US Politics

The Chicken Hawk Thing Really Gets to Them, Doesn’t It?

Not doubt stung by the slurs of liberal bloggers about his lack of military service, columnist Jeff Jacoby offers an interesting defense of the idea that it is not somehow inconsistent at best, and immoral at worst to advocate sending other people into war zones while you type about it at home.

Mr. Jacoby offers perhaps the worst argument this side of a Hitler analogy ever offered on the Internet:

The cry of “chicken hawk" is dishonest for another reason: It is never aimed at those who oppose military action. But there is no difference, in terms of the background and judgment required, between deciding to go to war and deciding not to. If only those who served in uniform during wartime have the moral standing and experience to back a war, then only they have the moral standing and experience to oppose a war. Those who mock the views of “chicken hawks" ought to be just as dismissive of “chicken doves."

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this one for longer than I care to admit. Okay, I’m a chicken dove…you got me there. The point of chicken hawk argument is pretty obvious: it’s easy to advocate sending men and womyn into combat when there are no risks involved for the advocate. Thus, the chicken (coward) and the hawk (war-monger). It’s a complex idea, no doubt, but I think evern Mr. Jacoby’s readership at Townhall gets the point.

Jacoby continues:

You don’t need medical training to express an opinion on healthcare. You don’t have to be on the police force to comment on matters of law and order. You don’t have to be a parent or a teacher or a graduate to
be heard on the educational controversies of the day. You don’t have to be a journalist to comment on this or any other column.

Of course, none of those things leads to dying in Falujah.

No doubt, the chicken hawk metaphor is simplistic way of looking at one’s support of the war–and it is designed to insult. When you consider the recruiting shortfalls the military has faced in light of the war, though, it is based in the realities of policy. Watching Young Republicans ‘marching’ in favor of the war while the military is so short on human resources that large percentages of of our troops are forced to stay beyond their committments goes beyond hypocrisy. It’s  a sickening, cynical spectacle that precisely embodies the real Bush Doctrine: let the poor and middle class bear the burdens and take the risks, while a priviledged few benefit from those decisions.

If only these columnists would spend as much time writing about the hidden casualties of this war (a number we don’t even have an offical count of) as they do defending their hypocrisy, they might finally be able to claim support for the troops. Until then, they are nothing more than manipulative cowards.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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