Michael Totten

Careful What You Wish For

It’s hardly worth arguing with a person who bandies about the term “chickenhawk.” I would like to know, though, how many of those people supported the invasion of Afghanistan from the sidelines. My guess is most of them did — so they’re “chickenhawks,” too. If they aren’t chickenhawks then they’re hopelessly pacifist and out of step with at least 90 percent of Americans.
Anyway, they have something in common with Cindy Sheehan’s booster club. (In large part that’s because they tend to be the same people.) Apparently it hasn’t occurred to them that the results of the supposedly “progressive” idea that only military veterans and families of lost soldiers should decide foreign policy would produce a freakish result that’s way too right-wing for even the most hard-line American right-wingers. Hitchens explains:

What do these people imagine that they are demanding? Would they like a referendum to be held, among the relatives of the fallen in Iraq, to determine the future conduct of the war? I think I can promise them that they would heavily lose such a vote. But what if the right wing were also to demand such a vote and the “absolute moral authority” that supposedly goes with it?

One of three things could then happen. The ultra-right anti-Zionist forces of David Duke and Patrick J. Buchanan, both of whom approvingly speak of Ms. Sheehan’s popular groundswell, would still lose the vote. So would the media fools who semi-automatically identify Sheehan and her LaRouche-like drivel with the “left” or “progressive” forces. This would leave us with a random pseudo-majority, made up of veterans and their relatives. Who wants this to be the group that decides? One might as well live in a populist, jingoist banana republic. Never mind the Constitution, or even the War Powers Act. Only victims and martyrs can decide! Get ready to gather under the balcony of a leader who speaks rotundly of such glory.

UPDATE: There’s an argument in the comments about whether the “chickenhawk” brigade and their fellow travelers really want to install a veteran’s foreign policy junta. Of course they do not. And that’s the point. It behooves them to stop arguing as though they did.
They apparently don’t see the logic. But I’ll bet if right-wing warmongers said civilians ought to stay out of foreign policy arguments because they lacked courage and moral authority, the logical end-point of that position would be a little more clear.