Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Chickenhawk Theme

Blackfive explains conservative indignation at the "chickenhawk" label being thrown about by anti-war liberals (hat tip: Instapundit). Generally speaking, the term chickenhawk is referring to anyone who supports the government's use of military force without having personally served in the military in any respect.

Obviously the charge is ridiculous given that civilian control over the military and over the policy-making process should be a core liberal value. The orgiastic fervor with which the accusation is usually voiced also indicates that this attack is a propaganda slogan instead of a rational argument.

Notice that the chickenhawk theme dovetails precisely with Bob Herbert's position that the all-volunteer military is a tool of class-warfare because it allows the rich to avoid military service while the poor are presumably forced into the military out of economic necessity. In his simultaneously held but somewhat contradictory view, the cowardly rich have duped the gullible poor into filling the military ranks with the lie that active duty is a risk-free way of earning piles of money. A draft, in his view, would make military service more popular with the masses by getting more rich people injured, disabled and killed.

The military would probably be glad to have a larger crop of rich, and therefore well-educated, voluntary recruits. But I doubt that giving the rich elites who control the government the power to force unwilling draftees into the military by threatening huge fines and prison time is more fair than the current system of using verbal persuasion, good pay, and educational opportunities to attract recruits. I also doubt that the a return to the system that gave us the draft disturbances of the 60's and 70's is more conducive to class harmony than the system we have now.


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