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June 03, 2004

On "Chickenhawks"

Chris Matthews, among many others, has been pretty glib about tossing the "chickenhawk" slur around. The term refers to people who didn't serve in a war as young men, but who support war as older men.

Here's a quick little question for Chris Matthews and the other liberals:

Most liberals, including Christ Matthews, claim to have supported our war on Afghanistan. I don't actually believe they really supported it in their heart of hearts; I think they simply realized that it was politically impossible to oppose it. So they didn't oppose it in principle; they just constantly warned of "quagmire" and the undauntable fightin' spirit of the Afghans and the hellish Afghan summers and impossibly-cold Afghan winters.

But the point is: On paper, they supported this war. They said they supported it. That's enough for my purposes.

So my question is a simple one. Let's pose it to Chris Matthews:

Mr. Matthews, you avoided the Vietnam draft. You might quibble with that characterization. But you did join the Peace Corps, which I think you probably knew would get you off the draft-lists. I don't think it was a surprise to you to learn that your membership in the Peace Corps would keep you away from the fighting in Vietnam. It wasn't an unexpected bonus.

So let's agree that while you did not unlawfully dodge the draft, you did, somehow, manage to avoid the opportunity to serve your country in war, despite the fact that your country was quite actively looking for warriors at the time. So actively, in fact, that the country was drafting men to serve in Vietnam against their will.

And yet you say you supported the war on Afghanistan.

Please explain how you are not then by your own definition a "chickenhawk." You had ample opportunity to fight for your country as a young man; and yet you delcined this opportunity. And then, as an older man, you supported sending young men off to die in a foreign land.

What exactly is your distinction? The only distinction I can see is that you supported (well, you claim to have supported) one war and not the other. So one war you liked, the other you did not. You will say the first war was "necessary."

But a lot of conservatives who you term "chickenhawks" felt that the Iraq war was also quite "necessary."

Is "chickenhawk" status determined by which wars liberals like?

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posted by Ace at 05:38 PM

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