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That the use of drones in warfare should be condemned

0 points
7 points
maxitoutwritermaxitoutwriter (PRO)
I'm against the use of drones in warfare because of how, like in video games, it disconnects us from the act of killing and violence, which is dangerous to mankind as a whole. As humans, we shouldn't be able to simply make a decision to kill on the combat field and then deploy a drone. My opponent's strongest argument for it will most likely talk about safety to US troops, but I believe that something more serious is at stake when we use drones. We lose our humanity. I would rather be a nation that lives and dies by its principles than a nation of cowards that can't carry out their own killing.

Think about it. Do you want to kill humans in the same thoughtless that you would kill cattle? Drones disconnect us from the consequences of the action and everyone that it negatively impacts. 

We shouldn't use drones in combat for the same reason that we have the international humanitarian law, "The Law of War." This keeps war from degrading to its worst and nastiest elements, such as looting and destroying cultural heritage sites. The loss is not just for the country that suffers the heritage and cultural destroying but a loss for the world. Ask any archaeologist and tell me I'm when wrong when you're done.

In war, perhaps we win. We began with equal footing (the two numbers being an equation), such as, "2+2 = 4." When the war ends, however, what we're left with is "2.5+1 =3.5" The sum total is a loss for all when you carry out war crimes. In the same way, I see drone warfare.

When we use drones to kill in a war, we make a dangerous statement about the gravity of killing. We disconnect ourselves from the true consequences, which could potentially lead us into to WWIII. Think of the case with the killing of Soleimani. Let me ask you, "Wouldn't that have been considered an act of war if a human had done it?"

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-01-19 02:04:09
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
I'd like to start off by thanking my opponent for accepting the debate and wishing them luck. I luck forward to an interesting debate.

Section 1: In this section, I shall refute my opponent's argument(s). As we can all see, my opponent's main and only argument depicts the use of drones as a moral dilemma. They claim that we, as humans, lose our morality and we forget the heavy burden of taking another life. Now this would be a good argument if it wasn't such a weak one. Why is this argument weak? For the simple fact that my opponent seems to have forgotten that a majority of drones used in combat are manned. This means the drones are flown by a human being and it's a human being pulling the trigger. It's true, that they're not killing the target in person, but the moral dilemma is still likely there. They'll still have to live with the fact that they took another person's life. Another weakness of my opponent's argument is the fact that their argument could be used for any other vehicle or tool used in warfare. It's so vague and open, it could be easily turned against them. For instance, I could easily bring up the fact that sending in other humans to fight in a war is equally inhumane and immoral. You are sending your fellow countrymen to not only kill other human being, but to put their own lives on the line. So let me ask my opponent this. Who do you think faces the real moral dilemma? The leader sending dozens of troops out to die? Or the one man who was tasked with the termination of a target, usually a high value one? For most people, this would be a no brainer.

Section 2: In this section, I plan on discussing the benefits of using drones in war.
                       1. Drones have been responsible for disrupting terrorist plans throughout the world, taking out 3,500 terrorists/militants, including some high value targets. I'm aware an argument can be made that these same drone strikes make more terrorists than the kill, but this isn't always the case as we've learned with the drone strike that killed Soleimani (we'll talk about him more later). 

                      2. Now we'll touch up on the biggest moral dilemma of all of war. Civilian casualties. No matter what, they're bound to happen, so it's best kill as few as possible. Well fortunately for us, drones help solve this. Drone strikes have killed exponentially less civilians than any other weapon. Since 2001, civilian deaths make up only 8-17% of all deaths that have occurred in the wars in the Middle East. Compare this to WW2 through the Balkan wars where civilian casualties ranged from 31-70% of all deaths. While it's true that no civilian casualties would be the most ideal outcome. Isn't fewer still better than a lot? Well, thanks to drones, we can keep civilian casualties to a minimum. Who knows? Maybe they'll help end them all together.
                  3. My opponent already made an argument against this, but they can't even deny that it's true. Drone strikes are far safer for our own troops. Drone strikes protect our troops from serious physical harm and even death. Especially enemies like we've been fighting for the last few decades. Enemies who tend to fight us at large distance and in very dangerous terrains, which increases the risk of very deadly firefights and ambushes for our troops. Not only that, they protect troops from PTSD. When drones are used, we don't have to send troops into terrible situations that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Drone pilots also have a small chance of getting PTSD, though it can still happen.

                 4. They are cheaper than using actual people. They tend to be faster too. I'm pretty sure this one explains itself.

                 5. They are legal under international and US laws. Meaning, anyone and everyone could use them. So all things accounted for, it's pretty fair. If we want to discuss inhumane acts of war, lets discuss weapons of mass destruction such as nukes or chemical weapons such as white phosphorous. Surely those are bigger concerns than a measly drone.

                 6. Drone strikes collaborated efforts between both nations governments, which makes them safer and lessens military actions taken. Which is also why a majority of people support them.

There are countless benefits of drones in warfare that make them so good for everyone. Be it safety for our own troops, or fast easy ways to deal with serious threats. Now I would like to let my opponent know that I have looked through the cons provided in the link that I will be posting for this section. I'd also like to note that they don't make any good arguments to prove that they should be condemned. Equally important is the fact the pros could also easily counter the cons should my opponent use them in their arguments.


Section : In this section, we'll be going back to the whole Soleimani incident. My opponent made the wild claim that this incident would lead to WW3, or at least a similar incident could. While this is a debate for another time, I would like to take this time to point out how far off my opponent is. The killing of General Soleimani would not have lead to WW3 for three simple reasons. 1. Iran is pretty much alone. They have little to no allies, having lost them after it was discovered that they were attempting to build nuclear weapons. 2. There is a very slim chance of Iran's allies getting involved, given the fact that they themselves started the fight. 3. A majority of the world wanted Soleimani dead. He was a very terrible person, being directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans, Iranians and Iraqis. He's also committed numerous war crimes. There's a reason he was regarded as the worst terrorist in the world. This is also why a large number of Iraqis and Iranians actually celebrated his death and started to protest for their freedom. It's also why I said earlier that drones don't always make more terrorists, it's because Soleimani was so good at what he did, he's arguably irreplaceable. Now the other reason I bring this up, is because it also plays into Section 2 of my arguments, where I stated that governments collaborate on strikes. Though, this incident is an exception to that given the circumstances, it's not the case for every drone strike. The chances of a drone strike actually starting WW3 are very, very small.


I would like to thank my opponent again and state that I look forward to reading their future arguments.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-01-19 20:43:28
| Speak Round
maxitoutwritermaxitoutwriter (PRO)
Excellent argument from my opponent. I'm new to the site, and I wasn't sure what to expect, why I seemed so disorganized in my initial debate. I will do my best to refute the points made. 

Section 1: 
The first argument made which is an excellent point is that drones don't cause troops PTSD as often. Hard to argue a negative against that outside the fact that it doesn't cause PTSD because of how it disconnects you from the harsh realities of war. By no means am I arguing that PTSD is better, but the danger in disconnecting ourselves from war is that we don't think through our actions. I really can't refute some of the points made against sending troops into battle on a moral level because war in itself is immoral. However, the rules of war exist to keep it from getting nastier, and that's the point that I'm arguing for. 

While one could argue that sending in a drone will be a cleaner kill, the problem is that you have the potential for splash damage as my opponent admits. Troops are cleaner considering how drones will often have collateral damage. In fact, 368 civilians and 160 children have died in drone strikes since 2006. That may sound minuscule, but over 1,000 civilians have been injured in drone strikes. Let me ask you, what if the coin was flipped, and it was your mother or sister? What if the child killed in a drone strike was your two-year-old son? 

They say 80% of the time, the drones hit their mark, but I say that number needs to at least be 95% of the time before it could be an acceptable form of warfare. Some Pakistani sources even say that the number of civilians might might be as high as 700 innocents. 

When you cause that level of injustice, you could even spark others to join up in the fight against the US. If your son or daughter were killed, wouldn't you seek vengeance against those responsible?

Section 2:
In section 2, I will refute my opponent's benefits of using drones in warfare: 

1. It's hard to argue strictly against a fact given on how many terrorists have been killed in drone strikes. Instead, I'd argue for the lack of effectiveness. My opponent points out the 3,500 killed, but he does not highlight that 4,200 people total were killed in these strikes. I'll even give him the benefit of the doubt, and we'll go with the lower number of 528 innocent casualties. Take 3,500 divided by 528, and that means that 6.6 civilians were killed per drone strike. That, my friend, is 6 is too many. It highlights the ineffectiveness of these strikes. 

Imagine your son coming out of the chocolate store with a big bag of candy in hand, and because of his proximity to a terrorist target, he gets blown to pieces with the terrorist. Could you stomach your own child dying this way? 

That's why drones shouldn't be used. As the opponent says, drones are cheap to make, and this means that the injustice could happen on our own side as well. That's what I'm highlighting here, and how we will both lose our humanity in the process of the war. While drones have disrupted terrorist plans, I argue that our CIA and other intelligence agencies could figure out more effective ways of stifling them. 

2.  The benefit of argument number two is a moot point for the fact that it only highlights civilian casualties from a single method of attack--drones. You still have just as many casualties in the Balkan Wars when you look at the full picture. You want to know the number of actual casualties in the Iraq war? During the invasion Mosul, Kurdish intelligence javascript:nicTemp(); put the figures at 40,000 civilian deaths. In the war and occupation of Iraq, 600,000 civilians were killed in total. 

My opponent could argue that drone strikes cause far fewer casualties, but let's put the number in context. Every drone strike kills six people that you know. Not to mention, the fact that it disconnects you from the ill effects and consequences of war. I'm not arguing for PTSD for our troops, but I'm arguing that we need to understand the consequences of every one of our actions in this war. 

3. I had previously covered number three so I will leave it as is. 

4. I gave an excellent counterpoint to number four earlier. 

5. Hitler had laws too and passed some that led to the killing of six million Jews. To put that into context, 25 percent of the Jewish population died in World War II. Point being made: Laws don't always equal right, and while international law currently allows for the use of drones, it's a moot point to argue the righteousness of laws. We pass laws in the hopes of attaining the highest moral authority and good for everyone, but we have to use critical thinking for what is happening as well. 

Another example of poorly thought out laws comes from apartheid state in South Africa. Do either Hitler's laws or apartheid state laws sound just? Or even segregation laws previously in effect. 

For the last part, I feel as if the opponent is trying to distract from the atrocities of drones to shine the spotlight on nuclear weapons, white phosphorous and biological war. I cannot argue against it from that platform of constraints set up. That's like a thief saying, "Yes, stealing is bad, but you know what's worse? Murder!" Well, in that stark context, you're absolutely correct, but you know what should never happen to begin with? Stealing! The point here is that we can prevent stealing. One could argue that you can prevent nuclear weapons as well, but there's one problem with that point. No one wants to give up their nuclear weapons, whereas drones don't kill quite as many people. 

As the opponent, argues, it's a measly little drone, and why should we allow ourselves to lose our humanity when this method of war can easily be prevented.

Final Section:
My final rebuttal comes against the killing of Soleimani. My opponent failed to question the statistic that General Soleimani killed thousands of Americans, and this statistic is built on a single source with weak facts. It's a murky point at best and downright propaganda to say that Soleimani deserved to die because he was, "The worst terrorist in the world." Where are the facts to back this up? On what basis do you judge that Soleimani was the worst terrorist in the world? If he was so terrible, why did previous presidents always opt out of killing Soleimani despite his lack of protection like Osama Bin Laden. Even George Bush never went after Soleimani for fear of the implications that it could start World War III. 

Never forget--WWI began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. 

His outrageous claim that WWIII could not have been started with a drone strike against Soleimani has a few key weaknesses.  First, Russia and China remain friendly on a strategic and economic level. You think that if China or Russia's interests were threatened that they wouldn't come to the aid of Iran? This would most likely have a domino effect. 

Finally, the killing of Soleimani does not negate the fact that there will always be two sides in a story. Many also mourned the killing of Soleimani, and Iraqi government even wanted to kick the United States out of Iraq because of how Iraq would once again prove a casualty in this fight. If the killing of one man led to the death of millions in a catastrophic domino effect, wouldn't you choose not to do it? 
My opponent seems to think of Soleimani as irreplaceable, but the suggestion that he is irreplaceable is misguided at best--and dare I say the F-word--fake news at worst. 

Certainly, it deals a blow to Iran, but if you know the story of the Greek Hydra having its head cut off, someone will always step up to replace him. 

I'd also like to point out that a drone strike--yes, a drone strike--is so harmful that it almost started WWIII. That is why drone strikes have no place on the battlefield.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-01-20 00:06:38
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
I'd like to start this round by welcoming my opponent to this site and state that I hope that they've enjoyed their first debate. I shall use this round, which is the final round if I recall correctly, to provide rebuttals on my opponent's latest arguments. 

Section 1: This argument shall be quite easy to refute. Yet again my opponent makes the claim that using drones disconnects us from the act of killing and violence. It seems that they have over looked the fact that I have stated that drones are primarily piloted by people. Meaning the decision and the emotional trauma of taking another life is still there. When someone claims that these are absent in a person when they carry out a drone strike, they're doing so under the assumption that the pilot looks at it like a video game and treats it as such. I have two responses to this. 1. If this were true, the risk of PTSD wouldn't exist for the drone pilot. This seems to be another fact that my opponent has glanced over. 2. If any pilot had this mentality, they'd be discharged for being psychologically unstable.

Section 2: My opponent brings up the numbers of civilian deaths and attempts to paint them as being worse than they are. I have already gone over the fact that there are far fewer civilian deaths than before, which is a great thing and should be appreciated rather than frowned upon. Now, as I have stated before, it would be much better if no civilians were killed, however it's virtually impossible. If we want to discuss civilian deaths, let's look at far worse causes of civilian deaths in wars. Stray bullets, bombs, other missile strikes, IEDs. Drones aren't the only tool of war that has killed civilian but it has killed the least amount. So I would like the reader and my opponent to ponder this question. How are drones worse than literally everything else we use in war? 

Section 3: My opponent claimed that I stated that drones were cheap to make. I would like to clarify that I did not say this, I said that drones are cheaper to use than troops. Each drone strike costs around $1.4 million while troop deployment can cost upwards of $72 million, give or take depending on the amount of troops being sent and how. That's a pretty nice difference, especially if we want to bring economics into this debate.

Section 4: My opponent tries to have the readers and I to put themselves in the shoes of someone who lost someone to a drone strike. This doesn't make for a good argument. This is simply cause the same argument could be made for anything else. Medications, other weapons used in war, amusement park rides and even food.

Section 5: Now, this will be touching up on Section 2 some more slightly. I should have brought this up in the last round, but I honestly didn't know how much room I had. This is very important. A drones primary payload is a JDAM. JDAMs are a special kind of ordinance that have an accuracy range the size of a quarter and will never miss. One good thing about these is that they'll only destroy and damage the target. I know this isn't very good for debates, but given the fact that my dad helped develop the JDAM while he was serving in the USAF, I figured it would be nice to quote him. According to him, the JDAM could hit a building and only that building. The reason this ties into Section 2 is that any civilian casualties concerning these strikes, are just like every other civilian casualty in a war. Wrong place, wrong time.

Section 6: My opponent discusses other people who made laws, especially laws that hurt other people. My opponent mostly mentions certain laws that are completely irrelevant to this topic, since they themselves don't add anything to this debate. This debate is concerning a tool of war, not civil rights or anything like that. But I do have a few responses for their arguments. First off, if this is such a big issue, wouldn't it be more important to focus on these laws rather than drones? Finally, I do believe my opponent doesn't understand the point I was making. The reason weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons and bio weapons are illegal internationally because, unlike drones, they are inhumane and truly horrible weapons that cause unspeakable chaos. Let's put it into perspective. You're given two images. One image shows the aftermath of a city that was nuked. The other shows the aftermath of a drone strike. You have to condemn and ban only one of them. Would you choose the nuke or the drone? I know what a majority of people would choose, myself included. This brings me to another of my opponents claims. They claim that I attempted to distract the readers from the atrocities of drone strikes by discussing terrible weapons, like nuclear bombs and white phosphorous. This couldn't be farther from the truth. When discussing the condemnation of a weapon or tool of war, one should compare them to other, actually horrible things. Like what we just discussed earlier in this section. Another thing we could compare drone strikes to are improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which have killed more civilians than drones have. Or better yet. Compare drone strikes to land mines which have definitely killed a lot more people than drones have. The fact is, when it comes to banning tools of war, you have to look at all of them, and ban the one that's statistically the worst and most inhumane. 

Section 7: It appears my opponent has ignored quite a few of my arguments. This was either unintentionally, or they figured that they weren't very important. However, these arguments were strong supporters of my point and very hard to argue against, so I can't blame them for not wanting to refute them. There are three arguments in particular that I want to bring up here. The first being that drone strikes are coordinated efforts between two countries' governments, to increase the safety of these strikes. The second being the fact that drone strikes keep troops out of extremely deadly situations, like the ones our troops face on a day to day basis in the Middle East. The third and final one is the fact that a majority of people support the use of drones. Their reasoning could be personal, political, or economic. The fact that they support it still stands. So do these arguments since my opponent has failed to refute them.

Section 8: I wish we didn't have to end with Soleimani again, but I see that my opponent has some misconceptions about it still. So let's touch up on those.
                   1. Let's start with Russia and China. Russia and China don't actually back Iran. They were the first countries to abandon Iran after if was discovered that they were illegally making nuclear weapons. I am aware that their navies met up, but it was solely for war games. It wasn't in response to the drone strike or our military action to protect our Embassy. Even if they were still allies, they would not get involved. Since Iran started the hostilities by committing numerous terrorist attacks, they got themselves into trouble. Russia and China would stay out because it wouldn't involve them.

                  2. My opponent mentions how WW1 started with an assassination. That's only half true. As anyone who's taken a basic world history course would know, WW1 started because of a bunch of treaties that were foolishly written and signed forced all participating countries into the war. If those treaties never existed, WW1 probably would never have happened.

                 3. My opponent seems to believe that I said thousands of Americans were killed by Soleimani. Allow me to correct them by saying that I stated that he killed thousands of people, including Americans, Iraqis and Iranians. As we know, it has been confirmed that Soleimani and his men were directly responsible for the deaths of 600+ American civilians and soldiers, most of which were killed by IEDs or missile attacks. We also know that he was about to lead an assault on the US Embassy in Baghdad with the intent of killing every single person in the building, which is why we sent the drone strike in the first place.

              4. My opponent doubts that Soleimani is irreplaceable and that he's the worst terrorist in the world. Well outside of all the people that he and his men (under his command) killed in terrorist  attacks, he has yet to be replaced. Especially since his second in command died along side him in the same drone strike. The reason I said he was irreplaceable was because he was very good at what he did. He was their "best general" after all. Also, no one doubts that he's a terrorist, so that's a start. It's pretty bad when even Iranians admit that he's a terrorist. Don't you think?

              5. My opponent claims that this little drone strike alone almost caused WW3 to start. This is nothing more than a red herring with no evidence to prove it. At best, we could call it fear mongering. I easily disproved this notion in the last round, the burden of proof belonged to my opponent and they made no effort to provide any. Therefore my arguments still stand. 

As we can see, my opponent's arguments were pretty much the same this round as they were last round. Normally, recycling old arguments isn't a good debating tactic, I can't hold it against my opponent. They're new to the site and still have much to learn. So I would like to say to my opponent, that I don't mind their formatting and that I hope they had fun. I now leave it in your hands judges. Thank you for taking the time to read the debate and thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. I had a blast.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-01-20 18:50:36
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
Okay. So I just learned about these new, half speech summary rounds at the end of a debate. I should look into the different debate formats to learn about them. But for now, I shall give a brief summary of my arguments. In all, I've shown that there are more pros than cons when it comes to drones in warfare. They are beneficial for every country, not just the US, in terms of cost, safety and effectiveness.  As far as tools of war go, drones have the fewest civilian deaths, which I believe speaks a lot on it's own, especially since everyone wants to reduce the amount of civilians killed in wars. Drones are also a great way to easily and quickly take out high value targets, which, in the past, would usually a lot of time and effort. My opponent's arguments were built completely on the fact that civilians still die and that a drone strike could cause WW3. I easily shut down their claims and brought up the point that they were unable to sufficiently prove their case that drones in warfare should be condemned. With this, I shall conclude my half speech by thanking my opponent again for accepting this debate and thanking the readers to take time out of their days to read and judge this debate. I hope everyone has a wonderful day.
Return To Top | Posted:
2020-01-21 06:59:46
| Speak Round

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It's all good. It happens. lol
Posted 2020-01-22 10:37:54
I accidentally submitted before I posted. I think you got this one though, man, haha.
Posted 2020-01-22 03:38:31
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-01-22 07:35:18
GuitarKirbyJudge: GuitarKirby
Win awarded to: dpowell3543
Con definitely took this one for me. There were an abundance of points brought up, several of which went completely unaddressed, much less contested. Pro choosing to take a moral stance was an unexpected decision and, to me, gave them an unnecessarily high burden of proof. It's hard to argue that a device that puts fewer people in danger is a less moral option than another.

Pro, biggest thing for you is to have more than one argument at the beginning. Your opponent had a ton of ammunition to fire off during his first round because you only gave him one point to contest. If you can push your opponent into a defensive stance in the first round you'll get more room to bring up additional points in your later rounds, as well. As a last piece of advice, you never want to bring up an argument that could be construed even a little bit as being in favor of your opponent's side unless you can really disprove it in advance.

Con, nice work. I thought your Soleimani argument in the first round was risky, because WWI was started by an assassination too, but your opponent kind of dropped the ball on that. The only argument I actively thought was wrong at the outset was "let's talk about bigger weapons," because it sounds like a red herring and a distraction from the resolution. "There's something else that's worse" doesn't really have any bearing on the topic. Still, most of your arguments were sound, structured, and sourced well.
1 user rated this judgement as constructive
2 comments on this judgement
Thanks for your honesty. Though on the point of the assassination, I did touch up on that in Round 2, Section 8.2.
Posted 2020-01-30 19:27:47
Yes, you did. My mistake.
Posted 2020-01-31 10:15:19
2020-01-30 02:20:48
TrainhammerJudge: Trainhammer
Win awarded to: dpowell3543
2020-02-06 12:13:27
Digitsofe271Judge: Digitsofe271
Win awarded to: dpowell3543
2020-02-16 04:21:35
RadeCrowJudge: RadeCrow
Win awarded to: dpowell3543

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