November 14, 2006

Crusade Over: Jesus Surrenders

The blogger that styles himself "Gen. JC Christian, patriot," surrendered intellectually early this morning, collapsing under the unbearable weight of his own ponderous ad hominem argument.

Apparently his disaffected Finchiness is highly disturbed--perhaps even gob-smacked--at this post, where I replicated an email I sent to the President, asking him to commit fully to winning the war in Iraq.

The good General was apparently unable to logically explain why we should engage in the rapid retreat favored by so many on the far left. Trying to explain an anti-humanitarian position that would lead to a far wider civil war or even genocide is obviously too difficult a task for a cynical faux diety. Much better to trot out the "chickenhawk" meme again instead.

We all know that one by now, don't we?

Essentially, the argument is that anyone who favors military action should not be taken seriously unless they themselves are willing to go and join the military. But the messenger is not the message, dear General, and this tired dismissal falls apart miserably when poked with even the smallest twig of logic.

Do you really want to make the argument, General, that you cannot comment upon or have an opinion on any subject in which you aren't a paid professional?

That would certainly clear up much of the war-related controversy in the blogosphere and the media. Very few liberals have the professional background General Christian would require for commenting on war-related issues, including the good General himself. Only soldiers would be able to discuss the war, and they overwhelmingly support continuing the mission.

General Christian's post wasn't meant to be fair, just dismissive, and it should hardly be surprising that someone so intellectually lazy would be caught in his own poorly-constructed trap.

Update: As so many of my liberal "guests" can't seem to keep a civil tongue in their heads, comments are now closed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 14, 2006 01:45 AM | TrackBack

Please see this post by Glenn Greenwald which explains the difference between a civilian hawk and a chickenhawk:

Posted by: moioci at November 14, 2006 02:32 AM

There ought to be a Godwin's Law corollary that anyone referring to Glenn Greenwald for support loses immediately. Can't you make up a losing argument on your own?

Posted by: Lee at November 14, 2006 03:32 AM

Greenwald is kinda right about this. It's not necessarily cowardly to oppose a war, if there isn't a chance you'd be taking part in it in the first place. However, if you oppose the war on terror, it may mean you're afraid of the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous for now at November 14, 2006 04:37 AM

Lee: "There ought to be a Godwin's Law corollary that anyone referring to Glenn Greenwald for support loses immediately."

(nice demonstration of apparent ignorance of what Godwin's Law actually says, btw) There should not be such a rule, for the simple reason that ad hominem attack is no replacement for substantive criticism.

Anonymous, I'm curious as to what truth I may be afraid of. As far as I'm concerned, If you support the war on terror, it may mean you've been sold a bill of goods.

Posted by: moioci at November 14, 2006 04:47 AM

moioci: The truth is that we can't co-exist with the Islamic world. It'd be nice if they abandoned the teachings of Qur'an, but that's not going to happen any time soon.

Posted by: Anonymous for now at November 14, 2006 05:08 AM

Essentially, the argument is that anyone who favors military action should not be taken seriously unless they themselves are willing to go and join the military. But the messenger is not the message…
-- CY

So… you're not willing to join the military?
How come?

Posted by: LGF at November 14, 2006 07:23 AM

The goal of Operation Yellow Elephant is mathmatically unworkable. We simply do not need everyone who supports the war over there. I estimated if we had every elligible man and woman over there who backed the war, we'd have 23 million troops on the ground.

Posted by: Adam Graham at November 14, 2006 08:44 AM

"Kevin Blackthorne" (posting as LGF),

I tired to send you an email, but it appears that you didn't bother to use a valid email address, so I'll post my response here instead.

* * *

Not that it matters, Kevin, but I intended to join the Marines after college as an officer, but after wrecking my knees bad enough to require surgery my sophomore year and having a significant amount of damaged cartilage removed, my hopes of joining this nation's military (or for that matter, even playing soccer again) were wrecked as well. Even when I went to a recruiter to join the New York Army National Guard (101 Cav, 1 Bn Co D, an M-1 Abrams tank unit located where I was living in Newburgh, New York) in the winter of 2004, the recruiter told me that getting an age waiver wouldn't be too hard, but getting over me knee problems was impossible, even with the slightly less stringent physical requirements of Guard and Reserve forces.

But that really doesn't matter, does it? The chickenhawk meme isn't about intellectual honesty or integrity, but is an attempt to silence those you disagree with using a specific kind of logical fallacy, the Ad hominem tu quoque.

For the chickenhawk meme to be valid, that "only those who would serve in the military have any right to support the war," you would also have to believe in a "chickendove" meme, that those who did not actively oppose the war, by volunteering to be "human shields" or the equivalent, have also have lost their right to speak out against the war. Interestingly enough, that meme is rarely if ever supported by top moderate or conservative bloggers, except as used to mock the intellectual dishonesty of the chickenhawk meme as applied by our critics such as the good General and equivalents.

The chickenhawk meme is shallow, self-serving, and anti-democratic. As someone who appears to be intelligent enough to string a series of words together into a coherent sentence, I would hope you'd be able to figure that out on your own.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 14, 2006 09:18 AM

…you would also have to believe in a "chickendove" meme, that those who did not actively oppose the war, by volunteering to be "human shields" or the equivalent, have also have lost their right to speak out against the war.

Sorry to hear about your weak knees. You could always serve as a human shield for the troops, you know. As additional armor on a humvee, or an IED detonator in a Yugo, or a yellow helmeted sniper decoy, you wouldn't need much leg strength.

Posted by: LGF at November 14, 2006 09:46 AM

Pretty convenient for you, those bad knees, eh CV? This war has left, and will continue to leave, corpses strewn all over the place, but yours won't be one of them, so what do you care?

I wonder what it's like to be so indifferent to the suffering and death of other people.

Posted by: Union Hillbilly at November 14, 2006 09:47 AM

Is a Right-winger actually chastising someone for purportedly using an ad hominem attack? That makes the General's post even funnier. That commenter's in this post dismiss someone for siting an argument by Glenn Greenwald is a bonus chuckle. That's intellectual laziness.

The "chickenhawk meme" is not, as you state, "only those who would serve in the military have any right to support the war." It is why, if you are of able body, would you not support in actions and deeds that which you support with words?

I'm sorry you didn't have the opportunity to serve. As a member of the New York National Guard let me say we would have welcomed you. I think it would have been an eye opening experience for you, and may have changed your outlook on the world a bit.

P.S. No more of the Cut and Run meme, please, after making such a strong argument against it here, I wouldn't want anyone accusing you of intellectual dishonesty or intellectual laziness.

Posted by: Fred at November 14, 2006 10:06 AM

Ragging the warhawks with the chickenhawk label is perfectly appropriate because for decades the right has espoused the false premise that those without military service were unqualified or suspect with respect to determining matters of war and peace. (A position, among many, that would horrify the founders.)

Since 2004, having smeared a decorated war hero and lionized a draft-dodging AWOL airman, the right can no longer pursue that line.

Calling you out as chickenhawks is a delicious case of hoisting you on your own petard!

Posted by: Kit at November 14, 2006 10:12 AM

If they can't fight then our weak-kneed sisters can send fabulous e-mails to the commander-in-chief. This is the least they can do. You go girl!

Posted by: donniej at November 14, 2006 10:25 AM

>where I replicated an email I sent to the President

Brilliant use of replication! You go, YC! Tell JC to stuff it under his beret!

Posted by: numberfivepencil at November 14, 2006 10:31 AM

Hey Yank-
I've been reading you for a while, and I say hell yeah!
I read the post by the "JC" guy, and hey, is he serious? Did you enlist in the armed forces?
I say again, Sir - HELL YEAH! That is serious business there, pal. Congratualtions are certainly order, and if you're ever in my neck of the woods, the beers are on me. It's about time to shut these "yellow Elephant" commies up, by having our own quit the "talking", and get in and start FIRING AWAY at America's enemies.
Sorry, I'm too old, but I say to you young fellas, under the age of 40 - LET'S GO! FOLLOW THE YANK, into America's MILITARY FORCES!
Bless you Yank.
ANd God Speed.

Posted by: D. at November 14, 2006 11:35 AM

CY, your knees may keep you from serving, but I don't think you should cheer yourself on for turning out a letter which urges the President to keep sending Americans to their death in a misbegotten and mismanaged war.

He can't make it work. You can't make it work. Bush senior can't make it work. The cost of not making it work is the suffering of hundreds of thousands of families here and in Iraq, and a failed state in sectarian turmoil.

The glorious 101st Fighting Keyboarders has rooted for a geopolitical disaster. At some time in the next six months, I expect the object of your idolatry to declare "victory" at the same time as he beats a hasty retreat, because his daddy and his daddy's buddies tell him to.

Dubya is so... over.

Posted by: Persistent Vegetarian at November 14, 2006 11:36 AM

Underlying that chickenhawk meme is the age-old racist/elitist mentality, in which the well-fed, well-heeled, white college republican is content with the less privileged, less white doing battle for him.

Truly, Mr. Owens could still do his part as a civilian contractor in the region- I don't think driving a truck or serving chow requires good knees.

Further, opposition to the fiasco in Iraq does not equal some sort of terrorist appeasement or an objection, in principle, to the war on terror. On the contrary, it conveys a desire to fight terrorism shrewdly, competently, seriously. These false dichotomies that the neo-cons make their living on- the "with us/against us" or
"sycophant/evildoer", sound good but signify only the intellectual laziness of those who use them.

Iraq isn't the War on Terror. Powell's Pottery Barn rule still applies when your unattended, idiot child- or president- wrecks the joint playing Army. A redeployment of troops to the North, where they would stand on call, while the Sunnis and Shias worked it out for themselves, ready to intervene in the case of ethnic cleansing, is about as good as it's likely to get.

Posted by: raindogzilla at November 14, 2006 11:53 AM

If the War is the most important thing ever, if Western Civilization hangs in the balance, if the Armed Forces have to spend $$$millions on advertising to recruit the troops, if the Army is making quota by lowering standards (the percentage of those enlisting in the lowest mental categories CAT IIIB-IV is increasing), and if you believe this and are of age (up to 42, now) then why haven't you enlisted?

What "other priorities" could be more important?

Posted by: observer 5 at November 14, 2006 12:14 PM

It isn't rational to require different qualifications for different sides of the same question. The mirror of the chickenhawk meme is that if you have no military service you don't have the qualifications to decide war is not necessary. Wouldn't you want a real doctor to tell you surgery is NOT necessary?

Read any of these "Why aren't YOU..." posts in the whiny voice of ten year old on the playground. These are not serious people.

Posted by: Lee at November 14, 2006 12:53 PM

The Chicken Hawk label perfectly fits some Iraq war supporters...doesn't fit other supporters...but it does fit some.

There are people for the war ...

And then there are people FOR THE WAR!

These are the people violently against anyone that disagrees with them. They often use pejoratives like "Libs" and "Dems" and if you disagree with them about the war they will tell you that you should leave America. "Some' of these people are least the ones that could go and fight the war.

Of course besides the "Get out of the country" crowd there are the legacy Chickenhawks from Vietnam...many of the people that pushed us into Iraq, Bush, Chenney, Ashcroft, Limbaugh, Gingrich etc. All men that COULD have gone to Vietnam to fight in a war they supported but would NOT by choice. Again they are all for war when they or thier family will not pay a price.

(and don't even start with the Bush served crap...he didn't, his unit had other politician's sons and Pro-football players and everyone knew the deal was the unit was a haven from the draft...that's not even a question.) Bush's "Service" was in fact to AVOID war and serve himself...NOT to serve the country.

The last group for the Chickenhawk lable are many of the College Republicans that zealously support the war but will not serve. Funny that these guys want to call anti-war people "terrorist sympathizers" and "cowards' etc. yet get very upset when they get accuratly labled a Chickenhawk.

Considering what this war is doing to many American families, and what it's costing the US in borrowed money and international prestiege I think these young Conservatives can toughen up and take the label they so richly deserve.

So if the shoe fits wear it...if it doesn't shrug it off.


Posted by: Bobo at November 14, 2006 02:30 PM