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Putting the "Chicken hawk" argument away for good
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 24, 2006

Jeff Jacoby does it admirably in his Boston Globe piece today:
``Chicken hawk" isn't an argument. It is a slur — a dishonest and incoherent slur. It is dishonest because those who invoke it don't really mean what they imply — that only those with combat experience have the moral authority or the necessary understanding to advocate military force. After all, US foreign policy would be more hawkish, not less, if decisions about war and peace were left up to members of the armed forces. Soldiers tend to be politically conservative, hard-nosed about national security, and confident that American arms make the world safer and freer. On the question of Iraq — stay-the-course or bring-the-troops-home? — I would be willing to trust their judgment. Would Cindy Sheehan and Howard Dean?

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."

In any case, the whole premise of the ``chicken hawk" attack — that military experience is a prerequisite for making sound pronouncements on foreign policy — is illogical and ahistorical.
There's one portion of his argument to which I have a slight objection. If foreign policy were left up to the US armed forces, chances are it wouldn't be more hawkish. Chances are it would be less, especially among an armed forces which has recently seen combat. Usually the most reluctant participant in any war is the soldier, and especially a combat vet. He's seen the elephant and, frankly, would be quite satisfied with a life in which he never had to see it again. But that's his job and he'll do it if necessary. But most want to be damn sure it's necessary.

But that aside, Jacoby makes a compelling argument which, as far as I'm concerned, drives the necessary wooden stake into the heart of this tired canard. He supports his argument logically and historically. While he essentially uses the same sort of examples we've argued over multiple posts and comments over many months, he uses them powerfully.

"Chicken hawk" is indeed a slur and its use is dishonest. Like political correctness, it is an illogical and mean-spirited attempt to stifle debate not encourage it. Those who use it hope to shame their opponents. Much like hurling charges of racist or homophobe in any argument containing elements of race or sex, they bank on their ability to shame their opponent into silence or into defending against the charge. When that happens, they win.

What those of us who might be tagged with this label have to do is reject it completely and utterly and point out that those who persist in using it that they are the dishonest ones.

Jacoby concludes:
And whether you have fought for your country or never had that honor, you have every right to weigh in on questions of war and peace. Those who cackle ``Chicken hawk!" are not making an argument. They are merely trying to stifle one, and deserve to be ignored.
Precisely, exactly and amen.
 
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You know, I read Reason’s Hit & Run because I don’t agree 100% with what they say and yet they’re close to feeling the same way about a lot of issues I do. So it generally offers a differing point of view without attacking.

However, they throw around the chickenhawk meme like it was a dangling participle. And it reminds me why paleo-libertarians will never gain power. And I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
I thought this had been put away for good a long time ago.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Jacoby says:
the whole premise of the "chicken hawk" attack — that military experience is a prerequisite for making sound pronouncements on foreign policy — is illogical and ahistorical."
I don’t think that’s the original premise, although it is the natural conclusion of the way the more rabid lefties throw the term around. I’m not trying to defend the "chickenhawk" cry, but at heart it’s a not-unreasonable "that’s easy for you to say" observation. As an analogy, we can all have opinions on tax policy regardless of our income, but if someone who makes $40K/yr calls for doubling the income tax rate on those making $50K+/yr, you might be inclined to not take him as seriously as someone advocating the same policy who’s actually going to have to dig into his own wallet. Maybe he has good arguments, maybe he’s worth listening to, but he loses a little moral authority.
 
Written By: kenB
URL: http://
Read Jacoby’s intro, Ken:
``IT’S TOUCHING that you’re so concerned about the military in Iraq," a reader in Wyoming e-mails in response to one of my columns on the war. ``But I have a suspicion you’re a phony. So tell me, what’s your combat record? Ever serve?"

You hear a fair amount of that from the antiwar crowd if, like me, you support a war but have never seen combat yourself. That makes you a ``chicken hawk" — one of those, as Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, defending John Kerry from his critics, put it during the 2004 presidential campaign, who ``shriek like a hawk, but have the backbone of a chicken." Kerry himself often played that card. ``I’d like to know what it is Republicans who didn’t serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did," he would sniff, casting himself as the victim of unmanly hypocrites who never wore the uniform, yet had the gall to criticize him, a decorated veteran, for his stance on the war.
That’s pretty much the genesis of the term. And, as I read it, Jacoby pretty much reflects that properly in his premise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Better yet is when the Chickhawk argument gets thrown at a Vet, or at a current active duty military member and it becomes "Well, if you’re not in harm’s way as we speak, you have no right..."

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
The term goes back well before 2004 (see Wikipedia), and my sense is that its original application wasn’t nearly as broad as it is today. But I guess its history doesn’t really matter — as used these days, it’s certainly ridiculous.
 
Written By: kenB
URL: http://
I guess I should have been more specific when I pointed to that as the genesis. You’re right, the term has existed prior to 2004. What Jacoby points to is the genesis for the current version of the word and the argument.

And you’re right ... it’s still an absurd argument.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If foreign policy were left up to the US armed forces, chances are it wouldn’t be more hawkish. Chances are it would be less, especially among an armed forces which has recently seen combat. Usually the most reluctant participant in any war is the soldier, and especially a combat vet.
Except, it’s not the soldiers most directly effected by war that make the decision.

It’s the ones back in DC who have to justify their budgets that would end up making the decision.

So, I don’t know if leaving the decision to go to war up to the military would alter how often we go to war.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
So, I don’t know if leaving the decision to go to war up to the military would alter how often we go to war.
To a point Keith, but then they’re also the ones who’ve seen its results first hand and have been there themselves and have a bond with those who would have to fight the war which, in most cases, would moderate any rush to war.

Budgets are put together for preparedness. As we’ve seen in Iraq, the cost of war is over and above those budgets. All most of the military has to do is justify the budgets for preparedness, not war.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And yet this ad hominem attack still lives on. It was, in fact, invoked recently in the comments section of Dale’s Iraq the Wrong War column. This harkens back to a similar tactic used by 19th century military figures who sought public office. Zachary Taylory was condemned for it and cartoons of the time criticized his bid for the presidency as being made from on top of a heap of Mexican skulls. These days as long as you are a combat vet who opposed the war, you can make your case for election on top of hundreds, thousands, or millions of dead bodies with full journalistic support. Strange how journalism has changed in the past century or two.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
It’s the ones back in DC who have to justify their budgets that would end up making the decision.

So, I don’t know if leaving the decision to go to war up to the military would alter how often we go to war.

Oh Yeah, Keith... normally you comment well, but this is foolish at a host of levels...
1) Those "Generals" in D.C. they graduated West Point, Annapolis, Zoomie-U in Colorado AS Generals. That’s it, they’ve never been platoon leaders, small boat commanders, or fighter pilots, they’ve ALWAYS been generals, what would THEY know of war, combat, or suffering? What would they know of sand, mud, cold, heat and MRE’s for weeks? They’ve been GENERALS for 30 years...Look at most Brigade or division commanders, they’ve been shot at. It’s one fo the reasons professionals try to get deployed to combat zones, it’s a big PLUS on the CV. Stormin’ Norman... Two tours in Vietnam (at least) adviser to ARVN Rangers, Infantry Battalion commander. Colin Powell... Vietnam. Gus Pagonis Vietnam, shot at as a transportaion platoon commander, in fact. Tommy Franks... Vietnam. Check almost anyone in the CenCom command structure I’ll bet you’ll find that they have a combat record. So NO, "Geenrals" in DC KNOW what it is they are asking their young men and women to do. They’ve done it themselves.

2) And of coutrse it’s all about BUDGETS. Dude, Rommel, Guederian aren’t revered because they brought home a BUDGET to the Wehrmacht. Weygand and Gamelin aren’t DESPISED because they didn’t get enough cash for the French Army. In turn, Gonen and his command staff aren’t reviled by Tzahal because they didn’t get enough cash. These folks have earned a reputation, for better or ill, ON THE BATTLEFIELD. My thinkiing is generals are like most other folks, combat is tough and dangerous and they really don’t want to risk their reputations in combat. It might be the "acid test" but they also realize that for every SUCCESSFUL general there is more than likely an UNSUCCFESSFUL one and they’d rather not put it to the test as to which one they’ll be.

Bottom-Line: I’m saying most generals aren’t too keen on combat. You can disabuse yourself of that. Patton was an exception and even then I’d say that Patton loved the exhilaration, the focus, the perfection of execution that war can be, not the killing, just the absolute awe that firepower expertly generated can instill...not like I’ve seen a lot of expertly applied firepower, merely a few CALFEX’s.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Jacoby is right: it’s a slur. The operative part is "chicken." The "hawk" part is used to attach it to it’s target. It’s merely a way to call someone who supports military action a coward. I usually respond is "Oh my God! Rachel?? Rachel Corrie? Is that you?!? Oh God, we all thought you were dead!"

It cuts both ways.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
The term ’chickenhawk’ is best seen as a reaction to the tendency of war cheerleaders to label opponents of military action as ’cowards’ and ’traitors.’

Moreover, it’s fair to throw at those who condemn the ubiquitous ’left’ for allegedly undermining the war effort.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
I had a fun discussion of the chickenhawk meme over at my site recently.

Needless to say, the slur is alive and well.

 
Written By: Army Lawyer
URL: http://armylawyer.blogsome.com
Moreover, it’s fair to throw at those who condemn the ubiquitous ’left’ for allegedly undermining the war effort.
Fair in terms that it is a tit-for-tat rejoinder perhaps, but we both know it isn’t used exclusively as a retort.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Lefties who aren’t police persist in calling on police to risk their lives fighting crime. By their own logic, that makes them chickencops. Despite being non-firefighters, they demand firemen risk their lives ... etc.

Moreover, it’s fair to throw at those who condemn the ubiquitous ’left’ for allegedly undermining the war effort.

No, it’s not. It’s stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical. An actual case can be made for the ’undermining the war effort’ claim. But even if that claim was utter and complete tosh, that wouldn’t change the fact that the ’chickenhawk’ slur is stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical. Invective gets judged on its own merits, not ’but he called me a poopy-head firrrrrst!’
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
Well, if war cheerleaders may criticize the activities of war opponents vis a vis their effect on the war effort, it’s equally fair to point out that war cheerleaders are doing very damn little to actually support that war effort.

To wit:

War cheerleader: You liberal coward traitors are undermining the war effort by posting your opinions. If we lose, it’ll be becaues of you!!!

War opponent: Talk is cheap. People posting opinions on the war effort won’t win or lose the war in Iraq. You and I are making the exact same contribution to the war effort. If you’re going to act like some kind of super-patriot, do something that really contributes to the war effort.

I agree that ’chickenhawk’ is a stupid term to throw around if the purpose is merely to invalidate an argument. However, its presence in the ever-toxic war debate should hardly be a matter of surprise or outrage.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Oh, so the only way to support the war effort is to actually be in the military?? All the letters, care packages, donations to the USO, Fisher House, Soldiers Angels, etc, just don’t count.

So, how come all the anti-war/peace protesters aren’t lining up between waring parties, and working in the Peace Corps?

If the demand made of "chickenhawks" is to put their lives on the line for their beliefs, where’s the reciprocity in that argument?

It is a slur, plain and simple.

If you can’t win a debate without slurs, then you don’t have much of a position to start with.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Fair? I’m more concerned with whether it makes any sense, not whether it’s an effective rhetorical judo move. Lipstick on a pig and so forth.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
So Geek, let me ask : If a person is a war supporter, but is unable to serve in the military (age, health, disability, etc.), does this make them a chickenhawk?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Fair? I’m more concerned with whether it makes any sense, not whether it’s an effective rhetorical judo move. Lipstick on a pig and so forth.
Well to the extent that the anti-war position is almost exclusively made up of leftists, they’re not interested in being right—you know, factually correct—they’re utterly convinced that they’ve had that covered for decades now. Now, today, they’re only interested in "winning." It’s an ego thing.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Peter, did you mean to say "they’re not interested in making sense"? Either way works, of course. ;-)
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
You may be a chickenhawk if: - your reasoning is sound, your arguments are persuasive and you have your facts arrayed and available to support your views.

"chickenhawk" is the adult version of ’stupidhead’ for those who can’t refute an argument with any realistic argument of their own, or by those who have no solution at all.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"If a person is a war supporter, but is unable to serve in the military (age, health, disability, etc.), does this make them a chickenhawk?"

No. I would reserve that term only for those who act like their support for the war elevates their moral and political stature above war opponents.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
No. I would reserve that term only for those who act like their support for the war elevates their moral and political stature above war opponents
Sometimes, it does. I daresay that someone supporting the war is light years morally and politically ahead of the following anti-war types:

1) The idiotic and simplistic "war is never the answer, man!" crowd. Farking reflexive and ignorant pacifists.

2) The Cindy Sheehan "This war is no good because Bush is the worlds biggest terrorist" crowd

3) The International Answer "Oppose the U.S. at any cost" Stalinist crowd

4) The "Redeploy to Okinawa" crowd. Deeply unserious.

5) The far left and right "the brown people aren’t worth it" crowd

6) The moral equibilance crowd

7) The "leak and publish classified information to actively work against the war" crowd.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
And what of the "no blood for oil" crowd...
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
The term ’chickenhawk’ is best seen as a reaction to the tendency of war cheerleaders to label opponents of military action as ’cowards’ and ’traitors.’
My thoughts exactly.
One can rightly be labeled a “chickenhawk” when one who has never served belches terms like “cut and run cowards” to people who have dodged bullets in combat boots.
When people like Rove and Cheney call people like Kerry and Murtha “cut and run cowards”, they can easily be branded ‘chickenhawk’. Whatever you think of Kerry and Murtha, you cannot label them as cowards. And if you do, you are a right assh*le.

The term cannot be applied to non-veterans that make policy decisions on those grounds alone. And if one does, one is a right assh*le.

Fair in terms that it is a tit-for-tat rejoinder perhaps, but we both know it isn’t used exclusively as a retort.
Agreed, McQ. However, the tendency to disregard such a label as being some sort of violation of Section 13, Subparagraph 4 of Godwin’s New World Blogging Rules and Etiquette is all too common.

When Rove, et al, call Kerry, Murtha, et al, cut-and-run cowards, I can easily brand that statement as a chickensh*t, chickenhawk statement.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
When Rove, et al, call Kerry, Murtha, et al, cut-and-run cowards, I can easily brand that statement as a chickensh*t, chickenhawk statement
How about when they advocate "redeployment" to Okinawa?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Let’s be entirely clear about what we’re talking about here, Pogue. Kerry, Murtha, etc. may be men of great physical courage, but I find both lacking in moral courage. Which is not to say that I find either Rove or Cheney to be particulary gifted in terms of moral courage either, but I want to make sure we are clear on the differences between the two.

Also, if, say a disabled person or a diabetic who has never had the opportunity to serve, depite the desire, supports the war and considers those who oppose it (regardless of how many medals they have hanging on their chests [or alternately lying on the White House lawn]) to be lacking in moral courage, does that make said disabled/diabetic person a chickenhawk?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
How about when they advocate "redeployment" to Okinawa?
Well, I’ll just leave that up to you, shark.

I’m sure you have some snappy, hyphenated slur that you picked up from REDSTATE.

If you ask me, I’m sure I could come up with some witty repartee. (Well, at least I would be laughing).

But I wouldn’t want to rob you of such pleasure.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Let’s be entirely clear about what we’re talking about here, Pogue. Kerry, Murtha, etc. may be men of great physical courage, but I find both lacking in moral courage.
Really?
You know, after reading this, my fingers had an itch that only my keyboard could scratch. But then I stopped. [select all – cut]
Because I really didn’t want to make an ass out of myself (zip it, McQ), before I understood what it was that you meant.

Please define, “moral courage”.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Pogue "moral Courage" the courage to face the dark night of the soul, as Lincoln did from 1862 until victory was assured in 1865. The courage that Churchill exhibited when Britain stood alone for over a year, and even then could make little or no headway against the Axis powers. THAT’S moreal courage.

It’s REAL courage...someone jumps in a hole with you with an AK or the house is flooding, that’s physical courage and adrenaline helps a lot. But Moral COurage is the will to see an enterprise thru even though it appears hopeless and nno amount of adrenaline will carry the enterprose thru.

It’s NOT listening to all the fears, of others and inside you. Kerry and Murtha may or may not be moral cowards... No I think they may be. Kerry can’t seem to bring himself to take a stand and Murtha seems to want to run away. They don’t have to worry about dying, they just can’t face the pressures that the world bring to bear. Better to be loved by the "Netroots Crowd" than say "Stay the Course." It’s the difference between Lieberman and Kerry.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And Losers can exhibit it too, Robert E Lee at Appomattox, "There is nothing left me but to go and see General Grant, and I had rather die a thousand deaths." Yet he knew that resistance was futile and that it would only lead to further suffering on both sides. He didn’t kill himself, seek a Gotterdammerung. He was concerned about the people he had charge of.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Pogue "moral Courage" the courage to face the dark night of the soul…
What is that?… I’ve heard that before,…
Is that Stephen King?
The courage that Churchill exhibited when Britain stood alone for over a year, and even then could make little or no headway against the Axis powers. THAT’S moreal courage.
Ohhhh. That moral courage.

Well, then. Your example doesn’t really equate then, does it?
I mean, it’s not as though Churchill and Britain had a choice. Either they face Nazi Germany, or they’re annihilated.

Pick a better one, Joe.

Better to be loved by the "Netroots Crowd" than say "Stay the Course." It’s the difference between Lieberman and Kerry.
Or said another way…
It’s the difference between “Elected Senator” and “Independent Candidate”.

Choices, Joe. Choices.
And we have them. Unlike Churchill, circa 1940.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
And we have them. Unlike Churchill, circa 1940.
We can thank the peace in our time crowd for that. And not one comment about your underwear, man!!
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Oh, just a few more beers, captain.

It’ll be there.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
then you would be going back on this promise

Because I really didn’t want to make an ass out of myself
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
And we have them. Unlike Churchill, circa 1940.
Historically ILLITERATE, eh Pogue...Churchill HAD a choice. Hitler offered Peace to Britain after June 1940. Lord Halifax, Foreign Minister, suggested exploring the possibilities. No Churchill and the British CHOSE to fight on Pogue. That’s moral courage.

Oh I just BET quoting that "tyrant" Lincoln "eefed" your little libertarian soul? Or did you thnk I was just going to claim it as mine own?

As to Kerry and Lieberman I haven’t heard Lieberman explain how he voted FOR it before he voted AGAINST it, so yeah Pogoey-bait I’m going to say that’s courage.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I made a case against 2X’s use of the chicken hawk slur yesterday. He/she made the usual "well, how can you justify war if you are not in uniform yourself"??

It goes beyond "practice what you preach"...in the Left’s mindset, of identity politics, the only valid voices are the experiential, or those that "suffered" racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, bigotry, capitalist exploitation not of their own experience - but through a form of "collective suffering" afflicting their distant ancestors, distant relatives, or people they don’t know at all but who are part of the same "aggrieved and victimized" tribe.

It’s simply a tactic of delegitimizing people within a democracy who supposedly have equal voices from having a voice, because the Marxist or Leftist "rules" dissenting voices that oppose them are "not legitimate" as they are not experiential and thus they should shut up and leave decsions to the "real, bona fide stakeholders.

Examples:

1. Only women have a right to say if abortion is to be allowed, since it doesn’t affect men.
2. Only blacks have a right, as victims, to say when or if affirmative action should ever end.
3. Only soldiers who could go into war or who are veterans of actual combat have any right to speak out for any war. All the rest, even active-duty in non-combat roles, or Vets who never saw combat "have no moral right to be pro-war".

Of course the Lefty "experiential" case is riddled with hypocrisy. No Lefty wants NRA gunowners having exclusive power to set gun policy. No Lefty wants cops alone in charge of our criminal law system. And of course no Lefty wants the freedom to speak out against war, vs. the right to have pro-war opinion - limited to only present military volunteers or combat vets.

****************************
That said, there are 2 areas I have qualms about:

1. In other wars, in other times, it was traditional for the Ruling Elites to bear heavy costs and personal/family risks for any war they were involved in. Not just in the US. In Parliament in both wars, near-weekly memorial notices covered which sons of which MPs, which former MPs themselves - had perished in action. In the White House, memorials to slain former staffers and sons of staff were common in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, even Korea and Vietnam. The advent of the volunteer military and modern methods to defer paying for war has meant America’s present Ruling Elite and their priveleged children bear no cost for war, in fact get a huge tax-cut gift their clout has won them - as we borrow hundreds of billions from China. Few, very few, know a friend or family member in the military. Their patronizing voices lauding the "courage" of the troops and how wonderful the military experience is compared to working a dead-end job in podunkville is the same patronizing tone as Wall Street Robber Barons and lawyers 100 years ago lauding the "great physical courage" of "our inferior in status but not in soul" workers risking their lower class lives going down in the mines, building railroads through pestilential malarial swamps, working 14 hour days in dangerous factories and mills, the loyal Negro manservant waiting outside in a howling blizzard tending to the horse carriage..

Cutting the Ruling Elites out of any risk or financial sacrifice for embarking the American people into war is a very troubling phenomenon. I’d much rather see them in a position where they have to factor in personal risk to themselves and family members before a war vote than to be in a position where being pro or antiwar is viewed from a status of how, by being pro or anti-war, they can further enrich themselves or expand their clout and influence over the lesser American masses. I wish they can be returned to sharing the same risks and sacrifices as the masses do in war...

2. The most militant, belligerant war-mongering faction - arguing for a series of major wars with Iraq, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, N Korea...and possibly Myanmar and Sudan as well - the Neocons, come from a general part of society that traditionally detests the idea of military service involving themselves, and for their "promising" children. Because they rationalize they are far better "serving" America (and for many, a certain other country) by making money, joining the professions in high-status roles - while the military is best used as employment for "physical-type workers of lesser educations". Very, very few Neocons have any sort of military service.
If they were as smart as they thought they were about running the Pentagon, State, advancing "democracy", and in theories of a single "surgical bombing strike" leading to "cakewalk victories" - perhaps they would be right - that military service was a waste of time on such intellects that truly understand the best way to advance America, secure a "special" country dear to them from harm, and spread great new theories across the world and put them into use by grateful conquerees. But their vision is flawed...their utility as "managers" of the rest of us by virtue of their advanced Ivy League degrees, law school credentials, their children’s privileged nepotic careers — very questionable given their real-world and military cluelessness.

Which makes them particularly odious - in that no other group is so in favor of putting other people and other people’s children in harm’s way to advance those Neocon’s "excellent adventures" - while absolutely reviling the notion of military service as being any part of their family’s lot, or their own life. What can you say to a young Neo who in the NY Post calls out for America to invade Lebanon to "end terrorism"?? But when asked if he was planning on pitching in in any way, said he was in his Wall Street summer internship before his last year at Harvard Law and since it "takes 2 years to be a good soldier" - his limited time was best utilized on "other priorities" where he could best serve America by "being successful and advancing the Law"???

 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
C.Ford you make a nice CASE, now throw out some evidence....The elites, as a MINORITY will have fewer folks in the military. So 1st define "elite". Then measure the quantity of the "elite" and then determine the number of "elites" in "harms way." And define "harm’s way." Then you can make a case. Right now 2-3 scions of members of Congress ARE serving, guess what that makes them OVER-REPRESENTED in the Armed Forces! That’s right 535 Mmebers and 2-3 kids is WAY too many for their share of the populace. So run some numbers and get back to us, because as one of my favourite professors used to say, "I’d love to read what you find out." And I would, you MIGHT be right or you might not.

IIRC the military is about balanced socio-economically, more Red Staters than Blue Staters, but not an over-whelming disproportion. So right now I’d say the Elites ARE there... as a minority they’re harder to see. After all Marine Green or an Army ACU doesn’t say "I’m from Harvard" or "My Daddy made a million last year" all it says is US Army or ...WHAT DOES THE Marine tag say? All my friends were with Uncle Sugar Ain’t Released Me Yet. I have no idea what the Misguided Children’s Uniform proclaims, except for the "If found floating in surf plase call Commandant US Marines".
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"But there is no difference, in terms of the background and judgment required, between deciding to go to war and deciding not to."

This is nonsense. Of course there is a huge difference between sending someone to die and NOT sending someone to die. If you send someone to die, you’d better appreciate the sacrifice that you are asking for. If you DON’T send someone to die, better appreciating the sacrifice won’t change your decision at all—unless you expect the dove to go to the front lines and say "gee, this isn’t so bad after all—I guess I WOULD send people to die after all". Somehow, I don’t think Jacoby expects that. And thus Jacoby’s logic falls apart completely.

Cowards? I dunno if I’d go that far, but if you read Jacoby’s wordsand nodded your head, you fell for a logical error. Is that a slur as well?

There is no question, though, that slurs are far more common from war supporters than war opponents. That line by one commenter about "physical courage" and "moral courage" strikes me as deeply humorous in an infinite number of ways.
 
Written By: Consumatopia
URL: http://
There is no question, though, that slurs are far more common from war supporters than war opponents.
Oh of course, I agree entirely, I mean all the fascist, Rethug lines mean hardly anything....
That line by one commenter about "physical courage" and "moral courage" strikes me as deeply humorous in an infinite number of ways.
Stick around I’m sure Pogue will be along to discuss it... though "moral courage" is funny, isn’t it?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Pogue, sorry for the delay, I had a long commute this evening.

What I meant earlier about moral v. physical courage. I have no doubt that both Kerry and Murtha have a great deal of physical courage. Both have demonstrated great courage throughout situations that lesser men would have shied away from. On the moral courage front, though, I find both lacking. Just as I find Cheney and Rove lacking.

Moral courage is better defined by example than rote definition, but I will try to do both for you.

From dictionary.com :
Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
Quote : “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous” (Frederick Douglass).

Courage, from the same source : The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

Real life examples:

Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a man of exceptional physical courage and a bona fide war hero. Moral courage nil.

Adolf Hitler, also a man of great physical courage (decorated for bravery and wounded in battle, First World War). Moral courage, obviously questionable.

Thus moral courage essentially covers areas of risk which do not include bodily harm. It’s knowing that you can swipe money out of a till without getting caught (no physical risk), but deciding not to do it because you know it’s wrong.

Consumatopia, read the above then laugh me a little laugh about the difference between physical and moral courage.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
C.Ford you make a nice CASE, now throw out some evidence....The elites, as a MINORITY will have fewer folks in the military. So 1st define "elite". Then measure the quantity of the "elite" and then determine the number of "elites" in "harms way." And define "harm’s way." Then you can make a case.
Sorry Joe, but your well-meaning attempts to stick up for your Ruling Elite masters do not "teach others math" but show your own math skills are somewhat suspect. You point out that there are 2-3 people between the Congress and their direct family serving in the military, and claim that that number is MORE than the average in the US population.

If you look, you will see that there are 2.4 million Americans in the military in active duty, ready reserves, plus another 500,000 in inactive and medical reserve status. Some 12 million families in America have one or more direct family members in military status. Assume the Congress has the 3 you said among 535 families. Their rate is one in every 178 families. The rate for all Americans having an incidence of military service is 1 in every 23 families. The rate compared to the 535 in Congress in other members of the Ruling Elite that have traditionally or recently begun to look down on military service is considerably lower in participation rates. Ivy League grad families making over a million a year supposedly have one present military member per every 610 families. Jews in the wealthier strata have a nearly non-existent service participation rate outside elite occupations. Members of academia elites have a rate of family military service 80 times lower than families of police. I believe that you have to get down to Family # 740 or 760 on Fortune’s List of the 1000 Wealthiest Families in America before you find one with a servicemember. [In past generations, military service amongst the leaders of Wall Street, high finance, corporate law and their children approached 50%. Before the 70s, members of the British aristocracy had military participation rates of over 60% - now it is rare in such elites.] Somehow, military service is now seen as a matter for "lessers" to do.

The military participation rate of rural whites and 3rd gen Hispanics approaches 1 in every 9 families.

Joe - ....
IIRC the military is about balanced socio-economically.


No, first you need to understand the difference between absolute numbers and rates. Then you need to scope the extent of people in this country whose income or clout makes them true Ruling Elites. Then you need to explore the obvious on what "harms way" is - which one Congressman who has a daughter who is completing her 4-year JAG officer obligation stateside - isn’t. The very rich and the very dysfunctional poor are rarely seen in military service.

PS - It is not my case to make - it is yours once you get past your confusion about math and military numbers.

I stand by my observation that it is very bad for the country that the Ruling Elites that control decision-making in America have largely abandoned family involvement in the military. Free of risk and sacrifice, we lose a check on their just casually deciding war in in their financial or power seeking interests. Just as important, absent any military experience or institutional knowledge gained from family or friends, they become insensitive to supporting what the military requires if they are in positions of power and influence later.

And that is why we need:

1. A universal - no deferrals, no rejects - Draft, IMO. So members of the Ruling Elites accept they are not immune from war’s risks or the danger inherent in even peacetime military duty. We can still have a volunteer military, but maintain a tiny, 1 in several thousand shot at being drafted in peacetime then increase the odds when we need more bodies in wartime...be it the child of a gang-banger fit only to cut grass on a base to the child of a mighty trial lawyer just to give Daddy pause on his "On to Syria, on to Iran!! War drum banging.

2. No tax cuts in wartime for the wealthy, no more using debt financing with foreigners rather than increased, progressive tax rates —and knowledge with war that additional financial burdens are more likely for the elites than financial windfalls from oil speculation hedge funds, business contracts.

3. And through risk and sacrifice, force the Ruling Elites to once again re-engage in participating in the critical aspects of war and defense, avoid Leftist members of the RE undermining and crippling the military - as if their wallet contents or son’s life depended on it - because they very well could.

 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Joe, man I don’t know why you make me do this to you.
Historically ILLITERATE, eh Pogue...Churchill HAD a choice. Hitler offered Peace to Britain after June 1940. Lord Halifax, Foreign Minister, suggested exploring the possibilities. No Churchill and the British CHOSE to fight on Pogue. That’s moral courage.
Oh he didn’t have any real choices, Joe. In the summer of 1940, it was clear that the barbarians were at the gate, and no “appeasement” options were left, even your Lord Halifax knew that. Britain had already been at war since the year before, Hitler was massing troops in northern France for an invasion of Britain, and the Battle of Britain would start in July, 1940.
Please, I need no lesson in history.

It is folly to compare the current Iraq conflict to the quagmire that was Vietnam, just as it is folly to compare the WoT with the global crisis that was WWII – despite many attempts by numerous people here.
Just for a little perspective. The London Blitz killed over 40,000 people. We lost just over 3,000. And make no mistake, I’m just as pissed off about it as you are.

But anyway,
I was trying to get a definition from The Poet regarding “Moral Courage”. And Poet, if your reading this, I’m still a little lost. You wrote,
From dictionary.com :
Well I went to dictionary.com, typed in “moral courage” and I got this,
Did you mean Mural crown?
Uh…, No. But, dammit, now I’m curious. What the hell is “Mural crown”?
1. Of or pertaining to a wall; being on, or in, a wall; growing on, or against, a wall; as, a mural quadrant.
I did not know that.
Where am I? Oh, right.

When I originally read your comments, Poet, I got excited enough to put down my plastic and tickle my schooner … no wait, … nix that, reverse it, … I got excited enough to put down my schooner and tickle the plastic. You see, I thought that The Poet might be equating being against the War in Iraq with lacking “moral courage”. But then I stopped myself because I wasn’t quite sure what The Poet meant. I realize that I often write my over-the-top trademark tirade before understanding what someone is actually attempting to portray. And I’m glad I stopped.

I don’t think that the Poet would accuse me, as someone who was against the war, of lacking moral courage. Because I believe The Poet is wise enough to realize that if he did, then he would have the difficult task of nailing down what is immoral about being against the war. And why someone would lack moral courage if they thought the Iraq war was a bad idea. And then he would have come to terms that the majority of Americans are now Immoral Cowards.
Yeah, I don’t think The Poet wants to do that.

Moral courage? Umm, I think a better term for what you may be trying to portray would be ‘courage of one’s conviction’. That just rolls off the tongue, as well.

If one were to tell me that they believe Kerry and Murtha do not have the ‘courage of their convictions’, I would be the one hard pressed to disprove that. I would be the one faced with the difficult task of proving that Kerry and Murtha don’t twist in the political wind.

I’m glad we cleared that up.

And now for a little fun,

Okay, Joe? I don’t know what you mean by this,
Oh I just BET quoting that "tyrant" Lincoln "eefed" your little libertarian soul? Or did you thnk I was just going to claim it as mine own?
And it’s a little creepy. Because,
a) No where did you quote Lincoln.
b) I don’t know why you would want to “eef” my libertarian soul.

That’s a little dark, don’t you think?

And one more thing, Joe…
As to Kerry and Lieberman I haven’t heard Lieberman explain how he voted FOR it before he voted AGAINST it, so yeah Pogoey-bait I’m going to say that’s courage.
Really!? “Pogoey-bait”!? First of all, I think you misspelled it. I believe it’s “Pogey-bait”. But anyway, it’s just adorable how you choose to insult me by word play on my screen name. But let me give you a few pointers.
When going for low brow comedy like that, it’s useful to be creative and appear spontaneous. Let’s try it, shall we?
As to Kerry and Lieberman I haven’t heard Lieberman explain how he voted FOR it before he voted AGAINST it, so yeah Pogoey-bait I’m going to say that’s courage.
You see, where you used “pogoey-bait” in place of “Pogue”, you should have used a phonetically pleasing dirty innuendo.
Like this,
As to Kerry and Lieberman I haven’t heard Lieberman explain how he voted FOR it before he voted AGAINST it, so yeah BlowsMybone I’m going to say that’s courage.
You see. Much funnier. And the reader doesn’t have to stop and look into antiquated soldier slang to figure out that you had just called me a candy bar.

Oh. Btw, I think you’re sweet too.

Hugs and Kisses,
Pogey-bait
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Consumatpia,
This is nonsense. Of course there is a huge difference between sending someone to die and NOT sending someone to die. If you send someone to die, you’d better appreciate the sacrifice that you are asking for. If you DON’T send someone to die, better appreciating the sacrifice won’t change your decision at all.
This is an untrue representation of the decision.

If you are confronting an enemy who condones the use of force against you, then by refusing to send your soldiers to die you can open yourself to an attack by your enemy. A decision not to confront your enemy may result in civillian deaths. How can it be a requirement to understand the sacrifice soldiers make when sending them to die and yet not be a requirement if your decision is to allow your enemy to kill your civillians without military response?

Either military experience is a requirement or it is not.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
No CFord my math is fine, YOU need to present some figures to support your claim...
1. A universal - no deferrals, no rejects - Draft, IMO. So members of the Ruling Elites accept they are not immune from war’s risks or the danger inherent in even peacetime military duty. We can still have a volunteer military, but maintain a tiny, 1 in several thousand shot at being drafted in peacetime then increase the odds when we need more bodies in wartime...be it the child of a gang-banger fit only to cut grass on a base to the child of a mighty trial lawyer just to give Daddy pause on his "On to Syria, on to Iran!! War drum banging.
No CForc this isn’t what we need nor is it what the military desires. Today’s 11-B’s are about at teh level of Vietnam-era Rangers, in skills and training. That’s what teh All-Vol Force produced. A better force for what is needed.
2. No tax cuts in wartime for the wealthy, no more using debt financing with foreigners rather than increased, progressive tax rates —and knowledge with war that additional financial burdens are more likely for the elites than financial windfalls from oil speculation hedge funds, business contracts.
How about tax cuts for the rest of us? Of course the rich pay a higher share of taxes now than before Bush. And these Progressive Tax rates to punish the rich will they affect the economy? And if the economy falters, who will suffer more the Rivch or me? Dude we’re not fighting the Third Reich it doesn’t require 50% of GNP to fight this war.
And C.Ford it’s up to YOU to make the numbers case, remember you are advocating a change. And yes please DO define in harm’s way. So being a JAG officer doesn’t count? Will only service int he Combat Arms count? Do you have to be DEPLOYED to a combat zone to count? So be sure to get back to me on at least that portion of the definions?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh he didn’t have any real choices, Joe. In the summer of 1940, it was clear that the barbarians were at the gate, and no “appeasement” options were left, even your Lord Halifax knew that. Britain had already been at war since the year before, Hitler was massing troops in northern France for an invasion of Britain, and the Battle of Britain would start in July, 1940.
Please, I need no lesson in history.
Poor Pogue unable to actually READ history. Hitler proposed a peace plan leaving the Empire in tact. Britain had been here before in 1804. It made peace with Napoleon. True it didn’t last long, BUT all the Brit’s had to do was accept Hitler’s proposals. So yeah Britain had a choice and made it, correctly, but they had an option.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Pogue, I think we may be speaking different languages here (which happens frequently when we discuss issues). I have no earthly idea what all the schooner and plastic references mean. Please educate me.

Moving on to paragraph two. No, I’m not indicting you or anyone else for opposing the war. I’m sure there are many arguments that can be made for opposing the war on moral grounds. What I am doing here is questioning those who employ the phrase chickenhawk, those who elevate Kerry and Murtha to the status of demi-gods for their (supposed) opposition to the Iraq war, and those who cannot grasp the differences between physical and moral courage.

Notice the example I gave above of a disabled or diabetic person who wanted to serve, but was barred from doing so because of military regulations. If such a person objected to the positions held by decorated war heroes Kerry and Murtha regarding the Iraq war, they would be/have been/and will be called a chickenhawk by many of the anti-war crowd.

And, yes, I do think Kerry and Murtha lack the courage of their convictions. I also think they lack character and personal accountability. Don’t get me wrong, their chief opponents Rove and Cheney are just as bad if not worse. In elevating Kerry and Murtha as the anointed, sinless champions of the Senate’s anti-war movement, people completely ignore their voting records, their opposition to actually ending the war now, and their history of political corruption. For Murtha, this goes all the way back to ABSCAM. For Kerry, this goes all the way back to his return from Vietnam.

If Kerry and Murtha wanted to be principalled anti-war types of guys, they could openly demand the war end NOW. They could also disassociate themselves from rallies for and supporters such as MoveOn, International Answer, and some of the other hardcore anti-American types. In short, they could stop the self-aggrandizing rhetoric and grandstanding and take a stand for what they claim to believe in. Oh, they could also release their military records, which as of Jan ’06 they have not done. If they want to use their war hero status as a club to beat down those who oppose them (and Murtha is the more guilty of the two here), then they had better release their credentials.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Joe,
Hitler had broken every agreement he made with every actor on the European stage. So it was obvious that his "peace offering" was a ruse, even to Lord Halifax.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Poet,
A schooner is a type of beer glass. And "tickling the plastic" refers to typing on a keyboard.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Pogue, I appreciate the explanations. Especially tickling the plastic, derived, I suspect from tickling the ivories. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the English language which has more nuances and turns of phrase than any other language I am familiar with. I must again give you credit for being one of the most witty and talented commenters here at QandO. I wish everyone’s comments displayed the type of witticisms and nuances that yours do. Keep ’em coming.

PS For dictionary.com I separated the terms moral and courage. Although I did enjoy learning what a mural crown was, too.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
But Pogue he had won in France. He offered peace. It comes down to this, by accepting PEACE Britain could arguably get stronger and avoid invasion. Continued war simply meant, or it was felt at the time, that Germany WILL invade and destroy Britain.

The "realists" urged peace. It took a fair amount of moral courage to reject that appealing option and continue on, even though in July 1940 the times were very very dark.

CFord I’d be intrigued by your definiton of "elites" still. You throw the word oouut as almost a slur, but is an "elite?" The top 1% wage earners, the top 5%, graduates of Top 20 universities? We can’t really know if you’re "theory" bears out without knowing who exactly would be counted. Plus I’d be interested still, in a discussing what you consider in harms way. Historically, did the fellow serving as a Bakers Assistant in Kaiserlaughtern from 1967-1968 count as being a soldier? Did he have to based in Pleiku? Would an Infantryman in Korea, in 1968, would that count, or again only if he served as an 11-B in Vietnam. You dismissed the JAG officer example and I wondered why and if she doesn’t count what WOULD count?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I must again give you credit for being one of the most witty and talented commenters here at QandO. I wish everyone’s comments displayed the type of witticisms and nuances that yours do. Keep ’em coming.
Oh stop it, Omar. You’re embarrassing me. ;)

Okay…
Maybe just one more time,
I must again give you credit for being one of the most witty and talented commenters here at QandO. I wish everyone’s comments displayed the type of witticisms and nuances that yours do. Keep ’em coming.
Okay. Now I’m good.

Thanks, Poet Omar.
Cheers and many other salutations to you.

:)
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://

 
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