Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

August 9, 2007 [LINK / comment]

The "chicken hawk" canard

I recently came across the Operation Yellow Elephant blog, whose main purpose is to ridicule Republicans who support the war in Iraq but do not volunteer for military service. Lately they have been attacking Gov. Mitt Romney because his sons have not enlisted in the armed forces. They make a careful distinction between "Yellow Elephants" who are eligible to serve, versus "chicken hawks" (like me?) who are too old. I believe in a strong national defense and an unapologetic use of military force to advance American interests and ideals, when necessary, but I dislike political divisiveness and therefore refrain from gung-ho drum-beating.

This reminded me of an argument another local Republican and I had with a Democrat on July 4, 2005 in front of the Republican booth in Gypsy Hill Park. The Democrat was a veteran (Air Force, I believe) was was opposed to the war and told me that anyone without a military service record had no right to voice support for the war. I told him that such a statement was ridiculous. The other Republican, Tom Nelson, is a retired military intelligence officer who served in the Middle East and elsewhere. Unlike me, who "dropped out" of ROTC after one semester, Tom has solid military credentials and first-hand experience.

Here's the big irony: excluding civilians from decision-making on war matters is inherently anti-democratic. At the top of my War blog page, I quote former French premier Georges Clemenceau: "War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men." The "chicken hawk" label may be appropriate in some cases, but generally speaking it is basically a canard that is used to shut down honest discourse over war policy.

Remember Nagasaki

It was 62 years ago today that the city of Nagasaki was destroyed by a single American-made bomb. Hiroshima (bombed on August 6) probably gets ten times as much attention as Nagasaki, but there was much less difference between the respective death tolls: 78,000 versus 35,000. (Obviously, these are only rough estimates, and don't include those who eventually died of radiation sickness.) For years to come, people will continue to debate whether it was necessary or appropriate to drop the atomic bombs on Japan (see July 14), but whatever one thinks about the matter, we should all reflect on how to avoid future situations in which so many lives are sacrificed.

COMMENT by: Dennis Neal, of Buena Vista, VA on Aug 10, 2007 08:36 AM
I have SO had it with this line of reasoning. I just finished having a set-to with those sour-faced socialists over at "Cobalt6" about this (what did misfits do before blogs?) They argue that it's OK to go nanny-nanny-boo-boo at Republicans who support the war but won't serve, but THEY aren't about to serve because dat evil ol' Mistah Bush is in the White House, so military service is all out (but we support the troopies, yes we do!) Give me an ever-living break! My take? Bring back the draft.

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Aug 10, 2007 14:23 PM
That sort of argument is aimed more at making the other side mad than convincing undecided folks. Going back to the draft would have an dual effect: As Rep. Charles Rangel says, it would eliminate class privilege, moving our society in a more democratic / egalitarian direction, but on the other hand it would make our government into more of an empire and less of a republic. For those of us who prefer the latter, the solution is to make receipt of ANY Federal entitlements (school loans, Medicaid, etc.) contingent upon two years of public service, either military or civilian.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 10 Aug 2007, 2: 23 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

NOTE: Thus far, only blog posts related to politics and baseball are included in this list.

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)