Roger L. Simon

Confessions of a Chickenhawk on Memorial Day Weekend

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Yes, I am a Chickenhawk. Since my last fight – a brief one in the schoolyard in the seventh grade, which I lost – I have never fought, not even once.

I never joined the Army, wouldn’t have thought of it, in fact did everything I could to avoid the draft during Vietnam short of burning my draft card because … I was too chicken even to do that (there … I’ve said it!).

But wait, as they say, there’s more.

When I so much as see violence in the street I do my best to avoid it. Once, sitting on a restaurant patio in Venice CA, when I witnessed some gangbangers bashing in the face of a member of another gang, I bolted back inside the restaurant like the Road Runner, ostensibly to make sure someone was “calling the cops,” but really because I was scared out of my knickers they’d beat the crap out of me. On other occasions I have crossed the street when I have seen scary characters coming down the sidewalk, sometimes two or three blocks off. I don’t go too close to the weight lifters on Muscle Beach and I generally steer clear of bikers. I don’t even own a gun and, although the Second Amendment makes some sense to me, I have never seriously considered buying one.

My family’s military history isn’t very distinguished either. My father served in World War II, but was sick most of the time and never left the US. An uncle of mine went to West Point but dropped out after two years.

In much more recent times, I have been invited, once or twice, to visit Iraq to report on the situation over there but declined, saying I have a wife and eight-year old daughter (don’t our troops?) and that didn’t allow me to go. Actually I was thinking “no-way-hosay-I-don’t-want-be shot.”

But then I wondered. Maybe I would go … Now … If I were single. And therein lies the reason for this post: More than anyone I can think of, this onetime war protester, who had pacifism drummed into his head as child by his mother, admires the US troops. Not only are they defending our county, they are defending the best of our civilization. They are more than our hope. They are humanity’s hope, even if some sections of our body politic and media do not want to admit it.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if … just like us “Off the Pig” hippies calling the cops in days of yore when our houses were broken into … those same anti-war “progressives” will soon be screaming bloody murder for the help of that military to whom they now pay only lip service. That would be poetic justice, but much as I might enjoy it, I sincerely hope that it is justice that doesn’t have to be served. And if it isn’t, it will be, ironically, because of our military.

UPDATE: Something you can do for our military on Memorial Day – donate your frequent flier miles to wounded soldiers. [Full disclosure: I am donating some, not all, of mine.]