|Born to kill. Not to serve|
“”I will do anything in my power to support our military, short of enlisting.
“”We’re still playing the game
With the bravery of being out of range
|—Roger Waters “The Bravery of Being Out of Range |
A chickenhawk is a predatory bird that, according to humans, likes the taste of chicken, though they much prefer small wild animals. It can also be 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.[note 1] In this case, the term "chickenhawk" also happens to be 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 militaristic havoc again, no matter how remote or foreign the battlefield, with perhaps the notable exception of John McCain, who seemed to jump at the chance of bombing the tar out of someone at every chance (though he didn'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 and would benefit chickenhawks and allies of 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:
- Glenn Beck
- Tony Blair (dishonorable mention)[note 2]
- George W. Bush[note 3]
- Dick Cheney
- Tom Delay
- Larry Elder
- Newt Gingrich
- Sean Hannity
- Stephen Harper
- Christopher Hitchens — ...mmmaybe, maybe not. There was no military service in Britain during the time he would have applied. Hitchens was also not exactly a coward; for his journalism, he literally went to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even North Korea just for the sake of a story. However, his feverent support of the War on Terror leaves this a possibility.
- Charles Krauthammer
- William Kristol
- Scooter Libby
- Joe Lieberman
- Rush Limbaugh
- Trent Lott
- Ted Nugent[note 4]
- Bill O'Reilly
- Dan Quayle
- Dennis Prager
- Karl Rove
- Antonin Scalia
- Ben Shapiro
- Pat Toomey
- 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.
- Paul Wolfowitz
- 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.
Chickenhawks that deserve far more respect than the above
- 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 (as well as both World Wars. He was also planning to join the military after college until an accident)
- Flight of the Chickenhawks from toostupidtobepresident.com.
- "Chickenhawk" by Roy Zimmerman
- "Suicide in the Trenches" by Siegfried Sasson
- 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.
- Nugent gets bonus points for also being the other kind of chickenhawk. He even wrote a song about it.