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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chickenhawk is as chickenhawk does 

I'm not sure that I was very clear about what I meant in my recent post about America's new chickenhawk policy in Iraq.
First, let's define chickenhawk. A chickenhawk isn't just someone who supports a war, or someone who evades the military during a war. Rather, a chickenhawk is someone who does both -- who vocally and 'hawkishly' promotes a war, to the point of deriding the patriotism of anyone who opposes it, but who then deliberately finds excuses to chicken out of fighting in it. Thus the term "chicken'-'hawk'
Bush was chickenhawk about Vietnam, defending it in college debates but then getting Daddy to arrange a spot for him in the National Guard so he wouldn't have to go and fight overseas. Cheney was another vocal Vietnam supporter, who engineered five deferrments because he had better things to do with his life than fight the war. Most of the top people in the Bush administration can be called chickenhawks because they derided the patriotism of the anti-war protestors while also purposefully avoiding fighting in Vietnam. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with any American boy who avoided the Vietnam slaughter any way he could -- just don't go around at the time, or 30 years later, boasting about what a big-time patriotic war supporter you were!
Second, let's look at the reason Bush now gives for keeping the war going in Iraq. As he said in his weekend radio address "if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets . . . the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war . . . By advancing the cause of liberty in a troubled region, we are bringing security to our own citizens and laying the foundations of peace for our children and grandchildren." So Bush's policy now is that war in Iraq must continue so that terrorists will stay in Iraq instead of attacking Americans in America.
Third -- and now we reach my point -- to me, this is a chickenhawk policy, both cowardly and cruel.
Bush is promoting a war in which Iraqis will die so Americans don't have to. He is saying that innocent Iraqi men, women and children should continue to deal with terrorist car bombs and suicide bombers and mortar attacks and gun battles, so that Americans can stay safe at home. The only Americans who risk death are the American soldiers unlucky enough to be stuck in Iraq as bait.
Now, I am not saying that this is a policy that Americans either want or endorse. Americans in general have always fought their own battles. But Bush and his gang are chickenhawks -- always have been -- so its not surprising that they would come up with a policy which turns all Americans into chickenhawks too.
Bush has said numerous times since 911 that he thinks his job is to keep Americans safe -- I am sure he is quite sincere in thinking that he is doing his job if he can get terrorists to kill Iraqis instead of Americans.
But I ask, and the world should ask -- who gave Bush permission to use Iraqis as human shields? How cruel it is for America to force Iraqis to fight and die, just so that Americans themselves can be safe. Only a coward could come up with such a policy.

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