It is entirely possible that my WND colleague has a perfectly good reason for not serving his country in its moment of need. For all I know, he may have a weak heart, a wooden leg, a predilection for San Francisco bathhouse sex or some other condition that prevents him from joining the military. But devoting two columns to criticizing a single word strikes me as a lady protesting a bit too much.
Mr. Shapiro’s first argument against the appellation is that it is nothing more than a leftist attempt to silence debate. This is partially true, but the argument is deceptive because it is incomplete. It is not leftists but the military that has long despised civilians who clamor for war from the safety of their homes. In 1879, Gen. William Sherman said: “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”
His second and third arguments are that the insult is dishonest and “explicitly rejects the Constitution.” But there is nothing dishonest about calling into question the credibility of one who does not practice what he preaches. If a CNBC analyst urges viewers to buy a stock he is secretly shorting, he will rightly be dismissed as a hypocrite unworthy of further regard. The unconstitutional argument is spectacularly silly, since no one in Congress has proposed a federal law barring such hypocrites from office. One can only assume that Mr. Shapiro’s first Constitutional Law class lies ahead of him.
His fourth argument, which asserts that use of the term is somehow “un-American,” reveals a similar failure to understand the First Amendment and American history. Mr. Shapiro might wish the Constitution prevented people from calling him names, but it actually protects their right to do so and American political history is littered with an abundance of inventive insults. As for the reference to the Bush daughters, hiding behind the skirts of young women is no way to prove you’re not a coward.
His fifth and final argument – that use of the term “chickenhawk” is an attempt to avoid substantive debate – is easily disproved. I have repeatedly criticized numerous aspects of this global struggle, have openly opposed both the Iraqi and Afghani occupations, and am quite willing to debate Mr. Shapiro or anyone else on the issue in the forum of their preference. Yet I – like 62 percent of the soldiers and veterans who frequent Vox Popoli and Blackfive – am in accord with the notion that “chickenhawk” is an appropriate label for a warmongering young columnist who urges others to make sacrifices he has no intention of making himself.
Most of us realize that during wartime, sacrifices must be made … But taking such a stand requires common sense and the knowledge that we are in the midst of the great battle of our time.
– Benjamin Shapiro, WorldNetDaily, July 28, 2005
I would be remiss if I did not note that many of these military men and women favored a different 11-letter word that also begins with “chicken.”
The genuine flaw in the use of the “chickenhawk” label is that in most cases it is being applied years, even decades, after the fact, and inherently attempts to equate two different historical situations. However, due to Mr. Shapiro’s precocious position in the national media, this common flaw does not apply. While his peers are dodging sniper bullets and IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Shapiro is bravely urging them to invade five more countries in the establishment of global empire from the safety of his Harvard dorm room.
Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to our nation? Perhaps not. But toppling Saddam Hussein and democratizing Iraq prevent his future ascendance and end his material support for future threats globally. The same principle holds true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others: Pre-emption is the chief weapon of a global empire. No one said empire was easy, but it is right and good, both for Americans and for the world.
– Benjamin Shapiro, WorldNetDaily, Aug. 11, 2005
The America Bar Association already boasts more than 896,000 lawyers, America has no desperate need for another one. The U.S. Army, on the other hand, is currently 8,000 men short of its 2005 recruiting goals. I am only one of many non-pacifist, non-leftist Americans who believe that Mr. Shapiro would do well to heed his own words of Aug. 26, 2004. “Now’s the time: Either put up, or shut the hell up.”