Aside from another definition that is not our subject today, a chicken hawk is defined in military circles as someone who talks a big game when it comes to military deployments, but who never wore the uniform. When it comes to Ukraine we are seeing a lot of chicken hawks.
I’m personally hearing it from both sides of the aisle on the Hill. Republicans want to look tough, Democrats loathe Russia (which is something relatively new for them). One Republican senator, who shall go nameless lest I lose my source, was a fine state Attorney General but now thinks he’s Patton. Of course, never served in the military.
Colleagues are hearing chicken hawks squawk at national security conferences. One DC analyst went so far as to call for NATO air strikes on Russia. That is batguano insane. But attendees gave her applause. One of those attendees called the Ukrainian situation “fun.” Neither the speaker or the funster has served.
Now, it’s not like perpetual civilians can’t speak out on national security and the military. But, as Margaret Thatcher told a liberal Cabinet member, “Stop spending someone else’s money. ” Thus, war whoops would be a whole lot more convincing coming from someone who attended not a conference at the Metropolitan Club, but who once attended basic training. When I went to Basic in 1980, I don’t remember my Vietnam vet drill sergeants being particularly hawkish. They had seen too much to blithely want more.
There are members of Congress like Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Dan Crenshaw, and others who know what it means to wear the uniform. Republican congressional candidates like Derrick Van Orden and Eli Crane know as well. They are strong on national security and counsel smart moves on Ukraine. But as far as I know, none of them advocate bombing Moscow just yet.
As for the chicken hawks who are now crowing (do hawks crow?) the loudest, I would say there is a credibility gap present there. Their mouths are writing checks they have refused to honor in their own lives. Apparently, their precious tails are too valuable to risk in uniform. Uh huh, right.
And behind the Resolute Desk? Let’s hope that senile bumbler doesn’t get us into a shooting war because he forgot to take his meds one afternoon. However, there is a constitutional remedy for a guy like Biden. Simply pass an amendment that to become Commander in Chief you must have served in the US military.
As chicken hawkery is nothing new, it would have prevented some presidents who ought to have been prevented. Think, no Biden, Obama, Clinton, and certain others. But we still get Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ike, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and both Bushes. Decent men all and passable presidents. Okay granted, we lose my favorite president, Cal Coolidge, and we keep Jimmy Carter. That is a steep though tolerable price to pay to rid the Oval Office, and perhaps some of Congress, of chicken hawks once and for all.