Chickenhawk

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A military-style insignia patch, bearing a yellow chicken in a helmet and the motto "We the Few... the Rich... the Elite... Born to Kill, not Serve"
They so proudly wear this insignia.
"Operation Chickenhawk" illustration (by William Bramhall), from Al Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot (1996)
I will do anything in my power to support our military, short of enlisting.
Stephen Colbert
I knew a simple soldier boy

Who grinned at life in empty joy,

Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,

And whistled early with the lark.


In winter trenches, cowed and glum,

With crumps and lice and lack of rum,

He put a bullet through his brain.

No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye

Who cheer when soldier lads march by,

Sneak home and pray you'll never know

The hell where youth and laughter go.
Suicide in Trenches by Siegfried Sasson[1]

A chickenhawk is a person in a position of public prominence or power who displays two traits:

  • Aggressive support for military force as a primary instrument of foreign policy.
  • A documentable lack of combat experience (usually despite having the opportunity to fight, or even actively dodging it).

The Bush Administration (2001–2009) had an abundance of these creatures. Indeed, after the resignation of Colin Powell, there was no one with genuine combat experience in any prominent executive position. In fact, several of the listed Chickenhawks below were notable draft dodgers, especially from Vietnam. This probably led to their policies being based on dangerously abstracted notions of the nature and efficacy of war.

Those who have witnessed the horrors of war first-hand tend to be cautious about willfully unleashing such havoc again, no matter how remote or foreign the field, with, perhaps, the notable exception of John McCain, who seems to jump at the chance of bombing the tar out of someone at every chance. As well as not appreciating the full human costs of their decisions, there remains the uncomfortable suspicion that chickenhawks are prepared to send others to risk their lives in ways that chickenhawks would never risk their own.

We have yet to parse the nature of the Obama administration, however chances are a few will turn up there.

Note: Knowing the alternative and possibly unsavoury meanings of political labels is wise, as any Teabagger could tell you.[2] "Chickenhawk" is also a slang term for a man who likes 'em young. Real young. Young enough to go to prison over.

Contents

[edit] Prominent chickenhawks

This is the problem with civilians wanting to go to war. Once you've been there, once you've seen it, you never want to go again unless you absolutely have to... It's like France.
—Lt. Gen. Miller, In the Loop

Here is a short list of prominent chickenhawks:

[edit] Special category

[edit] See also

[edit] External links and sources

[edit] Footnotes

  1. https://archive.org/details/warpoemsofsiegfr00sassrich
  2. What the average Teabagger would know about wisdom is a separate question.
  3. British, but dragged the UK into largest number of wars of any British PM. Combat experience: zero.
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