Here are three others:
Anybody who's been on the receiving end of the "chickenhawk" epithet knows what I'm getting at. Various definitions of chickenhawk are out there, but the gist — as if you didn't know — is "coward" or "unpatriotic hypocrite." The accusation is less an argument than an insult.Jeff Jacoby:
It's also a form of bullying. The intent is to say, "You have no right to support the war since you haven't served or signed up." It's a way to get supporters of the war in Iraq, the war on terror, or the president simply to shut up.
But, there's a benefit of a doubt to be given. There are many people — I know because I've argued with lots of them — who don't believe the "chickenhawk" thing is intellectually unserious.
Obsessed with "authenticity" and the evil of hypocrisy — as they see it — they think the message and the messenger are inextricably linked. Two-plus-two is four only if the right person says so. We hear this logic most often from adherents of identity politics, who give more weight to the statements of women, blacks, Jews, and others for the sole reason that they were uttered by people born female, black, Jewish or whatever. People who grew up poor are supposed to have a more "authentic" perspective on economic policy than people who didn't, and so on.
Don't get me wrong — experience is important and useful, including the experiences that come from being black or gay or otherwise a member of the Coalition of the Oppressed. But valuable experience confers knowledge, it doesn't beatify. And identity isn't an iron cage. It is not insurmountable. And, at the end of the day, arguments must stand on their own merits, regardless of who delivers them.
Indeed, the notion that there is a single, authentic black perspective strikes me as fundamentally racist in its essentialism. And the idea that women adhere to a female logic unique to them strikes me as definitionally sexist. But the left doesn't care, because this perspective is indispensable for attacking "inauthentic" blacks or other supposed traitors. What was it that Harry Belafonte said the other week? That blacks who work for the Bush administration are, in effect, "house slaves," akin to the high-ranking Jews in the Hitler regime (never mind that no such Jews existed).
The chickenhawk charge is the misapplication of the same faulty logic. There are war heroes who oppose the war, and there are war heroes who supported it. John Keegan is the greatest living military historian, and he never saw a day of battle. George McGovern flew 35 combat missions in World War II. I'll take Keegan's guidance on military matters over McGovern's any day.
"Chicken hawk" isn't an argument. It is a slur — a dishonest and incoherent slur. It is dishonest because those who invoke it don't really mean what they imply — that only those with combat experience have the moral authority or the necessary understanding to advocate military force. After all, US foreign policy would be more hawkish, not less, if decisions about war and peace were left up to members of the armed forces. Soldiers tend to be politically conservative, hard-nosed about national security, and confident that American arms make the world safer and freer. On the question of Iraq — stay-the-course or bring-the-troops-home? — I would be willing to trust their judgment. Would Cindy Sheehan and Howard Dean?Ben Shapiro:
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."
In any case, the whole premise of the "chicken hawk" attack — that military experience is a prerequisite for making sound pronouncements on foreign policy — is illogical and ahistorical. …
Who is qualified to speak on matters of national security? According to the American left, only pacifists, military members who have served in combat and direct relatives of those slain in combat or in acts of terrorism. The rest of us — about 80 percent of voters — must simply sit by silently. Our opinions do not matter. You want disenfranchisement? Talk to the political left, which seeks to exclude the vast majority of the American populace from the national debate about foreign policy.
The bulk of the left in this country refuses to argue about foreign policy rationally, without resorting to ad hominem attack. The favored ad hominem attack of the left these days is "chickenhawk"; The argument goes something like this: If you believe in any of the wars America is currently fighting, you must join the military. If you do not, you must shut up. If, on the other hand, you believe that America should disengage from all foreign wars, you may feel free not to serve in the military.
This is the argument made by hate-America radicals like Michael Moore… The "chickenhawk" argument was the implicit centerpiece of John Kerry's presidential campaign — Kerry hyped his military service and denigrated George W. Bush's military service, all the while focusing on the fact that he, unlike President Bush, was anti-war. …
The "chickenhawk" argument is dishonest. It is dishonest because the principle of republicanism is based on freedom of choice about behavior (as long as that behavior is legal) as well as freedom of speech about political issues. We constantly vote on activities with which we may or may not be intimately involved. We vote on police policy, though few of us are policemen; we vote on welfare policy, though few of us either work in the welfare bureaucracy or have been on welfare; we vote on tax policy, even if some of us don't pay taxes. The list goes on and on. Representative democracy necessarily means that millions of us vote on issues with which we have had little practical experience. The "chickenhawk" argument — which states that if you haven't served in the military, you can't have an opinion on foreign policy — explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy.
The "chickenhawk" argument also explicitly rejects the Constitution itself. The Constitution provides that civilians control the military. The president of the United States is commander-in-chief, whether or not he has served in the military. Congress controls the purse strings and declares war, no matter whether any of its members have served in the military or not. For foreign policy doves to high-handedly declare that military service is a prerequisite to a hawkish foreign policy mindset is not only dangerous, but directly conflicts with the Constitution itself.
The "chickenhawk" argument proves only one point: The left is incapable of discussing foreign policy in a rational manner. They must resort to purely emotional, base personal attacks in order to forward their agenda. And so, unable or unwilling to counter the arguments of those like Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and President Bush, they label them all "chickenhawks." By the leftist logic, here are some other "chickenhawks": John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton.
American soldiers fight for the right of all Americans, regardless of race, class or past service, to speak out on foreign policy issues. If they fight for the right of pacifist anti-military fifth columnists like Michael Moore to denigrate their honor, they certainly fight for the right of civilian hawks to speak up in favor of the highest level of moral and material support for their heroism.