Damn This Guy Is Good: On Chickenhawks, Chickens, and Liberals


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
A surprising number of links. ;)


Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Posted by Dean Barnett | 4:23 PM

Here’s the new left wing meme that I’ve seen bubbling up through the left wing blogosphere and even in the comments section on HughHewitt.com: Conservatives are chickens, not just chickenhawks. Those who advocate a muscular foreign policy do so because we’re hiding under our desks, cowering before the Islamist menace.

The lamentably prolific Glenn Greenwald summed up this line of thinking over the weekend:

The most striking irony is this. So much of the neoconservative warrior cries are built on an ethos of deep fear, of exactly the desperate desire to be protected and saved which Steyn and company claim is the hallmark of the girlish, soul-less West. As they strike the warrior pose, they are desperately willing, even eager, to fundamentally change the character and principles of our republic and to sacrifice the core liberties which define it because they are scared and want, more than anything else, to be protected.

Mark Steyn is a favorite around here, so naturally a personal insult hurled in his direction by an obstreperous blogger will get on the fighting side of me and Hugh. Before getting into the substance of Greenwald’s comments, I’d like to acknowledge how ludicrously misguided the ad hominem nature of his attack is.

Whether Mark Steyn is Rambo with a typewriter or in fact a girlish fraidy-cat as Greenwald inveighs has nothing to do with nothing. This is the most infuriating aspect of dealing with left wing bloggers – they stubbornly cling to the notion that personally tearing down people that they disagree with will advance their own ideas. Such thinking is foolishness in action, and does nothing but indulge their seemingly insatiable appetite for pettiness.

The right wing blogosphere is made up all sorts of silly people. One fashions himself some sort of deity; another sports a silly fedora (but it looks good on him); still a third vacillated a year deciding whether or not to use a pseudonym. But these personal quirks don’t make our ideas any less powerful. Surely Greenwald wouldn’t think a personal attack on him would do anything to harm the ideas in his best-selling book. Quite the contrary, the attacker would more likely discredit himself and in so doing ensure his argument’s instant dismissal.

SO ENOUGH ABOUT THE STYLE of Greenwald’s attack. What about the substance?

Here’s where we get into the real madness behind this latest meme. Anyone who is not frightened by the Islamist threat is either ignorant or foolish. If someone wants to write a piece about why this threat doesn’t create the grounds for fully justified fear, I encourage them to do so on their own blog. If it’s especially idiotic, I’ll probably link to it.

The problem for some left-wing scribes I suspect comes from a lack of life experience. Feeling that they are the side of the political debate that has traditionally been viewed as the side lacking courage, they try to butch up by showing their fearlessness compared to conservatives who “are scared and want, more than anything else, to be protected.”

This tack betrays a profound ignorance on serious matters. Anyone who’s ever had anything to be really fearful about will tell you that courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. Someone who walks into a hospital and receives a grim diagnosis and feels no fear is either dysfunctional or a fool. The same goes for someone who does the research regarding the threat posed by Radical Islam and emerges fearless.

ON A SUNDAY NIGHT IN 1983, ABC SHOWED THE controversial TV movie “The Day After” which depicted life in Lawrence, Kansas after nuclear Armageddon. (Amazingly, it was even worse than life in Lawrence before the bombs fell.)

The movie was a sensation. Tens of millions of people who had never given much thought to nuclear war decided that we had to something about this threat. The unilateral nuclear disarmament movement gained steam; Ronald Reagan grew increasingly demonized by domestic and European liberals. Others held firm and said that the best way to ensure peace was through strength.

I was a junior in high school when “The Day After” aired. The next day, normal class events were cancelled so we could discuss the film in Math, Chemistry, etc under the caring direction of our largely liberal faculty. I weighed in with my Reagan supporting views, even though I had watched the Bruins game the night before rather than the dreary docudrama. My teachers were outraged, asking how I could even have the audacity to weigh in on the matter without having first seen this important film.

I told them that long before last night, the thought of a nuclear holocaust had scared me. I didn’t need a TV movie to reinforce the notion that such an event must not occur. And I had reached my conclusions about how to avoid a nuclear holocaust rationally, rather than emotionally.

My major concern with our modern left is they haven’t even begun thinking about the real threat that radical Islam poses. Really now – they can’t even bring themselves to mention the term “Radical Islam,” can they?

So when a dirty bomb explodes in Manhattan or a mushroom cloud appears above Atlanta, their sole reaction will be an emotional one, probably one that expresses rage at the president while foregoing anything remotely constructive. While they should be thinking about these matters and how to prevent them, they instead do little more than indulge their fondness for juvenile insults and partisan gamesmanship.

UPDATE: Not that we should dignify Greenwald's insults with a response, but several emailers point out that Steyn traveled to Iraq (Ramadi) and dined alone in a cafe shortly after the invasion. When Greenwald (or even one of his sock-puppets) does the same, then he'll have more solid ground to stand on when questioning another's manliness.

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