If you don't believe that an anti-US fifth column (8-10% of the US population) exists in America, read these voluntarily written articles from some very well-known blogs. Anyone, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, who feels any love for the United States, will be offended by this :
Daily Kos, The Left Coaster, Daily Kos again, the burning of US soldiers in effigy, the comments here, this poll stating that 11% are hoping for America to lose in Iraq, and Rosie O'Donnell defending 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda No. 3 Khalid Sheikh Mohammad on national TV (even though he also confessed to making plans to assassinate Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton). Even Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, as genuine of a political moderate as one can ever hope to find, has arrived at a similar conclusion, going even further than me by saying the 'left' sides with America's enemies, as has Captain Ed. I don't think the fifth column represents all of the 'left', however.
There is a significant percentage of the US population that does not want the US to win in Iraq (and will deny the existence of victory when we achieve it by 2008). Some because they have always hated America (fifth-columnists), others simply because they hate President Bush so much, beyond any policy disagreement, that they want to discredit him even if it means harming America (Bush Derangement Syndrome), and yet others because it is a socially fashionable opinion to hold, and they need to conform to the groupthink of their clique (fashion sheep).
This is an article I could have written a long time ago. I refrained in order to wait until the anti-US fifth column overplays their hand, which has happened. Applying true Sun-Tzu tactics, their exhausted state is the perfect time for a counterattack.
You can win debates against all of them easily, by debating them on principle, which they are usually not confronted on, and observing their willingness to offer constructive ideas.
Also, never refer to these people as 'liberals', 'progressives', and 'elites'. This is not only an insult to genuine classical liberals (who have an open mind and can come to agreement with others easily), but these are terms that the actions of anti-Americans are quite the opposite of. Does it make much sense to debate someone if, from the start, they insist that you address them as the smarter person among the two of you, without them having to earn that status through deeds? So don't allow them to stealthily get away with this branding over here.
Here are some examples of common one-liners (in italics) and possible responses you could wield (in bold) :
"The Iraq War has put us in more danger/has not made us any safer"
An absolute like this can be easily disproved by providing counterexamples. So you can say :
"Well, we have not any attacks on US soil for 65 months and counting. At the same time, other nations have experienced attacks during the same period, like in London, Madrid, Bali, Beslan in Russia, Mumbai, Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey. All but two of these countries have not had troops in Iraq. How do you explain that?"
This forces them to provide proof to support their belief, which is vastly more difficult to do given the lack of further attacks.
"Saddam had no ties to 9/11"
It is true that Saddam had no participation in 9/11, which is why we dealt with the Taliban in Afghanistan first. But the statement above implies an assumption that 9/11 was the only terrorist attack ever to occur against US citizens or US allies. The way to corner your opponents is to test their knowledge of (or willingness to acknowledge) the numerous other terror attacks on US citizens before 9/11 (some of which received direct and indirect support from Saddam).
"Do you think 9/11 was the first terrorist attack ever? Tell me what you know about the 1983 attacks in Lebanon that killed 241 Marines, the 1993 WTC bombing, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1998 Kenya/Tanzania US Embassy bombings, and the 2000 USS Cole bombing. I would like to see that you know about those."
The burden of demonstrating knowledge about the subject matter thus shifts to your opponent.
"The Iraq War has gone on longer than World War II"
Not only is it ignorant to think WWII only started when America joined, but why should duration matter? This is also red-handed proof of their scheme to only select comparisons that can make the Iraq War look bad. A comparison of US casualties between WWII (300,000) and the Iraq War (2500) make Iraq look minor, so that comparison is simply not convenient to the fifth-column agenda (even though they trumpet casualties everywhere else). Also note that the War in Afghanistan started before the War in Iraq, so a duration metric would imply that Afghanistan is even worse (despite only 300 US troops dying there in 5 years). Thus :
"Afghanistan has been going on longer than Iraq. Do you oppose the post-9/11 action in Afghanistan?"
Of course, they do oppose Afghanistan, but this exposes their anti-Americanism more readily. They will retreat.
"Bush lied about WMDs"
Of course, the facts are that Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and 77 of 100 Senators (including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and John Edwards) all believed that Saddam had WMDs, particularly since he used them against the Kurds and Iranians before. However, stating these facts in a debate will merely lead to a stalemate. Instead, you can win by posing a 'what would you do if?' type of question : (see details on how to do this over here)
"More Americans have died in Iraq than on 9/11"
Aren't these the same people who said Iraq had no ties to 9/11 (a statement which itself ignores all the terrorist attacks before 9/11)? Plus, a tendency to lump non-hostile casualties into the Iraq casualty total exposes a sinister desire to inflate the total to be larger than it really is. To date, 2521 US troops have died of hostile causes, and 590 of non-hostile causes. To use the total (3121) itself is wrong.
"I thought you believe Iraq had no ties to 9/11? Why do you link the two only when you can find a way to portray Iraq negatively? So are the two related, or not?"
and then proceed to ask :
"I am happy to inform you that the US hostile deaths are actually only 2521 (or whatever the number is at the time). Why are you counting non-hostile deaths, like accidents, in the total?"
Also note how low the Iraq casualties truly are, relative to Vietnam, as per this striking graph.
"600,000 (or 1 million, or whatever) civilians have died in Iraq"
Bogus reports from non-credible sources have discovered that if natural deaths in Iraq are counted, they can fabricate a much larger tally of innocent deaths than the official Iraqi Government or even the UN estimate (15-30,000 a year). By this measure, 3 million Americans died in 2006 alone, and 12 million (average age : 77) since the Iraq War began. Oh the humanity!!
"Why are you taking a bogus number much larger than the UN estimate? Is it only because you want to be able to blame the US, facts be damned?"
Plus, notice how they excuse the actual terrorists who are doing the killing. Don't let that slide either.
"So by that measure, you should support US and British efforts to eliminate the terrorists who are doing the killing. Why aren't you condemning the actual terrorists?"
You can also counterattack by widening the scope of the debate to corner them on their broader principles (which they certainly will not be proud to reveal). This can be done with questions such as :
"We had had troops in Germany and Japan for 62 years, in South Korea for 54 years, and in Bosnia for 9 years. Should we not remove those first? Why are they not asking us to remove our troops?"
"I notice that people like you tend to always side against democracy. Examples of this include your support of Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel, China against Taiwan, North Korea against South Korea, Cuba against the US, etc. Why?"
An even simpler tactic is the expose the ignorance of the commenter by asking them a very simple, non-political question about Iraq, such as :
"Please name for me the countries that border Iraq, in clockwise order. I need to see that you know where Iraq is on the map."
"What are the 3 main groups in Iraq, and what percentage of the population are each?"
"Name any 5 cities in Iraq. One is Baghdad, I would like to see if you can name four others."
"What are the names of the President and Prime Minister of Iraq?"
You will be surprised how many fashion sheep will be unable to answer these general questions. You have effectively destroyed any claim they have to act as an authority on the subject of Iraq. Watching 10 minutes of MSNBC a day an expert does not make, and you should inform them of that.
Now, for the final and most crucial segment of this article.
I recognize that there is a sizable population of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, who support America, the troops, and the fight against terrorists, but are simply unhappy about how the Iraq War has been waged, or believe that other approaches might have been a better use of resources. This is certainly a valid position to take, and one that I want to encourage. Many on the Right make the mistake of not acknowledging this easily unnoticed groups of patriots, and thus lose potential allies against anti-American fifth-columnists.
Instead, I would like to create a custom tool just for them, which they can use whether they are in the midst of anti-Americans, or are wrongly characterized by an Iraq War supporter.
If you fall into this category, the best way for you carve out your own turf is to offer alternative ideas to help fight the War on Terror. By doing what a fifth-columnist would never do, your patriotism is no longer in question.
For example, you could suggest that the US conduct an advertising/media campaign to reach out to the women of the Islamic world, and inform that they are just as deserving of the sametrights that women in other societies have. This would cost a fraction of the Iraq War, and yet possibly be even more effective at undermining support for Al-Qaeda's ideology, perhaps tricking them into spewing even more over-the-top rhetoric. This reframes the whole conflict as a women's rights issue, and could bring in new allies.
This is a superb platform for the Democrats to construct. If (in theory) Hillary Clinton aggressively pursued such an approach, I would even be happy with her as my President.
There are endless possibilities for fresh new ideas in fighting the War on Terror. Show everyone else your constructive ideas that would be more effective than the Iraq War, thus setting yourself apart from those who offer nothing. I will always encourage you.