Jeff Jacoby writes about being accused of being a chicken hawk and how it is a slur, rather than an argument.
You don’t need medical training to express an opinion on healthcare. You don’t have to be on the police force to comment on matters of law and order. You don’t have to be a parent or a teacher or a graduate to be heard on the educational controversies of the day. You don’t have to be a journalist to comment on this or any other column.
And whether you have fought for your country or never had that honor, you have every right to weigh in on questions of war and peace. Those who cackle “Chicken hawk!” are not making an argument. They are merely trying to stifle one, and deserve to be ignored.
I agree completely. I have been asked on my occasions whether or not I have served, or whether or not I am willing to go. I remembered writing a bit about all the chickenhawk talk a while back and found something I posted while guest blogging at Michelle Malkin’s site that addresses the namecalling that the chickenhawk smear is and has quite a few really good links to others’ thoughts on the subject.
My favorite response to those who use the chickenhawk attack is to say that if they really think that only those who serve in the military are the ones qualified to weigh in on matters of war and peace then fine. Let them stand by that position and let’s have only those in the military vote for the Commander-in-Chief. That usually ends the chickenhawk talk.
Another excellent point from Jacoby’s piece is about “chicken doves.”
The cry of “chicken hawk” is dishonest for another reason: It is never aimed at those who oppose military action. But there is no difference, in terms of the background and judgment required, between deciding to go to war and deciding not to. If only those who served in uniform during wartime have the moral standing and experience to back a war, then only they have the moral standing and experience to oppose a war. Those who mock the views of “chicken hawks” ought to be just as dismissive of “chicken doves.”
That will not stop the cries of chicken hawk, though, because as Jacoby points out, they are simply namecalling, and namecallers are rarely logical.
Update: The post I linked above did not include a link to Jay’s excellent post from a year ago. His has a much better title than mine.
Update II: In my first post on the subject from June of last year I found an excellent quote from Christopher Hitchens.