Friday lunch hour: Chickenhawks
I've noticed some interesting things: those who protest the war are labeled as being "unpatriotic" and "anti-military." But many (not all) of those who make such charges aren't exactly eager to sign up to be in the military; and many (think: our current President and Vice President) found ways to avoid serving in the regular military (the President got an Air National Guard slot to avoid going to Vietnam).
So, while I am still on lunch hour I'll treat you to segments from the Huffington Post and from the Smirking Chimp. One of the diaries at the Daily Kos has an interesting speech from John Kerry; unfortunately I can't find a source for it.
Rep. John Murtha made a widely reported speech Thursday about Iraq. Whether or not you agree with his call for immediate withdrawal, he was certainly correct with his disdain for Cheney, Wolfowitz and the others who conceived the war, but had never been in the military themselves. This is the AP description:
"Underscoring the rising emotions of the war debate, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.
"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there," said Murtha, a former Marine. "I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."The warbloggers went crazy. Hugh Hewitt said, "That's fever swamp stuff, the old "chickenhawk" charge that would be equally applicable to hundreds of Democrats in Congress as well as great war time leaders like FDR. It discredits the Congressman, not his targets. Murtha's 30+ years in the Marines make him a great American. But he's a lousy Congressman today and a cheap shot artist to boot." (Instapundit linked to this earlier today, but for some reason the link is gone.)
Let me try to explain this. It appears that those who pushed and operated this war were very cavalier with the lives of our servicemen. First, there was a rush to war that was not necessary for its stated purpose, but could be explained by the neo-cons' near-religious belief that a good ass-whipping of Sadaam would be a panacea for the Middle East undoubtedly synergizing with the President's pique at the assassination attempt on 41. Second, there were too few troops with too little protection. Third, continuing the faith-based theme, there was virtually no planning, it appears, for what to do as occupiers beyond the belief expressed on Meet the Press by Vice-President Cheney that "we will be greeted as liberators."
So, the point is that it is particularly galling when the people who have put American lives at greater risk than necessary have never taken the risk themselves. That is not to say that one must have been in the service to be a war-time leader. It is to say that the leaders who botched this war should have been as concerned about our soldiers' lives as they previously were about their own.
Additionally, as far as I know, Cheney has never discussed his failure to serve beyond saying that he had "other priorities." We know considerably more about Bill Clinton's attempts to smoke hashish.
Now, Cindy Sheehan writes a letter to Barbara Bush; I've reproduced part of it here:
On April 04, 2004, your oldest child killed my oldest child, Casey Austin Sheehan.
Unlike your oldest child, my son was a marvelous person who joined the military to serve his country and to try and make the world a better place. Casey didn't want to go to Iraq, but he knew his duty. Your son went AWOL from a glamour unit. George couldn't even handle the Alabama Air National Guard. Casey joined the Army before your son became commander in chief. We all know that your son was thinking of invading Iraq as early as 1999. Casey was a dead man before George even became president and before he even joined the Army in May of 2000.
Ok, I know that she doesn't speak for every parent of our war dead, but she does speak for herself.
Yes, I know that President Clinton did whatever he could to avoid military service, which including breaking his promise to join the ROTC at the University of Arkansas Law School upon returning from his Rhode Scholarship tenure in Oxford. But he did stand for the draft and drew a high number (making it unlikely that he was to be drafted).
But contrast Bush's handling of Iraq with Clinton's handling the Bosnian intervention
- Clinton was honest about the aims; he made no lies about there being a direct threat to the U. S.
- Clinton tried to find a way to put as few Americans at risk as possible.
- Clinton also rounded up international support; a REAL coalition (not the fraudulent one that Bush claimed to have had).
Yes, I know that these situations were totally different. I bring this up because Clinton detractors/Bush defenders some tried to compare the two.
Update: From the New York Times via the Daily Kos: great news for the chickenhawks: the armed forces NEEDS you!
Great news for chickenhawks
by kos Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 01:02:02 PM PDT
Memo to the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, the war preachers, the war politicians, and the war pundits -- now there's something tangible you can do to REALLY show your support for the war: (from the NY Times article)
"The military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.
The report, completed by the Government Accountability Office, shows that the Army, National Guard and Marines signed up as few as a third of the Special Forces soldiers, intelligence specialists and translators that they had aimed for over the last year.
Both the Army and the Marines, for instance, fell short of their goals for hiring roadside bomb defusers by about 20 percent in each of the last two years. The Army Reserve, meanwhile, failed to fill about a third of its more than 1,500 intelligence analysts jobs. And in the National Guard, there have been consistent shortages filling positions involving tanks, field artillery and intelligence.
The report found that, in all, the military, which is engaged in the most demanding wartime recruitment effort since the 1970's, had failed to fully staff 41 percent of its array of combat and noncombat specialties."
Of course, I am not holding my breath.