Carol Platt Liebau: Exploding the 'Chickenhawk' Slur

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Exploding the 'Chickenhawk' Slur

Jeff Jacoby does a superb job in explaining why those who scream "chickenhawk" at those who support the war (but have never served) deserve to be ignored.

The argument has always struck me as silly in the extreme, since the ones most likely to use it are those who have traditionally expressed less, rather than more, faith in the military, its efficacy, and its attitudes. What's more, by the reasoning of the "chickenhawk" argument, only women could have an opinion on abortion, only schoolchildren (maybe parents) could opine on education policy, and welfare recipients (and those not paying taxes) could have no voice on how tax money is spent.


Blogger The Flomblog said...

I served. I find the term Chicken Hawk particularly offensive. 35 years ago we served in a vacuum with NO support from those back home. Ther are enough of us (Thank G-d) who will do the grunt work. What we need si someone willing to bang on the pots and pans and stand up and let the world know tha the American GI has his (or her) country's support.

I do not begrudge Carol's or her Husbands lack of "Service" her pen is a mighty weapon and I am thankful that we have it. I just wish there were people like them 35 years ago.

My only complaint about this waris that I am too old and infirm to get back into uniform.

Carol -- Illigitimatum Non Carborundum!

9:39 AM  
Blogger Patrick Goetz said...

The expression "chickenhawk" is entirely appropriate. How dare draft dodgers like George Bush and Dick Cheney cavalierly send our young men and women to war when they have absolutely no experience with the horrors thereof? People with military experience, particularly our generals, are considerably more cautious about such things because they KNOW what it's like and KNOW what the consequences will be. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are treasonous cowards of the highest order; starting a war just so that companies they have interests in will profit.

The previous commentator, flombog, seems to be having trouble making any sense.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

The Chickenhawks don't even care if they are flying blind, for political gain.

Harpers July 21,2006 - Despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq, no National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has been produced on that country since the summer of 2004. The last NIE, a classified document that the CIA describes as “the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue,” was rejected by the Bush Administration (after being leaked to the New York Times) as being too negative, though its grim assessment subsequently proved to be highly accurate.

“The analysts know that it's a civil war, but there's a feeling at the top that [using that term] will complicate matters.” Negroponte, said, “He doesn't want the president to have to deal with that.”

(07-22) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Faced with almost daily reports of sectarian carnage, Republicans are shifting their message on the war in Iraq from optimistic talk of progress to acknowledging serious problems and pointing up mistakes in planning and execution.

Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., once a strong supporter of the war, returned from Iraq this week declaring that conditions in Baghdad were far worse "than we'd been led to believe," and urging that troop withdrawals begin immediately.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

How dare Goetz suggest that this admin was "cavalier" in sending our boys to fight, as if he has some insight into the minds of our leaders. How much service experience did FDR have? Was he as cavalier considering how many miscalculations there were in that war? And where's the proof of war profiteering by these guys? Seek help for your irrational hatred of Bush & Co. Take ditto with you.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Cavalier is way too kind. They were egregiously negligent, having no miltary plan once Baghdad was taken.

1:39 AM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Carol --

I see a number of GOPers taking Dems to task, rightly, for advocating higher taxes even as they try eagerly to duck taxes.

I agree that Chickenhawk is a slur, but it's also offensive when those who advocate war, but actively sought to avoid it when the situation was presented to them, criticize us who are critical of them, but who never slurred them in any way.

8:28 AM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Carol (and others) - If I may put this more simply:

You are an attorney. You know of our jury system, and the obligation to serve when we are called.

You have probably also heard a respectable, intellectually honest case that we should do away with the jury system. I personally feel we should keep it, but I see the point of those opposed. Twelve ordinary people can't agree on the time of day; there's always some nut; confusion plays to the defense; a celebrity will inspire awe among a jury which is more likely to look the other way; other advanced nations have professional judges who exist in a different universe from the attorneys (i.e. attorneys don't go on to become judges). The point is, a case can be made.

However, let's say that someone has a history of ducking a jury summons when called. Let's suppose further that this person, instead of being agnostic on the merits of a jury, instead of being on record as anti-jury, is loudly and famously pro-jury. Inconvenience for thee, but not for me.

How can that person's personal history not enter the discussion? And how is this not a more important question in matters of war?

This is where Jacoby is flat-out wrong. He likens a soldier in a war to a police officer or firefighter or surgeon, but those are careers. "War combatant" is not in the class of career. "War combatant" is much more like "juror": A duty where ordinary Americans of ability are called from whatever life and summoned for duty.

Saying war is wrong is an intellectually honest position to take. Saying war is right, while having a history of actively ducking it, without explaining the difference, puts out a perception of a huge conflict-of-interest.

And incidentally, Clinton squared that corner. He passionately defended his decision to try to avoid Vietnam, on the merits of the whole situation (which we later found was largely on-target), while laying out a case for intervention in Bosnia. Disagree with him, but he explained his position thorougly. I have seen no comparable explanations recently.

I have used no slurs, in this post or on any other, this blog or any other, ever. To point out that fact and be accused of using slurs, itself, I find very offensive.

10:31 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

I would like to test my understanding of the worldview of Mssrs Head and Goetz.

If you have not served in the military you are allowed only to be against the war.

If you have served in the military, but not in combat, that doesn't count.

If you have served in combat then and only then are you allowed to support the war.

Do I have it accurately?

2:16 PM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Anyone can support anything. But here are my rules:

If you actively duck an activity that would be assigned to you, and then preach the praises of the activity to others, you have some 'splainin' to do.

Some advocates for war were never assigned the duty of serving.

Some advocates for war were assigned the duty, and did serve. (e.g. McCain, Hegel) It should be noted that these are some of the most cautious advocates.

Many advocates against war were never assigned the duty either.

Some who advocated against war were assigned it and then actively ducked (e.g. Clinton). These people were prepared to back up their actions with words, and words with actions.

That leaves the final group: Advocates for war, who were assigned the duty, and then actively ducked the duty.

Sorry Carol, but the burden is not on us (me) to withhold criticism of the final group. It is on the final group to do some explaining.

2:27 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Often the "chicken hawk" term is used in a way similar to "'Shut up,' he explained": a shorthand for attempting to close off any kind of debate.

So it is that I appreciate the enlightenment because once a phrase is coined, it is really difficult to remember what it ever meant in the first place, let alone what the person saying it means by it now.

6:35 PM  

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