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August 27, 2005

The Chickenhawk Fallacy

Among the most juvenile — and most common — arguments advanced by left-wing trolls on this blog and others is the "chickenhawk" canard, whereby some sanctimonious fool proclaims that no one has a right to support the war in Iraq who hasn't served in the military. An argument this idiotic is hard to take seriously enough to refute, but apparently the job needs to be done, because moonbats — unable to come up with anything better — just keep trotting it out. There's no need for me to refute it myself. This has already been done quite thoroughly by others.

V the K and The Warden have pointed out in comments on this site that the chickenhawk arguments implies you have no right to expect the protection of the police and the fire department unless you are a cop and fireman yourself. V the K follows this logic further down the twisting lane of antiwar moonbat logic:

How many more cops have to die before the Bushco fascist regime realizes that law enforcement is a quagmire? Fighting crime only creates more criminals! Support the cops by closing all the prisons! The greatest crime in the history of America — the murder of Nicole Simpson — remains unsolved because the regime took their eye off the ball by pursuing other crimes. America isn't safe so long as the "real killers" remain at large.

Jonathan at Crush Liberalism references an excellent piece by Ben Shapiro, and raises some good points himself. For example, he notes that some leftists giggled like "teenage girls at a Justin Timberlake concert" at the idea of the draft-dodging Clinton being Commander-in Chief. He also wonders if he has to stop cheering for the Jacksonville Jaguars, since he's never played for the team.

Shapiro' two-part piece (Part I and Part II) drives home the point that by positing that only those who have served in the military are entitled to a point of view on foreign policy, the chickenhawk argument "explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy." He notes that leftists are among the last people who would want the military in control of foreign policy, especially since those in the military and their relatives vote overwhelmingly Republican — in 2004, Bush beat Kerry among them 69% to 24%. Democrats are of course aware that they have very little appeal for the military; otherwise the Gore campaign wouldn't have gone to such length to suppress military votes in Florida in 2000. Obviously leaving everything up to those who have served in the military and their relatives would do very little to advance the left-wing point of view.

Here's another of the many good points Shapiro makes:

If they [the American military] 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.

Whatever might have remained of the asinine chickenhawk ploy was thoroughly obliterated yesterday by Rich Lowry on NRO. Here's a highlight:

By the same token, we could say to proponents of leaving Saddam Hussein in power: "That's an illegitimate position unless you yourself are willing to move to Tikrit to live for the duration of Saddam's regime." Or to supporters of "containing" Saddam: "You're a hypocrite until you go help patrol the no-fly zone." Or to advocates of inspections: "You can't support them unless you don a baby-blue cap and sniff around his suspected chemical-weapons sites yourself."
Why should this line of argument be limited to Iraq? "You think we should help fight AIDS in Africa? Well, go work in a clinic in Lavumisa, Swaziland." "You oppose land mines? Go clear them from the Korean DMZ." "You think there should be a new U.N. protocol in favor of [insert fashionable cause here]? Then spend interminable hours helping negotiate it yourself." "Support jobless benefits? Become a clerk at an unemployment office."
Alas, the argument only swings one way. A few radical antiwar groups, including Code Pink and Veterans for Peace, have released a statement supporting the Iraqi insurgency. But no one is badgering its members about whether they are going to go set off roadside bombs in Baquba. Jihad is so easy when it's someone else's son or daughter doing all the suicide bombing!

Shapiro sums it up as well as anyone:

The "chickenhawk" argument proves only one point: The left is incapable of discussing foreign policy in a rational manner.

Posted by Van Helsing at August 27, 2005 12:46 PM


Have you not thought that all these blogs may be correct, or is it that you believe that'everyone' else is wrong?

The war is wrong for various reasons, in implementation and existence. contrastingly to your statements above, what infuriates my is the MASSES of blogs by soldiers trying to justify their unjustifiable presence in Iraq.

You may take interest in reading the following:

Posted by: jamal at August 27, 2005 2:38 PM

Thanks for a great post! As a conservative blogger I've had to deal with these ridiculous line of reasoning also. I was debating a Vietnam veteran who had the nerve to tell me that since I hadn't served in the military I had no right to comment on the war. I informed him that based on his own logical, then, neither could the majority of the war protesters. It seems, according to these self-righteous zealots, that as long as you are against the war you can speak all you want to. But if you support the war -and haven't served in the military- then you are a "chicken-hawk" and should just shut-up.

Two things about this kind of logic: First, it illustrates that these liberals could care less about free speech. They would simply love to silence the opposition, which indicates that they neither want a far debate on the issues, nor are they capable of one. Second, their agenda is really quite transparent through their rhetoric since the troops are largely behind this war. Many of the comments on the Huffington Post are from servicemen and women in Iraq stating that Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for them.

So, this pseudo-respect for the opinions of those serving is disingenuous at best.

Posted by: Keith Eubanks at August 27, 2005 4:49 PM

Lucky me, I am a firefighter! I can respond to my own home if it ever catches on fire. Since Gore and Kerry were never presidents, shame on them for commenting on the current president and his administration. Only Gore can comment on the Vice-Presidency.

Liberal logic leaves me livid.

Posted by: Wade Moline at August 27, 2005 5:25 PM

Let's take it further: No one has a right to call for higher taxes on the rich unless he himself falls into the highest tax bracket.


Posted by: The Warden at August 27, 2005 6:02 PM

I will never enlist for I would not deny the world the benefit of my keen insight by having myself blown to smithereens. I can hardly fault you for feeling the same way.

Posted by: Irate Savant at August 28, 2005 12:13 AM

Another great post, VH. You're making a disturbingly enjoyable habit of this.

Posted by: Leigh at August 28, 2005 1:39 AM

Yeah... have you noticed how many of those protestors claim to speak for the troops?

Take the guy protesting outside the hospital:

"if I couldn't get out of my bed and protest myself, I would want someone else to do it in my name," Protestor Luke said.

Think this self appointed spokesperson ever served in the military?

As I have said to every Chicken Dove: It is the right, the DUTY of every American to be informed on the important life and death issues regarding our national security. I have served, not in uniform, but in government at every level from the Court House to the White House. I have taken every opportunity to make sure our troops have the best equipment in the world; to protect them and lessen civilian casualties.

The left, on the other hand, has consistently opposed nearly EVERY military expenditure.

Oh, and finally, I have some good information that a great many of these lefties who CLAIM to be former military, are actually LYING about it.

And why not? After you take on the mantle of absolute moral authority, you can do anything, like FAKE National Guard documents, stealing the honor of fallen soldiers for your cross protest and harassing injured soldiers outside a hospital.

What's next?

Posted by: Mike on Hilton Head Island at August 28, 2005 1:40 AM

Of course not, Irate, Armchair Jihadis such as you are far too timid to go die for your Kos er cause.

Get yourself over to Iraq and get in the car bomb, Irate, trust me, no one over here will miss your keen insight.

After all, we have Chomsky for that.

Posted by: Mad Dog Vinnie at August 28, 2005 3:15 AM


I wish I could support this blog, but having never written it myself, I am morally prohibited from doing so.

Posted by: LC TripleNeckSteel at August 28, 2005 5:31 AM

Oh, and to you Moonbat lurkers- here's my fave reply to the utterly ridiculous trope of "Why don't you join up?"

If the fuggin' war is so "illegal and immoral", and you fuckers have such a moral imperitive that the rest of us lack, well then why the hell aren't you picking up arms against it?

Don't you fight for anything? Not even your own life or the civilization that enables it?

Just step aside and let the grownups do their work, Tinyballs...

Posted by: LC TripleNeckSteel at August 28, 2005 5:37 AM

Posted by: V the K at August 28, 2005 8:54 AM