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Round 1: Beelzebubba v gallopinghordes Pots, Kettles, and Suicide Bombers

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posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 09:24 PM
The topic for this debate is "If America's economic and political situation were similar to that of Saudi Arabia, Americans would also resort to terrorism.".

Beelzebubba will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
gallopinghordes will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 12:06 AM
Premise: "The people of the United States, faced with the same turmoil as Saudi Arabia, would resort to Terrorism."

First of all, I would like to thank The Vagabond for organising these first-timers debates. I would also like to thank gallopinghordes for participating.

TERRORISM; the mantra of the new millenium. The tragic events of 9/11 have scarred this word into the global psyche. Widely publicized, but unfortunately, probably one of the least understood phenomena of our time.

The term has become so demonized, that people in first world countries are of a mind that they are far too cultured and civilized to resort to such drastic measures.

This is where we make the mistake of viewing the many countries in which terrorism exists as somehow barbaric and placing no value on human life.

We are not above such acts.

"The ends sought by conspiracies against monarchies, whether tyrannies or royalties, are the same as the ends sought by conspiracies against other forms of government. Monarchs have great wealth and honor which are objects of desire to all mankind. The attacks are made sometimes against their lives, sometimes against the office; where the sense of insult is the motive, against their lives. Any sort of insult (and there are many) may stir up anger, and when men are angry, they commonly act out of revenge, and not from ambition."

So wrote Aristotle in The Politics. People, when faced with enough insults against against their lifestyle, their family, and their fellows, will naturally seek vengeance against the regime that has so restrained and curtailed their basic Human Rights.

Let's look at a regime like that in Saudi Arabia and how it treats it's citizens:

Capital punishment was applied for crimes including murder, rape, armed robbery, drug smuggling, sodomy, and sorcery. In most cases, the condemned were decapitated in public squares after being blindfolded, handcuffed, shackled at the ankles, and tranquilized. By late September 2000, at least 104 Saudis and foreigners had been beheaded, exceeding in nine months the total of 103 that Amnesty International recorded in 1999. Two of the foreigners beheaded in 2000 were women: a Pakistani in July for heroin smuggling, and an Indonesian in June for murder.

Saudi courts continued to impose corporal punishment, including amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and floggings for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" and drunkenness. The number of lashes was not clearly prescribed by law and varied according to the discretion of judges, and ranged from dozens of lashes to several thousand, usually applied over a period of weeks or months.

The inherent cruelty of such sentences was heightened by due process concerns about the fairness of legal and administrative procedures. Under the 1983 Principles of Arrest, Temporary Confinement, and Preventative Regulations, detainees had no right to judicial review, no right to legal counsel, and could be held in prolonged detention pending a decision by the regional governor or the minister of interior.

The government heavily restricted religious freedom and actively discouraged religious practices other than the Wahhabi interpretation of the Hanbali school of Sunni Islam. Officially, non-Muslims were free to worship privately but in October 1999 and January 2000, according to the U.S. State Department, two Filipino Christian services were raided by the mutawwa'in, the state-financed religious police known as the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice. Thirteen people were arrested the first time and another sixteen persons in January; all were deported. Saudi officials reportedly said that the services had too many participants to be considered private.

Transpose this small sample of human rights violations across the oceans to the USA and tell me that American citizens would accept it and live with it.

Terrorism in the modern sense is violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians for political or other ideological goals. Most definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear or "terror", are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or utterly disregard the safety of non-combatants. Many definitions also include only acts of unlawful violence.

The above description is what we encounter on Wikipedia. Certainly it is an intrepid and fearsome definition of acts that are described as targetting innocent people who have no say in the political machinations of a targeted regime.

Here, we enter a grey area. What is True Terrorism against a political regime and what is Terrorism when utilised by a regime to curtail the rights of a populace.

The belief that the United States Government has committed just such acts against its people is not new to this site. Why? How close has the US Government percieved its population coming to revolution that such measures are necessary to restrain them? Is America closer to this outcome than might be realised?

Thank you.

posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 06:43 AM
First of all I would like to thank Vagabod for the hard work putting this together. Thank you also to my opponent Beelzebubba; I look forward to a fun and educational experience.

First we must look at exactly what terrorism is. According to Wikipedia; in the modern sense it is violence used to create fear against civilians or noncombatants to achieve political or ideological goals. The key is the actions are taken against civilian noncombatants; innocents if you will.

We must also take a look at Saudi culture. To western minds it is oppressive especially against women and other minority groups such as homosexuals. However, is it viewed as oppressive by the people of that country? That is an important distintion. Is a government viewed as oppressive by outside agencies oppressive if it isn't viewed as oppressive by it's own citizens?

To compare current Saudi culture to our own we must look to our history both recent and not so recent to find times where we may have felt that the sitting government was oppressing us. We must also take in account that our social mores and standards are different from Eastern. Not better but different. We must then take those comparable events and look at the citizens response to them.

posted on Oct, 1 2007 @ 08:17 AM
We must first discern whether or not the topic addresses whether the USA has existed, prior to the hypothetical situation we are debating, with the beliefs and virtues created by it's Founding Fathers or if it has been a country that has long been indoctrinated into accepting overt rule by despots and dictators.

The former scenario makes the most sense to me.
Otherwise we simply have a situation exactly like that in Saudi Arabia in America, and the point is moot.

Imagine this oppressiveness being applied to the population of the United States. America has already suffered from domestic terrorism for slights, real or imagined, that are far less transgressive than that imposed on the people of Saudi Arabia.

Some examples:

- The Ku Klux Klan

- The Army of God

- The Earth Liberation Front

- The Black Liberation Army

All of the above committed acts of Terrorism against the United States from within.

Some of the more infamous acts of Domestic Terrorism:

- The Civil War draft riots (1863)

- .Bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building (1910)

- Wall Street bombing (1920)

- The Unabomber attacks (1978-1995)

- The Oklahoma City Bombing (1995)

- The Centennial Olympic Park bombing (1996)

- Anthrax attacks (2001)

Americans have already taken the lives of non-combatants in acts of Terrorism under the system that exists already.

The American people take their rights seriously, and if some new regime were to muscle in and start showing Americans what real oppressiveness was... I think the outcome would be obvious.


Remember, it only takes a very small percent of the population to take action. We are not talking about a popular revolution here. We are talking about action taken by a minority, whether futile or not, attempting to thwart an oppressive regime.

In nearly every country in the world that has has to endure an oppressive regime, there have been revolutionaries, willing to take drastic measures for their freedom.

Why would America be any different?

posted on Oct, 2 2007 @ 08:28 PM
Indeed we must assume that this debate is about the United States as it is now.

We as Americans have been firmly indoctrinated into the ideals of freedom and liberty. On this we are in agreement.

We are a people who believe in freedom of expression and thought. We hold dear the values of our Founding Fathers that include but are not limited to:

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Religion

Right to Bear Arms

Separation of Church and State

These are just some of the values we hold dear.

We also hold dear the ability to work within the system. We know that we can indeed remove our elected officials without bloodshed. The methods of impeachment, recall and simply not reelecting them are known and used by the American people. We know from past experience that these methods work. We've proven they work as recently as the removal of former President Nixon.

The groups you mention do indeed fall in the definition of terrorist groups. However, they never gained widespread support and approval of the general populace; and for the most part failed to achieve their goals and objectives. Their failure to achieve their goals is due in large part to the mind set of the American people. We know as a people that there are far better ways to implement societal changes.

These changes are achieved through legal and political process. Examples of these changes include but aren't limited to:

Women's right to vote

School integration

Repeal of Jim Crow laws

Roe v Wade

These changes are examples of changes caused by good people working within the system to effect positive changes in society.

The groups listed by my opponent failed to achieve significant change because Americans are well aware of their ability to cause change within the system.

Terrorist groups that operate with the Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general have achieved at least in part their objectives. This success is due in large part to their ability to gain societal approval. Arabic mothers have publicly stated their approval of their children becoming martyrs for the cause. I've yet to see an American mother express her desire for her child to become a martyr and strap a bomb on walk into a group of innocents and blow themselves up. This behavior is for the vast majority of Americans unfathomable.

Americans have no intention of doing anything but live free. We protect our rights and freedoms by working within the system so many people have shed blood to establish and keep.

posted on Oct, 3 2007 @ 10:34 AM
This debate is about whether an American political and economic situation, similar to that in Saudi Arabia, would spark terrorism in the United States.

In order for us to view this we must assume that democracy is a thing of the past. It once existed, but now it's gone. A Monarchy with fundamentalist views has been installed and now metes out laws in strict accordance with a book of religion.

Take a look at some of those dearly held American values:

Freedom of Speech - Gone.

Freedom of Religion - Gone.

Separation of Church and State - Gone.

Impeachment, recall, and failure to gain the popular vote may have been fine in a democratic society, but now you don't have a say. A Monarchy now dictates who will lead you. The Crown Prince is waiting in the wings.
You are living in a society where the laws are dictated to you in accordance with Shari'ah.

Under a democracy, most Americans knew how to work within the system. There were still those disgruntled few that resorted to Terrorism. If the traditional American system had problems, how would a repressive regime fare?

Nixons reign may have been oppressive but it pales next to a regime that will take you to be flogged in public for the crime of drunkeness, or frog-march you out into the public square and decapitate you for practicing sorcery, or maybe just imprison you for practicing the wrong religion. Steal something... prepare to lose a hand.

If you're a woman, prepare to be heavily discriminated against. It's modest dress for you, and I mean modest. If you don't wear abaya, you're going to get a caning. Take a man to court... prepare to lose the case, because you're a woman and your testimony can't be trusted. You're too emotional and your views are skewed by those darned female perceptions. You can't legally drive. You can't even ride a bicycle.
(These points alone would be enough to send Andrea Dworkin and Shere Hite on a bombing rampage)

Are you a homosexual? Then you had better stay in the closet, or conduct your affairs very discreetly. A homosexual lifestyle could get you executed.

As I stated earlier, we are not speculating about a popular uprising. We don't need to see huge waves of public support for those that are shedding blood to achieve their objectives. We don't even need to see these groups achieve their objectives. All we need is a group of people willing to go to drastic lengths in support of their ideals.

American people know there used to be better ways of implementing societal changes. It's Shari'ah now.

Women's right to vote - Gone.

Jim Crow Laws? - You're living in a Tier 3 country now.

Roe v. Wade -

A physician is prohibited to perform an abortion of a pregnant woman unless an abortion is deemed the only course of action that is apt to save her life.

The groups I listed never gained widespread support because they were minorities with minority views on certain subjects. But now there's a new sheriff in town and he's taken away most of the rights that nearly all Americans treasure.

An American mother may not praise her son as a martyr if he blows himself up in a public space. But an American mother will praise her son as a hero for going to fight for what he and his fellows believe in. Terrorism isn't just about suicide bombers.

As I stated earlier, widespread support isn't necessary, achieved objectives aren't necessary, suicide bombers aren't necessary (to define it as Terrorism).

All that is necessary is people who desire change. A desire for something better.

I feel that there is no need to bring the economic situation into the discussion. The political situation alone would be enough to cause people in nearly any country to form cells that are dedicated to the overthrow of the regime. By any means necessary.

Thank you.

posted on Oct, 4 2007 @ 10:04 PM
My worthy opponent makes some interesting points.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that we are indeed once again under an oppressive government. I remind you that we've been there before. That oppressive government or as it was perceived by the people was indeed overthrown by the people. That overthrow was accomplished in 1776. Perhaps you remember it from your history lessons.

During the Revolutionary War the American people felt oppressed and denied basic freedoms and indeed respect from King George III. When talking failed action was taken. War was waged in defense of those desired freedoms and many men and women fought and died to achieve the freedom to establish our country. This war was fought primarily against legitimate military targets without using children with bombs strapped on to kill innocent noncombatants.

Once again during the war of 1812 Americans were once again forced to wage war against Great Britain to maintain our right of self-determination. Again, we fought for our right of self-determination once again our targets were primarily legitimate military targets.

Again during the Civil War or the War Between the States depending on which side of the Mason Dixon line your from, Americans once again armed themselves in defense of their way of life. Once again the targets were primarily legitimate military targets or legitimate military strategy was used.

It is firmly entrenched in our history to think, feel and worship as we please. When our forefathers were denied religious freedom they immigrated to what was then termed the New World to establish colonies that permitted free thinking.

Terrorism such we see in the Middle East would not happen in the United States because there is a totally different mind set in the West. It isn't that we value life more but rather we put a different value on it.

We value our freedoms just as much now as we ever did. We are also raised to think for ourselves and to make our own decisions. Our children are raised to think for themselves and to establish their own values and morals. Were we to tell our children that they needed to become martyrs and slaughter innocents for the most part they would refuse.

Our citizens are born and raised to think for themselves. A system such as is in place in Saudi Arabia would never be allowed to happen because we are born and raised to think for ourselves and we raise our children to be the same.

History proves that we will not allow such a government to come to power. The children in the Middle East are raised to be warriors as opposed to our children who are not raised and indoctrinated that to be a martyr is a holy calling. These basic differences are what would keep such a thing from happening.

Children in the Middle East are firmly indoctrinated from birth that it is right and proper to die for the glory of Allah. Our children are taught that taking a life is morally repugnant except in defense. We do not raise our children to accept teaching unquestioningly but rather to question authority and think and learn for themselves.

posted on Oct, 5 2007 @ 01:36 AM
I was under the impression that an American political situation similar to that of Saudi Arabia was central to this discussion. We must then assume that the scenario I painted in my previous post is correct and central to this argument.

However, we must not make the mistake of assuming that the American people will utilise the same Terror tactics as witnessed in the Middle East.
This is also central to the discussion. The American people, their values and morals, put to the test by an oppressive regime.

Terrorism comes in many forms, and to simply use the martyr/suicide bomber cliché is somewhat naïve.

Remember the old saying: "One man's Terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

The League of Nations defined Terrorism thusly:

All criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public.

The FBI definition:

The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.


Acts against military and government targets also fit within the definition of Terrorism.

An example of how varied Terrorism can be is the case of the Tupamaro of Uruguay. This Leftist urban guerrila outfit was responsible for only three deaths during their war against the Colorado Party. Only one of these deaths was a deliberate execution (Dan Mitrione - Torture connoisseur). Yet the Tupamaro were defined as a Terrorist organisation because they committed robberies and kidnappings of government agents. They definately struck Terror into the hearts of those in power.

But I digress, I have no need to cite non-violent methods of Terrorism as a more palatable form of Terrorism for American citizens.
American citizens have proven that they are capable of committing Terrorist acts with no qualms about collateral damage.

The most grim and visceral example of this in recent years is the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
168 people dead, 19 of those were children.

What motivation was given for this act; A hatred of the Government and the percieved oppressiveness of the Clinton Administration after the debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Historically speaking, The American Civil War gives us at least one perfect example of a Terrorist action.
No one ever wants to talk about the dark history of Jesse James and the time he and his brother Frank spent under the command of one William Quantrill. Let's take a look at the Lawrence Massacre:

Early on the morning of August 21, Quantrill descended from Mount Oread and attacked Lawrence at the head of a combined force of as many as 450 guerrillas. Senator Lane, a prime target of the raid, managed to escape through a cornfield in his nightshirt, but the bushwhackers killed about 200 men and boys, dragging many from their homes to execute them before their families. When Quantrill's men rode out at 9 a.m., most of Lawrence's buildings were burning, including all but two businesses. His raiders looted indiscriminately and robbed the town's bank.


Of course that kind of horror wasn't only confined to the Confederate side. Unionists, committed similar atrocities against civilians in the South.

William Quantrill, the James brothers, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Michael Fortier... All these men were raised with the same morals and values as nearly all Americans. Yet they chose to go a different path. Them and many more besides...

The discussion is not about whether or not an oppressive regime could come to power in the United States. The discussion has hypothetically already placed such a regime in power. Now we must decide whether American men and women would resort to Terrorist methods in an attempt to usurp that power.

They may not strap a bomb to their chests and explode in a crowded market. But what about blowing up a government building? Or part of the Power Grid? Aren't these methods just as devestating to innocent human life as a suicide bomb?

Dying for Allah may be the mantra for the people of the Middle East.

But what about this one: "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"

Thank you.

posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 03:19 PM
Gallopinghordes has missed his opportunity to post. Beelzebubba may make his next post.

posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 10:05 PM
Closing Statement:

Would American citizens resort to Terror tactics if faced with a regime similar to that in Saudi Arabia?

The answer is undoubtably, yes.

My opponent has stated that the American people put a different value on life to our Middle Eastern friends and therefore would not resort to such methods. Clearly this is erroneous. Do you really think people of the Middle East raise their children to die? Don't you think Mid-Eastern people value life just as much as people anywhere else in the world?

Suicide bombers/martyrs... is this not the most desperate act that can be committed against a regime? Surely there is no joy to be found in the mother of a man who has just died of self-inflicted wounds. What is mistaken for joy is the pride felt that her son was willing to die for a greater cause.

What were the Kamikaze of World War II other than glorified suicide bombers, willing to put their lives on the line for the victory of their country? These men are treated with a certain reverence, even by those they fought against, as being true patriots of Japan. We view suicide bombers in the Mid-East as something less than human, thanks to media spin and an ignorance of just how desperate the situation is in their countries.

Past domestic Terrorist activities in the United States clearly set a precedent that is hard to argue against. When Americans feel that they are left with no other option, they have resorted to methods that my opponent has stated is beyond their capabilities because of their enlightened Western attitudes and values.

I have repeatedly stated that suicide bombers/martyrs, are not a key-ingredient in defining Terrorism. I have also stated that public popularity is not necessary for Terrorist actions to be committed. But can we really discount that under a regime such as that in Saudi Arabia, Americans would abstain from suicide missions. Be it strapping a device to someone or driving an explosive-laden vehicle into a building. I also believe that Terrorism against such a regime would garner popularity among a percentage of the public. Even if the cost were Civilian lives.

We need only look at American funding and support of the IRA. Millions of dollars have been filtered into the coffers of the IRA from American beneficiaries. Do these American supporters mourn the deaths of the many innocents? Or is it a case of Telescopic Philanthropy (Thank you, Charles Dickens)?

I am sure that were such a power were to arise in the United States it would surprise and shock many at just what methods would be resorted to.

My opponent has stated that Americans are not raised to blindly accept teaching and indoctrination, and to question the powers that be and learn independantly. I beg to differ. The propaganda may have a different message, it may be delivered in a subtler form, but Americans are indoctrinated by the millions every day. For causes that are viewed by people of other nations as barbaric and blood-thirsty.

At no time during this discussion did I mention the economic situation being comparable to Saudi Arabia. This angle was my achilles heel. If Americans were as oil rich as a country like the Saudi States, would they be less inclined to disrupt a regime that was making them billions of dollars every year? However, Terrorism has always sparked among those that get none of these monetary benefits. The oppressed.

Thank you.

posted on Oct, 7 2007 @ 06:01 PM
I must first apologize the my very worthy opponent and The Vagabond for missing one of my turns. I meant no offense; life happened.

I still believe that the scenario would never happen in the United States because of the mind set so firmly embedded in the American psychological make up.

We are raised to a certain set of values that I believe would preclude us from attacking noncombatants or innocents. We will fight to the last breath in our bodies to maintain our freedoms. If the scenario put forth was to actually come to pass it would be after every able bodied American died to protect freedom.

We raise our children to hold these values dear and to think for themselves. It is how we are. Our children aren't brainwashed to blindly accept authority and obey without question. They are raised to question and speak their minds freely.

Our history speaks for itself. We opposed tyranny to become free to determine our own destiny. We have since fought to maintain that freedom of self determination. We would do so again.

posted on Oct, 7 2007 @ 11:30 PM
At 9:30 Pacific on 10/7 the star count is 12-8 Beelzebubba. The judge awards 5 stars to Beelzebubba. Beelzebubba has won by a final margin of 17-8 and will advance to round 2.

The judge had this to say:

"I awaited this debate eagerly and in someways I was not disappointed, in others, very..

Beelzebubba's debate is one for the records... He took a topic side that I definitely do not agree with and almost convinced me!!!!

Gallopinghordes made two fair attempts to get on track, but failed to complete her thoughts or validate her statements...

The Debate in my opinion is a slam dunk for Beelzebubba"

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