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Thread: Why people become chickenhawks

  1. #1

    Why people become chickenhawks

    A new study sheds light on why non-veterans like Cheney and Limbaugh are such avid militarists

    [IMG]http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/06/29/chickenhawk_origins/md_horiz.jpg[/IMG]



    [QUOTE]Since at least the Iraq War if not earlier, chickenhawkery has been a hallmark of American politics. From the 101st Fighting Keyboarders to the professional Draft-Dodging Neoconservatives to the Self-Labeled "Liberal Hawks" who disproportionately populate Washington green rooms, our nation's scowling legion of chickenhawks has sculpted a new archetype -- that of the chest-thumping pundit/politician who aggressively demands others fight and die in wars, but who himself either refuses to enlist or fled the battlefield when his country called.

    What makes chickenhawkery such a distinctly American phenomenon is our culture's coupling of aggressive militarism with a lack of anything even resembling shared sacrifice. Quite bizarrely, we celebrate those who rhetorically promote wars as "tough" and "strong" without requiring those very warmongers to walk their talk. Shielded from any personal risk of injury or death, the chickenhawk is thus permitted to wrap himself in an American flag and goose step his way through television studios as the alleged personification of patriotic bravery.

    For years, chickenhawkery's roots in this culture of unshared sacrifice have been a matter of theory -- albeit a logical, well-grounded theory. But now, thanks to a comprehensive new study, we have concrete data underscoring the hypothesis. It suggests that many Americans' aggressively pro-war ideology may fundamentally rely on their being physically shielded/disconnected from the human cost of war.

    To document this connection, Columbia's Robert Erikson and University of California at Berkeley's Laura Stoker went back to the Vietnam War -- the last time Americans faced wartime conscription. The researchers analyzed data from the Jennings-Niemi Political Socialization Study of college-bound high schoolers and subsequent interviews of those same high-schoolers from 1965 onward. In the process, they discovered that men holding low draft lottery numbers (and therefore more at risk of being drafted into combat) "became more anti-war, more liberal, and more Democratic in their voting compared to those whose high numbers protected them from the draft." Importantly, for these men "lottery number was a stronger influence on their political outlook than their late-childhood party identification." That influence transcended previous party affiliation and made a permanent impact on their politics into adulthood.

    "Men with vulnerable numbers show evidence of totally rethinking their partisanship in response to the threat of the draft," the researchers report. "Republicans in the group abandoned their party with unusual frequency, while even Democrats moved toward the independent category with slightly greater frequency than others."

    By contrast, "for men with safe lottery numbers, the continuity of party identification" -- and militarist ideology -- "was relatively unaffected by the draft."

    Reporting on the study, Miller-McCune notes:

    Why did the prospect of being drafted make such a strong and lasting impact on the men's ideological outlook? Erikson and Stoker suggest this may be a case of self-interest trumping abstract ideas. They note that the risk of being drafted provoked intense "anxiety and fear," which caused many to rethink previously held beliefs, either as a direct emotional response or because it prompted them to get better informed.

    This part of the study about "self-interest" is almost certainly the key factor in two generations' worth of high-profile chickenhawkery.

    For chickenhawks like Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney who grew up during Vietnam conscription, deft draft-dodging provided them safety and psychological distance from bloodshed. As the data show, compared to draftees, that distance likely made them feel comfortable demanding other people face death on the battlefield, knowing that they wouldn't face such a fate themselves. Put another way, having avoided the draft, there was no "self-interest" in opposing war -- indeed, there was only self-interest in promoting wars in a media and political environment that increasingly rewarded rank bellicosity.

    For younger, post-Vietnam-era chickenhawks (think, say, the chipper lily-white warmongers who populate the editorial staff of tiny-circulation elite Washington magazines like the National Review, New Republic and Weekly Standard) the same dynamic remained. Despite living in an era of "persistent conflict," these precocious youngsters never faced a lottery or draft (or even the threat of a modest tax hike!). So, just like their older brethren, their incessant demand that other people go off to die in wars never comes with even the vague possibility that the chickenhawks themselves will have to leave their comfortable D.C. offices and face the bloodshed they so vehemently endorse. And as the data show, without such a possibility, people seem far more supportive of militarism. That's especially true for chickenhawks in today's war-glorifying media, where "self-interest" is now defined as warmongering, not the opposite.

    No doubt, the antiwar voices who have recently argued for the reinstatement of a draft will find fuel in this Berkeley/Columbia report. They argue that viscerally connecting the entire nation to the blood-and-guts consequences of war will make the nation less reflexively supportive of war -- and the new data substantively supports that assertion. That's why in the midst of (at least) three U.S. military occupations, this report is almost sure to be ignored by our chickenhawk-dominated political class -- because it too explicitly exposes the selfish, self-centered and abhorrent roots of the chickenhawk ethos that now plays such an integral role in perpetuating a state of Endless War.

    David Sirota is a best-selling author of the new book "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado. E-mail him at [email]ds@davidsirota.com[/email], follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at [url]www.davidsirota.com[/url]. More: David Sirota[/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/06/29/chickenhawk_origins/index.html[/url]

  2. #2
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    But the majority of today's warriors lean right. They liked Bush and were in full support of invading Iraq, for the most part. So the hypothesis that those in harm's way would vote for leadership that would be less likely to put them in harm's way is lacking. The study, by going back to the draft days of Vietnam reflects poorly on modern realities.

    As one who served in the peaceful mid 90s (no combat for me) I would also say no to there being a draft again. I would hate to have to serve alongside people who really didn't want to be there.

    I have no insight on the mindset of the leader/politicians though. I think "chickenhawk" is an after the fact name you give someone you disagree with. If you disagreed with Bush Sr, you couldn't call him a chickenhawk but could find some other insulting term. After all wasn't FDR a ChickenHawk? I try not to get caught up in thinking it is too bad that we never had a Vietnam Vet President. We got close with Kerry and McCain (even Gore). In 2012, if it matters to you, Rick Perry and Ron Paul are the only candidates that served though I don't think either was in Vietnam or combat elsewhere.

  3. #3
    The study is not about the War Fighters, it is about those that cry for war and do not desire to participate in the horror of the combat, like Cheney and Limbaugh.

    Had they served via a draft, the chances appear, as per the study, they would be less likely to call for war. As long as they do not have any stake in this outside of running their mouths or ordering others off to the FEBA, they will with impunity.

    True, a great deal of the military is right wing or can be considered conservative.

    Ron Paul gets the most money of all the candidates from the military

  4. #4
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    So only people who have been in combat should decide if the US should use military force at any time and place around the world?

    Just trying to get my head wrapped around your rationale.

  5. #5
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    I think the president should be on a horse on the front lines, charging toward the enemy and swinging a sword screaming USA, USA, USA!!!

    Oh, and people who think we should all be able to eat should STFU until they become farmers for four years.

    And people who like to be able to drive to work should put four years in at the Ford factory in Detroit.

    Yeah, this is a great argument.

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=Piper;4122796]So only people who have been in combat should decide if the US should use military force at any time and place around the world?

    Just trying to get my head wrapped around your rationale.[/QUOTE]

    Certainly not. However, if one is going to scream for war, particularly unjust wars, then they should be prepared to stand and fight for what they believe in

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=shakin318;4122799]I think the president should be on a horse on the front lines, charging toward the enemy and swinging a sword screaming USA, USA, USA!!!

    Oh, and people who think we should all be able to eat should STFU until they become farmers for four years.

    And people who like to be able to drive to work should put four years in at the Ford factory in Detroit.

    Yeah, this is a great argument.[/QUOTE]

    Ah the war according to Wall Street.

  8. #8
    i dont think it's useful to look at the people making the decisions and questioning the people

    People make mistakes but any decent military scientist can look an operation and tell whether it's a good idea, politics be damned.

    a child who just got finished watching "A Princess Bride" knows a land war in Asia is dumb. it's a cliche for a reason.

    we should look at the conflicts, in and of their own merit. We should understand that some wars are a good idea and others aren't.


    unless we are operating on some other dynamic where a failed war is an acceptable outcome. I don't think our soldiers should ever experience failure.
    Last edited by bitonti; 08-30-2011 at 10:09 PM.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=bitonti;4122939]i dont think it's useful to look at the people making the decisions and questioning the people

    People make mistakes but any decent military scientist can look an operation and tell whether it's a good idea, politics be damned.

    a child who just got finished watching "A Princess Bride" knows a land war in Asia is dumb. it's a cliche for a reason.

    we should look at the conflicts, in and of their own merit. We should understand that some wars are a good idea and others aren't.


    unless we are operating on some other dynamic where a failed war is an acceptable outcome. I don't think our soldiers should ever experience failure.[/QUOTE]

    Though I rarely respond in the politickles forum, I do read very much of it...and this is one of the few truly unilateral posts I've seen from anyone in these forums...and it's coming from someone who is a known left-winger, and someone who's thoughts I don't often find myself agreeing with.

    Excellent post.

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4122878]Certainly not. However, if one is going to scream for war, particularly unjust wars, then they should be prepared to stand and fight for what they believe in[/QUOTE]

    So when exactly did Rambo-bama parachute into Libya?

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=shakin318;4123051]So when exactly did Rambo-bama parachute into Libya?[/QUOTE]

    I have never supported that war

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4122878]Certainly not. However, if one is going to scream for war, particularly unjust wars, then they should be prepared to stand and fight for what they believe in[/QUOTE]

    Do you really believe that any President has made the conscious decision to engage in a war they believed was unjust?

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=Piper;4123166]Do you really believe that any President has made the conscious decision to engage in a war they believed was unjust?[/QUOTE]

    Vice-President? Yes.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4120324]A new study sheds light on why non-veterans like Cheney and Limbaugh are such avid militarists

    [IMG]http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/06/29/chickenhawk_origins/md_horiz.jpg[/IMG]





    [url]http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/06/29/chickenhawk_origins/index.html[/url][/QUOTE]

    They talk tough....and make our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, back it up.

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3p9y_OEAdc&feature=player_embedded[/url]

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    [QUOTE=cr726;4123205]Vice-President? Yes.[/QUOTE]

    Of course YOU do.

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4123122]I have never supported that war[/QUOTE]

    We're not talking about you. You started a thread mocking politicians for sending troops into places they don't belong, without having the balls to go all in themselves.

    So I'll wait for you to trash Obama and his administration as soundly as you're trashing Cheney.

    Or you could just admit to being pwned as a cherry-picking hypocrite and we can leave it at that.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;4123209]They talk tough....and make our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, back it up.

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3p9y_OEAdc&feature=player_embedded[/url][/QUOTE]

    So when is Obama sending Sasha and Malia into Libya?

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=shakin318;4123224]So when is Obama sending Sasha and Malia into Libya?[/QUOTE]

    How many U.S. soldiers are currently fighting in Libya?

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=shakin318;4123220]We're not talking about you. You started a thread mocking politicians for sending troops into places they don't belong, without having the balls to go all in themselves.

    So I'll wait for you to trash Obama and his administration as soundly as you're trashing Cheney.

    Or you could just admit to being pwned as a cherry-picking hypocrite and we can leave it at that.[/QUOTE]


    Bill Clinton classified 2-S on November 17, 1964
    Bill Clinton reclassified 1-A on March 20, 1968
    Bill Clinton ordered to report for induction on July 28, 1969
    Bill Clinton [B]dishonors order to report and is not inducted into the military [/B]Bill Clinton reclassified 1-D after enlisting in the United States Army Reserves on August 07,1969 under authority of Colonel E. Holmes.
    Clinton signs enlistment papers and takes oath of enlistment
    Bill Clinton [B]fails to report to his duty[/B] station at the University of Arkansas ROTC, September 1969




    August 1969: Enlisted at the Newark, New Jersey recruiting office.
    August to October 1969: 8 weeks of basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey
    Late October 1969 to December 1970: Fort Rucker, Alabama, on-the-job occupational training at the Army Flier newspaper.
    January 1971 to May 1971:[B] field reporter in Vietnam (5 months) [/B], part of the 20th Engineer Brigade, stationed primarily at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon.
    May 24, 1971: Discharged, after granting of routine early discharge request, as part of general troop reductions.

  20. #20
    How many soldiers are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far as Libya according to Obama none. But who knows!

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