Chickenhawks: What Makes Them Tick
Whatever you want to call them — Chickenhawks, Keyboard Warriors, the Chairborne Division — this species has been with us for a long time.
This article by Glenn Greenwald offers a glimpse into that pitiful mindset. There's nothing new about today’s armchair warrior who bravely fights Evil and Terror from behind his computer console. In 1776 Adam Smith wrote:
“In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies . . . .
They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war.”
Now fast forward to 1964 for this Harper’s Magazine essay: “The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point.”
And now we arrive at the 21st century for this New Yorker description of Joe Lieberman: “A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife…The film was ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, 'Yeah!' and 'All right!'"
It’s hard to picture that mealy-mouthed whiny-voiced little dweeb pumping his fist and yelling, but anyway…
As Greenwald says: “Far from being ‘psychologically exhausting,’ the Wars against the Most-Evil-Enemies-Ever that take place inside the head of the Mark Steyns and Joe Liebermans are exhilarating and fun, and they provide the weak, purposeless and powerless with their only opportunity to feel strong, purposeful and powerful.”
He also says: “This is why our nation's faux-warriors can never be reasoned with. It's why their greatest fear is having the Threats from Our Enemies be put into rational perspective, alongside all the other garden-variety manageable threats we face. To argue that they are exaggerating and melodramatizing the Enemy and the threat is to take away from them that which is most personally important to them.”
Kind of sad, isn't it. If you're a veteran and/or have lost family members or friends in one of America’s elective wars, there's a natural tendency to hate these sheltered keyboard know-it-alls. But maybe we should feel sorry for them instead.
cross-posted at Bring It On!