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Chickenhawk Talk

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.


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» Murdoc Online linked with Linkzookery

Comments (25)

Lorie..You've trad... (Below threshold)


You've traded one jackass for two of them. I can understand why you left Polipundit. I think you may want to consider moving away from Wizbang alsobefore those two idiots Kevin and Paul drag you down.

Lorie, you are where you be... (Below threshold)

Lorie, you are where you belong

Lorie, ignore the trolls. P... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Lorie, ignore the trolls. Pretty much everyone else does, except when one of the crowd feels like whacking them with a very large clue hammer.

Just like calling so... (Below threshold)

Just like calling some a nazi or a homophobe, the left uses the chicken hawk slur to deflect the conversation from the logical and into the emotional.

You cant really "logic" it away thru analysis. SInce it isnt based on any sort of logic in the first place.

When you hear it in an argument it means one of two things:

1) the leftoid you are arguing with realizes that he has lost the argument and is hoping to throw enough crap around around so that no one else relaizes it. (Any one else remember Gorilla dust?)

2) The leftoid you are arguing with has no idea that they have lost the argument and will declare themselves the winner of the argument as soon as they work in the "george bush is dumb" joke that they stole from comedy central last nite.

So does this post mean that... (Below threshold)

So does this post mean that I can no longer call peaceniks 'chickendoves' if they are not willing to support the other side as human shields?

Bummer :(

Why don't they just call us... (Below threshold)

Why don't they just call us "Icky" and be done with it. That pretty much sums up most of the specious arguments from the leftoid troll contingent.

It would save so much time.

Lorie, stick around awhile. I like your stuff. And don't pay any attention to Brian. He's icky and eats boogers.

I agree that the Chickenhaw... (Below threshold)

I agree that the Chickenhawk label is over used - and mistakenly applied to those who support or back chickenhawks.

I'd rather be a Chicken Haw... (Below threshold)

I'd rather be a Chicken Hawk than a Chicken.

But since I haved served in multiple armed forces, according to formula, I don't qualify as a Chicken Hawk either.

Oh, Bother. Guess I'll stick to being a right-wing, anti-communist, war monger.

Hmmm...Seems that ... (Below threshold)


Seems that the namecalling works. What about the slurs often hurled at those thought to be on "the left"? You know: traitor, America-hater, terrorist-sympathizer, and if the situation suits: anti-Semite.

The term "chickenhawk" applies to a select group of Washington Congressmen, members of the Administration, and other executive agencies who have no problem denigrating the combat decoration of people on the other side who oppose the current strategies in the Middle East. More often than not, these people have never served, making their willingness to use such tactics highly hypocritical.
I mean, is "the right" against attacking a point on its merits or lack thereof? Why must those wh o have never served allow or actively take part in the denigration of decorated veterans on their behalf?

The rest of you are simply the 101st fighting keyboardist brigade.

While chicken dove is an ob... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

While chicken dove is an obvious counter to chicken hawk, I like the term "Turtle Dove" better. The typical anti-military lefty has their head in a shell where the light of history can't reach it just like a turtle that feels threatened. It's so easy to question any need for war in the absence of human history. A sad history, but one that flows from the very nature of humans. The way to eliminate war is to change human nature, but apart from that step, lasting world peace is a fool's errand.

This is probably off topic,... (Below threshold)

This is probably off topic, but do you know what's better than turtle doves, Mac? Turtles. Those chocolate candies with pecans and caramel in them. Oh well, I'm going to the store to get some now.

(I have ADD or ADHD orsomet... (Below threshold)

(I have ADD or ADHD orsomething, so my comments are not my fault.)

I say we see their "chicken... (Below threshold)

I say we see their "chickenhawk" rhetoric and raise them with a new DNC mascot...my proposal:

"The OstichAss"

being the Darwinist they are, their new mascot is a hybid of a JackAss and an Ostrich, the logo should look like this: Head buried in a mountain of sand with the Ass part stuck high in the air for the world to see.

Based upon the Foghorn Legh... (Below threshold)

Based upon the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons of my youth, I'm proud to be called a chickenhawk.

The term "chickenh... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
The term "chickenhawk" applies to a select group of Washington Congressmen, members of the Administration, and other executive agencies who have no problem denigrating the combat decoration of people on the other side who oppose the current strategies in the Middle East. More often than not, these people have never served, making their willingness to use such tactics highly hypocritical.

How does disagreeing with a political opponent over matters of war denigrate someone's combat decoration? Should the administration just accept someone's opinion because they are a decorated veteran? If all decorated veterans had the same opinion, then you would have a point, but that's not the case. There's as much disagreement between veterans in Congress as there is between any other group. Obviously then, being a combat veteran doesn't give a person any special ability to make government policy.

The chicken hawk label just a political tactic used to try and silence those who defend the Administration's policies in Iraq. It's a tactic that may backfire in 2008 when the Dems run a non-veteran for president.

Shessh Larry, get a grip:</... (Below threshold)
Big D:

Shessh Larry, get a grip:

1)"traitor, America-hater, terrorist-sympathizer, anti-Semite" Agree or disagree, those seem to be descriptive responses. If someone were to call you a traitor what they are saying is that you opinions appear to be traitorous. If someone were to call you a "chikenhawk" it is suggestion that due to some predetermined criteria (military service) that your opinions are irrelevant to the conversation. That is what makes the term tiresome and stifling of debate.

2) "The term "chickenhawk" applies to a select group of Washington Congressmen" I believe you are incorrect. That term is applied to anyone who wanted war but had never served. Conservative bloggers and commentators get chickenhawk all the time.

3) Points get attacked on their merits when, you know, actual points get made. In the above post, THE POINT was that the term "chickenhawk" is used to shut down debate, to prevent proper and appropriate discussion. You seemed to have missed that (though I can't see how).

For myself, I don't ever question the patriotism of the left, just their basic intelligence.

Lets see: Kosavo=Clinton=ch... (Below threshold)

Lets see: Kosavo=Clinton=chickenshiitehawk.

Funny only Conservatives ar... (Below threshold)

Funny only Conservatives are chickenhawks,why is that? Could it be were the only ones with the Scrots to do some thing besides talk or surrender.

Radio Left was dumb enough ... (Below threshold)

Radio Left was dumb enough to call Uncle Jimbo from Black Five a chickenhawk. The ex-special operator has a few words for him on his Milblog.

The guy is a Milblogger and you call him a chickenhawk, how stupid can you get?

You have to watch the video that prompted Radio Left's accusation. Warning. Lot's of nasty words.

There are many of us who have served who don't choose to bring it up every day to prove a point.

Throwing out the chickenhawk term is just desperation from not having a cogent argument.

mesablue,Thanks fo... (Below threshold)


Thanks for that link. Too funny how the lefty keeps shifting the damn goal post. My favorite comment was where Uncle J said that he isn't going back on active duty, "Because I'm fat and lazy now and I would slow them down. If I thought they really needed my help then I would advocate withdrawal because I am way down on our depth chart."

Amazing, absolutely amazing! So if someone served in a time when that the US wasn't involved in a war, their service doesn't count?

Chickenhawks think that adv... (Below threshold)

Chickenhawks think that advocating military action makes them brave. period.
Advocating military action can be many things:
a horrible mistake, or
something in between.
but it doesnt make one brave.
Even if you do a photo op in a jump suit.
Similary, opposing military action does not make one weak.

so xapp, based on your defi... (Below threshold)

so xapp, based on your definition, where does Uncle Jimbo fall? Chickenhawk or not chickenhawk?

<a href="http://glenngreenw... (Below threshold)
As I told someone who start... (Below threshold)

As I told someone who started that line of crap, "I'd rather be called a chickenhawk than be a chickenshit. Which you definately are".

It has absolutely nothing t... (Below threshold)

It has absolutely nothing to do with the shameful and dangerous hypocricy of the chickenhawk.

Chickenhawks are politicians who, in their younger, service-eligible years, took great pains to avoid endangering their precious selves in the service of their country but ... later ... after they gained the political reins of power .... decided that the bestest thing to do for Americans was send them off to war at the drop of a hat. This makes them tough. Ummmm ... yeah.






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