Deconstructing the chicken hawk meme
One of the enduring memories of this period in history will be the cry of "chickenhawk" directed at those who support the war. It is helpful, then, to remember that some members of Congress put their own children's lives on the line when they voted for the war. The comments of one child, Brooks Johnson, 32, son of Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, are especially apropos.
His dad voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq with a heavy heart; Brooks, he knew, was likely to go to Iraq.What a great country this would be if everyone adopted the attitude of the Johnsons.
"I talked to Brooks prior to this vote and his response was, 'Dad, you do what is right for the country and I'll do what is right as a soldier,"' Johnson recalled. "I said on the (Senate) floor that it's very likely I would be sending my own son into combat."
Not all lawmakers with children serving in the armed forces were willing to discuss the overseas deployments.
The cry of "chickenhawk" is meant to denigrate, yet it ignores the fact that many of us have served our country in times of war and understand exactly what sacrifice means. Yet we support the war because the outcome will be a better world, just as it would have been had we stayed in Vietnam and finished the job.
Instead, we abandoned Vietnam and millions of people died. Now we have stayed the course in Iraq and Afghanistan and millions of people have been freed. The contrast could not be more stark, the refutation of the anti-war position no more complete. Yet some refuse to acknowledge the truth, so set are they in their position of ignorance.