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Embracing the Chickenhawk argument

For a long, long time now, I've been staunch in my opposition to the "Chickenhawk" argument. In fact, one of my proudest pieces was an all-out assault on its philosophical underpinnings. But maybe I'm getting older and jaded, or prematurely senile, or just tired of fighting the good fight, because I am now renouncing that opposition -- and embracing the "chickenhawk" argument in the fullest.

To sum it up: those who support the war should be among the first to go fight it, and in general those who advocate a position should be willing to put their lives on the line to stand for it. Those who speak in favor of something without demonstrating their absolute commitment to the issue are to be forced to offer that commitment, or silenced.

With that absolute principle in mind, I'm calling for the following actions:

  • From now on, comments on Wizbang will be limited only to those who actually have their own blog. Registration will be mandatory. Those commenters whose commitment to blogs is so shallow that they can not find the time and energy to run their own blog will no longer be welcome here.
  • Chelsea Clinton will be removed from her Manhattan office, sent to boot camp, and from there be assigned to a peacekeeping unit in the Balkans. Her father believed in it so much (even promising that "the troops would be home by Christmas," without specifying what year), she ought to be willing to go over there and do her part.
  • Only people with military backgrounds will be allowed to run for president. It's too late to keep Bill Clinton out (or, for that matter, FDR, Harry Truman, or Woodrow Wilson), but this move will protect us from those cowardly shirkers like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, and their ilk from presuming to think that they could serve as Commander in Chief without having first worn their nation's uniform.
  • In fact, let's take it a step further. Let's restrict the ballot to only veterans. They've shown their commitment to our nation, so let's ban anyone who has not put on our nation' uniform from trying to shape the future of the country. Another benefit of this will be to pay back, a little, the shameful actions of the Gore campaign in 2000, when they waged an all-out assault on military absentee ballots in Florida, attempting to disenfranchise American men and women on active duty.
  • The police will no longer respond to 911 calls from those who are not, themselves, police officers (or immediate family of officers). If you support the police so damned much, sign up and prove it.
  • The same principle will eventually be extended to fire and ambulance services.
  • Those people without health insurance will be covered by a national health-insurance plan -- but must volunteer their services in the health care field in some fashion. You want your broken arm set, bub? empty a few dozen bedpans first.
  • Animal rights activists will be licensed, and as part of the certification process must undergo the treatment they are protesting. Don't like veal? Talk about it after a week in a pen. Wanna protect the dolphins? Show us your gill net scars. And if you protest fur, you better be scalped.
  • Opponents of torture must submit to the treatments they are protesting. If you don't like waterboarding, then you better be damned ready to tell me just how bad it is.
  • Opponents of capital punishment must... well, that one should take care of itself quite nicely.

Damn, I feel better. No more tiresome thinking and debating issues. Everything is now personal, no more reasoning and weighing of issues. Let the shrillness and venom prevail!


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» In Search Of Utopia linked with Who are the REAL Chickenhawks?

Comments (59)

Guess which US president ha... (Below threshold)

Guess which US president had the longest time of service in the military...

It was Jimmy Carter.

I love how you guys snide yourselves right into a corner.

And, BTW, I've run a political chat board since 1997, so I guess I qualify to post.

Harry Truman was a Captain ... (Below threshold)

Harry Truman was a Captain of Artillery and a battery commander serving in France (on the line) in WW 1.

Jimmy Carter<p... (Below threshold)

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy gets to comment.

You don't.

Shut up.

Here is Snide: President Ji... (Below threshold)

Here is Snide: President Jimmy Carter had the longest military service so that proves military service doesn't bestow a special wisdom on National Security issues - I guess that proves J's point.

Jay was using Logic: A Reductio ad absurdum argument. But since you've run a political web since 1997 I guess you knew that already (oops, that's snide also).

Carter served in the milita... (Below threshold)

Carter served in the military longer than Ike? News to me.

blackcat, are you saying Ji... (Below threshold)

blackcat, are you saying Jimmah wasn't a good president then?

blackcat77 ...how ... (Below threshold)

blackcat77 ...

how about a url or link, would love to see your site ...

my own link fixed ...... (Below threshold)

my own link fixed ...

Dwight D. Eisenhower US Arm... (Below threshold)

Dwight D. Eisenhower US Army 1915-48

"I love how you guys sni... (Below threshold)

"I love how you guys snide yourselves right into a corner."

I think you've misunderstood the meaning of the post. You see, it's...ahhh, never mind.

Jeff:<a href="http:/... (Below threshold)


You have to sign up for Delphi before you can get to the forum and I'll warn you that if you have the free membership, you get all sorts of popups and junk.

And I was wrong about Carte... (Below threshold)

And I was wrong about Carter being the longest-serving, obviously. I did read that and made the mistake of taking the site's word for it.

Here's a page detailing his service:

I'm perfectly fine to submi... (Below threshold)

I'm perfectly fine to submit to the Chickenhawk argument as well...though my conditions are much more lenient.

The single condition is that you go to Buck Sargent's blog and read the entire thing. (Not just what's there now, but all his entries from his deployment time). Watch the movies he recorded in Iraq, read about his experiences, and take to heart his well-versed political perspective on Iraq.

Since he's been there, and just recently returned, I'm more than willing to let him speak for me on all issues regarding the war.

So, those who use the Chickenhawk argument, unless you've completed a tour in Iraq and have a different take on things, you must submit to his way of thinking.

Interesting forum, blackcat... (Below threshold)

Interesting forum, blackcat. I noted you lifted my entire Britney Spears posting in its entirety, links and all. You did give me credit, but why no actual link to the piece and ensuing discussion? And did it ever cross your mind to ASK me before reprinting my piece in its entirety? Excerpting would be one thing, but you took the whole kit and kaboodle.


You're right. Would you li... (Below threshold)

You're right. Would you like me to post a link or remove it? Your choice.

Jay, A chickenhawk is someo... (Below threshold)

Jay, A chickenhawk is someone who is 1)able-bodied, 2)beats the war drum, 3)yet won't enlist for the fight THEY advocate. Someone just hiding under the bed is not a chickenhawk, just a chicken or perhaps smart. Someone unable to fight but advocating the fight is a warhawk. One of my favorite presidents is Grover Cleveland who paid the bounty for a substitute in the civil war. But he was (mildly)for the right of seccession of the states. If the Iraq war was JUST, there wouldn't be so much controversy. Thank you W, again!

A link is the preferred cou... (Below threshold)

A link is the preferred courtesy, blackcat.

Let me tone it down a smidgen and say that I appreciate the implied praise, and that you didn't remove my authorship from the piece. That's been done to me in the past, and it never fails to piss me off. It's theft, plain and simple, and it's one of the few things that drives me to near-violence.


and it's one of the few ... (Below threshold)

and it's one of the few things that drives me to near-violence.

Yeah. Near-violence won't cut it on the battlefield.

You're excused, Jay.

I like the idea about only ... (Below threshold)

I like the idea about only veterans can vote. Kind of takes you back to "Starship Troopers". You had to have been honestly discharged to gain citizenship. As a retired Army Paratrooper I can buy into that:)

I apologize. The posting n... (Below threshold)

I apologize. The posting now is linked to the permalink on here. I'm usually not that lazy but sometimes when a whole story is only a couple of paragraphs I just post it with a citation and skip the link. I realize that ain't kosher...

Jim: I've gotten into trou... (Below threshold)

Jim: I've gotten into trouble with a lot of my liberal friends about it, but I like the Starship Troopers idea as well. The problem is that people associate a "right" with something that's cheap. Yes, voting is an entitlement in the constitution, but because people don't have to do anything to be able to vote, they don't take it seriously and as a result, we get people who vote for a president based on who they'd rather have a beer with rather than that person's qualification for office.

Jay: good idea, but you don... (Below threshold)

Jay: good idea, but you don't go far enough. In addition to requiring our Presidents to have military service,

* since education is a big part of government, future Presidents will have needed to have attended school, been a teacher and be a parent of someone attending school, and all in a recent enough time period to have their experience still be relevant.

* since so much federal money flows to the older folks, future Presidents will need to be old and reliant on Social Security, Medicare and senior pricing at the movie theaters. They will also have to be young enough to be one of those asked to open their wallets to pay for all the services provided to the elderly.

* since a lot of federal money goes to welfare programs, future Presidents will need to have been both a welfare recipient and a welfare case worker. They will also need to have been someone who succeeded in life without having to resort to societal handouts.

* since a lot of federal money goes to medical care and research, future Presidents will need to be both a patient and a provider of medical care.

* since all of what the federal government does is financed by tax dollars, and because so much of federal taxes come from high earners, future Presidents will have to been in the top 1% of all income groups.

* and since most of what the federal government does involves taking from one group to give to another, future Presidents have to prove they've had their property confiscated for the benefit of the 'greater good'.

Heralder, re: BUCKSARGENT: ... (Below threshold)

Heralder, re: BUCKSARGENT: WARNING : Really Bad Poetry Zone (another???) First the Anchoress, then yesterday's poetry offensive and now THIS? And BS even ends each with a copyright notice! (DON'T WORRY) Oh well. On the plus side, there IS a picture of a very pretty Iraqi girl in a red coat that's nice.

Heralder,Thanks fo... (Below threshold)


Thanks for the Buck Sargent link. It's just plain smart & dedicated. I'll check out blackcat when I can, but if he's as snarky there as he is here . . .

I was always taught that the Revolutionary war was tremendously unpopular in the colonies. Was it then unjust? Shd we all Hail to the Queen?

bryanD:On... (Below threshold)


On the plus side, there IS a picture of a very pretty Iraqi girl in a red coat that's nice.

Well, I'm glad you found something on your intellectual level to connect with.

And don't be a ChickenPoet, unless you've written poetry, or are able to, regarding current events, you are not allowed to criticise it. :)

I think the Jimmy Carter ex... (Below threshold)

I think the Jimmy Carter example drives Jay Tea's point home in a way nothing else could.

I also find it funny when something unconventional comes along like this piece and there are no handy talking point, we get to see genuine responses in all their glory.

I end up somewhere else whe... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I end up somewhere else when I fully apply the chickenhawk logic: the power to declared and wage war must be taken away from congress & the president. Instead, these decisions must be made by a commission of military officers, perhaps including both active & retired. Of course, any war effort needs money, so the military would also have the power to tax.

If you keep going from there, you will realize that the only way it could work is to just put the military in charge of our country.

And so it is accomplished: no more chickenhawks.

Ya know, one thing has alwa... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Ya know, one thing has always troubled me. We've got a core of believers on the left who regularly opine that Bush = Hitler, he stole elections, engineered the collapse of the WTC, and is just a Supreme Court appointment away from installing himself as dictator (or being installed by his puppet-masters) for life.

America, the country they claim to love, is allegedly on the verge of becoming the Fourth Reich - but I don't see large numbers of folks on the left lining up for military service against the government they so vehemently oppose. Seriously, where is the army of volunteers ready to militarily overthrow the "illegal" and "fascist" Bush regime against which so many on the left rail?

I'd like to see America prevail in Iraq, but other than patriotism and general geo-politics I don't really have a dog in the fight. But the good old USA sees its elections "stolen" by nazis and flunkies of Enron! Surely that's a fight every good leftist can embrace; nay, must embrace.

So until I see left-wing armed militias roving the US meting out justice and freedom here in the America, the chickenhawk argument seems a little hypocritical.

I think you are wrong about... (Below threshold)
Dave Riley:

I think you are wrong about Harry Truman he served in World War 1 as a captain of artillery.

Truman was chosen to be an officer, and then battery commander in an artillery regiment in France. His unit was Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 60th Brigade, 35th Infantry Division.


Jay, I'm being nit-p... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

I'm being nit-picky, but you reversed some of the roles in your examples.

A chickenhawk advocates for war, but does not serve (and by embracing the chickenhawk argument, you think only those who have served should be able to advodate for war).

A torture proponent should have to undergo torture to advocate for torture,

A capital punishment proponent would have to undergo the punishment to advocate for it,

An advocate for animal testing should undergo the tests to support it,

opponents of these positions would not be the one to undergo these treatments to advocate against them.

Your argument in these examples would equate to those who oppose the war should serve to have the position to oppose. A unique position I guess (and it would probably significantly cut down on the number of war opponents), but not quite the correct line of thinking for "embracing the chickenhawk argument".

Seems to me back in the 80'... (Below threshold)

Seems to me back in the 80's/90's chickenhawks were called "warrior wimps". Either term seems to fit these chairborne warriors.
US Army veteran.

Why anyone would take Carte... (Below threshold)

Why anyone would take Carter's 10 active years (or 14 if you include the academy) as longest is beyond me. U S Grant 1843-1854 and 1861-1868 and you can add four for his academy days. And yes according the Jay's rules Carter gets a voice. I would feel better about it if he had done something like landing craft commander at Inchon.

I am a reservist who has do... (Below threshold)
Oak Leaf:

I am a reservist who has done two tours since 9/11.

I think there needs to be a different phrase for what is happening now as a reality is developing that military voters are becoming alienated from the GOP.

Right now there is a growing anger directed towards those that are "beating the war drums" as we have the same people who have already done two or three tours being asked to go back again.

In late 2008, when we have individuals going back to Iraq or Afghanistan for the fifth time, the GOP will have little support from those that are currently serving. We might not vote democrat but we will not vote GOP.

Should the Democrat Party push through legislation that limits active component combat tours to maybe three and restores the DOD Policy on reserve mobilization to the Rumsfeld Policy, the Democrats will own the military vote.

So Carter got a free colleg... (Below threshold)

So Carter got a free college degree and had to serve to pay for it. Too bad he didn't get an education to go with the degree. Did he ever work in his major? Just like today, a piece of paper doesn't mean anything. Just listen to the 5th year senior ball players. You can't miss them, they'll say 'you know' after every third words, sometime more often.

I like the part about only ... (Below threshold)

I like the part about only tax payers should have the vote. Didn't the founders also have a similar idea? Does anyone know how many combat missions Chelsea Clinton flew over Serbia? Was Amy Carter in one the units in Carter's failed rescue mission?
Can anyone prove that inside of Barbara Boxer's head resides a functioning working brain?

A torture proponent shou... (Below threshold)

A torture proponent should have to undergo torture to advocate for torture,

A capital punishment proponent would have to undergo the punishment to advocate for it,

An advocate for animal testing should undergo the tests to support it,

Actually, it should be "be a torturer, hang someone, test some drugs on animals," since those are all the active part of the job, not the passive one.

Under your argument, people shouldn't support the military unless they had been on the other side, fighting against the country they live in.

Cubabbob...Bush's comments... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Cubabbob...Bush's comments on Clinton's Bosnia campaign: "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

Chickenhawk can also be app... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Chickenhawk can also be applied to economic issues. For example, those who propose a higher minimum wage but have never paid a payroll are chickenhawks because they are afraid to go into business where they have to meet payroll obligations. Another example is, those who propose employers pay for a universal health care, not just their own employees (the Hillary plan). I'm sure there are lots of examples where "chickenhawk" can be applied to tax and spend measures the Democrats will be proposing.

You're right. Would you... (Below threshold)

You're right. Would you like me to post a link or remove it? Your choice.
:: by blackcat77 on January 17, 2007 12:08 PM ::

Interesting time you give J the "choice" blackcat, after the fact.

After violating his copywrite and after violating the very well known Fair Use Policy.

And BTW, a forum is far from being close to any valid description of a blog. As such you don't meet J's now publicized policy on who should be able to comment.

So see ya content thief!

blackcat77:<blockquot... (Below threshold)


Guess which US president had the longest time of service in the military...

It was Jimmy Carter.

I love how you guys snide yourselves right into a corner.

Perhaps you missed the 'Satire' tag since post makes absolutely no sense. JayTea wasn't actually advocating this, but rather pointing out the absurdity of it.

I love how you snide yourself right past the point of the article.

I apologize. The postin... (Below threshold)

I apologize. The posting now is linked to the permalink on here.Blackcat77

So I guess you're a "reformed" content thief. However you're still in violation of the Fair Use Policy.

Which makes you unreformed and still a content thief.

So what about all the chick... (Below threshold)

So what about all the chickendoves who "protest" the war and the administration from the safety of their chairs in front of their computer screens? I say they should be forced to give up their jobs (if they have them) and go camp outside President Bush's ranch and march with Cindy Lu Who. And those that bemoan the violence in Iraq can go over there to be human shields. (Please make sure to wear bright orange so the "insurgents" can target... er... identify you better.)

Steve Crickmore since we ar... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore since we are still in Bosnia, what again was Clinton's exit plan? Come to think of it we still have troops in Germany, Japan and Korea, what ever happened to Truman's exit plan?

Oak Leaf is right about the troops and the GOP. Unless we ditch this PC nonsense and fight to win the military will tire of them.

Wow, nice strawman post, Ja... (Below threshold)

Wow, nice strawman post, Jay. You mis-define the term, and then proceed to mock your own definition. Why, I just may define "libtard" as meaning "a really smart person" and embrace it!

Brian: I was WONDERING wher... (Below threshold)

Brian: I was WONDERING where that oft repeated definition, used all OVER the place here, came from. And there IS a lot of lead in the well water up in New England. Maybe it's just monkey see/ monkey say and not Alzheimer's. That's good!

Wow, Drink! Drink! Drink! I... (Below threshold)

Wow, Drink! Drink! Drink! I need to stop playing the Moronic Chicken Hawk Argument (MCHA) Drinking Game before I pass out. A MCHA is so full of logical errors it is self refuting (or should be). No chimpymchitlerburton references though, I guess thats progress.

Bonus MCHA points to Brian for linking to Glen Greenwald as the Chickenhawk expert - Greenwald's definition: Chickenhawk is a name used to attack the individual instead of the Argument they are using - Why use chickenhawk when "Big-Doody Pants" has the same logical value? His line of argument deserves its own special place in hell. You understand strawman, Brian? Then you should understand argumentum ad hominem. It is used by both sides of the chamber but its still a fallacy.

So... Brian and Bryan both ... (Below threshold)

So... Brian and Bryan both miss the point of the post (not shocking) AND take exception to the fact that Jay and others here do not use the same definition as Glenn "My sock drawer is my cheering section" Greenwald.

OK, so PorkSaladSandwich ap... (Below threshold)

OK, so PorkSaladSandwich apparently can follow a link, but doesn't understand the text at the other end of it. And SCSIwuzzy acknowledges that Jay is redefining the term to suit his needs, but defends the premise that when it's difficult to criticize an idea, it's reasonable to misrepresent that idea as one that it's easier for you to criticize.

You're right... I guess I am missing the point. (Where "missing the point" is hereby redefined by me as "being really smart", and so therefore I'm embracing the "missing the point" argument!)

"Let's restrict the ballot ... (Below threshold)

"Let's restrict the ballot to only veterans"

I have two honorable discharges.

Will I be able to vote twice?

Shorter Jay Tea:I ... (Below threshold)

Shorter Jay Tea:

I don't like people making fun of me, so I'm going to make it more difficult for them to do it.
Also, Clinton.

Brian, Not only c... (Below threshold)


Not only can I read but I can evaluate arguments and ideas.

So WHAT is Greenwald's argument? From his site you linked above: "'chicken hawk' is one who strikes the pose of a warrior, who imputes the personal courage of a soldier in combat to themselves by virtue of the fact that they are in favor of sending that soldier off to war, or who parades around with the pretense of personal courage and resolve while assuming none of the risks."

Short Form: "You're a big doody-head."

Further from Greenwald "And a 'chicken hawk' will, conversely, attempt to depict those who oppose such wars as being weak, spineless and cowardly even though the war opponents are not seeking to avoid any personal risk to themselves, but instead, are arguing against subjecting their fellow citizens to what they perceive are unnecessary dangers."

Paraphrased: "You're a big doody-head because you called me a doody-head".

Hmmm still no logical argument.

But wait here it comes..."There certainly is an argument to make that those who will incur the risks of war are more likely to think carefully and soberly about whether to start one than those who can urge on wars without risks."

Drink? Sorry no Drink! Greenwald gives us the ...er.. nuanced version of the Chickenhawk argument he denied he was making earlier...Almost...He just leaves the conclusion implied. Slippery.

What follows is a couple of points making the argument (Wow, an actual argument about an idea) that having a personal risk makes you more careful...AND? AND? AND? AND? Thats it? Not exactly a stunning revelation.

So to recap: "You are a big doody-head. You're a doody-head because you called me one. Doody-heads are less careful."

Yes Brian (I am assuming you are not Mr. Greenwald, yourself), a brilliant argument in favor of something...just can't figure out exactly what. Perhaps you can supply the conclusion to be drawn.

Which of course is "being more careful means one is better able to make decisions regarding war therefore all you doody-heads need to STFU." Well, that's how its usually stated by the guy making the..um.. "Argument".

I could be misunderstanding the logic trail. Since you seem to speak "Greenwallian" perhaps you can translate this into an actual argument beyond "Big Doody-Heads are bad."

And such is taken for intel... (Below threshold)

And such is taken for intelligent discourse on the right. No wonder you lost the American people.

Gee, no argument - no rebut... (Below threshold)

Gee, no argument - no rebuttal - no logic - no sense of humor...just a personal attack...go figure. Did you really give your best shot. I hope not.

Murphy,Only if you... (Below threshold)


Only if you live in Chicago.

Add to the list those people who served in the military longer than LtCdr James Carter:

George Washington (11 years)
Zachary Taylor (38 years)

It is intersting to note that the service of Pres Carter is trumpeted to importance as a qualification of his argument for allowing the advancement of his "peace" theories. Like being an officer on a nuclear sub somehow allows you to decide that Israel should cease to exist.

Dang, I wish I understood that kind of thinking...

Yah, Mr. "You're a big dood... (Below threshold)

Yah, Mr. "You're a big doody-head" accuses me of personal attacks! I say again, no wonder you lost the American people.

Brian,Jay is only re... (Below threshold)

Jay is only redefining the term IF you believe Greenwald (or one of his many sock alter egos) created the term.
But he didn't. Neither did Jay T.
They both define the term in this context as a derisive name for someone who supports a war but has not/will not serve in the armed forces. They differ in the degree of how insulting to be.

Again, your complaint (or one of them, which I pointed out) is that Jay's definition and the one you like (Greenwald's), is different.

And btw, I defended no premise, and made no jusdgement on either Jay's or Greenwald's definition. Everything you've read into my comment was plucked from you own mind, or ass. I suspect they reside in close proximity.

Brian, Read the p... (Below threshold)


Read the post again - I never called you a name at all, other than Brian (Unless you really are a Greenwald sockpuppet). "You're a big doody-head" was a summation of Greenwald's argument. Chickenhawk is a name applied to an individual as an insult. It is no different than calling someone "Doody-Head" on the school playground. It attacks the individual and not the individual's argument. You are either not comprehending what I'm writing or pretending not to. So please read the post you offered up and explain Greenwalds "argument" since you seem to find it relevant to discrediting Jay Tea's Post.

And when you ask for a logi... (Below threshold)

And when you ask for a logical argument you get silence...

No, but when you ask for a ... (Below threshold)

No, but when you ask for a followup to the big "Doody-Head" argument... that's when you get silence.






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