What’s so bad about chickenhawks?

By WND Staff

Some may recall the line often attributed to P.T. Barnum, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” At no time in my life was I ever more certain of that fact than in mid-November 1992. Just as Winston Churchill, arguably the greatest statesman of the 20th century, was turned out in his country’s 1945 elections by a war-weary British electorate, so too did the Reagan-Bush years come to an ignominious end.

After delivering America to its greatest victory in the second half of the 20th century, a victory many have called winning World War III, a Cold-War weary populace, no longer perceiving the threat of nuclear annihilation, turned solidly inward and introspective. It really was the economy, stupid. The next eight years clearly demonstrated that.

With no apparent threat on the radar screen we were free to leave foreign policy and military affairs in the hands of Jimmy Carter retreads and dilettantes. The massive peace dividend accrued through 45 years of blood spilled and trillions invested to defeat evil, rather than being reinvested or leveraged, was squandered and consumed with now very little to show for it.

The bogey count on today’s radar screen shows any number of pending threats, apparent to all but the most dedicated leftists in the country.

While the war against terror is far from over and a long way from won, even a high percentage of Democrats are allegedly grateful for the current presidential leadership along with the military/foreign policy team in place. Does any reasonable American – my own definition would mean a person who sees terrorism as evil and wishes for our country’s victory over this enemy – believe that the Clinton-Gore approach would have done anything more than attempt to study why bad people hate us?

And now there is the notion of military service, especially combat service, as a qualifier for leadership in trying to hamstring the president’s aggressive action against Iraq.

Obfuscation and innuendo are often the norm when it comes to establishing one’s military credentials. One of the best examples is in the race for the California governorship.

Gray Davis’ ads frequently mention his Vietnam service, of which he should be justifiably proud. The ads, however, go a bit beyond as they display pictures of the ubiquitous Huey helicopters looking as if to insert troops into a hostile landing zone, implying that old Lt. Gray was in there leading his troops as they slugged it out with Charlie. The announcer mentions his being awarded the Bronze Star, again with the background picture suggesting danger and valor. Few Americans realize that while Bronze Stars were awarded for actions in combat, Gray Davis earned a meritorious Bronze Star. The U.S. Army diluted the meaning of this medal by giving it to junior officers as end-of-tour awards for people who simply did their jobs.

The implication that combat experience is needed to lead us to war with Iraq has been made most stridently by former Marine Sgt. Mike Feeley who also happens to be the Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District in Colorado.

In recent interviews, chronicled in the Rocky Mountain News, the reader is left with the very strong impression that Sgt. Feeley was a combat Marine. Now again, service counts, and all indications are that Sgt. Feeley served honorably. He did not go to Canada and grow bean sprouts. So, thank you for your service, Sgt. Feeley. Feeley’s recorded Marine Corps experience was 1971-1974 and when pressed he makes no claim to have even served in Vietnam. He got as close as Okinawa and served as an electronics technician, so perhaps some of the gear he helped to maintain may have aided the war effort. His robust accusations regarding those who never served, though, leads one to believe that he was really in the thick of things, perhaps leading his section of electronics techs in a banzai charge armed with soldering irons and needle-nosed pliers.

I don’t think so.

That so many of our nations’ leaders, past and present, are not combat veterans is testament to the success of our ability to maintain the peace over long periods in a very hostile world.

Who can count all of the great leaders whom Feeley would dismiss as unworthy “chickenhawks”? Start with Lincoln. What about Woodrow Wilson? Should we include Democrat FDR? He is the one responsible for interning the Japanese. And then there is President Reagan. Is there any one person more responsible for winning the Cold War than he is? I am grateful to God that during World War II he only made movies for the military. Had he been killed in combat who can fathom what might have happened in a second Carter presidency?

And if only combat experience counts, what does that do for all the opinions of women?

No more Barbara Boxer, no more Hillary Clinton … now, wait a minute, Feeley. Maybe your ideas aren’t all bad.

Richard Botkin, a member of the WorldNetDaily.com board of directors, served during peacetime as a Marine Corps infantry officer.