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at the water's edge
“”I will do anything in my power to support our military, short of enlisting.
A chickenhawk is a person in a position of public prominence or power who simultaneously displays the following 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).
Worth noting is that knowing the alternative and possibly unsavoury meanings of political labels is wise, as any Teabagger could tell you. In this case, the term "chickenhawk" also happens to be a a gay male slang term for a man who likes 'em young. Real young. Young enough to go to prison over.
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 (such as Dwight Eisenhower) 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 (though he doesn't share the chickenhawks' fondness for torture). 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.
“”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:
- Glenn Beck
- Tony Blair (dishonorable mention)
- George W. Bush 
- Paul Wolfowitz
- Dick Cheney
- Tom Delay
- Larry Elder
- Newt Gingrich
- Sean Hannity
- Christopher Hitchens[note 1]
- Charles Krauthammer
- William Kristol
- Scooter Libby
- Joe Lieberman
- Rush Limbaugh
- Trent Lott
- Ted Nugent
- Bill O'Reilly
- Dan Quayle
- Karl Rove
- Donald Trump - actively got out of serving in 'nam (Bonespur, can't remember which foot) and wants to "bomb the shit out of" pretty much everything, including war crimes against civilians who happen to be related to terrorists
- Stephen Harper
- Every Representative and Senator who voted for the Iraq War, but avoided serving if and when it was possible for them, and did not recant or repudiate their vote by the end of 2005.
- The New Hampshire Gazette ("the nation's oldest newspaper") is the home of the original Chickenhawk Hall of Shame.
- Chickenhawk Playing Cards were produced to honor the chickenhawks' contribution to war, since, of course, it's not real unless someone makes a deck of cards to commemorate it.
- Chickenhawks at commie Michael Moore's web site.
- Sourcewatch also reports on the phenomenon, but they include Pat Buchanan on their list which is ridiculous since Buchanan has opposed every war since the Berlin Wall came down.
- Flight of the Chickenhawks from toostupidtobepresident.com.
- "Chickenhawk" by Roy Zimmerman
- "Suicide in the Trenches" by Siegfried Sasson
- there was no military service in Britain during the time he would have applied and he was no coward when it came to going to Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Lebanon and so on for a story
- What the average Teabagger would know about wisdom is a separate question.
- British, but dragged the UK into largest number of wars of any British PM. Combat experience: zero.
- Nominally served in the military, but in a Texas National Guard unit with no possibility of being sent to Vietnam. Eventually he got bored and stopped even showing up for duty. There was no punishment and he was given an honorable discharge on account of his father being a rich and powerful politician. Which is also how he got such cushy duty in the first place.