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Chickenshit supreme
February 13, 2005 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Send a White Feather to Jonah --When WW1 broke out young Englishwomen would hand white feathers to men on the street who were not in uniform to shame them into enlisting. Let's send white feathers to a prominent chicken hawk who is willing to vilify anyone who opposes the war in Iraq but seems to have many reasons for staying safe here.
Also of interest, Juan Cole tearing Goldberg a gigantic new one, and the type of people Goldberg apparently thinks should go: a dad with 11 kids
posted by amberglow (117 comments total)

 
Appropriate. War mongers have kept their so called patriotic attitude but somehow lost their patriotic duty.
posted by caddis at 6:25 PM on February 13, 2005


Slaps forehead! Of course! Why has no one come up with this before? I like it. I like it a lot.

(Historical footnote- it wasn't just Britain. A Canadian daughter of the Empire pinned my (American) grandfather in 1914, and he was only passing through on business.)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:25 PM on February 13, 2005


Superb idea. The thing about the chickenhawks is that they do not even go to the funerals of US military war dead.
posted by mlis at 6:26 PM on February 13, 2005


more on the history of it
posted by amberglow at 6:29 PM on February 13, 2005


Or let's not. If you want to shame people publically, use facts and not feathers. The whole war-related symbolism thing (yellow ribbons, etc.) is lame beyond words...
posted by 327.ca at 6:33 PM on February 13, 2005


use facts and not feathers.

Not necessarily. It's a sad sign of the times that facts no-longer seem to achieve much.
posted by Jimbob at 6:36 PM on February 13, 2005


I don't want to be responsible for anybody going to war. Even people I don't like. Count me out.
posted by srboisvert at 6:36 PM on February 13, 2005


Funny, after reading Juan Cole's article, I don't think I can stomach reading him or Jonah Goldberg for too long...
posted by bugmuncher at 6:37 PM on February 13, 2005


It's a sad sign of the times that facts no-longer seem to achieve much.

Well, why not just throw bombs then?
posted by 327.ca at 6:38 PM on February 13, 2005


Goldberg doesn't use facts himself, as Cole clearly showed

If Jonah Goldberg had asserted that he could fly to Mars in his pyjamas and come back in a single day, it would not have been a more fantastic allegation than the one he made about Iraq being a danger to the United States because of the nuclear issue. He made that allegation over and over again to millions of viewers on national television programs, to viewers who trusted his judgment because CNN and others purveyed him to them.

Jonah Goldberg is a fearmonger, a warmonger, and a demagogue. And besides, he was just plain wrong about one of the more important foreign policy issues to face the United States in the past half-century. It is shameful that he dares show his face in public, much less continuing to pontificate about his profound knowledge of just what Iraq is like and what needs to be done about Iraq and the significance of events in Iraq.

posted by amberglow at 6:39 PM on February 13, 2005



posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:46 PM on February 13, 2005


How about sending both the white elephant of egregious political hyperbole?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 PM on February 13, 2005


Amberglow, I love you, but this is an awful idea on many levels. From your own link...

Their frequent bestowal on men invalided... or otherwise unqualified for military duty made the women concerned unpopular even among those sympathetic to the war effort.

You're picking up an idea to prove a point that wasn't even popular to those with the same beliefs at the time it was invented.

Also, as your article indicates, the white feather was formerly being used a sign of peace and pacifism.

Isn't labeling people chickenhawks enough? Isn't pointing out the fallicies of their arguments enough? Isn't a barage of emails pointing out the fallicies of their arguments enough? Why the silly gesture, of which the meaning was reinvented and then proved futile?
posted by Arch Stanton at 6:49 PM on February 13, 2005


I've never heard of the feather thing before. What's the origin? I thought "chicken" meaning coward was an Americanism. Is it related to "turning tail"?

On preview: Okay, I can't be an AskMe google Nazi and not try to answer my own questions.

Here: The notion of a white feather representing cowardice goes back to the 18th century, arising from the belief that a white feather in the tail of a game bird denoted poor quality. To 'show the white feather' was therefore to be 'unmanly'.

On 30 August 1914, less then a month after the declaration of war, a retired Admiral, Penrose Fitzgerald, announced in Folkstone that he had formed a band of 30 women to present a white feather - a danger 'far more terrible than anything they can meet in battle' - to young men 'of public school and university education...found idling and loafing' instead of setting an example to working men.


Also, there appear to be some interesting videos of people remembering those times here but I can't get the video to work.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:55 PM on February 13, 2005


Better yet, let's use bags of white feathers and a barrel of molten tar!
posted by grytpype at 7:00 PM on February 13, 2005


It wasn't unpopular at all then--it was used in the UK, Canada, and Australia--if you keep reading you see the government itself made an alternate to wear for men already helping the war effort. The government's response was to authorise production of a badge bearing the legend "King and Country", thus marking out its wearer as someone effectively excluded from overt moral pressure to enlist.

This is certainly better than magnetic ribbons on an SUV. Let's see if there's any shame left.
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on February 13, 2005


Amberglow, I realize that it was widespread at the time. And I read the part where the government made a response to that. Obviously, it was a well known symbol.

My point wass that the people who sent the feathers were looked down upon by those that even agreed with them. made the women concerned unpopular even among those sympathetic to the war effort.

Also, the feathers were sent by those that were 'sympathetic to the war effort'. While you are a person of deep sympathy on a whole series of issues, you are not sympathetic to the war effort. So, you're reinventing the symbol.
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:10 PM on February 13, 2005


Well, why not just throw bombs then?

Okay, one minute you're complaing about how pathetic and lame symbolism is. The next minute you're comparing it to violent direct action. So I don't know where to go from there.

If you think anything can be achieved purely by the blind publication of data and statistics, you really haven't been paying much attention to history.
posted by Jimbob at 7:10 PM on February 13, 2005


I'm not reinventing anything--i came across a link to it, and think it's a good idea. Short of following chickenhawks around every day and going "bwaak! bwaak!" or hiring grandma types to hit them and cry "shame on you!" this is something that will certainly grab their attention, if nothing else. A little clogged email or mailbox is nothing compared to the soldiers actually carrying out what Goldberg and others bayed for, repeatedly.
posted by amberglow at 7:15 PM on February 13, 2005


So, you're reinventing the symbol.

That's an interesting point. In the past, those presenting the feather were those unable to assist in the war effort on the front line even if they had wanted to; women. Also, in the days of the first world war, you would be hard pressed to find anyone opposed to the war...It was a different kind of war - one where you were defending your country against possible invasion, rather than a preemptive and possibly avoidable political action.

So the two scenarios aren't directly comparable, no. But the "message" of the feather is the same. "Hey big shot, quit paying lip service, stand by your convictions and go put your life on the line like all the rest."
posted by Jimbob at 7:15 PM on February 13, 2005


I never thought I'd say it but Cole & Goldberg deserve each other. They've both made some solid academic arguements in the past—regarding war, and non-war—but I wonder if they can hear how embarassing their spat sounds. They may now join the ranks of Hannity and Moore and Franken and O'Reilly and the rest of the petulant bigmouths.

No doubt if the post was "Send a Suicide Vest to Ward Churchill" there would be very little high-fiving and a whole lot of "Why are we even worried about what some professor says about US policy?"
posted by dhoyt at 7:19 PM on February 13, 2005


What's the connection to the guy with eleven kids? He's not complaining. It's obvious from the article that he had to overcome general and specific resistance to his signing up, and being activated for duty in Iraq. He wants to do this. His wife is supportive. What I don't think he wants is to be a prop in your screed about Jonah Goldberg. And in what way, exactly, is this gentleman's stated-and-fulfilled desire to stay with his unit and serve his country, the fault of Jonah Goldberg?
posted by coelecanth at 7:27 PM on February 13, 2005


The guy with the eleven kids should go somewhere far away so that woman doesn't have number 12
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:30 PM on February 13, 2005


"When WW1 broke out young Englishwomen would hand white feathers to men on the street who were not in uniform to shame them into enlisting."

Different kind of war, different reason. I think the idea does apply though. If not feathers then write letter to those who you believe should be serving in the war instead of just reaping the benefits. Those who just reap the benefits are probably soulless anyway, but what the hell write to them and get it off your chest.

Just watch out when homeland security turns up at your door. :P
posted by snsranch at 7:32 PM on February 13, 2005


If you want to shame people publically, use facts and not feathers. The whole war-related symbolism thing (yellow ribbons, etc.) is lame beyond words...

Whatever works. Facts seem not to, alas. And the feather thing does have touch of wit.

Seems like the comments are going a little off track on the who thought what when about an old timey gesture. Bottom line is, surely, if you believe in the war, at least try to stand up and be counted. Chennault does. JG, well, seems to have other priorities.

I mean, assuming he's not 4F, it's not as if there isn't room for him.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:33 PM on February 13, 2005


Here's the thing that bugs me about the white feather action: none of the women who were pressuring these men to enlist faced the trenches themselves. Would they have felt differently if they, too, faced the mustard gas and mortars?

Bringing this home: amberglow, if you're so eager to revive the practice, why haven't you enlisted? Or are you suggesting we modify the tradition to merely pressure those who have not stated their opposition to the war? Seems to me that if you're TRULY opposed to the conflict, you wouldn't want ANYONE to fight.

Me, I'm opposed to the/any war, and I don't understand those who exhort others to battle whether those doing the urging are aggressors or pacificts.
posted by aberrant at 7:48 PM on February 13, 2005


I'll stick to removing the yellow magnetic ribbons from one car and putting them on another.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:59 PM on February 13, 2005


coelecanth, the connection to the guy with eleven kids is that Jonah says he oughtn't have to serve because he has a couple kids.

But... eleven kids? Sheesh, kill the planet why don't you?
posted by herostratus at 8:04 PM on February 13, 2005


amberglow, if you're so eager to revive the practice, why haven't you enlisted? Or are you suggesting we modify the tradition to merely pressure those who have not stated their opposition to the war? Seems to me that if you're TRULY opposed to the conflict, you wouldn't want ANYONE to fight.

Me, I'm opposed to the/any war, and I don't understand those who exhort others to battle whether those doing the urging are aggressors or pacificts.


I'm the modern equivalent of those women who handed them out--a big fag who's too old--nevermind the fact that this is an elective war of choice, based on lies (which were parroted endlessly by Goldberg and his ilk). If you cheerlead for a war of choice which was never necessary re: Iraq, in which we've already lost 1500 soldiers and counting, and 100000+ Iraqi dead, and many many more on all sides maimed for life, and billions of dollars a month, you should be willing to put your wellbeing where your mouth is. I'm not against all wars--i would have gladly fought in WW2, and might even have gone after Osama, but this war isn't doing that, even in Afghanistan.
posted by amberglow at 8:06 PM on February 13, 2005


Herostatus: the guy with 11 kids isn't objecting to going -- in fact, he pointed out a clerical error that kept his name off the deployment lists.

As an aside, his wife seems to have some fairly... erm... "traditional" views on marriage:


Chennault's wife is supportive.

"We go to a really good church, and they talk in there a lot about the husband's and the wife's role, what the Bible says is the husband's and wife's role," she explains. "And my role is to support my husband. My mother told me when I got married, 'Your life is about him, and you need to be there for him."'


On preview: Amberglow, so your excuse for not enlisting is that you're too old and too gay? What weight should your pressure tactics be given, then? As much as I might agree with you that "you should be willing to put your wellbeing where your mouth is", with all respect, you're not the most effective spokesperson, since you have nothing at stake nor any prior experience to share with those who would receive your message.
posted by aberrant at 8:17 PM on February 13, 2005


Nice tags!
posted by painquale at 8:20 PM on February 13, 2005


What's the connection to the guy with eleven kids?

That a guy with eleven kids is willing to serve in harms way, while others that are (very) vocally supportive of the invasion of Iraq are only paying lip service to it. See also: They also serve who only sit and type.

Amberglow: I like the idea. Though there's some confusion between being supportive of the war and calling bullshit on those that are supportive of the war but can't be bothered to put themselves in harms way (cough, LGF, cough).
posted by jperkins at 8:22 PM on February 13, 2005


Next thing you know, someone in the VRWC will form a website emailing tiny shields to those they consider "Loony Leftist Liberals" and/ or "Moonbats" cajoling them as to why they don't run off to Iraq to become human shields, proving their great opposition to the war. Sadly, I think such a site would be more popular than sending Jonah a feather. And the wheel goes round.

Seriously, if you want to annoy Jonah Goldberg, and keep it all honest, send him pictures of a blunt machete with the caption "Hack, Hack, Hack".

And for the sake of argument (what passes for discussion on these posts) kindly remember this isn't a self-link, amberglow didn't create this website, and his presentation of it here doesn't mean he owns or controls it. Get a grip, people.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:26 PM on February 13, 2005


Wulfgar, your last paragraph confuses me. To whom was it directed?
posted by aberrant at 8:29 PM on February 13, 2005


aberrant, my excuse is that it's a war of choice based on lies, and that Saddam was never any threat to us. I wouldn't fight this war even if i was straight and 21--this war is wrong--the wrongest thing done in my (and our) name since Vietnam. I see cheerleaders and the 101st fighting keyboarders and some commentators on tv (Goldberg as a keyboarder and commentator) continuing to slime all of us that were right in denouncing and protesting this war even before it started--going so far as to call us treasonous and say we should shut up--and continuing to cheerlead this horrendously misbegotten war--they're the ones who have a responsibility here, i feel (many others feel that way too).

My only pressure tactics are of course limited--this is one of them, that i found and am sharing with all of you. What wulfgar said too--don't confuse the message with the messenger.
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on February 13, 2005


I'm not sure about the whole idea (and amberglow, it's not a self-link so you don't have to defend anything other then posting a link, not the basis of the idea itself), but I do think there is a large and compelling disconnect between those who preach war and those who are willing to fight. Goldberg is a huge supporter of the war, and his rationale changes constantly from what I can see... while there is no need for him to pick up a gun and fight, I do understand that someone who supports war at all costs should at lease feel some shame that he is not willing to put his own life on the line for something he publicly, loudly, claims to be of the utmost importance.
posted by cell divide at 8:36 PM on February 13, 2005


Amberglow, I share your opinion of this war and meant no direct criticism of you -- just of the idea that you (apparently) condone of shaming specific people who have chosen not to fight.

Just as it's possible for you to say you're against this war yet not be eligible for service, it's possible for those folks who agree with the (reasons for this) war to want not to serve in battle. Does this make them hypocrites? Maybe, but as Wulfgar! points out above, only as much as those pacifists among us (myself, and I think you, included) who didn't volunteer for onsite peace missions (read: "human shields") prior to the campaign.

Rallying war supporters by challenging them to enlist will do nothing productive at best, and will prolong the conflict (if they take you up on it) at worst.
posted by aberrant at 8:37 PM on February 13, 2005


I approve.

/blast from the past: Chickenhawk Database.
posted by RavinDave at 8:38 PM on February 13, 2005


It'd be better to redirect the nation's worst trash problem of all, unwanted AOL cd's.

Can someone please hack into the Post Office or AOL and change all of the cd's being mailed out to go to him directly? At work, at home, at his parents. Bury him in useless garbage.
posted by fenriq at 8:38 PM on February 13, 2005


Wulfgar, your last paragraph confuses me. To whom was it directed?

I might be sensitive, but I think Wulfgar's comments were aimed at me. I know that the site wasn't created by amberglow and I don't think anyone made any type of selflink claim. My comment of So, you're reinventing the symbol. Wasn't really that you (amberlgow) are reinventing the symbol, it was the people that thought of the idea and are spreading the meme are reinventing the symbol. Oy, I don't need to argue my points again though. My point and the rebuttle have already been discussed.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:40 PM on February 13, 2005


The Four Feathers (starring Djimon Hounsou, Kate Hudson and Heath Ledger) - "A British officer resigns his post just before battle and subsequently receives four white feathers from his friends and fiancee as symbols of what they believe to be his cowardice." [IMDb | 2002]
posted by ericb at 8:43 PM on February 13, 2005



Fenriq, you still get those? I haven't seen one in years. :)
(and no, you can't send your surplus to me.)

posted by aberrant at 8:48 PM on February 13, 2005


Rallying war supporters by challenging them to enlist will do nothing productive at best, and will prolong the conflict (if they take you up on it) at worst.

The presumption is that they'd rather serve than shut up. I don't have the same confidence in their moral fiber (that is, that they believe that Iraq is just and does warrant their participation). It's about time that hypocrites start getting called on their hypocrisy. At the very worst, we'd have those that are supportive of the invasion doing the fighting instead of those that signed up to finance their way through college by means of defending our country instead of campaigning for this current neoconservative bullshit (that was campaigning in the military sense, not the voting sense).
posted by jperkins at 8:49 PM on February 13, 2005


What jperkins said. Also about the chickenhawks - notice how almost none of their children serve in the military? 535 Members of Congress and there is one Representative (Duncan Hunter R-Calif.) & one Senator (Tim Johnson D-SD) I know of who have children in the military.
posted by mlis at 8:54 PM on February 13, 2005


Lots of those hypocrites abound.
I'm not sure the white feather thing is the way to go. Too close to other traditions.
I know: they're different.

Still, I think pointing out they do not, have not, or will not serve should be an effective way to drown out their arguement. Should.

It's remniscent of pointing out the fallacy of violence to a chickenhawk.
Ultimately you feel like you want to use violence.
If you do, you have won, but they have won.

If you don't they just keep shouting men into meatgrinders, their principles backed only by hollow words.

It should be a simple thing not to follow them. But then - where did all those assholes from the American Protective League come from? Willing and able to fight to send someone off, but unwilling and unable to go themselves?

I wish I could understand the psychology. How does such a man live with himself?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:23 PM on February 13, 2005


War Supporter != Human Shield
posted by filchyboy at 9:34 PM on February 13, 2005


MLIS, let's take a look at that statistic, because both you and Michael Moore use this as evidence that our congresscritters are up to no good.

Actually, there are several more children of congresspeople in the military: besides Johnson and Hunter, Biden's son is in the JAG, and Kline, Akin, Musgrave, Schrock, and Wilson all have children serving ( quick source ).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2003 there were 1,368,742 folks serving in the armed forces (all 5 branches). As a percent of population ( source: cia factbook ), that's 0.467%.

Now, given that (to my count) 7 out of 535 congressional families have children serving in the military, it seems as if congress is OVERREPRESENTED as a distinct population, at 1.308%. Even if we were to take their spouses into account (and we shouldn't, since our sample size was 535 congresspeople), they're still overrepresented assuming each is married.

We've got enough statistics on our side without having to resort to those that are so easily disproved.
posted by aberrant at 9:40 PM on February 13, 2005


I wish I could understand the psychology. How does such a man live with himself?

I don't support the war at all but still, as a strapping young fellow of ripe fighting age, can't always come up with a good reason why my good friend from high school is in Iraq risking his life while I play around at college. I always tell myself that I'm preparing myself to do my part for the greater good and work for what I believe in in the way in which I am most able, while Kevin is doing what he feels is his part now in the way that he is able. Sometimes it works. Maybe Goldberg and other "chickenhawks" feel, rightly or not, cowardly or not, that they can do the most to benefit those causes they belive in by writing their blogs and appearing on TV.

As an aside, I had a class with Prof. Cole last semester and he's only slightly less an arrogant blowhard in a lecture hall as he is on the internet.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:48 PM on February 13, 2005


So one can not support the war in Iraq without serving in the war in Iraq? Splendid idea!

Let's also pin feathers on heterosexual supporters of gay marriage (hypocrites!). Get thee to an assfuckery post-haste!

All people who support welfare programs must. live. in. welfare. housing. Or else feathers for them, too. Fucking chickenhawks.

And the public school teachers and congressmen who carp and moan about public school funding . . . but send their own children to decent private schools? Feathers.

Actually that last one is a good idea . . .
posted by Heminator at 9:56 PM on February 13, 2005


Aberrant - I do not accept your reasoning. How has it been disproved? Out of 535 Members of Congress 7 have children in the military and in absolute terms you think that is a good representation? Nevermind overrepresentation. Still not enough.

If, say, 75 members of Congress had children who had served in Iraq (in Combat Arms positions) do you honestly think Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Rice would still have jobs? After all we have learned about how this war has been fought? Oh, and it is not just me and Moore. Add David Hackworth (the most decorated living veteran from the US Army w/combat tours in Korea & Vietnam).
posted by mlis at 10:19 PM on February 13, 2005


MLIS: I merely corrected your statistic. 8 (not 7; I miscounted) congresspeople have children serving in the military. In absolute terms, this participation level can be argued* to be more than the national average. Whether it's sufficient is another matter entirely and not something that I'm keenly interested in debating.

My point was that both you and Michael Moore are using figures that are incorrect. If you can reach the same conclusion with the correct figures, then do so. If not, you need to find another argument, since you weaken your case with every assertion that can be factually disproved.


* but not by me, at least not effectively. A fair statistic would be at the family level, but that requires more research than I'm willing to do at 10:30 on a Sunday night in support of an assertion that can be used by folks with whom I disagree regarding the propriety of (this) war.
posted by aberrant at 10:30 PM on February 13, 2005


Agreed about the amount of research/time (and I think we are on the same side here) and you do have 3 hours on me being on the west coast!
posted by mlis at 10:36 PM on February 13, 2005


Oh, crap, did I forget to end the small? Here. . It's getting late.
posted by aberrant at 10:38 PM on February 13, 2005


War for some, tiny american flags for others!

Pirated music for me. W00t.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 PM on February 13, 2005


This is certainly better than magnetic ribbons on an SUV. Let's see if there's any shame left.
posted by amberglow

Let's turn all those AOL discs into white-feather magnets, and add them to the ribbon collections on cars!

I actually do believe that war supporters should go to their war. Better them than my kids, or me. If the war is right and noble and just, people will line up to go. If it's another stupid scheme of the rich - not so much, especially for the children of the rich. Of course, wars are very seldom right, noble or just. In the current stupidity, you don't see many Erroll Flynns or Ted Williamses, let alone George H.W. Bushes. (Just the one football player that I know of.) That says the rich don't believe in the value of the Iraq war enough to risk anything of their own. Risking other people's kids, that's OK.

RavinDave , thanks for the C'hawk database. I wish they had not ignored the fact that student deferments ended long before the Vietnam war ended, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:36 AM on February 14, 2005


Juan Cole's long shredding of Goldberg wasamusing in spots, but I could only take so much of it. I mean, doesn't he have plenty else to do in a day? Why write the equivalent of a five-page, grammatical-mistake-free and occasionally witty and learned piece on some post-Buckley National Review hack.

It came off as a waste of the man's time. It's like using all those verbal skills to go after ratemyprofessors.com, say, which is upsetting to a lot of profs and instructors but really a joke worth ignoring entirely, regardless of the fact that many - including folks on mefi - have taken it seriously. There's only so much that one person can do about the stupidity of the world, though. You just gotta move ahead.
posted by raysmj at 4:18 AM on February 14, 2005


8 (not 7; I miscounted) congresspeople have children serving in the military

Serving in the military != serving in Iraq. JAG isn't the same thing as being on the ground. I am actually surprised there isn't more congressional spawn serving in safe positions in the military but then I guess the need for actual military service for a future politician evaporated in the last election.
posted by srboisvert at 4:49 AM on February 14, 2005


The premise of this argument -- that the military needs more untrained people to volunteer in order to conduct current operations -- simply isn't true. It's doubly untrue when 30-something writers like Jonah Goldberg are proposed as the source of untrained manpower.

The Navy and Air Force continue to turn away prospective recruits. The regular Army and Marines are meeting their levies, albeit not without a lot of room to spare. The Reserve and Guard components are having trouble, but that's because of the (mis)use of them as a source of seasoned, trained troops -- the price we're paying for (wait for it now) Clinton-era reduction of active duty complements.

If and when the military needs masses of volunteers from civilian life, including 30-somethings with marginal physical fitness and few transferable skills, it'll come asking for them, just like it did in the World Wars.

In a way, this should please the anti-war left -- the people will be given an opportunity to vote with their feet. Not enough people volunteer, than no (upscaled) war, or a draft, which will really cause people to think carefully about what war they want the country to be in.
posted by MattD at 5:34 AM on February 14, 2005


Listen Y'all,

Jonah is truly despicable.
Even dhoyt concedes that.
What you gotta realize is that he has always carried the worst possible stigma imaginable, that of coming from Lucianne's loins.
When you start at the bottom, even what he does now is a giant step up.
posted by nofundy at 5:36 AM on February 14, 2005


Heminator, your post is full of false analogies but I think I can help ya out. What we're talking about is citizens (chickenhawks) passing the burden (in this case of being in mortal peril) onto other citizens while the chickenhawks sit comfortably at home talking about the necessity of military action that's putting the second group of citizens in peril.

So, taking your example of gay marriage where you said, "Let's also pin feathers on heterosexual supporters of gay marriage (hypocrites!). Get thee to an assfuckery post-haste!" That would be an accurate analogy if gay marriage required hetereosexuals to be sodomized. It doesn't, which is why you never hear, "Yep, we're going to have to strap down another young Republican for sodomization so that those gays can marry." See the difference? Another example of actual hypocrisy would be someone who supported welfare initiatizes but was exposed to cheat on their taxes, passing the onus of paying for the welfare onto others. Clear now?

The Navy and Air Force continue to turn away prospective recruits. The regular Army and Marines are meeting their levies, albeit not without a lot of room to spare. The Reserve and Guard components are having trouble, but that's because of the (mis)use of them as a source of seasoned, trained troops -- the price we're paying for (wait for it now) Clinton-era reduction of active duty complements.

LOL. Because Rumsfeld's brilliant strategy of invading Iraq with a force 1/3 the size that military plans called for lead to the current levels of insurgency. And who's picking up the slack created by Rummy's arm chair strategery? The troops. Also notable is the fact that it was the Clinton era military that overthrew the Taliban in, what, 45 days?

As far as the Reserve and National Guard components "having trouble" meeting quotas, yeah I'd say missing recuitment goals by 30% is having trouble. So there's a demonstrated need for recruits and being in your 30s or not being trained isn't a problem - they'll take care of both of those deficiencies for you in basic training and AIT. 12 weeks and you'll be a fit, highly trained infantryman putting it on the line for your beliefs!
posted by jperkins at 6:09 AM on February 14, 2005


So there's a demonstrated need for recruits and being in your 30s or not being trained isn't a problem

Should've read: "So there's a demonstrated need for recruits and being in your 30s out of shape or not being trained isn't a problem."
posted by jperkins at 6:12 AM on February 14, 2005


i think the rapper paris has an excellent summary of this issue in his song "sheep to the slaughter" from his album "sonic jihad." he throws in a few words just to get a rhyme in some places, but i still think it's a solid verse:

"...I don't need this seedy media they only annoy
Cause the only ones that wanna scrap ain't never deployed
Who do the fightin' for these rich white folks, and they wars
No it ain't Drew Carey, Dennis Miller or stars
Fox News, Mike Savage, Bruce Willis or Rush
Won't be MSNBC, CNN or a Bush
Never Toby Keith, Hannity, O'Reilly or Clint
Ain't ClearChannel - know they ain't supportin' dissent
Ain't Blair, Kid Rock, or Tom Cruise or vows
Of James Woods, Rob Lowe, Tom Selleck or Powell
Not Arnold Schwarzenegger, he ain't gonna shoot, or
Ted Nugent cause in war the targets got weapons too
Ain't Cheney, Rumsfeld, Halliburton or Ridge
Or Ann Coulter, or Joseph Lieberman or the rich
Or any bitch up in congress, they just make laws
When it comes to fightin' - we the ones that end up in gauze
So when you say "support that murderer," I have no applause
Even if he got his jumpsuit on - we pay the cost"
posted by lord_wolf at 7:31 AM on February 14, 2005


The premise of this argument -- that the military needs more untrained people to volunteer in order to conduct current operations -- simply isn't true.

Recruits aren't trained until they are recruited, and yes, the branches of service need recruits.
posted by drezdn at 7:54 AM on February 14, 2005


it got to him
posted by amberglow at 8:12 AM on February 14, 2005


This is the most petty and pathetic attempt at dialogue I have seen out of people who suppose themselves "intellectuals." Cole should be more embarrassed by this 5th grader spat than Goldberg. At least Goldberg doesn't fancy himself an academic and knows he is a clown. And, for amberglow... well, I guess you have shown that you are beyond embarassment over your weak partisan shilling.

This chickenhawk/feather argument is so facially stupid that I cannot imagine any person seriously suggesting it. Here is Hitchens complete destruction of it. Though I doubt that few here would meet Hitchens' argument on its face. Most likely you will go for petty ad hominem attacks against the man.
posted by dios at 8:18 AM on February 14, 2005


I also saw that lame argument about "if I support aggressive law enforcement, does that mean I have to become a cop" being made by another right-wing shirker on another blog - I guess Jonah is cribbing his excuses from others, being unable to come up with legitimate ones on his own. And the short answer is "yes." If you support aggressive law enforcement enough that you rave about it unceasingly, and accuse others who aren't so supportive of all sorts of nasty things, then yes, saddle up, fat boy.--one of the comments at Atrios: Lucianne's Little Boy Hates Feathers
posted by amberglow at 8:22 AM on February 14, 2005


Is this "chickenhawk" thing anything besides a massive ad hominem argument? That is: I'll grant that most party Republicans are gigantic hypocrites. Sadly, that's not an argument against war. Pointed fingers won't convince anybody; this feather crap, and the whole meme, are exercises in futility.

Also, on a somewhat similar topic: bugmuncher was right above. Juan Cole and Jonah Goldberg both make me a little sick. I have a feeling we won't learn much about politics from these people.
posted by koeselitz at 8:31 AM on February 14, 2005


i think one of those people is a recognized expert on the region, koeselitz, and the other one is a talking head with no expertise on Middle East affairs, or anything really.
posted by amberglow at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2005


Is this "chickenhawk" thing anything besides a massive ad hominem argument? That is: I'll grant that most party Republicans are gigantic hypocrites. Sadly, that's not an argument against war.

It's not an ad hominem, it's an injunction: if a cause that you support is worth getting someone else killed or dismembered over, then it's damn well cause enough for you to get killed or dismembered over. So make certain that that the causes that you embrace and advocate are worth it. Because if you are in support of objectives that lead to the deaths of the military personal and you don't volunteer to participate in those same operations in spite of eligibility, then that makes you someone who shows fear in the face of danger or pain. That alone would give reasonable people pause to ask, "have all other options been eliminated?"

Apparently, life is cheap to some when it isn't their own. And Hitchens "complete destruction of it" is more of the same: "people in the military knew what they were getting into when the signed up" with a red herring of "civilians must maintain control of the military."
posted by jperkins at 8:49 AM on February 14, 2005


And yet neither of their respective educations prevents them from being tremendously arrogant blowhards. Fancy that.
posted by dhoyt at 8:49 AM on February 14, 2005


Well, FWIW, when I was still of an eligible age, I tried enlisting.

Twice.

They turned me down.

Twice.

(It's a belief in the old civic duty/"tree of liberty" thing. So I'm hokey. Sue me.)
posted by Samizdata at 8:51 AM on February 14, 2005


jperkins: was that supposed to be a retort to Hitchen's article? Did you actually make an argument or just reject it as clearly wrong and reutter the same nonsensical argument he addressed?

And koe is right; it is clearly ad hominem. And you don't need to look further than the attitude of amberglow and the people who espouse it. They call Goldberg names instead of taking on his arguments on their face. Hell, look at the title: "chickenshit supreme." amberglow even makes the point even further when we get comments like "Lucianne's little boy" that call him "fat." Oh ok. He is wrong because he came from Lucianne and he is fat and he isn't a "middle east scholar." That isn't a single comment on the substance of Goldberg's position. It is all ad hominem.

One could attack the amberglow/Cole position with equal ad hominem, but it at least looks like Goldberg makes an effort to response to the merits of the argument (however wrong he is). The same can't be said for his equally idiotic accusers.
posted by dios at 9:02 AM on February 14, 2005


I continue to maintain that, while the military always needs raw recruits, it doesn't need more now, particularly from such sources of dubious utility as the 30-something commentariat.

The military personnel crisis now is one of re-enlistment of experienced personnel, and that includes the National Guard and Reserve enlistment statistics, since the traditional source of much NG and Reserve enlistment is people discharged or retired from active duty who decide to keep their hand in the game.

The valid argument which might be made against Goldberg goes like this: if Jonah supports the war, why doesn't Jonah support higher re-enlistment bonuses or increasing the GI Bill for second term enlistees, or expanding active duty complements and tightening the criteria for long-term activation of Reserve and Guard units? (He might support these things, for all I know.)

But, anyway, people really ought to watch what they wish for. The day that the Army puts out a call for guys like Goldberg to enlist is the day before the Army sends them to man the occupations of Iran and Syria -- which won't really cause ululations of joy here in the blue.
posted by MattD at 9:24 AM on February 14, 2005


He is wrong because he came from Lucianne and he is fat and he isn't a "middle east scholar." That isn't a single comment on the substance of Goldberg's position.

You forgot stupid. I did call him stupid, didn't I? Ahh.. must have forgotten. OK then, Jonah is a STUPID FUCKTARD who gets PAID to spout right wing bullshit.

Cole is an expert in the subject area and an excellent teacher and scholar whio does not get apid for his weblog while Jonah is an IDIOT (I almost forgot that one) who would be frying burgers if it weren't for his mama.

There has to be substance to refute in order to refute substance and Jonah has none. Its what we call a conumdrum.
posted by nofundy at 9:30 AM on February 14, 2005


jperkins: was that supposed to be a retort to Hitchen's article? Did you actually make an argument or just reject it as clearly wrong and reutter the same nonsensical argument he addressed?

Here ya go:

The first thing to notice about this propaganda is how archaic it is.

Right. It's old, it must not be any good. An unoriginal spinoff of countless cliches: putting your money where your mouth is, talking the talking and walking the walk, etc.

Should things ever become any hotter, it would be far safer to be in uniform in Doha, Qatar, or Kandahar, Afghanistan, than to be in an open homeland city.

Uh, yeah.

My wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified from utterance? And what about older comrades who can no longer shoulder a gun? What about friends of mine who are physically disabled? Should their expertise—often considerable—be set aside because they can't ram it home with a bayonet?

I addressed that entire paragraph with the limiting word "eligible."

One hopes that the next implication is inadvertent, but the clear suggestion is that there ought not to be civilian control of the military.

Where the fuck is that coming from? I don't see that as a clear suggestion at all (this is the red herring I mentioned). What calling a chickenhawk a chickenhawk should do is shame those vocal supporters of the civilian leadership into sharing in the danger of the enterprise.

A related term is "chicken-hawk." It is freely used to defame intellectual militants who favor an interventionist strategy.

To that definition I'd add, "...so long as they're not an active, on-the-ground part of that interventionist strategy."

The United States now has an all-volunteer Army, made up of people who receive fairly good pay and many health and educational benefits. They signed up to a bargain when they joined, and the terms of the bargain are obedience to the decisions of a civilian president and Congress.

Right. The suckers signed up for this "bargain." That was the only way that college was an option? Fuck you. Get on the plane.

Shall we inquire into the "armchair" or otherwise sedentary lives of those who sympathized with Milosevic, or who published euphemisms about al-Qaida, or who went on fatuous hospitality trips to Baghdad and ended up echoing Baathist propaganda?

The only person that I can think of who did any of those was Sean Penn and I seem to recall a chorus of outrage when he went to Baghdad.

Like I said, it's crap piece of work and doesn't refute anything that I've said and neither have you.
posted by jperkins at 9:35 AM on February 14, 2005


whio [sic] does not get apid [sic] for his weblog while Jonah is an IDIOT (I almost forgot that one) who would be frying burgers if it weren't for his mama. There has to be substance to refute in order to refute substance and Jonah has none. Its what we call a conumdrum [sic].


A more mature, cogent, grammatically-correct arguement I've never heard. You've sold me.
posted by dhoyt at 9:42 AM on February 14, 2005


jperkins. That is the worst fisking I have ever seen.

Hitchens points all stand unrefuted: we have an all-volunteer army that is controlled by civilians. Always has been. Do you want an all military controlled army? Do you want only serving-military people being in Congress and in the White House? In this age of terrorism, the civilian/combatant line is completely blurred, so why should combatant's only have the right to an opinion?

Your position is that military's peoples opinion on what we should do in the Middle East are the only important ones. Nevermind the fact that the military people may not have a clue what or where Iraq is or the fact that the people who do know about it aren't in the military.

It is the most pathetic and obvious ad hominem argument: "I will not address your analysis of the situation because you are not willing to go fight for it." Ignoring the substance and attacking the person---the definition of ad hominem.
posted by dios at 9:46 AM on February 14, 2005


dhoyt: Why do you think it's cool to blow someone who's opinionated off as a "blowhard," when you're just as type-happy yourself?
posted by raysmj at 9:55 AM on February 14, 2005


I'm not a paid writer or professor, and I'm not operating under the delusion that what I'm saying is Very Important--the same cannot be said for Cole or Goldberg (or Franken or Hannity, or the rest of them).

I'm wondering if amberglow is sending these white feathers to all the lefty keyboard warriors who've been so vocal about their [convenient bullshit]support for the war in Afghanistan[/convenient bullshit], and yet strangely didn't enlist and ship out.
posted by dhoyt at 10:03 AM on February 14, 2005


Your position is that military's peoples opinion on what we should do in the Middle East are the only important ones. Nevermind the fact that the military people may not have a clue what or where Iraq is or the fact that the people who do know about it aren't in the military.

My position is that if you're willing to send your neighbor, you should be willing to go yourself. Is that clear to you? I ask 'cause everything else you've said about my position amounts to complete bullshit.

I'm wondering if amberglow is sending these white feathers to all the lefty keyboard warriors who've been so vocal about their [convenient bullshit]support for the war in Afghanistan[/convenient bullshit], and yet strangely didn't enlist and ship out.

I'm not aware of an enlistment option where you get to specify that you'll fight in the lawful war in Afganistan but not in the illegal war in Iraq. Where did you get that information?
posted by jperkins at 10:19 AM on February 14, 2005


dhoyt: You mean the word of a person with highly specialized training and knowledge of a particular part of the world should never be considered important? Why? Should professors even bother teaching and doing research, then?
posted by raysmj at 10:25 AM on February 14, 2005


My position is that if you're willing to send your neighbor, you should be willing to go yourself.

To clarify: as a member of the electorate who vocally and enthusiastically supports the Iraq invasion and not necessarily (or necessarily at all) as an elected official.
posted by jperkins at 10:26 AM on February 14, 2005


I'm not aware of an enlistment option where you get to specify that you'll fight in the lawful war in Afganistan

Just after 9/11 plenty of lefty blogs stated their support for the Afghanistan war, and this was a good while before Bush really started hammering on the "invade Iraq" concept so there was plenty of time to enlist. Did they? I couldn't name one. Does this not make them chickenhawks?
posted by dhoyt at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2005


Just after 9/11 plenty of lefty blogs stated their support for the Afghanistan war, and this was a good while before Bush really started hammering on the "invade Iraq"

It couldn't have been that long. We started in Afghanistan in October and by the following January (specifically, his SOTU) he was running full bore at the "weapons of mass destruction."
posted by jperkins at 10:32 AM on February 14, 2005


jperkins, how did I misstate your position? There is no other logical conclusion no matter how much you disavow it.

If, to get the right and respect to state an opinion regarding the need for military intervention, you have to sign up to serve in the military, then the conclusion follows that only people in the military have the right of opinion. That, sir, is complete and utter bullshit on stilts. The logic that you have to be willing to do X in order to support X is no logic at all.
posted by dios at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2005


I support the government's right and need to audit people's tax records. Do I need to go out and audit people's tax records in order to have a right to that opinion based on the left's newfounded freedom of speech guidelines?
posted by dios at 10:39 AM on February 14, 2005


It couldn't have been that long.

Semantics. You've dodged the question, and haven't addressed any of the aforementioned blogcritters who claim to support the Afghan war so genuinely. Easy to voice support now since we're engaged in a comparatively messier war.

Let's pretend for a second the Iraq war never happened, and even now in 2005 those same bloggers would have their chance to fight Taliban loyalists in Afghanistan--would they?

Amberglow?

Anyone?

Wouldn't they be 'chickenhawks' if they sat on the sidelines?
posted by dhoyt at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2005


Let's pretend for a second the Iraq war never happened, and even now in 2005 those same bloggers would have their chance to fight Taliban loyalists in Afghanistan--would they?

Wouldn't they be 'chickenhawks' if they sat on the sidelines?


If they are actively advocating that war, then yes, they would be. Since the question is academic, and since none of the chickenshit warmongers on this thread have made any claim to having served in a war, I think my status as a war veteran entitles me to say this:

War sucks. People who advocate wars that they are not willing to go to suck. If that's you (you know who you are), YOU suck.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:12 AM on February 14, 2005


If, to get the right and respect to state an opinion regarding the need for military intervention, you have to sign up to serve in the military, then the conclusion follows that only people in the military have the right of opinion.

You really don't discern that there's something fundamentally wrong with able bodied individuals cheerleading Iraq while coffins of servicemen killed there are being flown home and that its the lack of commitment to the invasion (at least as far as putting themselves in harm's way) that undermines their opinion on the matter?
posted by jperkins at 11:39 AM on February 14, 2005


Not when you have an army of volunteers jperkins, no. You might have a point if we had compulsory service.

I know lots of people in the army. Not a single one of them is confused about the nature of their voluntary service.
posted by dios at 11:41 AM on February 14, 2005


amberglow:

So are the aforementioned pro-Afghan-war bloggers chickenhawks?

Have you met any who enlisted after 9/11?
posted by dhoyt at 11:49 AM on February 14, 2005


Not when you have an army of volunteers jperkins, no. You might have a point if we had compulsory service.

And you're comfortable for them to die for a cause that you celebrate but don't find worthy of placing yourself at risk for?
posted by jperkins at 11:56 AM on February 14, 2005


I am comfortable with the fact that people have the right of free political speech in this country. I am comfortable that many people support a military intervention. I am comfortable with the fact that my cousin John flies daily missions in Iraq as a volunteer in the military of the country that he loves. He knows he might die. He does it anyway so that I, you, Jonah Goldberg or Juan Cole don't have to fight or worry.
posted by dios at 12:13 PM on February 14, 2005


A more mature, cogent, grammatically-correct arguement [sic] I've never heard. You've sold me.
posted by dhoyt at 9:42 AM PST on February 14


I hear you. That gramatically correct thing is important. Looks like I'm not alone, huh?
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=argument
Mine was a missed typo. How about you, smartass? I even transpose letters on occasion. Gasp!!

Juan Cole still rocks as an expert on the MidEast and Goldberg still sucks as a pundit. And that will not change regardless of my typo.
posted by nofundy at 12:18 PM on February 14, 2005


dhoyt - so where does courage of convictions fit into your world view? The military? Well they're paid to be there. How about the guy with eleven kids who just enlisted? Is that a display of courage of convictions to you? And if it is, where are yours? Is the quest for Iraqi freedom just not quite noble enough for you? What about the search of WMDs? Exactly what would compel you to enlist and face the same consequences that the people in uniform are facing every day as the result of Bush's foreign policy that's both enabled and bolstered by people like you?
posted by jperkins at 1:14 PM on February 14, 2005


Bush's foreign policy that's both enabled and bolstered by people like you

I neither campaigned or voted for the man, nor have I vocally supported the war in Iraq--how am I "bolstering and enabling" anything?

I didn't enlist after 9/11 because neither Iraq nor Afghanistan gets to the heart of the problem: establishing a global anti-terrorist taskforce which doesn't operate using conventional warfare against specific countries who don't deserve it--that is an idea I would have committed to, if need be. As it stands, Bush opted for conventional warfare against the wrong countries and various physical (back/eyesight/hearing) and psychological factors kept me from joining the service regardless.

In any case I'm still waiting to hear from you and/or amberglow (again) about whether or not the aforementioned bloggers are 'chickenhawks'. It sounds like they meet your definition.
posted by dhoyt at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2005


In any case I'm still waiting to hear from you and/or amberglow (again) about whether or not the aforementioned bloggers are 'chickenhawks'. It sounds like they meet your definition.

I did address this with my comment (however snarky) about the enlistment option to specify service in Afghanistan - there are still combat operations going on there, but no assurances that Afghanistan is where you're going to be sent (IIRC, there are around 12000 troops in Afghanistan compared to whatever the current count (130000?) is in Iraq).
posted by jperkins at 1:41 PM on February 14, 2005


did address this with my comment (however snarky) about the enlistment option

And I answered. It's still sidestepping the point that plenty of those bloggers could have enlisted to fight for something they supported, but didn't. Why?


Amberglow (again)?

Still don't understand how I'm bolstering the Iraq war either. Because I don't swallow every "He's wearing a wire!/It's a war for oil/Bush choked on a pretzel because he's a alcoholic"-style conspiracy that comes down the pike?
posted by dhoyt at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2005


i was working--chill, dhoyt.

So are the aforementioned pro-Afghan-war bloggers chickenhawks?

Yes, they are, although the entire country was united in wanting to get Osama and at that time that was the plan--we never did get him, btw--something not ever to be forgotten by those of us with brains.

The bait-and-switch to Iraq, and continuing cheerleading of Iraq, and smearing of those who criticize or dissent while sitting on your ass is what we're talking about. The people who were willing to get Osama (the vast vast majority of the country) never cheerleaded and repeated lies (still ongoing from Goldberg and his friends) nor did they slime all who criticize or call them "fifth columnists" nor "treasonous" like the Iraq cheerleader bunch, who continue to sit on their asses while our soldiers die.
posted by amberglow at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2005


And I answered. It's still sidestepping the point that plenty of those bloggers could have enlisted to fight for something they supported, but didn't. Why?

No, it's not sidestepping. First, victory over Taliban forces was literally no more than six to eight weeks from when the bombing started. Second, it was nearly all Special Forces conducting the campgaign so it's not like you could join and immediately see combat there. Of the two, I believe the former had far more influence than the latter and finally, it's not like we've been watching Afghanistain degrade into a complete quagmire with daily updates of U.S. forces killed over the past two years with revelations about the extent to which the Bush administration lied in their efforts to sell the invasion to us and all the while, the chickenhawks sit on the sidelines cheering Bush on because of the nobility of their cause.
posted by jperkins at 2:38 PM on February 14, 2005


Jonah the Whale got in a dust-up with Professor Cole over Iraq, leading some to call Jonah, who supports the war as long as he doesn't have to leave his keyboard, a "chickenhawk." Jonah responded with a ludicrously lame excuse for not enlisting: he had a daughter and couldn't afford the paycut.

Understandably Jonah has tried to back out of that excuse and now has a new excuse: he says he's too old to enlist. Unfortunately, this is, not surprisingly, yet another Republican lie. Jonah was born in 1969. The War in Iraq started in March 2003. Jonah would, accordingly, have been 34 (or younger) throughout 2003 and could have enlisted in either the Army or Navy, both of which allow enlistment up to the age of 34 and both of which, I believe, could have sent Mr. Goldberg to Iraq. ...
--from cliffburns/Outside the Tent

and what jperkins says, all thru this thread.
posted by amberglow at 2:39 PM on February 14, 2005


and this hysterical thing from Rising Hegemon:

An Alternative to the "White Feather"
Jonah, Jonah, Jonah.
Doesn't like getting the White Feathers. Poor baby.
So I offer a compromise and a melding of events, a synchronicity if you will.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Send a White Dude to Jonah
posted by amberglow at 2:42 PM on February 14, 2005


Understandably Jonah has tried to back out of that excuse and now has a new excuse: he says he's too old to enlist. Unfortunately, this is, not surprisingly, yet another Republican lie.

I'm not certain and can't find the information on goarmy.com (the local recruiter is out for the day) but someone should fact check this - as I recall the maximum enlistment age was 35, not 34.
posted by jperkins at 2:49 PM on February 14, 2005


maximum enlistment age is 35
posted by jperkins at 2:50 PM on February 14, 2005


so he certainly wasn't too old.

next question for Goldberg: how much is he paid by the Republicans? a la Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Michael McManus, and Jeff Guckert?
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on February 14, 2005


that "maximum enlistment age is 35" was me correcting myself from where I had "was 35" in the previous comment. I still haven't been able to confirm that age cutoff.
posted by jperkins at 2:56 PM on February 14, 2005


ah

check this out, from MYDD
posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on February 14, 2005


Juan Cole still rocks as an expert on the MidEast and Goldberg still sucks as a pundit.

nofundy, I don't know if you were being a bit facetious, but this is completely the wrong way to think about this "argument" between the two men. To simply accept whatever Cole says because he has written a lot of books and been hired by a university is to shortchange your own intelligence and ability to formulate a thoughtful opinion. I agree with him most of the time and think he certainly has a better perspective than Goldberg, but I still have to evaluate what he says for myself. When the debate degenerates like it has, I have a hard time taking Cole's side at all, let alone declaring that he unequivocally "rocks."
posted by PhatLobley at 3:01 PM on February 14, 2005


check this out, from MYDD

Nice, except that I read "The only reason Cheney doesn't die because hell is temporarily full," first and thought it was all true.
posted by jperkins at 3:13 PM on February 14, 2005


and patriotboy suggests Goldberg ought to destroy the dad with 11 kids: Unfortunately, I saw a news report tonight that might be used to renew these attacks against us. Johnnie Chennault, a father of eleven from Tennessee, is being deployed to Iraq later this month. He's not complaining despite the hardship his deployment will cause his family.

This is the kind of thing that makes us keyboard warriors look bad. It raises all sorts of questions about our patriotism and support for the war. Something needs to done about Chennault.

I think you ought to destroy him. Has he ever had oral sex? Did he win medals commanding a swift boat in Vietnam? Is his wife a covert CIA operative? If so, we could out her. Surely, there's something we use against him.

posted by amberglow at 4:29 PM on February 14, 2005


Hitchens points all stand unrefuted: we have an all-volunteer army that is controlled by civilians. Always has been.

Obviously, 'always' doesn't mean the same it used to. Just like Milky Ways used to be bigger back in the 60s, when the US very much didn't have an all-fucking-volunteer army, or in the 40s, when lots of countries didn't either.

There are, of course, problems with the 'chickenhawk' argument; but there are fewer problems with it than an position whereby gasbags like Goldberg can describe those opposed to the Iraq misadventure as traitors. It doesn't help his case, either, that he's embraced a domestic agenda that decidely rejects the notion of shared sacrifice on the home front. (The 'white feather' wasn't so much about being pro-war in 1915, than it was an assertion of shared duty, and shared sacrifice.) That's something of a pity; I suspect he'd benefit from a ration book.
posted by riviera at 4:39 PM on February 14, 2005


Here is a 34-year old reporter who quit his job to enlist in the Marine Corps in 2004. If you are 34 and motivated it can be done.
posted by mlis at 7:31 PM on February 14, 2005


Ah, chickenhawks...white feathers flying...amberglow seems to have ruffled a few of the perennial chickenhearts.

Now, as I recall vaguely, in days past, there were one or two chickenhawks who were oh so sensitive to the accurate observation that those most vocal in support of the war, from the draft-dodging Bush administration right on down to our resident MetaFilter brood hens, had little stomach for actually, you know, serving in that war. The excuses haven't changed much: bad backs, "inexperienced" (as if humping a .50 ever took much experience), "psychological factors" (color me surprised) or "I'm too important, valuable, and 30-commentariat-ish" -- i.e "let someone else do it."

'Course, these folks hated their hypocrisy thrown in their face, and so their response was the thoughtful "if you're against the war and you're not serving as a 'human shield' in Baghdad, then you have no room to talk."

Brilliant analogy. Equivalent, don't you see. If it were to actually ever happen -- that is, if you war enthusiasts finally ever put your money where your giblets are and enlist to support your gutless war instead of requiring others do so....you'd like us to believe that....bravely joining the most powerful, trillionest dollar military known to man, a military backed by the grossest national product and (once upon a fading time) full public support....enlisting if only in a support role....in the constitutionally recognized military.....rakin' in wages, medical care, food, housing, education grants...donning really keen camouflaged uniforms and little sparkly play ornament merit badges....receiving months of specialized combat training, transported by the most modern ships and aircraft, protected by [when your chickenhawk leaders fund it] Kevlar helmets and body armor, packing weapons that kill from horizon to horizon....all supported by bombers, fighters, helicopters, humvees, artillery, tanks, submarines, aircraft carriers, missiles, satellites....backed by "nucular weapons", yellow ribbons, the rubberstamping United Nations, and even Faux TeeVee ....you want us to believe that all that....get this...that's all morally...nay, intestinally equivalent to protestors illegally, at their own expense, crossing oceans and closed borders, offering themselves before the onslaught described above, heavily armored with....their full two millimeters of uncamouflaged dermis.

~guffaw~

Uh huh. And you folks who use that kind of argument actually wonder at all why people accurately label you "chickenhawks"?

No, really....you're right. Our mistake. There's no doubt about it. It should be "chickenshits."

Then, of course, you chickenthings claim you were really all fired up about (nonexistent) WMDs and (nonexistent) drones and (nonexistent) terrorist connections and (belatedly) "liberating the Iraqi people (from the tyrant we helped install)". Of course, you weren't really about anything except swallowing whatever lies you were told, like good little followers, but that's irrelevant. Iraq, via Our Hired Killers, is where it's at, right? You insist the streets of Baghdad are the crucial, flypapering battleground for freedom loving, terrorist hating people of all lands....and yet here you sit, exhorting others to do your fighting. Grow a spine, volunteer, go to Iraq, and knock yourself right out, if you think it's such a noble fucking cause, but stop sending others in your place.

Conversely, the anti-war movement is about liberating America (and the world) from the most immoral and moronic junta (and its ideas and supporters) since Viet-Johnson/Nixon. That battle happens to be right here, not in the streets of Baghdad. Unlike the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, I don't see anyone in the anti-war movement sending others to do their marching and fighting. Do let us know when the antiwar left starts sending the fathers of large families to do our marching and protesting, as you bravely do, allowing them to take your place in Iraq. You let us know when the antiwar left guts the National Guard as you do, because you won't back your brave, uh, talk.

And of course, war protesters have been presenting their same thin two millimeters of skin before the powerful all over the world for years now, fighting what was once a popular war, all while the 101st Fighting Keyboarders haven't exactly been enlisting in droves, have they? Nor have the chickenhawk/shits found the wherewithal to lay their skin on the line and mount much even in the way of counterprotest. Those streets are pretty scary. Safer just to blog for them, probably. All the while, public opinion swings toward what the antiwar crowd has been saying all along. 'Course, the millions who personally marched for peace through the streets, and the thousands who were arrested, have infinitely more guts the chickenhawks, who merely urge more killing in the streets of Iraq, from afar. 'Course, those who refused to buy into this shitty war from its inception have infinitely more guts than those who waffled and hemmed and hawed and even now can't really bring themselves to do anything more than bravely straddle every fence on the war they see. 'Course, those on the antiwar left were the ones who energized this nation against a sitting wartime President, while "moderates" donned heavy-duty kneepads, knelt, groveled, and assured another victory for Bush. 'Course, those of us who spoke out loudly and clearly against the war have considerably more guts than those on the right (along with many self-described "moderates") who couldn't refute anti-war arguments and instead sought to stifle dissent through cries of "traitor" and "America hater"...and even occasionally mounted the most banal, silly, ineffective attempts at intimidation (in some cases, like here on the web and even on dreary old MetaFilter, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders stooped to juvenile netstalking, posted personal information about posters with whom they disagreed, tried to enlist others to harass those with which they disagree, and so forth).

Chickenhawks. Chickenshits.

Plucked.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:34 AM on February 15, 2005


Amen
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:14 AM on February 15, 2005


it seems as if congress is OVERREPRESENTED
As a percent of the population, how many folks have the power to declare war?

do the most to benefit those causes they believe in by writing their blogs and appearing on TV.

I didn't buy that argument with Clinton either.
I have no problem with someone who supports the country in whatever way they wish. If you oppose the war - protest. If your for the war - fight. But DO SOMETHING.
While some folks who yell "fight" might feel their talents are beter suited elsewhere, I don't see it. If your smart, perhaps you can end the war faster. But I don't think anyone who wants to fight but won't fight themselves has the luxury of deciding the manner themselves.
Are they somehow better than the troops?

Nor am I derogating the wafflers, if you don't know, ok. Socrates says you are wise, who am I to argue.

But no one's efforts are superior to anothers in a war. That's the point. It is an utter waste of human life, it is tragic, it is horrible. Removing yourself from it yet urging men on to go into it is one of the most inhuman things I can think of, as opposed to even such an extreme a position as reveling in it.

Let's also pin feathers on heterosexual supporters of gay marriage

Oh Yeah? Well...oh, jperkins beat me to it.

Though I doubt that few here would meet Hitchens' argument on its face.

Lets see.... Start with - does he volunteer for anything war related? The VA is always looking for volunteers, there are plenty of vets organizations sending things out, etc, etc, ad infinitum. Does he in fact support the troops (with legislation, etc, etc,)

Do you want an all military controlled army?
I liked Heinlein's "Starship Troopers." I think public service - of some kind - is a good start.

Do you want only serving-military people being in Congress and in the White House?
That'd be great. I'd also like to have some protesters in there. Oh and some peace corps volunteers. Yeah, it'd be a nice break from the oil company execs.

In this age of terrorism, the civilian/combatant line is completely blurred, so why should combatant's only have the right to an opinion?
Scared of terrorists? Pick up a fucking weapon and stand a post. Don't want to do it yourself? Fine. Then don't ride my coattails. Know how much cheerleaders contribute to the final score? Know how good it makes me feel you were "all behind me" when men just as good as you died in service?


My wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified from utterance?...
Not able bodied (been brought up before) but again - she can volunteer or serve in the reserves. SOMETHING. She can ride a typewriter so some able bodied man can go and fight.

Do I turn to such a man for advice on how to deal with Saddam Hussein? The connection is not self-evident...Kerrey knows no more about Iraq than...
Yea, we gotta stop those generals from reading Caesar's commentaries on Gaul, n' stuff. Warfare is so different now - y'know, post 9/11. And I'm sure Bush was a middle eastern scholar before he got in. There would be no one around giving Kerry - or whoever was the head of the most powerful country on earth - reports or advice of any kind.

The clear suggestion is that there ought not to be civilian control of the military. What—have callow noncombatants giving brisk orders to grizzled soldiers?
Elimination of civilian oversight of the military does not equate to preventing loudmouths from urging other men to die for them. Those in govt. service - even BushCo - are serving. Whether their service is truly unselfish should be as apparent as whether you want someone guarding your six. Do I think there should be some sort of proof they have unselfish motives or are at least capable of unselfishness before they serve? Gee, yeah. Don't have a clue how to do it. So the implication is then what - change civilian oversight of the military without having a clue how to replace it or...not? Let's all guess.

Someone ought to point out that the term "chicken-hawk" originated as a particularly nasty term for a pederast or child molester
Irony. Gotta love it.

They signed up to a bargain when they joined, and the terms of the bargain are obedience to the decisions of a civilian president and Congress. Who would have this any other way?
Only an asshole that thinks like a fleshtrader would call it a "bargain'. I SWORE AN OATH. Bargain. Fuck you. Other than that, no I wouldn't have it any other way.


You can be sure that they would yell about "the politics of personal destruction" or perhaps "McCarthyism" if such an imputation was made.
Overextended analogy on what was a shaky point anyway.

Some of the best minds of World War II were civilian strategists and code-breakers, and some of the finest Resistance fighters were intellectuals who picked up weapons.
Gee, ya notice they were sorta - INVOLVED?

But now civilians are in the front line as never before, and we shall be needing a more rigorous terminology to reflect that dramatic fact.
Yeah. Perhaps I can enlist as a civilian and do nothing but be a target with a chip on my shoulder...oh, waitaminute.

There is no certain way of enforcing these distinctions morally, until the test actually comes.
Uh, Chris, the test has already come and gone. Others, seem to have not fought, but done something to materially support their position and those who shared their position. You'd had the chance to volunteer BEFORE. 'Other priorities' perhaps?

Patrick Henry could have been hung for his protest.
Sam Adams didn't serve in the colonial army, but he seems to have somehow got himself in harms way for his ideals.

These men and others like them shared the path with the men whose lives they involved themselves in. They fought for what they believed in and shared their experiance.

Many of those who currently are urging war on our country risk nothing. Neither their lives, fortunes, or honor. They involve themselves in the events they wish to see occur not one bit beyond putting pen to paper.
I respect a man who fights or doesn't for a principle, not based on political expediancy or material gain or worse, mere self-satisfaction. I understand those who are undecided, and I cannot blame or commend them.
But I abhor those who involve only their egos in their cause and we should weigh their opinions with that in mind.
They want to mouth off, they should kick in and ante up.

Can I make it any clearer?

"These are times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
Tom Paine

(Sorry if I went on a bit there - tried to cover most of it)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 PM on February 15, 2005


BTW Seeing this - I just might re-up.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:42 PM on February 15, 2005


well said, Smedley--sorry i didn't see it sooner.
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on February 18, 2005


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