Of Agency and of Chickenhawkism at The DailyKos

I peruse the DailyKos occasionally to see the decadent left in action. This morning I was struck by this post about the immorality of having American men and women enlisting in our armed forces to fight in a war we are engaged in.

She writes:
“It is difficult for me not to consider the recruitment tactics as brainwashing based on the things my boys told me before they left this last spring.”

I despise when people view the military of our country as victims. They are described as victims of war, of evil recruiters, “brainwashing”, of chickenhawks, of the right, etc. This argument is wrong because it denies our volunteers agency. We deny that they, as citizens, decided that it was worth their while to take a few years of their life and do some service for country. They further deny their deeds under fire. In their world, the only songs sung for these soldiers and Marines are the songs of the funeral. These lamentations are true, and are a part of the experience of a society at war. But the other parts of the experience are forgotten: Their songs of bravery, courage, and stoic hardness are left unsung. Unsung, their deeds pass from memory and are ultimately forgotten. I wrote more about this here.

She continues:
“I am not anti-military; my father and husband are veterans, my brother is active duty (and thank god has survived 3 deployments since 9/11). But I am anti-occupation and I know, even if my 18 year old students don’t, that they will be sent to the front lines of this heinous hellhole we are continuing to perpetuate. Will they survive until their 19th birthdays? I can barely stand to think of it.”

Ok…so she “supports the troops”, just not the mission. Never mind that it’s difficult to support troops when they are in a fighting retreat because the home front lost nerve.

By the way, I’m not anti-gay. I have lots of gay friends. My dog is gay. I just don’t like what gays do late at night in public parks. (Actually, I am not really anti-gay. I just think it’s interesting to make a parallel argument).

She continues:
“Will they survive until their 19th birthdays? I can barely stand to think of it.”

Odds are that they will. And their 20th, 30th, and 40th. There is a view in the home front that Iraq is a meat-grinder. And in some ways, I suppose the argument can be made, but certainly not in military terms, which is, after all, what we’re talking about.

The Battle of Tarawa, in 1943, saw the Marines suffer some 1,001 killed in the space of three days. A further 2,296 Marines would be wounded due to enemy action. This was in a country with a population less than half the size of the current United States. But that generation was not soft as most Americans are today, and coming out of the Great Depression, they certainly were not decadent.

Thus far we have seen some 4,000 killed in the space of 6 years of war. This is certainly tragic, but not a reason to quit fighting. Mind you, there is an enemy out there who would like nothing more than to see green flags of Islam flying over the West, and see secularists and Christians, not to mention Jews, destroyed and banished from the living. I suppose it’s easy to forget that when we’re worried about Gaia and whatnot.

She writes:
“I weep for our democracy when the boys with means who want to be leaders in the Republican party eat up and spout back out the propaganda of an illegal and immoral occupation while the poor boys get seduced by the same propaganda – and both groups lose their way.”

I weep for our democracy when the men of our country think they owe nothing to their country, to their fellow citizens, and to their fathers and mothers.

Here she makes a variant of the Chickenhawk argument, saying that men of means who grow up to be Republicans have no right to “support the troops” because they themselves do not serve. I grew up as a child of means. I went to an elite university. My parents are conservatives, as am I. My father is a C-level executive for a mid-size multi-national corporation. I chose a commission in the Marines. So, on a personal level, her argument is in shambles.

I don’t buy chickenhawk arguments when they are brought up, because generally the people who complain of chickenhawk policy are people who themselves have not served. They often say that the chickenhawks cannot be truly pro-war because they have not seen the suffering of service. Does the reverse argument hold true? Are only military people allowed to comment on issues of war and peace? No…no peacenik would renounce their capacity to discuss war, yet they generally have not served either.

Really, the chickenhawk argument is just the reverse of the “Support the Troops” folks, but has the same effect: It prevents frank and open discussion, and is anti-democratic, as all citizens are expected to have opinions on war and peace, whether they have escaped service or not.

She finally finishes:
“The only difference is the poor boys are more likely to die before they become men.”

Does she then support a draft to relieve our society of chickenhawks, and to spread more equally the burdens of defense. Something tells me the answer is “no.”

Hypocrite.

Advertisements

One Response to Of Agency and of Chickenhawkism at The DailyKos

  1. Thirtyseven says:

    “I despise when people view the military of our country as victims. They are described as victims of war, of evil recruiters, “brainwashing”, of chickenhawks, of the right, etc. This argument is wrong because it denies our volunteers agency. We deny that they, as citizens, decided that it was worth their while to take a few years of their life and do some service for country.”

    That was a really great passage — I’m glad I found this site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: