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The Chickenhawk is NOT a fallacy

One thing that drives me insane is when people, normally neocons, pound their chests for war without ever having served in the military, even in peacetime, and furthermore, don't do so much as to even send an Any Soldiers package. These same neocons hotly defend their right to call for war while being staunchly NIMBY with regard to their own personal involvement.

When called chickenhawks, they defend themselves by saying it's a fallacy. Curious about what their arguments are, I went to this entry, www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Chickenhawk, and realized that debunking their arguments was too, too easy.

* The Founding Fathers explicitly designed the government of the United States of America so that the military would be subordinate to the will of the people through their elected representatives and the President of the United States of America who are answerable to the ordinary citizenry and the clear implication of the chickenhawk argument is that there ought not to be civilian control of the military.

Um, no. That would imply that only people currently serving in the military should have a say and no one is remotely suggesting that. What those of us who use the term "chickenhawk" feel is that someone calling for war should at least be WILLING to join the military and participate personally. If you're now too old, find another way to get involved. Do something OTHER than just act like military members are pieces of equipment to deploy and use as if they were machinery. When I hear people like Dennis Miller laugh and say, "Iran, you're next!" when HE isn't about to do a damn thing to "support the troops" (I don't think he's done any USO shows for instance, so if I'm wrong let me know) it's chickenhawkism at its finest.

* The idea that a military veteran would have an inherent moral superiority with regard to military matters is baseless because a majority of veterans never experience actual combat and those veterans with combat experience might have a distorted perception and pathological attraction to war because they enjoyed the experience of combat violence.

"The majority of veterans never experience actual combat." Yeah, so? They were willing to go through the misery of basic training and give up their personal liberty. Even the easiest deployment is still a sacrifice, and the every-two-year rotations to different duty stations hard on a family.

"Those veterans with combat experience might have a distorted perception and pathological attraction to war because they enjoyed the experience of combat violence." This statement is so repugnant that I don't even have words for it. It exposes to me my suspicion that chickenhawks are actually very anti-military, that they think we're stupid and dysfunctional. It is only by seeing us as "other" that they could be able to be so happy to send us into harm's way.

* Modern warfare is enormous in scale and complexity. The idea that miltiary experience helps one fully understand it is silly.

It's not about "understanding it fully". It's about acknowledging human toll and being willing to alleviate it in some way rather than exacerbating it.

* If only veterans can advocate war, then only veterans have the experience and moral standing to oppose war.

This goes to the first argument, which is that no one is suggesting that only veterans be allowed to support war, only that if you want to support a war politically, be ready to support it materially.

* The Chickenhawk argument does not, by its nature, respond to the substance of the hawks' arguments.

Really? The substance of the hawks' arguments is that more resources, particularly human, be committed to a war not yet started. The hawks are then the ones to whine the loudest about raising taxes to keep these wars going, oppose benefits for veterans, and keep themselves and their kids out of the military. It's too good for THEM after all.

* That civilians who are explicitly targeted in war should have the right to voice their views on the conduct of war regardless of whether or not they have served in the military.

I'm not sure what this sentence means. I think it means spouses, parents and children of military members. This again suggests to me that whoever wrote this has never been in the service and doesn't know anyone who has. When americanstd came to my graduation from Basic, one of the things he and the other family members were told was, "Through your Soldier, you've joined the military too." It's very true. Ask one.

* That a majority of the voting public is ineligible or unlikely to serve in combat, as it usually includes women, children, the elderly, men over age 50, the disabled, and homosexuals. Using service as a litmus test for voicing a viewpoint would invalidate the views of most of the nation.

I don't even know where to start with this one. Children? Really?

* That President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proved to be an extremely capable leader in the most important war in the American history despite having no had personal military experience.

Relevance?

* That the argument is an example of illogical Special Pleading. Thus extending the Chickenhawk argument to other policy debates would mean that only women should comment on ovarian cancer, only men on prostate cancer, and so forth.

Not at all. Men have loved ones who contract breast cancer. Women have loved ones who contract prostate cancer. Straight parents have gay kids. Non-Burmese support the struggle for freedom in Burma. And so on. What makes this different is that they all want to alleviate the suffering of someone they care about. Chickenhawks want to throw other people into harm's way while not taking up any of the burden themselves.

* Double standard. Many point to the fact that use of the term is applied hypocritically and not equally by political liberals, notably as to Bill Clinton who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War by literally leaving the Western Hemisphere but ordered US soldiers to fight in numerous armed conflicts. (It should be noted that many have argued that Clinton's presidency proves that the American voters do not care about a politician's military service or lack thereof since Clinton defeated two World War Two war heroes despite his complete lack of military service and intentional avoidance of the draft.)

Again, relevance? Furthermore, Clinton left the western hemisphere? What? He earned a Rhodes scholarship and went to Oxford!

If this particular shoe fits, I expect you to wear it. Or better yet, decide that it looks bad on you and give up the hypocrisy. If you can't join the Reserves, at least volunteer at the USO or VA, participate in Any Soldier or Soldier's Angels.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
reginaterrae
Oct. 13th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
I don't mean to make light of your post ... I think it actually paints most Americans in a bad color, since in stark contrast to WWII, very few of us have anything at all to do with directly "supporting the troops" or give up anything at all to participate in winning modern wars.

So I don't mean to make light ... but, um, to me "chicken hawk" has always referred to an older gay man with a taste for twinkie. LOL
kishiriadgr
Oct. 13th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
No, you're absolutely right, and the term is still used with that meaning, too.

If a person is against a war because they are against war on principle, and so have never been in the military, that makes sense. That's consistent. But if a person is for a war and not only that but for MORE wars without being willing to join the military or any take any supportive role in the war effort, they are lazy and cowardly.
(Deleted comment)
napoleonofnerds
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
For a second I thought this was the definition she meant.
(Deleted comment)
theletterelle
Oct. 13th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
When I hear people like Dennis Miller laugh and say, "Iran, you're next!" when HE isn't about to do a damn thing to "support the troops" (I don't think he's done any USO shows for instance, so if I'm wrong let me know) it's chickenhawkism at its finest.

Henry Rollins, who has done multiple USO tours, should so kick Dennis Miller's ass. I would pay money to see that.

* The idea that a military veteran would have an inherent moral superiority with regard to military matters is baseless because a majority of veterans never experience actual combat and those veterans with combat experience might have a distorted perception and pathological attraction to war because they enjoyed the experience of combat violence.

*blink* I had to read that three times to figure out that that was THEIR argument. That's so not!SUPPORT THE TROOPS that I can hardly wrap my brain around the fact that that's THEIR argument.

* That civilians who are explicitly targeted in war should have the right to voice their views on the conduct of war regardless of whether or not they have served in the military.

By this, I think they mean that the terrists attack civilian populations, like 9/11, so we are all "at risk." Despite the fact that we're all far more likely to die of heart disease or in a car wreck than from terrists. (Where's our War on Automobiles?) Each man an armchair commander, defending his castle, I suppose.
(Deleted comment)
wombat_socho
Oct. 13th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe I hang out in the wrong part of the conservative blogosphere, but I don't recognize any of these arguments. ISTR that Dennis Miller has done USO shows (and props to Franken and Rollins for doing so, BTW, as have Laura Ingraham and Tammy Bruce. Rush Limbaugh has contributed heavily to the fund that helps Marine widows and orphans with scholarships and grants.
kishiriadgr
Oct. 13th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I was looking for a reference to Dennis Miller doing USO shows but haven't seen any. I did know about Bill O'Reilly doing USO shows, but "conservative blowhard" doesn't automatically mean "chickenhawk".
wombat_socho
Oct. 13th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
I dunno that O'Reilly's that conservative. More populist than anything else, really. I didn't find any Miller in the USO Tour listings either, so maybe he hasn't done them after all.
napoleonofnerds
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
I have seen things devolve into special pleading, whereby I'm told I can't comment on military policy because I'll never serve. Usually it comes from West Point freshman as they lose to me in rounds about military law or policy.
rockahulababy
Oct. 13th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
While my deployment wasn't a bad one, I wasn't and still am not wanting to go again. And the last time I checked, 20% of the US military is female and there really isn't a clear "front line" anymore.

And whoever wrote this needs a severe history lesson. Cheney "dodged" the draft by the college exemption (which is also one of the ways Clinton got out of it) and a fatherhood exemption. Bush got into an Air National Guard unit to get out of the draft, and by the time he was eligible, all Reserve, National Guard, and ANG units were full to capacity of other people not wanting to go to Vietnam. So they can go suck some eggs. I am so sick of hearing conservatives rag on Clinton for "dodging" the draft, when Bush and Cheney did the same fucking thing.

I would die of shock if whoever wrote that bile actually spent a day in the service.

I think the PCS rate is every three or four years, unless you go OCONUS.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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