The problem with “chickenhawk”

By Sean Aqui | Related entries in Foreign Policy, General Politics, Military, The War On Terrorism, War

Jeff Jacoby had a generally good column yesterday on the incoherence of the term “chickenhawk.”

He’s right — but he’s also wrong.


This entry was posted on Monday, July 24th, 2006 and is filed under Foreign Policy, General Politics, Military, The War On Terrorism, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “The problem with “chickenhawk””

  1. Kevin Says:

    I’ve never liked Jeff Jacoby’s writing but I agree with his general point here, that throwing around the term “chickenhawk” is pointless.

    What he fails to call attention to though is how often terms like “unpatriotic” have been thrown around at any one who opposes the war effort. That is equally pointless and inaccurate. To use the schoolyard logic that seems to be prevalent in Washington. They started it.

  2. Kilroy Says:

    I think Jacoby’s effort to minimize the labeling effect of “Chickenhawk”will fail in the end.

    “Bleeding Heart Liberal”,

    “Tax and Spend Democrat”,

    “Cut & Run”.

    All name calling ? You betcha ! All designed to shade and simplify anothers position ? yep ! Effective in the long run although immature, irrational and trite ? unfortunately yes.
    Is there a term for when the Country asks for sacrifice for the greater and better good and that same sacrifice is conciously and proactively avoided by persons with the means to achieve said end ? Dunno-(maybe…. politician ?)

    I find it telling that we as a country are asking members of our military to make the ultimate sacrifice, while we force our children (and their children) to pay for this action and a bloated debt.

    I have been told unceasingly that this is a war unlike no other, for our very survival. I have been given tax breaks. I have been asked no sacrifice other than some of my rights. I am not willing to make that sacrifice. Now because I do not support the way the war has been prosecuted I am a “TRAITOR”. If I supported the war would I be surprised at being called a “CHICKENHAWK” ? Nah.. these are only labels and names. Thats politics in its most infantile.

    I wish we could call out other names like “Leader” & “Statesman”. Until then, guess its gotta be the sandbox at recess.

  3. Chris Says:

    The “chickenhawk” debate is rather fascinating to me, in part because I am not very familiar with the term or its usage. Regardless, I think there is a lot to be said about the issue that it is addressing related to military/civilian control over the military and its actions. While I think it is logical to think that only military members should be able to declare acts of war (for example), I think it is certainly short sighted to think they are the only ones able to successfully do these things. There are a lot more factors that go into starting a war, for example. It is not strictly just fighting and violence, but there are other things in the political realm, that happen economically, and similarly that effect all sorts of people. While the fighting may indeed be carried out by the military soldiers, everyone seemingly feels the effects and is able to influence the larger “war” concept. Businesses stop trading with countries that we are in war with. Politicians put in place trade embargos, for example.

    The simple thing I am getting at is this: military actions are not merely carried out by soldiers on the field. When a nation goes to war, everyone in that nation becomes involved. I think it would be ignorant to think otherwise.

  4. Don Says:

    Chris erroneously states that “…only military members should be able to declare acts of war…” The military are the experts at formulating military strategies, tactics, and their execution. However the declaration of war is the sole province of the Congress. This is expressly set out in Section 8, Article I of the Constitution of the United States.

    I quite agree with Chris that “When a nation goes to war, everyone in that nation becomes involved.” Once again, however, the notion that the military initiates war and then others in the nation become involved indicates a misunderstanding of the process. War is an extension of a nation’s foreign policy. As such, when properly undertaken, war results from a declaration by the Congress who are representatives of the people. Therefore, ideally, the citizens of the nation state are involved even before, or concurrently with, the onset of military intervention.

  5. Tony Lee Says:

    Like it says “chickenhawk” is extremely pointless if you ask me, I found this to be very interesting to read about and I want to voice my own opinions on this topic. When ever the military is in control of something like this, you know that there is going to be some types of problems when even though the problems might cause a situation to break out, we still want to feel safe in others hands.

  6. Steven Chadbourne Says:

    I’ve never liked Jeff Jacoby’s composing but I trust his standard point right here, in which hurling throughout the phrase “chickenhawk” is needless. Precisely what this individual does not get in touch with awareness of however is when frequently terms such as “unpatriotic” have been cast about from a single that disagrees with the particular battle hard work. That’s equally needless and incorrect.

  7. Zulufire Says:

    Who so ever said that war is too serious a business to be left to generals alone was too right. It has to be a complete consensus between the political and the military powers, chickenhawk or not.

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