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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.
It doesn't stop
at the water's edge

Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
Flag of the United States.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
"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

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.[1] In this case, the term "chickenhawk" also happens to be a a gay male slang termWikipedia's W.svg for a man who likes 'em young. Real young. Young enough to go to prison over.

History lesson[edit]

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.

Prominent chickenhawks[edit]

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:

Special category[edit]

See also[edit]

External links and sources[edit]


  1. 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


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