - that was undemocratic and wrong. That does not mean that I can't justify a separate intervention in order to overthrow a different and extremely barbaric leader. Foreign policy is never consistent rather it is pragmatic. Mistakes are made. But one mistake made does not mean that we subsequently cannot justify another intervention. I really think that this point needs to be re-though - it just doesn't make any sense.

The second gulf war is a separate war to the first gulf war which is separate to the Iran-Iraq war. They are not the same thing. If you want to talk about different foreign policy actions then we can take the debate elsewhere but let's not bring in different interventions. American foreign policy goes far beyond hostages in the Middle-east. Fundamentally, it was about oil. More recently, it has been about fighting terrorism, protecting refugees and civilians and conserving stability. If you're going to claim that Foreign policy intervention has been about servicing the needs of weapons manufacturers then you need to think again. This may have been a minor factor but oil and trade was the main motivation along with the context of the cold war and a general policy of upholding capitalist democracy in the developing world. I do not justify the USA or any power selling chemical weapons - it's immoral and illegal. But I don't have to justify that in order to justify the 2nd gulf war.

As far as the ethics of intervention go, I don't think your response is quite fair. Now, obviously there is a limit to what any country can do. We can't stop every single case of oppression but what we can do is intervene when the case is so unbelievably egregious and the level of suffering is so high (which it was in the case of Baathist Iraq). This is not about rushing to the aid of any country that "cries poverty". However, if a country "cries massive levels of war-crimes and genocide" then I think we should intervene. What is so immoral about intervening to end massive levels of human suffering?

I agree that the Middle-east is complicated. Western intervention has been riddled with complete cock-ups and shocking levels of arrogance, ignorance and self-righteousness. However, even if mistakes have been made that doesn't stop us from intervening to solve greater problems. Some interventions have been successful. The first gulf war removed Iraqi forces from Kuwait thus fulfilling that objective and preventing Saddam from dominating the Middle-east. Our bombing campaign against Isis has clearly greatly helped to remove a murderous and brutal power from northern Syria and Iraq. Mistakes should not stop us from intervening to end massive levels of suffering because the biggest mistake of all is NOT intervening and condemning millions of people to oppression and murder.

I do not want to "relocate" WMDs onto Iranians. I condemn ALL use of chemical weapons. But just because the West has occasionally been hypocritical that doesn't mean that we can't condemn or even intervene to end even more egregious use of WMDs. My humanitarian argument still stands.

I'm not arguing that nuclear weapons did exist in Iraq. I am arguing that, based on evidence, Saddam was trying to obtain these weapons. Thus, having given Iraq another 10-15 years, Saddam could have gone nuclear - what a massive foreign policy disaster that would be! There is crystal clear evidence that Iraq used chemical weapons extensively (chemical weapons ARE WMDs btw). Just look up the attacks on Halabja and Najaf. Saddam had a right-hand man called "Chemical Ali" - I wonder why...

It was WRONG to say that Saddam had nuclear weapons. But it was right that Saddam pursued his goal of getting them and if we hadn't had intervened then can you imagine President Trump having to deal with Saddam as well as Kim-Jong Un?

I simply cannot believe that you had the cheek to argue that Saddam's invasion of sovereign Kuwait was justified. Iraq claimed slant drilling - which had absolutely no evidence for it. Iraq invaded because they wanted to end their fiscal misery. Kuwait was further bringing its oil price down because it was trying to compensate for the increase in prices after the Iran-Iraq war. But NONE of this matters. Invading a sovereign country with no warning or political pressure is WRONG and ILLEGAL.

There is evidence that Saddam wanted to invade Saudi Arabia. Iraqi troops actually invaded Saudi Arabia during the 1st Gulf war:

I cannot prove that the intervention in 2003 could not lead to another war. Neither can I say that American intervention in the European war in 1941 would not lead to a future war. What I can prove is that the 2nd Gulf war released thousand of Kurds and Marsh Arabs who were being starved and murdered in concentration camps in the Iraqi desert. I can say quite confidently that it ended the suffering of more people than it killed. Ever wondered why Iraqis celebrated in the streets while toppling murals of Saddam? Maybe because they were glad that they had been liberated and given freedom and democracy? Yes it wasn't perfect but at least it formed the basis for progress and development. The redeployment of troops is unfortunate but separate - it was about Isis and terrorism and not about the actual government of Iraq. The allies did not provide the necessary infrastructure and aid to the new government after invading - this was a bad mistake. But now Iraq is back on its feet and can improve.

To conclude:

My opponent's main claim is that I somehow have to justify every Western action in the Middle-east in order to defend one operate intervention. I have shown why that is not true nor fair and why the intervention in question was morally justified.

My opponent then claimed that we can't do everything. I agreed that we have limits but that in the rare cases of extreme suffering we can intervene and should intervene.

My opponent is yet to counter my argument that the regime was destabilising and a strategic threat to the whole world.

Thus I think I still have a convincing and strong case for the why the 2nd gulf war was justified.


Reason 1 for my opponents justification for the second Iraq war.
"the chemical weapons attack on Halabja in 1988 in which over 5000 Kurdish civilians died."

Reason 2
"(Saddam's) regime was also responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Iraqi marshes throughout the 1980s and 1990s."

Reason 3
An estimated 2 million Iraqi people were directly or indirectly murdered by Saddam's totalitarian regime over a 24 year period.

My opponent didn't specify the 24 year period in which 2 million were directly or indirectly murdered, but obviously it would have taken place before the second Iraq war. Notice that every argument for justification of the second Iraq war is based off of events that took place "throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Yet my opponent does not want me to talk about "different foreign policy actions". I guess I can't bring up past events leading up to the second Iraq war, only my opponent can do that. Fine, I will only be arguing on a moment by moment basis that are only specific to the 2nd Iraq war.

My opponent fails to prove that Iraq had or was trying to produce WMDs. My opponent claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear weapons. The document my opponent points to has been thoroughly discredited and since the war NO WMDs were ever found, and NO facilities to produce WMDs were ever found. This includes nuclear, biological, and chemical. It has been concluded since the 2nd Iraq war that Saddam Hussein didn't have the money or the means to produce anything because of the damage caused to his regime during the first Iraq war.

Can we drop the "humanitarian" charade? It gives me angina. My opponent isn't arguing that we should have gone into Cambodia, or Ruwanda, or any other place where terrible things are happening. It costs me money to charge the tablet that I type these arguments with, and it takes me time to type them out, and I'm sure the same is true for my opponent. Lets just dump the "humanitarian" aspect of this debate and talk about what you really want to talk about. Oil. If Iraq or any of the countries surrounding it didn't have oil, would we even be having this debate? It's obvious that my opponent isn't actually interested in the "humanitarian" aspect of this.

Why my opponent is bringing up the fact that oil is the central issue of this debate is beyond me, it only serves to harm my opponents debate. There was no oil crises at the time that the US and Great Britain decided to invade Iraq. The war didn't make oil more readily available. The occupying countries did not seize control of Iraqi oil. Most oil produced in Iraq is sold to Chinese companies, so the revenue from Iraqi oil is not being used to repay the cost of the war.

Even the fact the my opponent wants me to not have the advantage of bringing up past events that led to the second Iraq war, but of course his/her 3 reasons for intervention are based entirely on past events, even with that disadvantage my opponent has imposed on me, their still is no justification for the second Iraq war. I assert just as strongly as before, my opponent cannot defend the second Iraq war!
Debate Round No. 2


No, I will not drop the humanitarian argument - it is the most important point in the whole debate and your failure to respond to it is why I am at an advantage in this debate.

Clearly you have admitted yourself that Saddam's regime was a brutal dictatorship which murdered literally millions of people. Your response to why we should have invaded is that these actions all took place in the past. Firstly, no they didn't. The murdering of innocent civilians continued up until the last days of the regime and thus there was an argument for invading at the time in order to stop the murder and genocide that was happening at the exact same time:

I used these especially notable historical atrocities such as Halabja as evidence of the overall barbarism of the regime and as proof of its continuous murderous brutality which lasted right up until the invasion.

Furthermore, even if those actions did happen in the past then surely the perpetrators should still be brought to justice? Are you suggesting that murderers or rapists shouldn't be punished because the crime was already done? Why do you think there was a war crimes trial for the Nazis? There is still a strong argument for going into to Iraq to bring the regime to justice for the atrocities that it had committed.

You CAN use evidence from the past but because the evidence you used was completely irrelevant nonsense that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject that we are discussing right now then I can dismiss it.

I haven't failed to prove that Iraq produced WMDs; for heaven's sake they used WMDs! I gave you the example of Halabja. Chemical weapons (which count as WMDs) were used (illegally) on innocent Kurds in what is known as the Anfal Genocide. Those same weapons were kept and produce in Iraq and by Iraqi manufacturers.

1959 " August 17 USSR and Iraq signed an agreement for the USSR to build a nuclear power plant and established a nuclear program as part of their mutual understanding.

1968 " a Soviet supplied IRT-2000 research reactor together with a number of other facilities that could be used for radioisotope production was built close to Baghdad.

1975 " Saddam Hussein arrived in Moscow and asked about building an advanced model of an atomic power station. Moscow would approve only if the station was regulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Iraq refused. However, an agreement of co-operation was signed on April 15, which superseded the one of 1959. After 6 months Paris agreed to sell 72 kg of 93% uranium and built a nuclear power plant without IAEA control at a price of $3 billion.

The regime tried countless numbers of times to gain nuclear weapons and even continued up until the last months before invasion to flout agreements over nuclear weapons and other WMDs which is revealed in this report by the UN survey group's investigation into illegal Iraq nuclear weapons program:

He also did have the means to produce these weapons. He intended to continue his program once sanctions had been lifted. Furthermore, his regained oil wealth allowed him to boost his weapons production.

As far as intervention goes, clearly we can't intervene everywhere. In this case of Cambodia we could not have intervened because China and the USSR both backed the regime and we would have risked nuclear war if the west had invaded, although given the chance I would have supported it. As far as Rwanda goes, we should have invaded. The biggest failure in that genocide was the lacklustre response of the international community. The UN did not get involved enough and as a result almost a million innocent Rwandans were butchered. Had we have intervened earlier, the death toll could have been much. much lower. So, when the international community has the ability to end a brutal regime (which we did in Iraq, 2003) and if that regime is so brutal (which it was) that military intervention is justified, then the west MUST intervene. And I support that.

I do not care about the cost of the war. We should spend as much as it takes to save innocent lives. Also, there was genuine concern over oil at the time. Furthermore, sanctions on Iraq, by the west in response to the invasion of Kuwait, were lifted after the regime was toppled thus making oil more readily available. Moreover, with Saddam poised to attack Saudi Arabia (which he actually invaded!), there was a genuine oil-based, economic threat to the west. This was a legitimate concern of both Bush and Blair. This is a minor point but it still is another argument for intervening - to stabilise the middle-east and to halt Saddam's domination of oil production.

So, you can bring up actions in the past as evidence of a point that relates to the specific action of the 2nd gulf war. Your examples were not about the regime of Iraq nor the war itself but of the whole history of western foreign policy in the middle-east (which is NOT what we are discussing). Yes the west has been hypocritical, but so what? My examples were used as evidence of things that had an effect on the actions surrounding the war itself and so are legitimate examples.

The reality is that the regime was inherently murderous and barbaric and thus its brutality justified its overthrow. Furthermore, its growing power was a threat to middle-east politics and the western economies and there is clear evidence that it obtain WMDs and was trying to build a nuclear arsenal. This is justification enough even despite the overwhelming moral reason to invade.

All my opponent has done has moaned about western foreign policy and denied the attempt to gain nuclear weapons.

On that basis I am very proud to propose the motion that the 2nd Gulf war was completely justified.


I acknowledge my opponents zeal for wanting to stop needless suffering not only in Iraq, but worldwide, it is a noble desire. And I'm not against humanitarian aid when needed. My gripe is with my opponents want to go to war to "save" people, and my opponents view that we should give our military a blank check to do with it what they like. What's so humanitarian about war? The unfortunate situations that the US caused in Iran in the early 50s was, and still is relevant to the second Iraq war and still is today. The US intervention policy since WW2 has proven to be costly and ineffective. Both economically, and in measure of lives lost. Korea (still ongoing), Vietnam, Iran (still ongoing), Iraq (still ongoing) are economic wounds that the people of the US are still paying for. In the case of our involvement in the middle east, it has proven to be one misstep after the other, and each step seems to have needed further involvement to try and rectify an already bad situation. Maybe someday we will realize that our involvement was the problem in the first place. If my opponent wants to go save people from suffering, so long as it's done of my opponents own accord and only with my opponents money then, on a moral basis,
there's nothing I can do about it, However, if my opponent expects that I have to help him/her financially or militarily, then my opponent is being immoral. When people impose their "clarion call" on others, they're being immoral. Like I said, I'm not against humanitarian aid, but if I need to worry about possibly being drafted then I'm no longer gonna feel like I'm in a generous mood anymore. Ask the people of Korea, Vietnam, Iran, or Iraq how humanitarian the US has been to them. Hint, if most the people in the country you're trying to help, don't like the "help" you've done for them, then you probably shouldn't have gotten involved. Remember, Don Quixote is satirical, not to be taken literally!

Again, my opponent chooses to reference an outdated and discredited document for his/her argument on WMDs. The Iraq survey group went into Iraq, and with red faces they had to admit to the whole world that they did not find the WMD they were looking for, or the processing plants needed to make them. Iraq's WMD program was a fraud. Either the argument to go to war was based off of faulty evidence, or it was a lie. My opponent has not, and will not find any solid evidence that Iraq was trying to build nuclear weapons. The evidence is on my side, and it shows that after the first Iraq war, the Iraqi government had no means to even imagine building nuclear weapons. They had NOTHING!!!!! Joint agreements with Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Iraq in the late 50s is not evidence of a nuclear weapons program, it was simply a business venture for the Russians to make money. The uranium needed to run a power plant is not sufficient for weapons, further enrichment would have been needed and Iraq didn't posses that ability. Furthermore, Iraq would not have been in control of the nuclear power plant, the Russians were. My opponents claims that Iraq intended to continue its weapons program as soon as sanctions were lifted is also not backed by solid evidence, it's only based off hearsay. Former Iraqi officials testified to hearing Saddam Hussein say that about the sanctions.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thanks my opponent for this entertaining debate.

It seems to me that we both agree on many things. We agree that the Iraqi people suffered greatly under Saddam's regime from 1979-2003. We also agree that we should want to end that suffering. We agree that the West has made many mistakes when it has intervened in the past. We agree that war is unpleasant and should be avoided. We agree that the possession, production and use of WMDs whether nuclear, chemical or biological is immoral and illegal. We agree that the possession, production and use of WMDs should be punished. We agree that perpetrators of war-crimes ought to be brought to justice.

So where do we disagree?

We disagree over whether military intervention is justified. We disagree over whether your previous foreign policy failures should prevent you from ever intervening again. We disagree over whether Saddam Hussein possessed, produced or used WMDs whether nuclear, chemical or biological.

I gave you three arguments:

1) That the regime was so brutal that intervening to overthrow it was justified
2) That the regime was so destabilising and aggressive that intervening to overthrow it was justified.
3) That the regime possessed, produced and used WMDs and thus intervening to overthrow it was justified.

My second argument seems to have been conceding. My opponent rightly hasn't denied that the Iraqi regime destabilised the Middle-east and, with its vast oil wealth, posed a real threat to the security of the West. Thus I have a strong argument already for intervening.

I need to prove my 1st and 3rd argument to win this debate. This can be done by analysing our disagreements which I have already identified.

So, the first main point of clash in this debate has been whether you can justify waging war to end suffering. I take it that my opponent and surely the audience too all agree that our main job as a compassionate society is to end suffering. Therefore, at first glimpse, waging war seems illogical. Because what our intuition tells us is that war causes suffering. I do not deny this. However, can war not end suffering. Did the victory of WW2 not end the murder of European Jews by the Nazis? Did the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia not end the murder of the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge? These were both costly wars and many people died. However, they both ended the suffering of millions of people. The same goes for Iraq. I told you that Saddam was guilty of genocide, mass murder, torture and chemical weapons attacks on his own people. I told you that 2 million people died under his regime (not counting the millions of dead due to his foreign wars). How many Iraqis died during the 2nd Gulf war? Most estimates put the death toll at between 100 000 - 200 000 over the course of the 8 year intervention. Based upon this the most moral course of action would be to intervene in order to end the greater evil - the murder of civilians. Bare in mind that many of the casualties of the Iraq war were Iraqi soldiers. Whereas the vast majority of deaths due to the regime from 1979-2003 were innocent civilians. Obviously, we cannot intervene everywhere. We cannot intervene in some circumstances in which intervention would be made impossible because it would draw in a bigger power like Russia or China and thus risk a world war. However, when there is a case in which the level of suffering is so great and the crimes are so egregious and we do not face opposition from other major powers like Russia or China, then we absolutely should intervene. This was the case in Iraq. Therefore, the intervention was morally justified on humanitarian grounds. My first argument stands.

Now the second point of clash is whether previous foreign policy failures like the handling of Iran, the Vietnam war etc. mean that you can never ever intervene again. Every intervention is different. The countries are different. The time is different. The military capabilities are different. The political situation is different. The leaders are different. The justification is different. Vietnam is not Iraq. Neither is Iran (both decades earlier). There were no cold-war superpowers blocking western intervention in 2003 unlike in Vietnam. In Vietnam, the communists weren't committing genocide and gassing civilians to death - the Baathists were in Iraq. Also, just because you made some mistakes in the past why does that mean that you will always make mistakes in the future? Did the Abyssinian crisis in 1935 mean that declaring war on Nazi Germany was a failure? Arguably, previous foreign policy in Iraq such as stopping the spread of the Islamic Revolution and removing Iraqi troops from Kuwait was successful and thus the 2nd Gulf war could have been speculated to be a success by Bush and Blair in 2003. We cannot say that previous failures should prevent us from ever intervening militarily in the future. If you do that then you condemn millions of people to silent suffering and you tell dictators "you WILL get away with it". I don't believe Saddam should have gotten away with it. We accepted our errors and said that the case for intervening is so obvious let's accept that some suffering will be endured but that overall we will have ended murder and genocide and brought the Middle-east one step closer to freedom and democracy.

Iraq now is better than Iraq before 2003. There are no longer any Gulags filled with political opponents. There are no longer any Kurds being gassed. There are no longer any Marsh Arabs starving to death or being bombed to smithereens. Your previous failures do not and should not prevent you from ever intervening again even if those failures were linked. Most Iraqis actually wanted the invasion unsurprisingly:

Finally, the last point of clash is whether Saddam used, possessed or produced any WMDs. To disagree with this fact is denial - it's as simple as that. I want to ask a simple question: did Iraqi forces use chemical weapons (which are recognised by the UN and Weapons of Mass Destruction) on civilians on the town of Halabja in 1988?

If you say no, then I'm afraid I can never convince you of the fact that Iraq used WMDs and you can never be reasoned with. If you say yes, then you are admitting that Iraq breeched international law and is guilty of a war crime which officially is reason for military intervention based on UN conventions. The report I gave you is not discredited at all. The report admitted it did not find any nuclear weapons. I never claimed Iraq had nuclear weapons. I claim it tried to get nuclear weapons (which is illegal and which it did). I claim that, like North Korea and Iran, we would regret not intervening had Iraq got nuclear weapons by now. This claim is supported by the report I gave you and the testimony of the inspectors (who were ILLEGALLY deported by the Iraqi government). Chucking out inspectors violated the terms of the 1st gulf war agreements. Also, Saddam flouted the no-fly zones. You are denying the fact that Saddam used, possessed and produced chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and that he pursued a decades long programme to gain nuclear weapons (although he never achieved that goal because he was stopped by Bush and Blair from doing so).

Based on this, I have shown that all my arguments are true and reasonable. Saddam was so murderous and brutal that military action was justified. Iraq was so destabilising and war-mongering that intervention was justified. And that Saddam violated international law and committed war crimes by possessing, using and producing Chemical and Biological WMDs as well as trying to get nuclear weapons (which is also illegal).

In conclusion, war is horrible. But what is worse is condemning even more innocent people to decades more of suffering when you already no that taking action ends up killing fewer people than leaving that regime to continue on its blood-thirsty rampage. Why do we shoot armed lunatics? We don't like taking violent action and killing people. But if not acting means more people suffer then we act. And so we should. In 2005, the Iraqi people voted in their first ever free, democratic election. I'm proud that the USA and the UK gave them that chance - that chance to pursue a free and democratic country. Sometimes it takes guts and even tragedy to build a brighter future and a stabler, freer and genocide-free world.


I thank my opponent for an enjoyable debate. Good luck

I 100 percent disagree with my opponent that"our main job as a compassionate society is to end suffering". I'm not sure if my opponent lives in the US,(I suspect he/she doesn't) but one of the values we hold dear is our individualism. We are an individualistic society, not a collective society. We can and should put our self interest above all others. If your self interest is to end suffering then of course that's righteous, but if I don't want to be involved with it, that's too bad (no soup for you). Nobody can convince me that I'm a bad person because I put myself and my family above all others. I have yet to be convinced that my sole purpose on this earth is to live for the benefit of others. If the people of Iraq, Korea, Cambodia, or any other place, can't fight for and gain freedom on their own, who says they deserve it? If we are expected to have to jump every time someone needs defending, how can we consider ourselves free? Personally, I value my freedom more than helping others. Our only objective in the middle-east is to defend Saudi Arabia, that's it. And when our need for oil evaporates, we will have no purpose being there at all.

My opponent tries painting a picture of Iraq as a modern democratic "feel good" story. That's interesting, because people in Iraq are leaving in droves. He/she has failed to prove to me that the people of Iraq are better off. Iraq is now like a terrorism "rave". Just going to the market can be a deadly chore. ISIS forces young boys to fight for them, and forces young girls to be slaves for them. In 2011 (the year my opponent says the war ended), terrorism has sky rocketed, and continues to do so. It's sort of ironic that some of the countries that aided in the second Iraq war, are now barring Iraqi refugees from entering their countries. How's that for "compassion"? My opponent points to a poll that was taken before the war as proof that the Iraqi people are happy about the war, I wonder what that poll would look like if it were taken today? Perhaps less people are dying, but has their quality of life actually improved? Perhaps, if we ourselves lived in those circumstances, we could have a valid opinion on that, but we don't. My opponents assertion that the lives of the Iraqi people have improved, is only speculation. In all likelihood though, it is outright wrong to believe that. If you lived every moment of your life in fear of dying, or having to give up your children to ISIS, or economic failure, or a breakdown of the education system, or a breakdown of the effectiveness of the government and the authorities, that's not what I call a good life.

My opponents argument has shifted slightly since the beginning, where he claimed that the US involvement in Iran in the fiftees, and the US aiding Iraq in the eighties were irrelevant to this argument, then he/she conceded that they were linked events, but interventions are a basis by basis treatment. I think my opponent might have failed to realize that it was and always has been our interventionism that has exacerbated the situation. If we had only kept our promise to defend Saudi Arabia, and not gotten involved in Iran, or Iraq, we could have saved some face. Every "action" that we take in those countries seems to guarantee the need for further "action". Perhaps some day we will see the pattern and realize that were not actually helping anybody but those who profit off of war, and my opponent doesn't deny that war profits were and are a factor. We have needlessly made enemies with people who had nothing to do with us before this mess. ISIS and Al-Qaida are still huge threats to the people of Iraq and Europe and the US. These groups, were created as a direct result of American involvement in Iraq. Now, we must cross into other countries to chase them down, before they can attack us. It has become a spiralling quagmire that continually needs more action (that's good for munitions manufacturers). My opponent claims the first Iraq war was a success. Why then was there a need for a second Iraq war? Maybe it's because the first Iraq war was not a success. As it's shaping out now, it's hard to think the second Iraq war was a success. My opponent doesn't deny that he/she can't guarantee that further military action will not be needed in Iraq. These don't sound like success stories, unless of course, you are a munitions manufacturer. My opponents attitude that war for hire is okay as long as we're stopping suffering, doesn't fly with me.

My opponents "WMD" argument hinges on the fact that Iraq has used chemical weapons in the past. Not that they may have had some before the second Iraq war, because they didn't, and not that they were building nukes, no. Just because they used them in the past, was the only reason for my opponents justification. My opponent failed to prove that Iraq had any weapons stockpiles in 2003. I've shown time and time again that there was no processing plants to create any WMD, and certainly no nuclear weapons program. This point was central to my opponents argument, and all he/she could come up with was outdated, erroneous, unreliable documents that have absolutely been discredited. If they haven't been discredited, why then were no weapons ever found? If good ol Georgie W had told me that we had to go to war with Iraq simply because they kicked out nuclear weapons inspectors, I would have told him to pound so much sand. But that's all my opponent has for his/her WMD argument. As if to say, well since they kicked out weapons inspectors, they must have WMD. That is a very flimsy case for war. It's certainly worth noting that every link my opponent posted was dated before 2005. The "evidence"he/she was showing us, was seriously outdated. The links I posted didn't just say that they didn't find nuclear weapons, it said they didn't find any processing plants for any WMD. The inspectors that went in after the initial combat had ended, had to admit that there was not nearly enough material found that would warrant a war.

Thank You.
Debate Round No. 4
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Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 years ago
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