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Confessions Of A Chickenhawk

Over at Rob Port's "Say Anything," he discovered that there are still a group of blithering idiots who are still pushing the "chickenhawk" non-argument. I've said it before, but it bears repeating:

The crux of the "chickenhawk" argument is a fundamental dishonesty. It it an attempt to change the subject from the topic under debate to the personal qualifications of one of the arguers. It is an attempt to not refute the arguments, but silence the arguer. And those who push it are tacitly admitting that they cannot win the argument on the strengths of their own arguments.

Well, I've been thinking about it some more, and I have a few things I'd like to get off my chest.

I have never served in the military, yet I have opinions on how our military should -- and should not -- be deployed.

I am a heterosexual male who has never been married, but I have a firm opinion on gay marriage. (I support it.)

I have never been drunk in my life, but I have opinions on the laws regarding the sale and possession of alcohol.

I have never taken any illegal drugs in my life, but I have opinions on whether or not they should be illegal, and what the penalties should be.

I have no children and never will, but I have opinions on child-rearing and education.

I have never lived in any nation besides the United States, but I have opinions about how other nations conduct their affairs.

I have never lived in any state besides New Hampshire, but I have opinions on how the other states conduct their affairs. (Especially Massachusetts. Most especially Massachusetts.)

I belong to no political party, but I have opinions about the two major parties in the US, their policies, and their actions.

I do not own a gun, I never have owned a gun, and I have no desire to own a gun, but I have opinions about the right to bear arms.

I belong to no church or particular faith, but I have opinions on religions and their practices.

At its heart, the theory behind the "chickenhawk" argument is "I have experience and credibility, so take my word for what I say, because I am an authority." It is laziness, and used to substitute for substantial evidence behind the opinion being offered.

I never make any claims to any special authority or knowledge or experience when I couch my opinions. In memory of my high school math teacher, I always try to "show my work" and explain not only what I believe, but why. I don't try to bully people into accepting my position, but persuade.

It's harder than simply saying "because I said so, and I'm an expert," but it seems a hell of a lot more honest. And it avoids the whole danger of someone else coming along with superior credentials and simply reversing what I say by fiat.

But for those simple-minded idiots who keep pushing the "chickenhawk" theme: keep it up. By doing so, not only are you not bothering the grownups with even dumber nonsense, you're instantly identifying yourselves as useless assholes who are not worth trying to engage in honest discussion.


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Comments (80)

Great point, Jay. As a Vie... (Below threshold)
Geminichuck:

Great point, Jay. As a Vietnam era Marine, I have strong opinions on war-fighting. But, I recognize that non-military persons sure have strong military opinions also. Along the same line, I have absolutely no education nor experience in psychoanalyses, but I believe I can spot the kooks and nuts among us and believe the peace-at-any-price idiots fit that category to a T.

"... the theory behind t... (Below threshold)

"... the theory behind the "chickenhawk" argument is "I have experience and credibility, so take my word for what I say, because I am an authority"

I disagree, the crux of the chickenhawk argument is 'only those who have sacrificed have earned the right to ask others to sacrifice". It's not 'I'm the expert', as those making the argument haven't served themselves, they're simply attempting to shut up those who disagree with them (an exception is McCain's use of his having been tortured to condemn those who are more favorable to 'enhanced interrogation techniques').

To an extent, that argument makes sense. For example, I resent people who don't pay taxes calling for those who pay taxes to pay even higher taxes, I wouldn't be surprised if parents who send their kids to public schools resent the intrusions of politicians who send their kids to private schools, and people living in high crime areas don't think much of the anti-gun folks who live in lily-white gated and privately patrolled communities.

Of course, those yelling chickenhawk don't keep from offering their own opinions in situations where they haven't done the equivalent of having 'served'. The ACLU has no problem imposing rules on policemen and Democrats in Congress have no problem making laws that affect business even though neither has likely ever been a cop or worked in the private sector.

But none of this matters, as democracy provides that everybody gets to have an opinion on anything, whether or not they've 'walked the walk'.

Of course, those who make t... (Below threshold)

Of course, those who make the "chickenhawk" argument do not wish to carry it to its logical conclusion: that only combat veterans should have a say in the question of going to war. They wish only to deny those who have not served the "right" to advocate war, but hold that non-vets may legitimately oppose war. Under this scenario, we could NEVER go to war, since only a tiny minority would be "entitled" to support that course under any circumstances.

It's an idiotic construct, advanced by idiots and accepted only by other idiots.

By the way, do you know what chickenhawks EAT?

;-)

Jay, I think you are too yo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, I think you are too young to be a real chickenhawk. I thought that the chicken hawk argument and I may be making too sharp a picture was that 40 years ago, when the country desperately need every available able bodied young man to serve overeseas the young neo cons then, I think almost to a man, found a way avoid overseas service duty, even though they believed then and still believe that the Vietnm war was worth the heavy sacrifice of thousands of other young American lives..just not their lives. Now, I could understand some had family responsibilities or health reasons etc. but it seems that so many took that path that the question looms.

Furthermore, there is a tendency to label those advocate the use of force and war from afar as strong and courageous even when the time came they had 'other priorities' while those who don't want to rush their country to battle are considered 'weak' even if they have personally served the country in previous wars.

I think you misunderstand t... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I think you misunderstand the point of the 'chickenhawk' and have ever since people started calling you the name.

Like your continuous arguments that Saddam had WMDs and that the war was a great idea, this one is rooted in the fact that you know your critics are, for the most part, right. That's why you are constantly having to re-defend yourself with the same tired arguments.

You have stated that you have a medical condition that prevents your from fighting. I believe you would be there on the front lines if that was not the case. However, I know plenty of military-eligible people who love fighting Iraqis and Saudis as much as you do but simply lack the courage to literally fight for these beliefs. They are very willing to have others fight for their freedom - for what they perceive as freedom - but no will of their own. And it's great asking them about it, because they simply cannot defend themselves. Recommended.

Wiki:Chickenhawk (al... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Wiki:
Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk; sometimes designated after a person's name by [c.h.]) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, but has never personally been in a war, especially if that person actively avoided military service when of draft age.

The term is meant to indicate that the person in question is cowardly or hypocritical for personally avoiding combat in the past while advocating that others go to war in the present. Generally, the implication is that "chickenhawks" lack the experience, judgment, or moral standing to make decisions about going to war.

Jay, as a self described chickenhawk, which of the above applies to you?
depp=true

'tis better to be a chicken... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

'tis better to be a chicken hawk than a chicken shit.

BarneyG, I'm a commentator ... (Below threshold)

BarneyG, I'm a commentator who never served. I wouldn't say I "actively avoided" serving, because I never put any energy into NOT volunteering, but I'm a supporter of the war in Iraq (since before Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Regime Change act, in fact) who has never served and never will.

By the current definition, that makes me a chickenhawk.

Steve, jp2, my whole point is that my particular circumstances are IRRELEVANT when the discussion is whether or not the war in Iraq was right. If some argument is true, it is utterly irrelevant who makes it. To filter the truth through the personal attributes of the arguer is to do a grave disservice to the truth.

My standard answer is that I'm flattered that I am the focus of such attention when such hefty matters are on the table, but the truth is it's disgusting and dishonest. The whole point of making the argument is to attack and discredit the arguer, NOT to refute the argument. Those who push it are fraudulent assholes, and I'm tired of playing nice with them.

J.

...this one is rooted in... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

...this one is rooted in the fact that you know your critics are, for the most part, right.

Um, no, in fact, it doesn't mean that at all. It only means that, as Jim A. noted above, when you fail to take the chickenhawk argument to its logical conclusion (as steve sturm articulated so well above): 'only those who have sacrificed have earned the right to ask others to sacrifice'.

Using a phrase like "chickenhawk" also amounts to so much pointless name-calling and a certain unwillingness to debate honestly and respectfully.

"arguments that Saddam h... (Below threshold) dj, you mean the ones Reaga... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

dj, you mean the ones Reagan supplied.

Jay What is scary, t... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Jay
What is scary, the quantity of illiteracy
being exposed in todays threads.

RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON! RIGHT ... (Below threshold)
Diane:

RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON! RIGHT ON!

I've never been a blogger, but I have opinions on how bloggers express themselves--Jay, you are one of the best!

jp2,Nice logical a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

jp2,

Nice logical argument. Now I assume you will apply it to Clinton or Obama if they become President. Can a person (chickenhawk) with no moral authority to put anyone in harms way be viable as Commander in chief? If not, how can they be President?

jp2, if we follow the "chic... (Below threshold)

jp2, if we follow the "chickenhawk" argument, then Bill Clinton should never have been president -- he, a draft dodger, ran against not one, but TWO war heroes.

And care to back up that "we supplied Saddam with WMDs" allegation? With, say, some facts?

J.

You ask others to go off to... (Below threshold)
Herman:

You ask others to go off to foreign lands to kill and be killed but refuse to go yourselves, well, you will be called to answer.

Okay, Chickenhawks?

Jay, there's a whole bunch ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Jay, there's a whole bunch of stuff here:
http://www.fff.org/comment/com0406g.asp

Like this:
In a September 26, 2002, article entitled "Following Iraq's Bioweapons Trail," columnist Robert Novak wrote,

An eight-year-old Senate report confirms that disease-producing and poisonous materials were exported, under U.S. government license, to Iraq from 1985 to 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, the report adds, the American-exported materials were identical to microorganisms destroyed by United Nations inspectors after the Gulf War. The shipments were approved despite allegations that Saddam used biological weapons against Kurdish rebels and (according to the current official U.S. position) initiated war with Iran.

"Ask", Herman. We "ask". ... (Below threshold)

"Ask", Herman. We "ask". No one is forced to go as we have a 100% volunteer military.

Oh... I was "forward deployed" during Desert Storm. So I'm not a chickenhawk, right?

If someone wants to insist that only veterans have the vote... we can go with that. Kay?

A great book by Robert Maso... (Below threshold)
Mark:

A great book by Robert Mason about helicopter warfare during Vietnam....Named "Chickenhawk."

More on topic:

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/F/Y/bush_chickenhawk_hunk.jpg

Chickenhawk ought to go the... (Below threshold)

Chickenhawk ought to go the other way as well, if it's valid at all.

Only those with military experience would be allowed to have *any* opinion on going to war. For OR against. Exclude the chicken hawks *and* the chickens.

Only vets can protest outside officer selection offices in Berkeley. Only vets can agitate for anti-recruitment in high schools.

They're the only ones who really know what enlisting means or what an officer commission means. They're the only ones who actually *know* what a young person will be getting him or herself into.

Yes... maybe the chickens should quit pretending they have an opinion about the military or military action that matters.

(In case it's unclear, I'm ... (Below threshold)

(In case it's unclear, I'm with Jay Tea on this one.)

"No one is forced to go as ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"No one is forced to go as we have a 100% volunteer military." -- Synova

If you signed up for the military for education benefits and then Chimpy decides to go to war, what choice do you have? They're not going to let you out just because the commander-in-chief is an idiot, are they, Synova?

"Oh... I was 'forward deployed' during Desert Storm. So I'm not a chickenhawk, right?" -- Synova

Just how long ago was this "Desert Storm"? You're not fighting in YOUR war NOW, so therefore you're a chickenhawk.

"If someone wants to insist that only veterans have the vote... we can go with that." -- Synova

Yeah, I knew since 2000 you conservatives were interested in disenfranchising others, but didn't think one of you would openly admit it. I've never been in the military, and because I have better things to do with my time, I never will be in the military, and you're not ever stopping me from voting, conservative!

Get that? Got that? Good.

Oddly enough, Herman, the m... (Below threshold)

Oddly enough, Herman, the main people I recall being disenfranchised in 2000 were active-duty military, by the Gore campaign.

And anyone who enlists in the military without realizing that they might actually go to war has to be as dumb as... well, you.

J.

Herman,Anyone that j... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Herman,
Anyone that joins the military without the understanding that there could be a war, and that the military will be the ones to wage it, is an utter moron. Plain and simple.
When I signed the papers, the recruiters made it clear. They also made clear that police actions, like the then recent Gulf War could happen, and I could be sent to participate.
Going into service isn't going to summer camp. Getting college tuition is a reward for service and risk, not a right.

Get that? Got that? Good.

"Some folks inherit star... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes, they send you off to war"

Behold "The Fighting First Family":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Fum62uyHE

They're really bravely doing a fine job in fighting "Islamofascism," right, conservatives?

Check out that particularly funky dude standing near Pierce Bush!

It's almost cute when an as... (Below threshold)

It's almost cute when an asshole like Herman self-destructs in a paroxysm of self-parody...

But I'm grateful he proved my point so thoroughly. Could he have possibly discredited his position any better?

J.

"Anyone that joins the mili... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Anyone that joins the military without the understanding that there could be a war, and that the military will be the ones to wage it, is an utter moron." -- SCSIwuzzy

The understanding, SCSIwuzzy, is

"Anyone that joins the mili... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Anyone that joins the military without the understanding that there could be a war, and that the military will be the ones to wage it, is an utter moron." -- SCSIwuzzy

The understanding between the prospective recruit and the military, SCSIwuzzy, is that WAR WILL ONLY BE WAGED AS A LAST RESORT!!!!. That precludes wars based on things such as phantom WMD, SCSIwuzzy.

"jp2, if we follow the "chi... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"jp2, if we follow the "chickenhawk" argument, then Bill Clinton should never have been president" -JT

Did he support the Vietnam war? Did he think it was a necessary war and talk endlessly about how great it was?

If so, then yes, he is a chickenhawk. Are you starting to get it now?

If you are elected Presiden... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

If you are elected President you become the Commander of the armed forces. Doesn't that make you part of the armed forces and therefore, immediately eliminates you from chickenhawk consideration?

Jay, find anything yet?

Herman, you say you never s... (Below threshold)

Herman, you say you never served, so there's at least a modicum of an excuse for your ignorance.

Enlistment papers make NO SUCH PROMISES.

The enlistee is required to obey all lawful orders from their superiors, unconditionally. There is nothing about "only wars approved by Herman and his fellow nuts who have better things to do with their time than sign up to serve."

But if you wanna bring up pointless military interventions, care to tell me what vital national interests were served by Bill Clinton sending troops to Haiti, the Balkans, and getting a bunch of them massacred in Somalia?

J.

There is no agreement, impl... (Below threshold)

There is no agreement, implicit or otherwise, when enlisting that politicians and presidents will only go to war as a last resort (and shall I explain why that, itself, is an ignorant metric?) or that presidents will not waste your life stupidly or make bad decisions.

In fact, I'd say that anyone who thinks that a President and civilian leadership isn't liable to make poor decisions hasn't been paying attention to anything, ever.

Nor do you have any implicit promise that your CO won't be an incompetent, self-serving idiot who gets his or her people killed.

You join because the country needs a military and the (good) chance of idiot politicians being idiots doesn't change that fact. So you serve as best you can and support the mission and our country the best you can. And no one asks you (nor should they) if you approve of Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, or the first or second Gulf Wars. It's not up to you.

And being told by someone who has never served what *I* should be upset about doesn't get very far with me. Or condescended to about my helplessness in decision making.

Guys in the military (and girls, too) tend to like to think of themselves as competent adults.

Code Pink can take their apron strings to someone who needs them.

If you are elected... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If you are elected President you become the Commander of the armed forces. Doesn't that make you part of the armed forces and therefore, immediately eliminates you from chickenhawk consideration?

No, the whole idea of making the President Commander in chief is to have CIVILIAN control of the military.

jp2,I don't think ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

jp2,

I don't think Bill Clinton supported the Vietnam war, but as President he did put our military in harms way a number of times. Now Bill wasn't the first President who never served in the military to send troops off to war, and the chickenhawk argument didn't seem to be prominent until Iraq, so I give him a pass.

Now what I want to know from you and others promoting the chickenhawk argument, is do you support H. Clinton or Obama being our next President given the potential that they may be called upon to put troops in harms way? Are you going to call them chickenhawks if they do put troops in harms way?

Assuming those promoting the chickenhawk argument are not hypocrites, and given the mood among conservatives to give the next Democrat President the same treatment Bush has gotten, it's unlikely H. Clinton or Obama would have any support to use the military to defend this nation. About all we'll be able to do is absorb the damage and downplay casualties by comparing them to the typical highway death toll. I can just see the headlines: "Casualties from last week's terrorist attacked we less then two weeks worth of roadkill on America's highways."

"do you support H. Clinton ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"do you support H. Clinton or Obama being our next President given the potential that they may be called upon to put troops in harms way?"

With little hesitancy I can predict that our military resources would be used as a last-resort-only by either of those candidates. I could very well be wrong, but that's military action I respect. But this is a silly line of thinking as...

GWB is a chickenhawk not because of his Iraq/Presidency policies, but because he supported the war in Vietnam wholeheartedly yet was too scared to serve. When it came down to it, he made sure he didn't have to go to Vietnam. (He checked the box himself) You can see how these poor traits of have come to full bloom during his disaster of a presidency. (Compare that with Kerry, who didn't agree with Vietnam, yet served. Black and white in terms of character)

I think people like barney ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

I think people like barney and jp2, the whole batch of em and anyone like them will never get it.

To call Jay a chickenhawk doesn't prove whether or not the war was a good or bad decision on the president's part. All you are doing is trying to discredit Jay in order to make him shut up and go away, therefore leaving your conclusion alone.

Liberals cannot debate using facts, they always go back to discrediting, or using other facist forms of making people shut up, like the "chickenhawk" argument. Look at Hillary and Obama. Have they debated a single substantive issue? It's been back and forth arguing about race, kindergarten papers, faux-plagiarism, etc... What experience does Hillary cite? 35 years of working for childrens rights. haha. look at the types of people the liberals prop up! people who are good at "knee-capping" people, or someone who says nothing better than anyone else has ever done it. This is because they cannot win on the merits of a debate.

Don't get me started on the republican side. I think most liberals can say about anything they want about our nominee and i might be inclined to agree. Just remember that he wasn't selected by the right of our party, it was more libs and lefties than most people know...

Compare that with Kerry,... (Below threshold)
Proof:

Compare that with Kerry, who didn't agree with Vietnam, yet served
Was that Rose-thorn-scratch-Purple-Heart Kerry who volunteered for Swift Boats before he found out they might actually sail in harm's way, and then who got out of there in a hurry, as fast as he could, leaving his men and his command behind so that he could disgrace himself and them by lying about them in Congressional hearings before he threw his medals, or somebody's medals over the White House fence in protest...that John Kerry?

"Dave W""To call J... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"Dave W"

"To call Jay a chickenhawk..."

I didn't call him one, so you can retract that.

"Liberals cannot debate using facts"

I wrote a few paragraphs and somehow you managed to get your facts wrong and threw out falsehoods. I stopped reading your post after that sentence, btw.

jp2GWB is a ... (Below threshold)

jp2

GWB is a chickenhawk not because of his Iraq/Presidency policies, but because he supported the war in Vietnam wholeheartedly yet was too scared to serve. When it came down to it, he made sure he didn't have to go to Vietnam. (He checked the box himself) You can see how these poor traits of have come to full bloom during his disaster of a presidency. (Compare that with Kerry, who didn't agree with Vietnam, yet served. Black and white in terms of character)

Bush served in the National Guard. He risked his life in dangerous flight training. I'm sure he learned a lot about character and courage during his service.

Read the following and tell us again of his being "scared".

http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000136.html

The chickenhawk argument is not only morally indefensible. It is cowardly.

"He risked his life in dang... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"He risked his life in dangerous flight training."

lol

Seriously?

Nothing happened to Kerry t... (Below threshold)

Nothing happened to Kerry that kept him from serving his whole tour. He went in the Navy because the Navy was "safe" and then left his men the minute he had an excuse to leave.

The fact that jp2 thinks this is selfless service says a whole lot.

"He risked his life i... (Below threshold)

"He risked his life in dangerous flight training."

lol

Seriously?

Yes, seriously. Read the link.

I'll make it easy for you j... (Below threshold)

I'll make it easy for you jp2.

Scroll down to "War of the Bumper Stickers"

You can skip the Chickenhawk discussion...you've been fed the same here already.

"With little hesitancy I ca... (Below threshold)

"With little hesitancy I can predict that our military resources would be used as a last-resort-only by either of those candidates."

Probably true.

The problem with this is that it's moronic ignorance in action.

Using the military as a "last resort" is based on the absolute assumption that all problems are essentially the same and can be solved the same way. So the litany of ever escalating firm-statements and threats and then more threats and then sanctions of some sort and then more sanctions and more strong words and then maybe low grade military action, easing in to it slowly, tentatively, and then when some of your soldiers get killed, turning tail and running away because THE SITUATION NEVER WARRANTED MILITARY ACTION TO BEGIN WITH is the inevitable result.

Because the military is NOT NOT NOT the solution of last resort.

All that does is get soldiers killed for no reason whatsoever.

If something does not warrant military action to begin with IT NEVER WILL.

This is why I'm afraid of Democrats in control of the military. They think it's a last resort option to NON-MILITARY problems. Because they don't accept that there IS such a thing as a situation where the military is the CORRECT solution and is the CORRECT solution from day one.

Okay, let's trade.... (Below threshold)
jp2:
"And care to back up tha... (Below threshold)

"And care to back up that "we supplied Saddam with WMDs" allegation? With, say, some facts?"


Let's not forget what official records remain from the Reagan legacy.

The ones not destroyed, at least.

(by definition) Wouldn't Ab... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

(by definition) Wouldn't Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman all be chickenhawks?

jp2,With ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

jp2,

With little hesitancy I can predict that our military resources would be used as a last-resort-only by either of those candidates. I could very well be wrong, but that's military action I respect. But this is a silly line of thinking as...

So you think it's ok for someone who's never been in the military to put others in harms way if it's done as a last-resort, which logically means there's no other means to protect this nation. Now that we're no longer talking about absolutes anymore, the next question is who decides when there's no other means of protecting this nation? The Constitution is quite clear on who the commander in chief is, so it seems that decision rests with the President, with the permission of Congress, of course.

GWB is a chickenhawk not because of his Iraq/Presidency policies, but because he supported the war in Vietnam wholeheartedly yet was too scared to serve. When it came down to it, he made sure he didn't have to go to Vietnam.

I was in the Military and I can tell you that once you're under orders you can't choose not to go somewhere. You can select preferences, but if your number comes up you go where you're ordered to go. Bush trained as a fighter pilot and that's not a position someone who doesn't want to see combat goes into, national guard or active duty.

You have backed off your absolute definition of what a chickenhawk is so that you can give Hillary and Obama a pass and you have mischaracterized Bush's service. As always those squawking the most about chckenhawks are the chickens.

jp2No trade. That wa... (Below threshold)

jp2
No trade. That was a very poor attempt to change the subject.

You said in #35 above:

GWB is a chickenhawk not because of his Iraq/Presidency policies, but because he supported the war in Vietnam wholeheartedly yet was too scared to serve.

In fact, he joined the National Guard and accepted all of the risks and responsibilities that entailed, which were considerable based on the information in my link. Did you read the link? Do you believe that type of flight training involves risk? Would a man who is "scared" to serve accept that level of risk?

Liberals cannot debate u... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Liberals cannot debate using facts, they always go back to discrediting, or using other facist forms of making people shut up, like the "chickenhawk" argument.

I suppose in comparison to Republicans, who would never seek to discredit their opponents by calling them "traitors", "communists", "unpatriotic", "terrorist-lovers", ...

Jay: The chickenhawk argume... (Below threshold)

Jay: The chickenhawk argument isn't used in deciding whether a war WAS right or wrong, it is used during the prelude to war (or, in the present case, when arguing whether to stay in Iraq), when each side tries to convince the public that going to (or staying out of) a given war is a good thing... and during this phase, it is perfectly acceptable to not only challenge the substance of the other side's arguments, but also to attack the other side's intelligence, credibility and moral standing.

And while the chickenhawk argument doesn't come up after the war is over and history is rendering its decision on whether the war was 'right', there's also nothing wrong with challenging the credentials of those looking to influence the outcome, especially since these days there's precious little that isn't influenced by the personal viewpoint of those who are supposed to be free of bias.

Apparently some folks seem ... (Below threshold)

Apparently some folks seem to think that as long as they call Bush a chickenhawk instead of me, that makes it all better. To them, I ask: what changed between 1998, when Bill Clinton and a near-unanimous Congress passed a law calling for Saddam's removal, and 2003, when Bush actually did it?

And as usual, BarneyG's talking out of his ass. The source he cited at 5:50 starts off with this quote:

"Given all the indignant neoconservative "outrage" over the financial misdeeds arising from the UN's socialist oil-for-food program during the 1990s, when the UN embargo was killing untold numbers of Iraqi children..."

Barney's apparently forgotten that that accusation is no longer operative; the new message is that "the sanctions were working, we didn't need to invade!"

I've been looking for some time now for proof that there was a huge push to end the sanctions because so many Iraqi children were dying from them, Barney, but never really put the effort into finding it. Thanks so very much.

I think I need to assemble a list of times Barney's cited what he considered "definitive" proof he was right, only to have it prove just the opposite. It happens so regularly, I wonder if he's really on my side, and giving us these easy victories on purpose...

Oh, and mixed in with the "Bush is a chickenhawk" crap is another example of the "if we keep repeating the bullshit, maybe we'll be lucky and they'll forget the truth" ploy: that WMDs were the only reason for the invasion. For those who can read the actual text of the Authorization of Use Of Military Force Congress passed, or can find Bush's speeches, there's a whole laundry list of reasons, all valid and irrefutable.

Sorry, folks. You have your right to your opinions. But you don't have a right to your own facts, and you certainly don't have a right to rewrite history.

But thanks again for proving my point so vividly...

J.

ok, pilgrims, here's the de... (Below threshold)
richard b cheney:

ok, pilgrims, here's the deal. if you're an enlisted dude or dudette, or formerly enlisted due or dudette, and you really don't mind chickenhawks, well more power to ya. but i got a question for youse and the chickenhawks: if you truly believe that defeating "islamofascism" is the defining struggle of our time, and you're an able bodied youngster of fighting age, why not help out the cause? can i really believe that no one in the military thinks a few of these doughy young republicans should put their money where their mouths are?
watch this video- sure, you hate liberals, you hate max blumenthal, you hate his tone, etc, but how is this not simply embarassing to your cause?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/generation-chickenhawk-t_b_56676.html

also, you can see tom delay state that the illegal immigration problem is rooted in abortion- if we had the "40 million" babies which have been aborted, they would be doing the jobs that illegal immigrants now do.

and you wonder why conservatism, and especially the young "conservative republicans" (read, brainwashed idiots) are being rejected out of hand by the american people. pathetic.

Why pretend to be open mind... (Below threshold)

Why pretend to be open minded, Dick?

And what is your excuse? And why not encourage those buff specimen's of muscular manitude among young Democrats to enlist?

Oh, they're all out there protesting the right of people to so much as talk to recruiters because young people are so gullible and stupid that they need to be protected.

Oh SURE compared to that vets and military spend a whole lot of time just resenting the heck out of those who support military service but don't actually put on a uniform. What WAS I thinking?

What's embarrassing is how ... (Below threshold)

What's embarrassing is how certain sorts can say, with a straight face, that they support the troops while insisting that the poor suckers are helpless babes, brainwashed simpletons, so unlike their betters, that they need to be protected from the nasty old recruiters and their spiffy looking uniforms.

But we support the troops.

Chicken-supporters. Why are you not encouraging people to join the military and why do you not portray it as a respectable or even important profession? Oh! You thought "supporting" the troops meant supplying little slings to hang up chicken balls. That explains so much.

Those in the military or who have served would far FAR rather accept the "support" of those who chose not to put on a uniform for whatever reason when it actually is, you know, SUPPORTIVE.

This strange idea that support should be resented... how odd... how irrational.

Synova Chick... (Below threshold)

Synova

Chicken-supporters.

Mind if I borrow that phrase for a while? You have made an excellent point here. It's one of those comments that deserves repeating.

"...and during this phase, ... (Below threshold)

"...and during this phase, it is perfectly acceptable to not only challenge the substance of the other side's arguments, but also to attack the other side's intelligence, credibility and moral standing."

Why?

Why does, for example, attacking my intelligence become acceptable because we're arguing to stay in Iraq. Why is the "substance" no longer enough? Why is my "credibility" important now, particularly, instead of my argument? Why does "moral standing" apply? Do these things in any way whatsoever change facts or change the way humans behave? Does anything about *me* have an impact on the short and long term consequences of leaving Iraq?

I would say no. I'm just not that important and neither are you.

The argument to stay in Iraq is based on what can be accomplished by staying now that various reports, even regional ones rather than only ones from Iraq, suggest that while local people were all fired up about being anti-American, they've had to *live* with Al Qaida or the taliban and are getting annoyed at the crap those fanatics pull on a regular basis. It has to do with the likely result of the perception of abandonment and our reputation for mucking things up and not following through or supporting our allies long term. Even assuming that the choice to go to war in Iraq was a wrong one, it can not be undone by leaving and leaving will most certainly take all the possible good results and throw them in the litter bin.

Those things have absolutely nothing to do with my personal stature. Trivializing what is a serious issue into something that is about my *moral* standing is silly. And making it about Bush's moral standing, such that "Bush is evil so f*ck the Iraqis who supported us" seems worse than trite... it seems vile.

Wrong #1:"You can ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Wrong #1:

"You can select preferences, but if your number comes up you go where you're ordered to go"

Wrong #2:

"In fact, he joined the National Guard and accepted all of the risks and responsibilities that entailed...Would a man who is "scared" to serve accept that level of risk?"

Check it: He specifically DID NOT volunteer to do anything except guard Texas from the Vietnamese air force. Yet he supported the war in Vietnam. This is what a chickenhawk does. A great field study.

http://www.smithersmpls.com/graphics/bushfile.gif

Cool beans, jp2. I betcha ... (Below threshold)

Cool beans, jp2. I betcha a whole lot of people who are deployed with guard units will be thrilled to hear your #1.

I dont know the difference ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

I dont know the difference but if one tries to take me i,ll get violent with them

Yes, you're right, jp2, it ... (Below threshold)

Yes, you're right, jp2, it is a fascinating case study.

If one is the kind of so-obsessed-with-the-past-they-can't-see-the-present asshole like you are.

Again, I reiterate: every single argument you put against Bush applies even more strongly against Clinton and his deployments to Haiti, Somalia, and the Balkans. And while I opposed those moves, I did so on the facts of each case -- I NEVER challenged Clinton's legal or moral authority as Commander In Chief to do so.

And it is always worth repeating: Clinton, who gamed the hell out of the system to stay out of the service, defeated one genuine war hero to get the presidency and another to keep it. At that time, I (and a lot of others) said that candidates' military record (or lack thereof) should not overshadow their other qualifications and accomplishments, and to vote in 1992 or 1996 solely on what the candidate did or not do during the Viet Nam war was stupid.

Funny how the war was irrelevant 16 and 12 years ago, but suddenly came back as absolutely critical 8 and 4 years ago. It's almost like people's opinions were swayed by how their preferred candidates rated on that scale. But that would be hypocrisy, and the Democrats would NEVER do something like that...

Oh, and (not) Mr. Cheney? Find a new name, or a new blog to comment on. I'm tired of your juvenile little game. It wore out its novelty about five seconds before you first used it.

J.

JP2 -For what it's... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

JP2 -

For what it's worth - if you're filling out one of those for the first time, you fill it out according to the instructions of the personnel specialist. If you're filling it out at tech school (or pilot's training) and the unit you're assigned to is stateside - that's what you put in. I was a missile mechanic on the Minuteman III system in the '70s - all the Minuteman bases were stateside. I could have put in "overseas" - and they'd rip it up. I'd have had to redo the form since there wasn't a chance I'd get sent outside the country.

Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard, enlisted in the TANG and got his commission in the TANG - last I heard, Texas wasn't overseas.

Plus - there's no indication by date on this when it was filled out. Dream sheets can be changed at any time.

The military has customs, practices and and procedures as far as paperwork goes. That the ins and outs of it all aren't familiar to the layman is understandable.

(And, oddly enough, I ended up a Personnel Specialist handling unit attendance records and pay in the Air Force Reserve. I can put up a link if you like to a number of posts I had on Kevin Drum's site, analyzing Bush's attendance record, since that was the sort of work I ended up doing for about a decade. Oddly enough, the folks there wouldn't believe me - preferring half-baked supposition and ignorance to someone telling them the points record didn't mean what they thought it meant.)

Jay Tea -Appare... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Jay Tea -

Apparently some folks seem to think that as long as they call Bush a chickenhawk instead of me, that makes it all better. To them, I ask: what changed between 1998, when Bill Clinton and a near-unanimous Congress passed a law calling for Saddam's removal, and 2003, when Bush actually did it?

A Republican acted - instead of talking about it. How DARE he actually DO something instead of talking about it endlessly?

It's something I've noticed - Democrats are great at rhetoric and promises and crappy at execution of said promises. And they really resent it when someone goes ahead and fixes what they say they'll do eventually.

Remember how Social Security was a problem... until Bush tried to fix it?

the reason why i don't enli... (Below threshold)
danforth p quayle:

the reason why i don't enlist is because i do not in any way trust the "leadership" of bush/cheney. which is a good reason, in my opinion. i also never supported the war in iraq. if you think they are good and competent leaders, that's your prerogative. neither served. nor did their neo-con masterminds. we all know this. you all choose to ignore its significance. fair enough. in my opinion they manipulated public sentiment after 9/11, and took advantage of the ignorance of the american people, to launch a war that under any other circumstances never would have been supported by the public. everyone knows this is true, even you, whether you admit it or not.

the iraq war is not about bill clinton. it's about bush and the republicans. you can deny this all you want, but this is what everyone thinks, and fair or not, that's all that really matters.

i support the troops because i don't condemn them and want them to come back alive. but i condemn their leadership, which is what my criticism is about. it's like i condemn enron, but that doesn't mean i condemn every enron employee. i condemn unapologetically the military leadership, competence and decision making capacity of bush/cheney. so does colin powell, one of their chief architects. so if colin powell doesn't support the troops, you can take that up with the general. just give this whole thing a rest, because we both know it's a stupid argument.

i didn't call the troops idiots, i called the college republican chickenhawks idiots. watch the video- are you proud of your supporters? are those the guys you want to have your back?

finally, "conservatives" supposedly hate political correctness, but unquestioning, blind support of the military and all it does is the most sacred cow piece of doctrinaire conservative political correctness known to american life. any word against it, and the speaker is denounced as a traitor. and as a result, you think bush is a great president, because he and his handlers understand this fact very well, and cyncically manipulate not just you, but also me, by their cynical use of the military to attempt to insulate themselves from criticism and divide the country for their own political benefit. that is why i don't like chickenhawks.

you think i want things to be the way they are now? definitely not. but they are. if you think bush is a great leader, good for you. no one else does. and soon we will be rid of him, and some poor ambitious sucker will be left to clean up the mess. glad i won't be the one to play the fall guy. welcome to the permanent republican majority? oh, what about doughy karl? honorable? "supports the troops"? are you kidding me? you guys would have beat him up in high school. he probably wore a bow tie and played the clarinet.

This thread points out one ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

This thread points out one thing. Jay Tea can make a point, defend it, and succeed in doing so using reason and facts. It is a convincing argument to rational people.

His opponents, as always, shriek like wounded monkeys, fling poo, and utterly fail to be convincing in the slightest. What they hope to do is lost in the noise, as smarmy comments, third-grader level handles, inconsistent arguments, and unsupportive links provide no backing to what might be inferred as their "argument."

It is hilarious to... (Below threshold)


It is hilarious to watch liberals who have not done a thing in supporting the effort of our military in defeating the jihadist think that this somehow gives them some moral standing in who is able to support our troops and who isn't.

The first amendment allows me to support anybody I damn well please and I don't need permission from a bunch of idiots who think it's okay for Clinton,or Obama to send troops into battle without having served but it is not okay for me to be able to support them and their mission.

Since democrats only make up 13% of the military according to the military times,you liberals need to
take responsibility for your pathetic ability to join
in the fight instead of your avoidance game with Republicans who make up more than 4 times the amount of men and women willing to fight on the front lines.

By the way liberals,there is not one person killed by
"biological cultures",sent to Iraq.They were killed when Saddam decided to use them for Weapons of Mass destruction.This was his decision and his decision alone.

Cultures are traded,bought,and sold around the world
all the time,these are not WMD.

By the idiot liberal logic stated above,everyone who
has sold Chlorine has supplied WMD,since Chlorine is used as a chemical weapon.

I guess the Tidy Bowl Man is now a war criminal if you
were to apply liberal logic.

The US only constituted about.46% of Iraq's weapons
sales.The overwhelmingly large amount of weapons sales
to Iraq came through countries like

Russia 57.26%
China 11.82%
France 12.74%
Czechoslovakia 6.56%.....

The countries who really armed Saddam are the same countries that idiot liberals want us to have to ask
permission from to defend our country in the UN.

What difference does it make to liberals anyway,they
have spent the last 5 years defending Saddam and saying
that Iraq was better off with him in power,basically
saying they have no problem with his genocide and continuing his WMD program that still existed.The same program he was going to start back up according to the Iraq Survey group report(Duelfer Report) and Saddam's own words after the heat from the UN had died down.

For our stuck on stupid liberals,Saddam having the ability to make WMD's makes him a threat to use .....
WMD's.One of the many reasons stated in the Resolution to Authorize force against Saddam that your liberal heroes in congress joined Republicans in voting for.

Liberals pathetic attempts to steer the responsibility of Saddams genocide,murder,rape,torture
and wars on the US are as idiotic and baseless as their
chickenhawk squawks.

But what would you expect from the party of Micheal Moore and Code Pink.

Have jp2 or Barney EVER pos... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Have jp2 or Barney EVER posted without lying their ass off about something?

Have jp2 or Barney EVER ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Have jp2 or Barney EVER posted without lying their ass off about something?

Not so far as I can recall. They spin so fast physicists use them for frame-dragging observations.


Here is some news that cert... (Below threshold)

Here is some news that certain people in this thread should be glad to hear:

"Dick Cheney" has been impeached and removed from Wizbang. So has his predecessor, Dan Quayle.

After being warned that I didn't care for his childish little stunt of taking the name of the sitting Vice President to do his trolling, he changed his ID from "richard b cheney" to "danforth p quayle" (apparently not knowing that Bush 41's Veep is "J. Danforth Quayle").

I seldom give warnings, but when I do, I make a point of following through if necessary. His IPs (three at last count) are now banned.

J.

jp2,Check... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

jp2,

Check it: He specifically DID NOT volunteer to do anything except guard Texas from the Vietnamese air force. Yet he supported the war in Vietnam. This is what a chickenhawk does. A great field study.

It obvious you and the other chickens don't know diddle about what it means to be in the military. Not volunteering for overseas duty only means you don't want to jump to the head of the line to go overseas. In a decade-long war that means nothing.

It's funny to think that all this time you have been hanging your chickenhawk argument on a meaningless checkbox that most of the solders in Vietnam also checked. LOA.

The US only constituted... (Below threshold)

The US only constituted about .46% of Iraq's weapons sales. The overwhelmingly large amount of weapons sales to Iraq came through countries like

Russia 57.26%
China 11.82%
France 12.74%
Czechoslovakia 6.56%.....

The countries who really armed Saddam are the same countries that idiot liberals want us to have to ask permission from to defend our country in the UN.

Amen. All we ever hear is the disingenuous argument that the US armed Saddam and supplied him with Bio-Weapons SO IT'S ALL OUR FAULT! But when we find huge stockpiles of pesticides in 55 gallon drums next to the weapons caches, their argument changes: Oh! So now they're not allowed to have harmless pesticides?

Run around in circles with these people and you'll just get as dizzy as they are.

Jay, you asked for proof th... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Jay, you asked for proof that the Reagan administration supplied Saddam with WMD, and I did. You spent a couple of hours looking for proof that I was wrong and when you didn't you tried to change argument to UN sanctions?

Sorry Dude, but you are wrong, and if you are man you will admit it.

But Barney, I thought Sadda... (Below threshold)

But Barney, I thought Saddam didn't have any WMDs -- that Bushco had made that all up? Man, you gotta send out memos when you rewrite history like that!

Seriously... from what I've read, those were medical specimens, NOT weapons-grade material and NOT capable of being weaponized. Useful in treating the diseases' effects, worthless in actually causing the disease.

But thanks again for the link, Barney. It'll come in handy the next time someone argues that "the sanctions on Saddam were working, we should have given them more time!"

It's reasons like that that I let you stick around.

J.

I agree w/ Jay Tea, ... (Below threshold)
William:


I agree w/ Jay Tea, but: If those examples are true, Mr. Jay Tea, you need to get out more!

So I guess you're not man e... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

So I guess you're not man enough. This was reported on CBS news Dec., 2002:

"The newspaper says a review of a large tranche of government documents reveals that the administrations of President Reagan and the first President Bush both authorized providing Iraq with intelligence and logistical support, and okayed the sale of dual use items -- those with military and civilian applications -- that included chemicals and germs, even anthrax and bubonic plague. "

You don't even have the balls to admit you tried to deflect the debate (deceiving your readers). I think we should start calling you the 40-year-old virgin.

The Thunder Run has linked ... (Below threshold)

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/20/2008 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

President Reagan armed Sadd... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

President Reagan armed Saddam with some nasty weapons and gave him information on how to produce even nastier stuff. At the time Reagan's plan was to keep Iran from defeating Iraq and gaining their oil resources and spreading their Islamic extremism. No American troops were needed and the plan worked. That was then.

Saddam invaded Kuwait and Bush 41 kicked him out. In doing so the U.S. made an enemy of Saddam, a vengefully dictator known to use chemical weapons on his own people. Saddam never complied with the ceasefire agreement he agreed to and he was close to bribing his way out from under U.N. sanctions altogether. With the 9/11 terrorists looking for a new home, Bush 43 wisely took Saddam out once and for all. This is now.

When the status of a nation changes the policies of the U.S. toward that nation may also change. That's not hypocrisy, it's reality. Each of us do the same thing in our own lives. We put money in savings and then take it out. We get married and then divorced. We buy a home and then sell it. We start a job and then quit it. Everything has its season. Show me a person who doesn't understand that and I'll show you a fool.

Barney, the topic was NEVER... (Below threshold)

Barney, the topic was NEVER "did Reagan give Saddam WMD precursors?" YOU tried to deflect that topic, and for some insane reason I let you get away with it briefly.

But again, you're botching your talking points. "Dual use" means that you have to give Saddam the benefit of the doubt that they're really innocent when they're discovered by the Bush administration -- it's perfectly normal for barrels of pesticides to be stored near artillery weapons, "crop dusters" would never be used against people, and the like. If you say that "dual use" substances are inherently damning, then you've just blown the "Saddam didn't have any WMDs when we invaded" theme.

Barney, have you EVER cited an argument that hasn't blown up in your face? I'm looking back over the last few days, and the trend is downright hysterically funny.

J.

"YOU tried to deflect that ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"YOU tried to deflect that topic" jay

Wrong again Jay. DJ deflected the topic (see #10). I responded (#11) and you gave me a challenge (#15) that lived up to and now you are trying to spin your way out of.

Are you ever tired of being wrong in this debate?

BarneyG2000 is Monty Python... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

BarneyG2000 is Monty Python's Black Knight. Utterly defeated, and still blathering on.




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