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That the use of drones in warfare should be condemned

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IncorrigiblePerspectiveIncorrigiblePerspective (PRO)
I will attempt to speak directly to the motion on this issue, to avoid a cathartic and unnecessary examination of foreign policy and the rights and wrongs of such policies. I can set out my position on drones very simply as thus:

'The proliferation of drone warfare not only makes civilian collateral damage more probable, but it also damages the standing of whichever country engages in it in international law, and further degrades the sacrosanct value of the protection of human life indiscriminate air strikes.'

What do I mean by this? As Al Gore pointed out in his film 'An Inconvenient Truth' with the axiom "Conventional technology plus conventional ideology equals predictable consequences, but new technology plus conventional habits lead to dramatically altered consequences.'
In the example, Gore emphasises his point by comparing the consequences of using traditional weapons in warfare compared to the use of nuclear weapons by the US on Japan, and how the fallout from that new technology dramatically altered the world.
Drones are the new technology of our time. The consequences will be dramatically different if we pursue their use.

Drone use is both ineffective an immoral. Why ineffective? For a number of reasons. Primarily because the technology is still developing. With the best will in the world, drone operators have a much poorer view of the scene than the equivalent fighter would have as they are relying on high spectrum imaging from satellites. The imaging, at best, delivers a resolution no higher than you would get on google earth, and from a perspective that offers a large 2D view. How, then, can military strategists discern targets from a Taliban fighter to a man buying groceries? In short, they can't.
A study undertaken by the UN in 2013 indicated that accidental killing of civilians actually outnumbered targeted killing by a ratio of 2:1. 
Furthermore, drones are relatively slow, are highly ineffective in conditions of dense fog/cloud cover, and susceptible to severe weather. How would you feel if US drone technology got into the hands of Al Qaida or ISIS? 

They, are in my opinion, also immoral. The idea of a young man, sat in a dark cubicle surrounded by displays, choosing whether to airstrike a village or not strikes me as a particularly unsavoury tactic. It's literally one step away from a computer game, only with real people, real lives on the line. Our opponents call it dishonourable. Countries such as North Korea, Pakistan and even China have made claims to the effect that shooting down humans using a RC plane from thousands of miles away is little more than cowardice. Hardly a standpoint from which to police the world.

I'll leave you with this thought: in 2006 the then vice-commander of Al Qaida, Alman al-Zawahiri, said of the American Drone programme "I hope they keep using drone strikes in Pakistan. It is the single biggest contributor to our ranks. I can't tell you how many young men come to us with stories of families blown apart whilst they sleep. They are angry. They are perfect for us, and ready for Jihad."

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-03 04:10:20
| Speak Round
Golfer15Golfer15 (CON)
I am quite excited to debate this.

Pro has presented several good points, but I will attempt to dismantle them and show why the use of drones in warfare should not be condemned.

Firstly, using an Al Gore quote to me is not as credible as other politicians. Serving as vice president under, in my opinion, the worst foreign policy administration ever to be. 

During the Rwandan Crisis, an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 tutsi's died due to genocide, but we didn't help. When the Iraq conflict happened, Bill Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack. Twenty three missiles were launched. Sixteen of the twenty three missiles launched hit their target, three hit a residential area killing nine civilians, and four missiles went unaccounted for. That's a 70% hit ratio, which isn't the best.

By this we see that cruise missiles are not the answer..

While making the argument that drones make civilian collateral damage more probable, we allow for fewer U.S. troops to be K.I.A. This is very important, because what Pro is saying is that American lives are not important...
In 2009, during Operation Enduring Freedom, there was a 60.98% IED fatality rate(this could be prevented by not having troops on the ground), and 452 U.S. troops died from IEDs. Also during Operation Enduring Freedom, 3,506 Troops died over the course of 14 years. 

During the Vietnam War, over 58,220 troops died in 20 years, imagine having drone strikes to protect them.

I am assuming given the fact that you are arguing that troops on the ground would be better makes me assume you aren't in the military or do not have any family members in the military. Having a family member in battle or K.I.A is a very hard time for the family members...

I'm also assuming you don't know anything about how much legal preceding they have to go through just to do a drone strike on someone. The United States have many lawyers constantly reviewing facts, legality, and such to confirm it is the right person they are targeting. What about the movie "Lone Survivor"? 3 navy seals died because they couldn't get "confirmation" that the person was a terrorist.. 

Are 3 American lives worth killing 1 terrorrist  the "honorable way"?

We have thousands of CIA operatives tasked to finding terrorists, tracking them, and identifying them. 

If we are worried about a terrorist group getting drone technology, we have our focuses in the wrong area. They have spies, they know when we are airdropping, supplying, or attacking with troops. Think about Black Hawk Down, over 18 people died and 73 were wounded, because they knew when we were coming. I cannot stress this enough, but we cannot justify sacrificing troops for killing one terrorist.

Our opponents calling us "dishonorable" and us listening to them is ridiculous. Almost every country you listed is a communist nation, and every communist nation hates us.. Communist nations fear us, because we are the World Great, we are the super country. 

They call us "dishonorable" and yet they are killing their own citizens for not being a communist, not following the country religion, or for other reasons. That is what i believe dishonorable to be. We are too focused on impressing, and being compassionate to everyone, but we need to show dominance.

That quote from the vice commander al Qaida is also not credible. The enemy will say and do anything to get you to do the opposite. What if he said, we would stop if the U.S. didn't fight, would they really mean it?? Oh, and tell me how Al Qaida is doing currently, are they the biggest terror group out there still?

Over 1.3 million American Troops have died due to war over the past 200 years. You cannot say that this is not a lot. 6,500 troops a year for 200 years.. 

I do not believe and nor should you that putting American Troops on the line over drones is not right, and I know that if you ever got drafted in the military, that you would change your mind about drone strikes..

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-04 06:22:06
| Speak Round
IncorrigiblePerspective: Upon entering into this debate, I had trepidation about the quality of the opponent I might be arguing with. Unless my opponent is trying to blindside me with ebullient pro-American rhetoric of almost unbelievable voracity, I can only assume I was right to be concerned.
IncorrigiblePerspective: Apparently, me quoting Al Gore is irrelevant and unhelpful, and yet my opponents first actual citation of any source comes in the form of the fictional film 'Lone Survivor'. Not only this, but my opponent confuses my actual arguments and erroneously highlights figures which really have no bearing on the issue at hand. Let me point out a few fallacies of the picture Mr Golfer paints. FIrstly, I do not have complete disregard, as he suggests, for American soldier's lives. On the contrary, I believe if they stayed at home none of them would die in the first place.
IncorrigiblePerspective: I cannot, in this cross examination format, post entire replies to my opponent, so I won't attempt to wade though the festering mountain of BS he espoused in his opening statement. To the neutral reader, let me highlight just one thing Golfer said that caught my eye... 'that we are the world great, the super country.' Also.. 'we need to show dominance'. In a nutshell, he has exposed his arrogance, and indeed that of the US government. There's a reason why other countries in Europe and around the world consider the US to be the biggest threat to world peace...
Golfer15: Lone survivor is a true story and confirmed by the U.S. military. Second, in this debate we are talking about warfare, not world peace. There is no situation in warfare where troops stay home, and "people don't sit behind computer screens and kill people". Who is taking that poll of world peace threats? Russia, China, North Korea, Japan, Germany. All who we are/have been in war with.. So of course they are going to vote against us.
Golfer15: People saying that the U.S. is the biggest threat to world peace is the biggest lie I have ever heard. What country is/has fought the most fights with terrorists, what country has provided the most aid and support in world wars? Who has gone to war over border disputes with Ukraine and killed many civilians
Golfer15: ? Oh wait Russia
Golfer15: I would like to ask one question to Con. Since you call drone and air strikes immoral, and you say that you think troops should stay and not die, what are we to do? Send in Robots? Wait for other countries to try to make peace? Or just nuke them?
IncorrigiblePerspective: In answer to your question, yes i do think American lives should be saved by not entering into unnecessary wars. You have obviously swallowed the media bullshit completely if you genuinely think that America has any credibility in policing the world. Don't get involved in conflicts half way around the world!
IncorrigiblePerspective: If you want to know the truth, consider this: The US economy is propped up by weapon exportation, which is the largest market commodity after oil traded by the US. Second, the Department of Defense, including the military, is the largest employer in north america! It's not just a happy coincidence that US foreign policy is to invade other countries! Your economy is reliant upon it! Let me ask you.. what do you think would happen to manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin if the US had 10 sustained years of no military action?

Return To Top | Speak Round
IncorrigiblePerspectiveIncorrigiblePerspective (PRO)
My opponent ended his opening statement that the claim that I would soon change my minded should I ever be drafted into the military. In doing so, he confirmed what I already thought.. that war is scary and drones are a much less frightening proposition than being a soldier engaged in combat. In short, a policy based on fear. 
A lot of modern America seems to be based on fear. From my perspective, it seems everything from gun ownership to immigration to foreign policy is based on people's fears related to the unknown threat, in these cases 'other people with guns', 'foreigners' and 'ISIS' respectively.
Policies similarly based on fear are never going to make sense under the scrutiny of logic and strategic reasoning, and so it is with drones.

If you're reading this from the US, ask yourself this question;- do you feel safer in your own country, knowing drones equipped with US-made bombs are systematically destroying people's lives on the other side of the world? And all in the name of 'democracy' and 'freedom.'

As you may have surmised from my arguments, much of my opposition with drones relate to the wider issue of foreign policy. The question could have easily been relating to other instruments of war, and many of my core objections would still stand. As we stare towards the possibility that a bigoted racist such a Donald Trump could soon gain the most powerful office in the world, we surely all need to question the role which our governments play on the global stage. Many people lauded the bombing of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, despite the thousands of civilians who died as a result. Would the world have stood by if the Afghani army had levelled US towns to the ground in the hunt for 1 terrorists? Of course not, but somehow the west, and in particular the US, we have a tendency to think we hold moral superiority over others, and that it is our duty to police the rest of the world. Drones are just the latest tool in the arsenal used to propagate that notion.

Airstrikes are always indiscriminate to the point of view of those on the ground. Drones offer little difference. We can track the rise of groups like ISIS in direct proportion to airstrikes and bombing campaigns, and the ratio is clear. When drone strikes increase, so too do the ranks of ISIS. The reverse is similarly true. 

I don't want to repeat my arguments from the first round, so i'll conclude with this.
Drones could be used in a positive way. 'Could' being the operative word there. Drones can, and until very recently were, be utilised primarily for information gathering and recon. There is no harm in keeping lives safe by using them in this way. The problem comes when we thought attaching bombs to them would be a good idea. The west is facing an idealogical war with groups such as ISIS and al'Qaida. Drone strikes will never solve the issue, and indeed may well make it a great deal worse. You can't bomb your way to peace, as the saying goes.
Innocent life is now used as fuel to the fire of our opponents... every child killed in an Arab nation causes numerous others to join the fight against us. In a world where information is now so easy to share, we can no longer hide the realities of war from the rest of the world. We are judged by every bullet, every decision. Drones do not offer us the answer we seek, and their use will only hinder our path towards peace.  

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-17 09:06:07
| Speak Round

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