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They also serve, those who only sit and type

Once when I was in college, I got involved in a rollicking game of "Scruples." It came to be my turn, and I was presented with this dilemma:

"Your country has been invaded. Do you volunteer to serve in the military?"

I unhesitatingly answered "yes," and that triggered a rash as every single other player raced to call BS on me. The winner finally got to outline exactly why he (and the others) thought I would never volunteer to serve.

I listened politely to his aspersions on my character, then when he was done, I answered him.

First, I acknowledged that nearly everything he said was true. But there were a couple things he didn't mention. First, several members of my family served in the military honorably (my father got a "ruptured duck" from the Army Air Force in World War II), so there's a tradition to follow. Second, I told them how I had proudly registered for Selective Service on my 18th birthday.

But then I got to the real meat of my defense. I started outlining my health issues. I spelled out about a dozen existing and potential medical conditions I have.

"If I go down and volunteer the first day, they'll reject me on the spot -- and won't bother me again. Since I'd flunk anyway, I might as well get it over with and waste as little of both their time and mine."

Obviously, I won that round.

I bring up this story on today, V-E Day, of all days to answer a few critics of mine (and others) who denounce those who support the war, but never served in the military. It's the "chickenhawk" argument, and I've never bought it.

The idea of "you can't argue about something unless you lived it, or are willing to live it" is bogus. It's a slightly intellectualized version of the classic Jerry Springer defense, "you don't know me, so you can't judge me."

The idea that one must have worn a uniform to understand issues of national security is absurd. And that's exactly what the decision to use the military is -- a decision of national security. The only factor that should determine whether or not to use military force -- when our country asks those men and women who have agreed to go in harm's way in service to our nation -- is when it's a question of the nation's security.

And so, on this day, this 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, I'd like to publicly thank and praise those who do every day that which I never could -- put on our nation's uniform and put their lives on the line.

"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

And with that, I'm going to bed. Thank you, rough men and women.


Comments (40)

The "chickenhawk" meme is o... (Below threshold)

The "chickenhawk" meme is one that brings my blood to boil faster than most. It's a sneering deflection/dismissal of all argument the charger doesn't want to debate.

Right up there with "homophobe" and "n-lover" as tactical debate stoppers.

There hasn't been a war, including the American Revolution, members of my family haven't fought in. Several members of were with the Union forces in the Civil War, in WWI my greatuncle Raymond Aseltine, aged 17 at the time went MIA as a Marine in France scroll down here. He was a POW and wrote about the appalling treatment he had at the hands of the Germans. My own father enlisted at 17 (ROTC in high school) at what turned out to be the tail end of WWII (if the Abomb hadn't been dropped on Hiroshima, he would have been in the first wave of the invasion of Japan. As it was, the Army 11th Airborne became one of the first occupation troops and my dad spent 2 years on Okinawa). My parents were married in April 1951 and my dad was immediately recalled for service in Korea.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for our troops and am fiercely supportative of the roles they play in securing our freedoms, sometimes by helping the cause of universal liberty and Western Civ values abroad.

Several of my daughters' friends are currently serving in the military, in all branches. #3 daughter recently flew to Chicago to see two of her old school mates, twins, who are now out of boot and ready for their first Navy assignments. They come from an affluent family and there was nothing, but nothing, to "force" them into the military. They went out of a sense of patriotism, a sense of duty to the protection of their friends and family.

I salute them all, past and present. And no young man or woman in uniform I happen to spy in a restaurant I am in ever has to pay for their meal.

The simple truth is that ma... (Below threshold)
ts:

The simple truth is that many people cannot begin to understand why someone would join the military. I spent more than 21 years in uniform, and my ex-wife never did understand how I could go to sea for months with individuals I would never go to dinner with on my own time. She also never understood that when the phone rang or the pager went off, I was leaving without hesitation. The concept of doing one's duty, no matter how high the price, was not part of her reality.

When I watch the news today, I am so very grateful that we have young men and women like Darleen's daughter's friends. I sleep better at night knowing that enough of this generation understands that liberty is worth fighting for.

No long comment from me. B... (Below threshold)
sanka:

No long comment from me. But I've always felt ashamed I wasn't in the armed forces since every relative I have had been in them for untold generations. My Dad said he wouldn't allow it. He had a hard time in Vietnam.

My response is, "I was alre... (Below threshold)
cirby:

My response is, "I was already in the Air Force. I made Sergeant, and worked on the flight line. Nearly got killed a few times, and we weren't even at *war*... The most interesting day was the time I got asked to stay on base for end-of-runway checks while the base was evacuated - they thought were were going to get nuked."

Ah, duty. That's the whole... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Ah, duty. That's the whole point. Sadly, so many people today put themselves and their pleasure/convenience before anything else.

Those who serve have my deepest respect and thanks.

And Jay Tea, if our country were invaded, I'd volunteer to serve immediately, if only at my local hospital or other home front capacity. My ancestors didn't go through all their hardships to have some wimpy great-great-great (etc) granddaughter throw up her hands and surrender the land they gave their blood for.

For those who fought for it... (Below threshold)
Debra:

For those who fought for it, FREEDOM has a flavor the protected will never know.

Author unknown but still one of my favorite quotes as a veteran of two veterans and one of two sibling veterans.

My father served during the... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

My father served during the 'Nam era. I wore the uniform for 8 years myself. Today, my kid brother is on B-52's. On my brother's dress blues is the name tag my father first pinned on in 1960. I wore that same name tag during my stint and passed it on to my brother who has been in for 4 years himself.

With all your illnesses, th... (Below threshold)
JAT0:

With all your illnesses, they'd turn you down. Maybe! But you where there.

My father was blind in one eye - still was able to serve in WWII - not in combat, but served.

I spent my time in submarines - fighting the cold war.

God Bless all who have served! May we never forget their sacrifices.

Shit, I'm a former Marine a... (Below threshold)

Shit, I'm a former Marine and I still get people calling me a chickenhawk.

It's just a shortcut for stupid people who can't make a argument. If they can't call you a chickenhawk, it'd be 'Nazi'.

Well being a woman I sort o... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Well being a woman I sort of get a pass on the chickenhawk charges.

My husband served 6 1/2 years in the Navy (and I should get some points for being a military spouse right?) and is disabled enough that he can't serve anymore, but if the miliatry would still have him, he would be back in uniform right now.

Actually, if the U.S. were ... (Below threshold)
Finn McCool:

Actually, if the U.S. were invaded, I may not join the military, but I would fight. Absolutely.

Instead, I'd introduce the invaders to the generation that grew up watching Red Dawn on cable a couple of thousand times. Talk about Project Mayhem. Can you imagine trying to invade a territory like Texas that has something like 5 guns for every man, woman and child?

It's like they said about Switzerland (once upon a time anyway) -- it doesn't have an army. It is an army.

And oddly, those spewing th... (Below threshold)

And oddly, those spewing the "chickenhawk" argument today didn't seem to have a problem with a certain fellow from Arkansas making binding decisions about the military -- including sending soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines into harm's way all over the globe, often without ammunition for their weapons -- despite his never having worn the uniform himself.

Could it be that the uniform they're talking about isn't military, but that of the Democratic Party?

Nahhh-h-h-h! Can't be.

Ruptured duck explained:</p... (Below threshold)
I really appreciated you sh... (Below threshold)
kyer:

I really appreciated you sharing your justification, Jay. I, too, unfortunately, share your position.

Having stress-induced asthma and an unreliable bad knee from sports just kills any chance of my serving efficiently.

I remember speaking to an Army recruiter and his telling me that even the slightest asthma disqualified me and I fired back with, "I know it was a movie, but what about that guy in Black Hawk Down...the one who fell out of the helicopter and had an asthma attack?" To which he responded that guy was a friend of his and he had hid his condition from the recruiters when he joined up.

With that said, I share completely the sentiments of goddessoftheclassroom, if we were attacked, I'd volunteer to do whatever I could here on the homefront.

We need to do more than feel content buying those $1.50 "Support our Troops" car magnets and really get out and support the troops.

"Thank you rough men and wo... (Below threshold)
black_flag:

"Thank you rough men and women".

your welcome.

Our society has become so e... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Our society has become so entrenched in our lifestyles that many fail to realize the following:

If we were "invaded", every one would be affected:

Women, children, elderly, disabled, every one.

Fight, or Die. Our troops know this, as they risk life and limb to eliminate the threats to our country.

How did every one else become so detached from their own survival?

Hilarious! The "Chickenhaw... (Below threshold)
Wataazu:

Hilarious! The "Chickenhawk Argument" isn't "you can't argue about something unless you lived it, or are willing to live it". It's something more like "you talk the talk but you don't walk the walk".

One more thing: Our country WAS invaded.

"The idea of "you can't arg... (Below threshold)

"The idea of "you can't argue about something unless you lived it, or are willing to live it" is bogus."

That's not the chickenhawk argument. The argument is that you can't argue in favor of war unless you've been in the military. See, that way the peaceniks can still argue about war, it's just the hawks who haven't served who have to shut up.

Of course, carried to its logical extreme, it means that Hillary (or anybody who didn't serve) can't be President, because any President might have to take us to war. But the airheads who use the chickenhawk argument don't think that far ahead.

something has got "Screw 'e... (Below threshold)

something has got "Screw 'em" Kos's thong in knots again

He has TWO "chickenhawk" posts on the front page...any one right of center is the American Taliban or 101st keyboardists and just full of cowardice.

Good God that psuedo-male is annoying.

Brainster writes: <i... (Below threshold)
s9:

Brainster writes: That's not the chickenhawk argument. The argument is that you can't argue in favor of war unless you've been in the military.

Actually, as someone who regularly deploys the "chickenhawk" argument in these sorts of discussions, I can say you don't understand the point.

Here is the argument: if you're pro-War™ and you aren't doing everything possible to get yourself into the fight— and don't give me any of this "I'm too sickly" or "I'm done fighting" crap, because those are just lame excuses considering the number of 4-F cases and retired veterans that have managed to get into the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres in the pay of sutlerage firms and private contractors— then why should I listen to your arguments about why I should sign up for 365, a wakeup and a stop-loss order?

If you're happily sitting safe and secure "in the rear with the gear and the cold beer" and you're not interested in putting your own ass in harm's way, then you've got a lot of damned gall telling me that I should feel compelled to go and do what you think is not worth your time.

That's the argument. Feel free to respond to the actual argument, rather than setting up a stupid strawman.

Actually s9 it isn't a lame... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Actually s9 it isn't a lame excuse. My husband served in the Navy for 6 1/2 years, and was discharged medically because of several small disablities (basically he isn't so disabled he can't work, he is just too disabled to work in the military). They wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole, and I can tell quite often that he would love to be in right now.

People with prior service and still in good health may be able to get back in (especially if they are still on the inactive reserve lists), but it is pretty doubtful that a first time volunteer past the age cap would be accepted outside of specific specialties (doctors, chaplains etc could probably get in, but the infantry probably won't sign up too many 40 year olds without any prior experience).

But even then, the chickenhawk argument is still pretty lame, considering some of our best CIC during war time never served or had nominal service.

Liberty and freedom never c... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Liberty and freedom never come for free. Were it not for those willing to pay the ultimate price (if need be), then those who gripe and complain about all things pertaining to defense would simply have to shut up and go back to work in whatever salt-mine their leftist controlled government allowed.

Thank God we have men and women who are not brain-washed by the knee-jerk liberals, and who put their lives on the line, so that this country may remain free.

Um, it's like the man said,... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Um, it's like the man said, "Do you walk the walk or just talk the talk?"

If someone is genuinely unable to serve for medical reasons fine, but why don't some of you guys let the army recruiters decide if you're healthy enough or not to serve? What's with all this self-diagnosis, "Oh I'd serve but they'd never take me." Really? Have you been rejected officially? Because I bet they'd take a second look at you now that the army has missed its quota three months running.

If you believe that invading and occupying Iraq is vital to our national defense why are you sitting around here on your ass waiting for us to get invaded? Is that really what it would take for some of you guys to walk the walk?

Listen, if you don't want to serve in the military be honest about it at least. Just say you haven't got the guts for it. I sure as hell don't. But please don't feed us lines about "Oh I would if we were invaded" or "Oh they'd never take me." If you don't want to serve fine. You can still talk all you want about how you support the troops and support the war. Just make certain in your own heart of hearts that your loud, loud words aren't an attempt to mask your own guilt and shame.

"Thank God we have men and ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Thank God we have men and women who are not brain-washed by the knee-jerk liberals, and who put their lives on the line, so that this country may remain free."

And yes no liberal or Democrat or liberal Democrat has ever their life on the line for this country. There are no liberals in the military. Sheesh what kind of a knee-jerk doofus you have to be to say something like that?

s9You a cop? A fir... (Below threshold)

s9

You a cop? A fireman? No?

Then are you forever precluded from offering any opinions on how police/fire departments should be run? Can someone be supportive of them without having served?

Your mendacious "chickenhawk" argument is not against someone telling YOU to join the military, you are arguing that NO ONE can hold an opinion that is supportive of the military and its mission if they never served.

That meme is 100% bovine excrement.

First of all...you're welco... (Below threshold)

First of all...you're welcome.

Secondly, many, especially in the Navy and Air Force, but across the military, many serve at keyboards and computer screens, ensuring the right information gets to the right people at the right time.

Third. Although I don't always agree with you guys, I've never seen you cross the line and try to speak for the military or speak about things you know nothing about without asking or researching first.

Darleen writes: Y... (Below threshold)
s9:

Darleen writes: You a cop? A fireman? No? Then are you forever precluded from offering any opinions on how police/fire departments should be run?

No. But it would be stupid for me to be upset with the mailman for not running into my burning house to put out the fire when I'm not planning to do it either.

Darleen continues: Can someone be supportive of them without having served?

Why do you ask?

Darleen concludes: Your mendacious "chickenhawk" argument is not against someone telling YOU to join the military, you are arguing that NO ONE can hold an opinion that is supportive of the military and its mission if they never served.

Where have I ever made that argument? I think I know the point I'm trying to make. Trying to reframe it into a ridiculous argument that no one is making is just a lame attempt to dodge the issue.

Just Me writes: M... (Below threshold)
s9:

Just Me writes: My husband served in the Navy for 6 1/2 years, and was discharged medically because of several small disablities (basically he isn't so disabled he can't work, he is just too disabled to work in the military). They wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole, and I can tell quite often that he would love to be in right now.

There are many fine billets in the private sector that are just as dangerous, glorious and heroic as the real thing. If he can drive a truck, he can probably get work in Iraq. What's stopping him?

s9 - your argument is speci... (Below threshold)

s9 - your argument is specious. Unless someone fulfills your specifications on what consitutes duty to country, they shouldn't speak? What kind of nonsense is that?

The army doesn't take everyone, nor should it lower its training standards to let in those who cannot physically serve. Your mockery of them is a cause of shame for you and all the petty souls like you who feel slighted when their ideas are dismissed for the lack of reason or the light of truth.

Your lack of decency and character shows in your sarcastic dismissal of a disabled Navy Vet. These people aren't drunk young men bragging on what they would do if given the chance - they're reasoned citizens who back the military men and women who are fighting.

That is a badge of courage. Your comments show you are a miserable coward.

"The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung."

"The army doesn't take ever... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"The army doesn't take everyone, nor should it lower its training standards to let in those who cannot physically serve."

And that is exactly what Army recruiters have been forced to do since both the Army and Marines have missed their recruiting goals for the last four months. There have been reports that recuiters are even overlooking felony convinctions and drug test results to meet their quotas.

What I find so funny about the original post and most of the comments is that they have emphasized every reason why someone can't or doesn't need to serve. I have yet to see anyone here urge the ablebodied among Whizbang's readership to actually JOIN the military. The Army and Marines are rapidly approaching a recruiting crisis and no one here seems willing to do anything about it personally except root on those who have already joined and served. Everyone else has excuses.

Can you still speak outin support of the war? Sure, of course, not joining doesn't invalidate your opinion but don't turn around and attack people for not supporting the war. I mean it's easy for everyone to talk.

s9 writes: There... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

s9 writes: There are many fine billets in the private sector that are just as dangerous, glorious and heroic as the real thing. If he can drive a truck, he can probably get work in Iraq. What's stopping him?

So, that's all thats stopping you from 'listening to [his] argument ... '?

That doesn't sound very nuanced to me.
In fact, I'd say it's downright close-minded of you.

s9 my husband's disabilitie... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

s9 my husband's disabilities are such that he probably wouldn't even be sent overseas to drive a truck. Not to mention he served honorably while he was in the Navy, he was discharged, I don't think he is required to serve further in order to have any right to an opinion on the issue, and your argument that he should is pretty bogus, and pretty much casts asperations on the service he has already given. BTW s9 just how long have you served in the military?

s9 - your argument is sp... (Below threshold)
Patrick Chester:

s9 - your argument is specious. Unless someone fulfills your specifications on what consitutes duty to country, they shouldn't speak? What kind of nonsense is that?

He has to find some method to win arguments.

Just Me asks: BTW... (Below threshold)
s9:

Just Me asks: BTW s9 just how long have you served in the military?

What difference does it make to you? I'm not the one here trying to convince anyone to quit a nice job, leave home and family, and go haul ammunition around in a fscking warzone, in exchange for lousy pay and abysmal health care.

Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is a war worth fighting, if you ask me. You're not going to convince me otherwise when you're not yourself willing to make the same sacrifices you'd be asking me to make by fighting it for you.

Jim Durbin writes: <... (Below threshold)
s9:

Jim Durbin writes: your argument is specious. Unless someone fulfills your specifications on what consitutes duty to country, they shouldn't speak? What kind of nonsense is that?

I agree, that's nonsense. It isn't my argument, however. Feel free to address the actual argument I'm making.

frameone writes: ... (Below threshold)
s9:

frameone writes: I have yet to see anyone here urge the ablebodied among Whizbang's readership to actually JOIN the military. The Army and Marines are rapidly approaching a recruiting crisis and no one here seems willing to do anything about it personally except root on those who have already joined and served. Everyone else has excuses.

Precisely. Chickenhawks, all of them, down to the last wretched, cowardly man and woman. Starting with Jay Tea, who wrote the title on the original post: They also serve, those who only sit and type.

Those who only sit and type... safely ensconced in the rear with the gear, the cold beer and the p*ssy. Yeah, they serve. Yay for them.

s9 I didn't tell you that y... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

s9 I didn't tell you that you had to quit any job to go fight. You seem to think my husband should though, even though he already put his time in, and is disabled from it to boot.

Just Me writes: I... (Below threshold)
s9:

Just Me writes: I didn't tell you that you had to quit any job to go fight.

You may as well have told me that. You seem to feel perfectly comfortable telling other people in similar situations that they ought to see the need to leave their homes and families to fight in America's stupid WarOnSomething™.

Just Me writes: You seem to think my husband should though, even though he already put his time in, and is disabled from it to boot.

I don't know how you got that silly idea. I merely asked what's stopping him from doing it, given that you said he clearly would like to find a way to be in the fight.

Truth to tell, I don't think America ought to have anybody fighting in Iraq, whether they want to be doing it or not. So, as far as I'm concerned, your husband is doing the right thing— finding a way to keep Uncle Sam from making him into a useful contributor to the ongoing war effort. If you have a problem with that, it's your problem.

Am I the only one to see th... (Below threshold)
Ken:

Am I the only one to see the irony in the postings of those bothered by the "chickenhawk" argument? Jay Tea and darleen, are outraged by the suggestion that military service would affect one's credibility in promoting the war, but they both immediately use their family's military history to bolster their own credibility.

There are limits to its applicability, but the "chickenhawk" argument is perfectly valid. When you ask another to shoulder a burden, it's fair to ask why you wouldn't shoulder that burden yourself. After all, that's what conservatives did to Bill Clinton every time he decided to use military force.

There are plenty of governm... (Below threshold)
Mechassault:

There are plenty of government officials who condone the war, but I would like to ask, where and what are THEIR kids doing? I have little doubt that they're not over there in Iraq. They didn't go when a war called upon them to (there's plenty of evidence to back that up) and even nowadays they're coming up with answers for why their kids shouldn't go. It's ludicrous.




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