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CHICKENHAWKS OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER



If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other... In practice, he that is not with me is against me.
-George Orwell


Chickenhawk: a political epithet routinely used to criticize those who vote for, support, command, or develop policy for a war, but have not personally served in the armed forces.

President Bush and those in his administration are chronically lambasted by the Angry Left for waging war against Islamic extremists, despite their lack of firsthand experience. John Kerry essentially made it the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, having himself spent a grand total of three months (!) in a combat zone. “When I came back from fighting in a war, I fought against the war here in America..."

Perhaps the surest sign of a phony war hero is one who talks up at every opportunity what a great war hero he is. Even at the height of his Gulf War presidency, it is doubtful many Americans were aware of the WWII exploits of the senior George Bush. It's a little trait called humility.

The Left’s mawkish derision apes Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman’s classic battle-weary observation:

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.

However, if only veterans can advocate war, then it stands to reason that only veterans have the experience and moral standing to oppose war. And considering that the majority of the voting public is ineligible to even serve in combat -- as it sensibly excludes women, the elderly and the disabled -- using service as a litmus test for voicing a viewpoint would invalidate the political opinions of most of the nation.

Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan alike proved capable leaders of our military in time of war, despite having little or no personal wartime experience. Should they be labeled “chickenhawks” as well?

I suggest an alternate definition:

1. Those who portend to support the troops in harm’s way while actively working to undermine their effort; 2. Those who advocate “bringing the troops home” despite a shocking lack of understanding of the enemy they face or the seriousness of the mission at hand.

These neo-chicks claim to support the soldier, though not the war. In reality, they support neither. Orwell notoriously described the process of “doublethink” as holding two contradictory opinions in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. These are also known as, Liberal Talking Points:

Bush is not only an evil, Machiavellian genius -- he's a total idiot!

This war is only about stealing Middle Eastern oil! -- Gas prices are way too high; we need more oil!

We support our troops as they fight their illegal, immoral war of brutal aggression against a peace-loving and innocent citizenry; Bring them home! (before they kill again).

The sheer inanity of the antiwar Left’s positions betrays their ignorance of modern warfare. The War on Terror has at no point resulted in a massive deployment of divisions upon divisions of soldiers, sailors or marines. Our war is unlike Normandy or Iwo Jima or Inchon. Logistically, it simply isn’t possible to “bring them all home” even if we so desired.

Daily troop levels in the Iraqi theater have exceeded 100,000 soldiers since the initial invasion in March of 2003 -- but the same people have not been there the entire time. Modern-day soldiers are deployed in a series of rotations. You can’t bring a soldier home who’s already served his tour and is currently stateside again. Are we being asked to evacuate troops who arrived there only weeks ago? They just spent up to six months preparing for their mission and now you want them to turn the ship around and call it quits?

The citizen soldiers of World War II had but two options to seeing home again. Win the war unconditionally or suffer a debilitating or mortal wound. Despite a vastly smaller and modernized all-volunteer military, we are fortunately no longer faced with such stark outcomes.

Today’s modular force structure allows for units to deploy overseas on a reasonably predictable timetable, with clearly definable parameters for both mission focus and the delineation of what constitutes success. The reckless, know-nothing cry of “Bring them home!” does little to advance the logical endgame or even to address the nature of the conflict.

America’s great defenders are taught to live and train by a short and sweet professional code known succinctly as the Warrior Ethos:

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Not all Americans seem to grasp the time-honored principles that lay beneath such words. For the past week, Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed outside Baghdad last year has been holding a vigil outside the grounds of the Western White House in Crawford, Texas. Her demands to meet with President Bush personally and obtain answers about why her son Casey “had to die.” The first thing this tragically misguided woman needs to obtain is a Bible and a military history text. President Bush may believe strongly in God, but that does not in fact make him God.

“You can't control who gets hit or who doesn't or who falls out of a chopper or why. It ain't up to you. It's just war."

Ignore for the moment that the President already took the time to meet with her and hundreds of other grieving parents, and disregard the point that Mrs. Sheehan had nothing but praise for the encounter at the time. It is her recent lack of good judgment in this matter that requires answers.

Far from honoring her son, Cindy Sheehan betrays his memory with her partisan sniping and political grandstanding. His example stood for selfless service, yet she exhibits little else but shameless self-promotion. (Is there any doubt that she will have a major publishing house book deal in the works before the President even leaves Crawford?)

Her son's ultimate sacrifice was borne of personal courage, duty, loyalty, honor, integrity, respect. All the rest of the Army Values. Tellingly, none of which Mrs. Sheehan chooses to exemplify.

In their place stands the tired and all-too-familiar Liberal Ethos:

I will always blame America first.
I will never accept victory.
I will never quit (complaining).
I will leave no agenda behind.

Sheehan and all the Gold Star Surrender Moms like her decry the carnage and loss of life that stands as an inescapable fact of war, and in the next breath taunt others into “sending their children" into harm's way. Ignore for a moment the absurdity of their stance (What don’t they understand about military volunteers being fully grown adults responsible for their own choices?) and consider the utter self-importance of such a statement. In the eyes of megaphone magpies like Sheehan, the sacrifice doesn’t belong to the fallen soldier, it’s all about her. Her loss, her grief, her fifteen minutes.

Undoubtedly Cindy Sheehan grieves for her son, as have all mothers in all wars. But her son was not some hapless draftee; he was a double volunteer. He reenlisted in August 2003, in the midst of a global war, fully aware that his unit was up next on the deployment roster. What exactly did he think he was volunteering for, if not the risk of possible death in battle?

Cindy Sheehan maintains that President Bush killed her son. Not Iraqi terrorists, not Shiite insurgents…but George W. Bush. All seven of her new publicists agree.

A mother who would politicize the death of her own child for no other reason than to take pot shots at an overly sympathetic administration is truly beyond the pale. She cheapens and dishonors her son's valor with her co-opted leftwing rhetoric and disturbingly unhinged behavior. Her son swore an oath to defend the country and the Constitution; she pledges her allegiance to the F.A.G.

Casey Sheehan is no longer around to defend his own dignity as anti-Bush groups such as MoveOn.org swarm around his memory like fundraising vultures. Out of respect for all those like him, shouldn't his mother refrain from politicking on his grave?

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died," wrote General George S. Patton. "Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

COPYRIGHT 2005 BUCK SARGENT

Alright, so we know where you stand on the war. The value of moral clarity in a combat soldier is not to be underestimated. I can only hope that your confidence and enthusiasm will remain with you throughout your tour.

Stay sharp.

Well said.

Kalroy

A soldier and a mother have the same mission...to save lives...they just use different weapons.

I have a step son over there in the 172nd. And now that the Bush administration has actually acknowledged that the reasons for putting you guys over there was essentially false and misleading (as detailed in recent senatorial reports and a secret memo released by the intelligence services) - I have to say that your support for this war of choice, is a little baffling. While you are there doing your duty as soldiers as you should, our politicians who put you over there did so for purely political and personal reasons.

Not everyone on the left is a whacko as you imply. But the way you appear to suck up to the powers that be is a bit scary in that you sound more like someone who is paid by the current administration. You are pretty quick to spout their propaganda and do so with gusto. You should try learning a little more about those of us on the left who are more hawkish and who firmly believe that when we send out troops into harms way - we better have a god damned good reason to do so. Afghanistan was a proper use of force - Iraq was not. But that asshole Bush has you over there and now we have to finish the job. I just hope you keep your head down - unless of course you are writing this from a desk in the white house office of Karl Rove.

Sarge,

I really enjoy your blog and have it linked to my blog: Military History Blog (http://militaryhistoryblog.blogspot.com). This post makes me think of a phrase one of my history profs. says sometimes, "Those who were there don't talk and those who talk don't know." Good post and keep up the good work and may you come home safe.

Daniel Sauerwein

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln