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Reviving a bankrupt argument
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 08, 2007

Glenn Greenwald revives the "chickenhawk" meme in a "new and improved" form, or so he believes:
As I've pointed out before, I don't personally subscribe to the [chickenhawk] view, expressed as a general proposition, that there is something immoral or illogical about supporting a war that you don't volunteer to fight in yourself.

[...]

But the current situation is completely different. Even according to the war's remaining advocates — particularly those who want to escalate in Iraq — there is a serious and harmful shortage of willing volunteers to fight in Iraq and to enable a more aggressive application of U.S. military force generally. So we do now have a situation where those who are cheering on more war and escalation really are needed not at the computer screen but on the battlefield, in combat. And their refusal to fight is actually impeding the plans of those on whom the President is relying for "Victory."

As a result, it is now morally indefensible for those who are physically able to do so to advocate a "surge," or even ongoing war in Iraq, without either volunteering to fight or offering a good reason why they are not doing so.
Really? He even provides us with a new definition of cowardice:
A "coward" is someone who (a) fails to fight (b) in a war they consider to be necessary and just (c) notwithstanding their country's need for more fighters and (d) in the absence of a unique and compelling excuse for doing so.
As we've covered ad nauseum, this is wrong on so many levels that is simply isn't worth the time or effort to refute it again (Shortage of teachers? Anyone who believes in education paid for by the taxpayer must volunteer to fill those positions to teach or find themselves in the morally indefensible position of demanding what they refuse to undertake themselves ... etc, etc, etc.). But it is always useful to point out the lengths to which some will go to try and score cheap rhetorical points at the expense of what little remaining credibility they possess.

Remember, he doesn't subscribe to the proposition in 'general' but glory be, he's found an exception. I'm sure, if pressed, he'll tell us this was all tongue-in-cheek.

Word salad. Nothing but word salad.
 
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I guess he thinks when you volunteer they just hand you a rifle, pat you on the butt (he hopes) and ship you off to Iraq ’fur to fight’.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
while you’re mostly correct, there is a small point buried in there someplace.

A number of conservative commentators, like Jonah Goldberg among others, have characterized the current GWOT as the Clash of Civilizations, and have stated again and again that defeat is unacceptable.

Liberal commentators point out that the President’s call for sacrifice in the face of this grand clash consists, to date, of tax cuts and a request to go shopping. [Meanwhile, despite a very low unemployment rate we’re running a staggering deficit.]

Now, while recruiting rates are OK, there has been a fair bit of press about falling recruiting standards. Meanwhile, the same group of conservative commentators have not made a big push to call for their community of young, smart, college-educated / college-bound conservatives to put their lives on the line by joining the Army.

So, what’s really going on? Is the conservative claim of Clash of Civilizations just BS to bash the Democrats? Is Goldberg’s failure to enlist and failure to call for others like him to enlist:

(a) personal cowardice, which if established publicly might lead to a reduction in his speaking engagements;

(b) professional cowardice — the fear that actually calling on his constituents to do something other than rail against Democrats might lead to loss of employment / speaking engagements;

(c) rank hypocrisy — "a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not" according to Merriam’s online dictionary;

(d) a combination of the foregoing;

(e) something else?


 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis did you even read what Bruce wrote? cause it seems like it all went over your head, you chicken-teacher-hawk.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Anyone who starts a war is going to be criticized by opponents of the war, and if they avoided war themselves in previous conflicts, they will be criticized for that. You can label the argument invalid, but in politics, the validity of an argument has nothing to do with logic and everything to with effect.

Calling Al Gore a pathological liar was an invalid argument from a logical standpoint, but it worked politically, so from the point of view of the desired outcome of those making the argument and the results of this argument, it was a valid as any argument.

I don’t like the war, I never did, I don’t like the people who promoted the war, and when I knock them, if I choose to mention that among other things, many of them chose not to serve in wars they purportedly supported, then it is fair game.

These days, when Republicans question the validity of the combat decorations of opposition candidates, you really can’t pretend that you can call ANY argument invalid.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Given that recruitment and retention targets are being met on the whole I would answer "(e) something else". Specifically, "Goldberg’s failure to enlist and failure to call for others like him to enlist" is, to put it mildly, a moot point. Even if he were to volunteer it is pretty much a given that recruiters would have to work hard to keep from laughing in his face, 37-year olds make pretty poor cannon fodder (that is the demographic of Goldberg and "others like him", after all.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
A. I have no idea what a chicken-teacher-hawk is. I am a 40ish mildly overweight and out-of-shape male and a war opponent.

B. I was responding to this: But it is always useful to point out the lengths to which some will go to try and score cheap rhetorical points.

Glenn was mostly making a cheap rhetorical point. But within the "word salad" was a legitimate point about the disconnect between conservative rhetoric about a clash of civilizations and the lack of conservative calls for sacrifice, especially considering we’re not winning the GWOT.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
You know, while we don’t have a shortage of politicians, recruiting standards for politicians have been falling dramatically. As I’m sure Greenwald, Francis and many others consider themselves smarter and more honest than almost all current politicians, I have to wonder why they feel it ok to criticize, but refuse to sign up to run?

So what’s going on? Is it...

(a) personal cowardice, doing their patriotic duty to run for office might lead to a reduction in their free time;

(b) professional cowardice — the fear that actually running for office would reduce their time for their actual job and they’d end up unemployed;

(c) rank hypocrisy — "a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not" according to Merriam’s online dictionary;

(d) a combination of the foregoing;

(e) something else?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
A. I have no idea what a chicken-teacher-hawk is
then I don’t think you actually read much of what Bruce wrote. In which case I call you a chicken-reading-commenter. Refusing to do your patriotic duty of actually reading what you comment on.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
So, what’s really going on? Is the conservative claim of Clash of Civilizations just BS to bash the Democrats?
Yes it is. Simple eh?

And you see it here as well.

"This war is far too important to quit on now after only half a trillion spent. We must do whatever it takes to acheive victory!"

OK, maybe we should repeal some of the recent tax cuts to.. you know, pay for this incredibly important war?

"Blasphemy! Do away with the NEA to pay for it!"

There’s no shortage of incredibly unserious people on the internets.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Now, while recruiting rates are OK, there has been a fair bit of press about falling recruiting standards.
Yeah, if the standards keep falling, they will end up at the levels found in the mid 1980’s. Which was good enough to win Gulf War I and man a much larger military than we have today. We’re nowhere near the recruting standards of the late 1970s.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
There’s no shortage of incredibly unserious people on the internets.
And, as usual, you top the list.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
or davebo, maybe we have always been for tax cuts and for doing away with the NEA and/or many of wasteful govt agencies and the war has little to do with that. But I guess it’s easier to invent your opponents motives than deal with their actual logic.

It’s pretty simple really. Spending is too high, taxes are not. Reducing govt spending will not negatively hurt the economy the way increasing taxes will.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
ah, apparently a "chicken-teacher-hawk" is someone who doesn’t understand why the chicken-hawk argument is wrong. My apologies for not understanding the first time around.

well, let’s see if I can’t break down my version of the argument in a little more detail:

factual premises.

A. The war in Iraq is not going well.
B. The Army has lowered recruiting standards in recent years, imposed stop/loss orders, called up troops on the Individual Ready Reserve.
C. Jonah and other conservative commentators regularly address young Republicans in various forums.
D. In these forums, Jonah and others have referred to the current war in Afghanistan / Iraq / against AlQaeda as a Clash of Civilizations, have said that defeat in Iraq will be a terrible loss for US power and prestige and otherwise made a big fuss about winning in Iraq.
E. In these same forums, Jonah and others have not called on the young conservatives that they are addressing to enlist.


Assumptions:

A. Jonah and others believe that the war would go better with better troops.
B. Jonah and others believe that young republicans would make better troops than some percentage of those who are currently enlisting, under a stop loss order, or being called up from the IRR.

Conclusion:

There is a reason (or several reasons) why conservative commentators, like Jonah, are not making any calls for their young fellow conservatives to enlist. This reason is likely embarrassing.

My personal hypothesis is that most major conservative commentators are more interested in their own employability than in calling for something unpopular. There’s nothing wrong with financial self-interest, but it suggests that their rhetoric about the importance of victory in Iraq is ... inflated.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
"My personal hypothesis is that most major conservative commentators are more interested in their own employability than..."

I think you have just identified a peccadillo of professional commentators of any stripe. The first order of business is to protect their phoney-baloney job.

It may very well be that "their rhetoric...is inflated". By the same token, however, so is that of Glenn Greenwald. Which takes us right back where we started.

Care for another merry-go-round trip? ;-)
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
The ’exception’, in reality is that a Democrat isn’t in the WH.

Mark this well... Reverse that situation, and this ’exception’ will disappear.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
I think a better analogy for our liberal friends is the chicken-tax-payer. Given that you think the deficit is going to ruin this country and taxes must be increased (as opposed to reducing spending on things like farm subsidies, earmarks, a completely superfluous federal Dept. of Education, prescription drugs for affluent senior citizens, means testing social security, etc.) to avoid this calamity, why don’t you liberals pay more. Provide us with copies of your tax returns to prove that you have foregone any available deductions and you will no longer be a chicken-tax-payer. And don’t give us any crap about how you are merely taking deductions allowed by law. No one has to take any deductions if they don’t want to. If you think that the government is so wonderful, then put your money where your mouth is and pay for all the wonderful programs that you think it should provide to us.

I live in Los Angeles and have worked in the legal field for 15 years. I deal with my clients’ business and tax matters every day. The ratio of liberals to conservatives amongst my colleagues and clients is about 10 to 1. Every single one of the liberals does everything he can to pay as little income tax as possible.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
Every single one of the liberals does everything he can to pay as little income tax as possible.
And I understand they don’t give to charity or give blood either.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Blasphemy! Do away with the NEA to pay for it!"
finally someone said something intelligent.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Every single one of the liberals does everything he can to pay as little income tax as possible.
Nonsense, I work hard to pay as much taxes as possible. I aspire to pay $3M in taxes in one year.

Of course at the same time, I don’t intend to pay more than I need to on my income, but I sure try hard to make more income to pay taxes on.

It’s you Laffer Curve wussies that refuse to work hard because you have to pay taxes that are making it more expensive for the rest of us.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
D: You are absolutely correct that Greenwald’s rhetoric is inflated. Please note I never said otherwise. Unless someone wants to challenge my conclusion that there is a disconnect in the rhetoric of some conservative commentators, or my guess as to why, I think we’ve done this to death.

Anon: SS is in surplus; the NEA is microscopic; the Dept Ed is almost entirely a straight transfer from rich states to poor ones; and Republicans would rapidly become a permanent minority if they seriously started attacking farm subsidies. The only discretionary program of any real size is Defense / Homeland Security.

Sure there are plenty of dumb federal programs. Oddly enough, despite having a solid majority for several years now, Republicans didn’t eliminate any of them. [Remember that old perfume ad — "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan"?]

Do I plan to gratuitously pay more taxes? Uh, no. I prefer that my grandiose futile gestures have some correspondence to reality. Instead I intend to vote for people who show at least some inclination to match income with outgo. Unfortunately, that is no longer the Republican party.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
When do anti-war chickensh*ts go to Iraq to stop the war in that case?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
or davebo, maybe we have always been for tax cuts and for doing away with the NEA and/or many of wasteful govt agencies and the war has little to do with that. But I guess it’s easier to invent your opponents motives than deal with their actual logic.
No need to invent any opponents dude.

That line is directly from McQ’s lips to your ears. You’ll notice even he knows denying it is a losing proposition.


Frankly at the time I was astounded. But then I remembered who I was reading.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
And I understand they [liberals] don’t give to charity or give blood either.
Then you, not surprisingly, understand very little.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Nonsense, I work hard to pay as much taxes as possible. I aspire to pay $3M in taxes in one year.

As usual, you are trying to change the argument. Liberals aren’t arguing that the rich need to work harder in order to increase the government’s income tax receipts at the current rates, they are arguing that marginal income tax rates need to be increased on the "wealthy". That being the case, you are a chicken-tax-payer if you think that income tax rates should be increased and you don’t go ahead and pay that increased amount now. Nothing is stopping you from making a donation to the federal (or your home state’s) treasury. I’m sure the unionized civil servants down at the DMV would love a raise so why don’t you and your liberal buddies give them one.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
That line is directly from McQ’s lips to your ears. You’ll notice even he knows denying it is a losing proposition.
Really? So where is it to be found, Davebo?

You are talking about this line, correct?
"This war is far too important to quit on now after only half a trillion spent. We must do whatever it takes to achieve victory!"
A blog search turns up nothing like that line.

Even when your misspelling is corrected, nothing like that line shows up.

Nothing.

Please, do show us.

Now, if instead, you’re trying to say I feel it important to succeed in Iraq, that would be correct.

But in your usual disingenuous way, that’s not at all what you’re attempting is it?

I’ve never mentioned half a trillion dollars in that context nor have I said we should do "whatever it takes to achieve victory".

So I’m asking you to produce the line you’ve put in quotes, and claim came from "McQ’s lips to your ears." Exactly as it is written. From where I come from, such things as quote marks mean someone is quoting something another person said exactly as written or spoken.

So produce it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Conclusion:

There is a reason (or several reasons) why conservative commentators, like Jonah, are not making any calls for their young fellow conservatives to enlist. This reason is likely embarrassing.

My personal hypothesis is that most major conservative commentators are more interested in their own employability than in calling for something unpopular. There’s nothing wrong with financial self-interest, but it suggests that their rhetoric about the importance of victory in Iraq is ... inflated.


Written By: Francis


Francis is wise.
 
Written By: Tom
URL: http://
Then you, not surprisingly, understand very little.
Well, I don’t understand any logic behind your comment.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
In these same forums, Jonah and others have not called on the young conservatives that they are addressing to enlist.
Perhaps they don’t have to. It would appear that the liberal side of the population would need more urging.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"But the current situation is completely different."

Interesting how the current situation is always different.

*************************
"many of them chose not to serve in wars they purportedly supported, then it is fair game."

Well then, I guess the "Greatest Generation" wasn’t so great after all.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"many of them chose not to serve in wars they purportedly supported, then it is fair game."
Well then, I guess the "Greatest Generation" wasn’t so great after all.
I’m not saying that it is fair, I am just saying that in politics, today, everything, including chickenhawk appearances are fair game.

I can’t believe you girls are whining about this after the devastation politics your fair haired Republicans regularly engage in.

And yes, in post WW2 America, when someone was running for office or in office and they did not serve in the War, it was used against them.

Cap



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Are we STILL talking about this chickenhawk garbage? Good grief, has no one informed His Royal Highness GG, pretender prince of the land of Libertarianism, that the chickenhawk argument has had a stake put through its heart, its head chopped off, and its mouth stuffed with garlic, then put in a blender and sent to Norway? Anyone still using this argument deserves same treatment.

Also, Cap:
I’m not saying that it is fair, I am just saying that in politics, today, everything, including chickenhawk appearances are fair game.

I can’t believe you girls are whining about this after the devastation politics your fair haired Republicans regularly engage in.

And yes, in post WW2 America, when someone was running for office or in office and they did not serve in the War, it was used against them.
Yes, and with the support of anti-chickenhawk leftwing voters, President George H. W. Bush (winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for combat service in World War 2) defeated draft dodging William Jefferson Clinton in the 1992 election. Oh, wait...

I meant Robert J. Dole (winner of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Valor device for actions in World War 2) defeated draft dodging William Jefferson Clinton in the 1996 elections with overwhelming anti-chickenhawk leftwing support. Oh, wait...
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Exactly PoetOmar. It’s a cheap mudsling. No one using it actually believes it, as made evident by the way they treat those who did serve, (like Bruce and Dale and many others here). It’s pretty much like this:
Prowar person: "I’m pro war"
Antiwar person: "Well why don’t you go serve chickenhawk!"
Prowar person: "I did serve"
Antiwar person: "Oh..."
and then they move on to ignoring the prowar vet. It’s just a rhetorical weapon used to shut down debate. Furthermore, I really wonder if they think through what they’re asking. If you can’t have an opinion or vote for a war unless you serve, do they realize that a big majority of the soldiers support the war? Do they want us to try out the suffrage system of Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein? Where you can’t vote unless you’ve served, or done some civil service? Do they not thing we should have civilian control of our army? Should we go to military rule? Is that what the chickenhawk accusers are wanting?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
"I can’t believe you girls are whining about this after the devastation politics your fair haired Republicans regularly engage in."
************************
"...President George H. W. Bush (winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for combat service in World War 2)"

You must have him confused with the George H.W Bush who strafed innocent, unarmed Japanese people and bailed out of a perfectly good airplane, leaving his helpless crew to go down with the aircraft.

"...draft dodging William Jefferson Clinton ..."

There you go again. Just because it is true does not mean YOU are allowed to say anything.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
GHW Bush did not have his service impugned by Bill Clinton or any significant contributors formations of political groups supporting Bill Clinton.

Bob Dole did not have his service impugned by Bill Clinton or by any significant contributors formations of political groups supporting Bill Clinton.

Yeah, they lost, but not because their war records were impugned, and not because Bill Clinton dodged service, they lost because they ran awful campaigns and had bad luck (GHWB mostly).

Compare that to John Kerry.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Good points, ChrisB. The logical conclusion of the anti-chickenhawk argument is the establishment of an aristocracy of the military. Those who serve become the leaders of the state; those who don’t are denied the right to participate in government. The sad part is that this is exactly the type of system that leftists honestly claim to be fighting against.
There you go again. Just because it is true does not mean YOU are allowed to say anything.
Lol. I guess so.
Yeah, they lost, but not because their war records were impugned, and not because Bill Clinton dodged service, they lost because they ran awful campaigns and had bad luck (GHWB mostly).


I agree that no one smeared GHW Bush’s war record or his status as a veteran, but Dole certainly took a lot of abuse because of his age and injury (remember innumerable lefty comics taking shots at Dole’s arm [including SNL’ers and Dan Akroyd]).

Also, the point isn’t really about smearing records. It’s about leftists all of a sudden demanding elected officials have impressive war records. Where was the hue and cry when they supported Bill Clinton in two elections over two decorated veterans? Talk about a leopard changing his spots. Geez. Leftists went from "Who cares about draft dodging?" in the 1990’s to the Killian documents as a source of gospel truth in 2004. What gives, Cap? Do lefties insist that membership in the VFW is a requirement of candidacy for elected office or not?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Yeah, they lost, but not because their war records were impugned, and not because Bill Clinton dodged service, they lost because they ran awful campaigns and had bad luck (GHWB mostly).
Well, GHWB pissed off his base. Banned import of various AWBs via EO, etc.
Compare that to John Kerry.
OK.

The Swiftees went after Kerry, not the RNC (although no doubt they got support from some who also supported the RNC). They went after Kerry ’cause of what he said about vets back in the day. Kerry’s words caused Kerry all of his problems. The fact that he ran on his "war hero" status just added to that.

Under normal circumstances, Kerry’s war record would be kick-ass: Swift boat captain with three purple hearts, bronze star (with V, IIRC), silver star.

The Kerry’s record was up for review ’cause that was the platform he was running on. And the people taking him to task on that were not his Republican opponents, but his fellow vets.

By contrast, GWB’s NG records never really were an issue, despite the best efforts of lying leftists on CBS. Bush wasn’t running on his "warrior status".
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Compare that to John Kerry."

I don’t believe Bush or Dole or any other Rep. candidate impugned Clinton for draft dodging, so why mention them or link them with Kerry?

************************
"The Kerry’s record was up for review ’cause that was the platform he was running on."

Exactly. I still maintain that the idiot would have won if he had kept his dmn mouth shut about his "heroic" service. But then that would have shown he had good judgement.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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