Sunday, October 13, 2002

I mentioned in the previous posting that charges of "chickenhawk" by leftists were leveled against President Bush. In this opinion piece from the San Jose Mercury News, Democratic Congressman Pete Stark writes:

Let us not forget that our president -- our commander in chief -- has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. He admits that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height of that conflict in 1968 he didn't notice "any heavy stuff going on.''

According to this article that does not show President Bush is the most positive light, Bush flew an F-102 fighter-interceptor in the Texas Air National Guard after receiving his commission in 1968. So Bush served as a combat pilot in the Texas National Guard. Unlike today when reservists and guardsmen are regularly called to active duty to serve in combat zones, serving in the National Guard during the Vietnam War may have been a good way of avoiding combat in Vietnam. Even still, I can think of a lot better ways to avoid combat than to be a combat pilot with the possibility of being called to active duty.

As a Harvard graduate, Al Gore was somehow able to avoid a commission and probably a assignment as a platoon commander, and instead enlisted to become a military journalist in Vietnam. California governor Gray Davis was probably a military lawyer in Vietnam. Being a military journalist or lawyer in Vietnam were probably safer than being a combat jet pilot in America. And what about Pete Stark? According to his bio, he was in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1957. Stark's "experience with, or knowledge of, war"? Apparently zero. I guess he isn't qualified to make decisions on matters of war then either.

The more I think about the "chickenhawk" label, the more I realize I don't get it. I don't understand the underlying principle of calling someone a "chickenhawk." I realize it is a personal attack, but I don't understand anything beyond that. Since these attacks have been directed at President Bush, leftists cannot be saying military experience is a necessary qualification of making political decisions to go to war. The leftists are saying combat experience is a necessary qualification of making political decisions to go to war. Think about what that means.

The left is arguing that a president and senior civilian defense officials must have combat experience to be qualified to make decisions of war. For the sake of consistency, I think making a political decision not to go to war is a military decision, and therefore a lack of combat experience would disqualify people from objecting to war. But let's just say the left is arguing that a pro-war decision cannot be made without combat experience. What does that mean?
1. America could not elect presidents without combat experience, because America would be a sitting duck for attacks. A president without combat experience would not have the necessarily qualifications to order an attack repulsed or retaliation of any kind. Therefore, America could only elect president with combat experience. This means:

2. America could not elect women, homosexuals, certain religious adherents, the obese, the disabled, or any other person who was disqualified from military service or combat duty to be president.

3. America would have to launch a war every ten years of so to ensure a sizable pool of combat-experienced presidential candidates.

4. Now that wars are fought and won within weeks, plans for wars would have to be announced approximately a year in advance to allow future presidential candidates an opportunity to receive the standard military training that would qualify them to be in combat.

5. All future presidential candidates would have to be granted their requests for combat assignments.

6. All future presidential candidates would have to actually see combat. Wars and battles would have to be prolonged to ensure all future presidential candidates received the opportunity to shoot at enemy combatants and to be shot at by enemy combatants.

This is the world the leftists envision for America.