by Jacob G. Hornberger
I find chicken-hawks to be an interesting group of people. They’re calling on the U.S. government to wage war on Iran, just as they did with Iraq. Yet, at the same time, they steadfastly refuse to join the U.S. Armed Forces to go fight against Iran, just as they were steadfastly unwilling to do so in the war on Iraq.
Suppose the United States were suddenly attacked and invaded by the Chinese army. No one would have to conscript me to join the armed forces or some private militia group. I would volunteer to fight and it wouldn’t make any difference to me that I was 61 years old rather than 19. The way I figure it is that I would be defending my country, my relatives, my friends, and my countrymen from brutal communist aggressors, invaders, and occupiers who would be killing, maiming, torturing, raping, and executing Americans in their quest to conquer and subjugate our country.
If that were to happen, however, unfortunately the chicken-hawks wouldn’t be fighting alongside those of us who were resisting the communist invasion of our country. They would be staying at home with their laptops, writing op-eds exhorting the rest of us to fight hard and telling the world how tough America is.
How do we know that the chicken-hawks would be sitting on the sidelines in such a war? Because that’s precisely what they are doing with respect to a war with Iran and what they did with respect to the war on Iraq.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not willing to risk my life in a war on Iran, just as I wasn’t willing to do so in the war on Iraq. But I’m in a totally different position from the chicken-hawks. The way I see it, a war on Iran would be just another imperialist regime-change operation, just as the Iraq war was. For me, all the pronouncements about WMDs and mushroom clouds are nothing more than a device on the part of the Empire to frighten people into supporting another imperialist, undeclared war of aggression against a country that has never attacked the United States.
In my opinion, a person would have to be an idiot to risk his life (or his soul) in an imperialist regime-change operation. My hunch is that that’s the reason U.S. soldiers convince themselves that they’re killing and dying overseas to protect our rights and freedoms or to keep Americans safe from the terrorists. It’s too difficult for them to confront the truth — that they’re killing and injuring people and risking their lives and limbs for the sake of nothing more than empire and intervention.
But chicken-hawks are in a different position. In their mind, Iran definitely poses an existential threat to the United States, just as they say Iraq did. They say that if the United States doesn’t attack Iran, Iran will launch a sudden nuclear attack against the United States at some point in the near future. Mushroom clouds are going to rise over American cities. Tens of millions of Americans are going to be killed. The attack is coming, the chicken-hawks say. It’s just a matter of time, and so we’ve got to strike first to prevent the attack.
In other words, in the mind of the chickenhawk, the situation with respect to Iran is no different than if the Chinese army was invading America. National security is at stake. The lives of the American people are at stake. The future of our way of life is at stake. If we don’t wage war on Iran now, the chicken-hawks say, all will be lost.
Such being the case, why aren’t the chicken-hawks taking up arms to defend our country and their families, friends, and countrymen? Why are they choosing to remain at home when our nation is in such deep peril? Why let the troops do all the fighting? Doesn’t the nation need all of us?
There are only two possible explanations for the chicken-hawks’ refusal to fight to save their country and the American people: cowardice or deception — deception in the sense that deep down they know that this is just another imperialist regime-change operation but feel that they have to couch it in terms of some dire national-security rationale to garner public support for the operation.
Which is it? Do the chicken-hawks suffer from cowardice or deception?
Only they really know for sure, but let’s just hope, for the sake of both the Iranian people and the American people, that the chicken-hawks are less influential than they were with the Iraq War, where millions of innocent people have been killed, maimed, imprisoned, tortured, abused, executed, or exiled — all while the chicken-hawks stayed at home and proclaimed to the world how tough “we” are.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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