Talk:Chickenhawk (politics)

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Where is the list?[edit]

Where is the list? I mean, on most similar pages, you scroll to the bottom and get a cross-reference to a list of people. Shouldn't there be a list of famous chickenhawks in the current US? John furspire

ad hominem??[edit]

This seems rather ludicrous: "Opponents of the term argue that it is an ad hominem,". How is that different from saying "we shouldn't say 'cowardly' because it is ad hominem"? The entire point of a question of character is 'ad hominem' -- that is the point! Isn't it rather ridiculous to say that a discussion of character must avoid "ad hominem" labels?? John furspire

I would have to agree with Mr. Furspire. Furthermore I followed the source for those comments and they come from 1) A source that is no longer found and 2) A rightwing pundit with not actual experience and an obvious bias. For this I have considered removing some of those quotes.Reinoe 16:01, 13 June 2007 (UTC)Reinoe

I completely oppose the war in Iraq, but the chickenhawk argument is 100% ad hominem. You don't need to be a police officer to have opinions on the criminal justice system. You don't need to be a doctor to have opinions on abortion or euthanasia. If you cry chickenhawk, it means you have lost the debate. It's ad hominem BY DEFINITION, because you are attacking the person supporting the war rather than arguing what is wrong with the war itself. You might as well use a damn dictionary for the citation.--Sawyerkaufman 08:25, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Previously recorded uses[edit]

There had never been any recorded use of the term "Chickenhawk" (political meaning) before the September 11, 2001 attacks; the term was coined after the war in Afghanistan began, in response to the fact that many of those leading the call for war there (and later in Iraq) had avoided at least combat duty, if not military service altogether, during the Vietnam War. Thus "Chickenhawk" is every bit as particular a political term as "bloody shirt," a term used by Democrats to lament the Republican accusation, often levelled at them between the end of the Civil War and approximately 1900, that the Democratic Party was to blame for starting the Civil War; the Democrats would accuse the Republicans of "waving the bloody shirt," a concept which itself originates from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, in which Mark Antony held up the bloody toga of the murdered Caesar in an effort to incite ordinary Roman citizens against Brutus and Cassius. Just as it would be impossible to write a concise article about the term "bloody shirt" without making note of its origins, so any article about "Chickenhawks" would be likewise incomplete without detailing the particular circumstances under which the latter term originated.

And a Google search will prove, beyond any statistical shadow of a doubt, that the term "Chickenhawks" was never used in a political context prior to the winter of 2001-2002, if even that long ago (its use began in earnest only after Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced on March 19, 2003).

Not so - it was used many times during the 2000 presidential elections, as demonstrates. I've found other references suggesting that the term actually dates back to the late 1980s. -- ChrisO 18:53, 24 May 2004 (UTC)

Absolutely not true. The film American History X, from 1998, uses it within it's political context during the confrontation of Derek Vinyard and Cameron Alexander; Vinyard tells Cameron that he is a "Chickenhawk," recruiting youths to do his "warring" (hawkishness) for him. Although it is a fictional scene in a fictional movie, it is no less a true political usage in this context than, for example, the aforementioned "bloody shirt," taken from a fictional (albeit based on true events) story of Julius Caesar.

Obviously the term must date back to the early 1940s, seeing as how someone says FDR was labelled a chickenhawk. -Willmcw 04:39, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
OK, I dropped FDR. But what about Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and John Paul Stevens? They may not have served in the military, but are they hawks? Are women like Ginsburg who did not volunteer for the WACs now considered to have been cowardly? Unless I hear a defense, I'll drop them too. -Willmcw 07:26, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Likewise, why is Clinton being referred to as a hawk? Alai 04:05, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The article currently claims that "The first appearance in the printed media appears to be a November 15, 2000 article by journalist Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times." That seemed extremely unlikely to me, so a quick google search led me to this entry for "Chickenhawk" from The Word Spy:

Earliest Citation:
In England during World War I, as thousands were dying pointlessly in the trenches, pretty girls went around handing white feathers — a symbol of cowardice — to men who weren't in uniform. The one group currently being handed white feathers who may deserve them are the so-called "war wimps" or "chicken hawks" — prominent Americans helping to spread war fever today who avoided service during Vietnam. —"No white feather, please," The New Republic, June 16, 1986

--Kevin Myers 06:28, May 4, 2005 (UTC)

Months later, I check back, and still the doubtful history of the term is here. To wit:
"The term first gained common currency during the 2000 presidential campaign and George W. Bush's first term as president.."
If you're old enough to have been reading about politics during the 90s, you know that's bogus. It was a common term before then, as even the article then suggests:
"...and a 1992 newsgroup post ([1]) uses it in its current form without elaboration. In his book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, published in 1996, satirist Al Franken included a chapter called "Operation Chickenhawk," ..."
"Journalist Richard Roeper revived the term in a November 15, 2000 article..."
He revived the term? He used it, yes, but "revived" it? Clearly, as the Franken book shows, it was common currency in the 90s. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 00:22, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

I was drafted into the US Army in 1967 and I was in training with a number of Army Reservists. One of them jokingly referred to himself as a "chickenhawk" and said, "I think we should be in Vietnam, but I don't think I should have to go." Needless to say, he wasn't very popular with those of us who had gotten drafted and, indeed, ended up going to Vietnam. That was the first time that I had heard the term, but I liked it so much that I appropriated it for my own use and employed it thereafter, until the war wound down and there was no longer a call for it. So I was pleased to have it resurface during the 1988 presidential election: Dan Quayle was the modern embodiment of the term, used in exactly the same sense as I'd first heard it over 20 years earlier. Farnsworth1968 (talk) 19:32, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

FDR, Examples of people who have been called Chickenhawks[edit]

The list refers to people who have been called Chickenhawks. FDR was NEVER called a chickenhawk. To claim he was called one is revisionism. The term has only been around for about 20 years. Let's stick to people who have actually been called chickenhawks during their lifetimes. Kingturtle 07:08, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The list title is "People Who Have Been Called Chickenhawks." It does not say "People Who Have Been Called Chickenhawks in Their Lifetimes." The definition of the list makes it to where anybody can call anybody a chickenhawk and in order to keep the list "accurate" their name should be on there. This article is also prone to partisan sniping, which is why I'm considering nominating it for deletion. However, on the flip side, this article does give us an insight to the politics of America. Brownman40 07:18, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

If we're going to give an insight into the politics of America, then lets only list those who have been called chickenhawks during their lifetimes. It will serve readers better to see who has actually been called a chickenhawk. it is a disservice to readers to list every potential chickenhawk in world history. Kingturtle 07:21, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
IMHO, I think I know why FDR was put on the list. It was to show that we've had Presidents in times of war that have not served in the military. And frankly, that's a very valid point. The article itself (list excluded) I think is NPOV. But when that list is listing conservative commentators and Supreme Court Justices, you know that it's just political mud-slinging. My point of view is if we are going to have this mud-slinging, then let's allow to be bipartisan at least. Otherwise, delete the list or the whole article altogether. Brownman40 07:30, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
If you want to see a list of who served and who didn't, we already have two articles for that: List of U.S. Presidents by military service and List of U.S. Presidents by military rank. The term chickenhawk was not around during FDR's time. we should be listing names of people actually called the term during their political careers. Otherwise we'd have to put Cincinnatus on the list and others from history. Kingturtle 07:45, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The word blue wasn't around 6,000 years ago. Yet, the sky was still blue during the daytime, right? Word applicability can be retroactive. By the definition of the list, it is accurate if even one person labels FDR a chickenhawk to put him on the list. But this doesn't strike at the heart of this problem. This list is inherently a place for people of different political ideologies to get into pissing contests. I feel currently, let's remove the list altogether but keep the rest of the article. Otherwise, FDR should stay on the list as it is accurate based on how the list is currently defined. Brownman40 08:06, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
well, i need to get to sleep. but tomorrow i will start to remove other names from the list. governors and judges have no say over military policy, and they should be removed from the list as well. a chickenhawk is someone who did not serve in the military, but either votes for war, commands a war, or designs a war. Kingturtle 08:09, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
FDR fits that definition. :) Brownman40 08:13, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
As it stands now, the article reads, "who avoided service in Korea or Vietnam, for example Dan Quayle." Quayle was in the National Guard from 1969-1975, and the term coined by Andrew Jacobs, according to an article I find on Google, was used in the "late Vietnam" era, well before Quayle was a national political figure. I don't think Quayle is the best "For example" name to include and I'm removing it. If anyone can find the names of the people Jacobs was referring to when he coined it, they can be inserted there. (I looked but nothing yet).

Kaisershatner 15:37, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I removed Abraham Lincoln from the list of wartime presidents that did not serve. He was a militia captain in the Black Hawk War as stated both there and on his bio page. JCB 25 July 2006


i have split this article up into separate articles. it makes it more clear to the reader. Kingturtle 18:32, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

As an editor who can be blamed for precipitating this recent set of changes, let me say that I agree that having a list is unnecessary and contentious. Lists of "people called 'X'" are not very helpful in general. If Wikipedia had been around in the 1950s would we have had a list of "people labelled 'Commies'"? I hope not. -Willmcw 21:22, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

Kingturtle, I think your disambiguation is a good idea, but the trouble is that you did it as a cut-and-paste. As a result, the article history is all here, at what's now the dab page, even though almost all of it related to the political meaning of the term. Anyone who wants to address the issue of naming specific people will be proceeding in a vacuum, unaware of the extensive material that was added and then deleted. (I personally don't agree with the wholesale elimination of specific examples, but the question should be addressed in its proper context, i.e., what was in the article at one point, what some editors added and removed, their edit summaries, etc.).

Here's how I see preserving the appropriate history:

  1. Move Chickenhawk to Chickenhawk (politics). (This article title is at least as good as Chickenhawk (politician) because we shouldn't take the position that any politician actually is a chickenhawk; it should be considered a charge that's made in politics, the same basis on which Poverty pimp survived a VfD vote. Incidentally, that's the reason that I'll be editing the first sentence to identify "chickenhawk" as a pejorative label.)
  2. Copy Kingturtle's dab text and restore it to Chickenhawk, replacing the automatic redirect created by the page move.
  3. Copy the text that Kingturtle moved to Chickenhawk (politician) and make it the text of Chickenhawk (politics).
  4. Explain changes on appropriate talk pages.

If things work as I expect, the page history of Chickenhawk (politics) will show the edits that added FDR, Supreme Court justices, etc., and the edits that deleted them from the list, and then the larger change that eliminated the list entirely. I'll now undertake this and see how it turns out. JamesMLane 22:29, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

OK, this seems to have worked. I should have added that Chickenhawk (politician) now redirects to Chickenhawk (politics), and the wikilink on Kingturtle's dab page has been changed accordingly.
Another aspect of a page move is to fix links. I won't bother with links on talk pages, but I'll start in on the links to Chickenhawk. It's tedious work, though, and I may lose interest partway through -- anyone who wants to help, feel free! JamesMLane 22:59, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Whew! What a job. Thanks for cleaning up the mess. Cheers, -Willmcw 01:29, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)


The originsection only says when people first started using chickenhawk. I add that chicken means coward and hawk means militaristic so therefore chickenhawk means militaristic coward.

— Ŭalabio 22:53, 2005 Feb 16 (UTC)

Your etymology is clearly correct, but does that really require spelling out? The rest of your addition (and the tone, throughout) was rather heatedly NPOV and unencyclopaedic. Alai 23:36, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

We should explain the etymology. I am an halfway there. My addition is NPOV as you state above. I just need to work on encyclopædic.

— Ŭalabio 00:04, 2005 Feb 18 (UTC)

Dear Ŭalabio, Entomology is the study of insects. Etymology is the study of the meaning/origin of words. I also agree that the tone of your edits is very charged to the point where they are quite clearly NPOV. Including the etymology may be appropriate is done in an encyclopaedic manner, but your subjective judgment that people labeled as chickenhawks are cowards is clearly not encyclopaedic content. —thames 00:54, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I do believe that everyone called a chickenhawk is a coward. I believe that everyone who is a chickenhawk is a coward. Shrubya calls McCain and Kerry frauds instead of warheroes — Kerry did not truly earn even one medal and McCain was not really a POW for 5½ years, but was just on a long vacation. Just because you call me a clam does not mean I breath underwater, but a real clam does breath underwater.

— Ŭalabio 00:04, 2005 Feb 18 (UTC)

The article as written is quite confusing regarding the relationship of entomology with the chickenhawk syndrome, can someone please clarify this? User:User

United States term[edit]

All our examples refer to the U.S. I'm adding the comment that this is an epithet used in U.S. politics, unless and until someone familiar with other countries says that it has currency somewhere else. JamesMLane 07:32, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Shifting meaning[edit]

The meaning of chickenhawk is a militant person who has no intention of fighting. Basically this is their philosophy:

You people go off and fight and die for my oil against people to whom you have no quarrel, while I hide in my secret undisclosed location where it is safe.

Simply commanding a nation during war without ever serving does not make one a chickenhawk. Given that Franklin Roosevelt hated war — as all people should — means that he is not a chickenhawk. A chickenhawk is a militant coward. A good example of a chickenhawk would be someone who received five deferments in a war, not because he is a felt that the war was wrong, or all war is wrong, but because he is a coward, who then starts a war by means of lies in which his company receives billions of dollars no-bid open contracts which kills hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, and thousands of military on both sides, one side merely defending their country, and the soldiers on the other side who joined to defend their country, being forced to murder and die for a rich coward who as he sends them off to die, cuts benefits for veterans. Chickenhawks are by definition militant cowards. I shall change the first paragraph for reflecting that.

We should point out when referencing fascistic commentary, that the deliberately mix chickenhawks confuse doves and chickenhawks.

— Ŭalabio 00:38, 2005 Mar 9 (UTC)

Perhaps in your mind the meaning has shifted to this particular definition. However, in common mainstream usage, "chickenhawk" does not exclusively mean a "coward" that is "militant". That is a very narrow and extreme definition—one not supported by general usage in the press or political discourse. Certainly militant cowards are chickenhawks, but chickenhawk has a broader meaning. It is not only those who dodged combat, but also those that simply did not serve (whether they were not called up, or whether there was no war effort in their youth, or whether they did not voluntarily enlist) and who support a pro-war policy (but are not necessarily "militant" or "jingoistic" or what-have-you). Please do not alter the first paragraph to try and narrow and sensationalize the definition. Your comments seem to indicate that you have an axe to grind on this issue—please remember to make your edits NPOV. —thames 00:51, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
That's exactly what a chickenhawk is: someone who supports war as long they personally do not have to participate. That's the whole point of the term: the "chicken" in "chickenhawk" comes from the slang use of the word to mean "coward". Thus, a chickenhawk is someone who supports war but is too cowardly to do the fighting himself. 22:37, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
A doveleades who has to defend against a country whose leader is set on world conquest is not a chickenhawk. ¿Is FDR a chickenhawk because he was a dove who lead his country in a war the Japanese started by attacking is country? ¡No! The first paragraph should make it clear that a leader of a country during war is a chickenhawk only if the leader started the war. ¿Should FDR have surrendered to the Japanese just so that you can call him a dove? ¿Are doves allowed to defend themselves? We need to change the first paragraph to exclude doves defending themselve

Chickenhawk is an epithet used in United States politics to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who votes for war, supports war, commands a war, or develops war policy, but has not personally served in the military.

Chickenhawk is an epithet used in United States politics to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who votes for war of aggression, supports war of aggression, commands a war of aggression, or develops the policy for a war of aggression, but has not personally served in the military. A dove who is bureaucrat, or commentator who votes for a war of self-defense, supports a war of self-defense, commands a war of self-defense, or develops policy of a war of self-defense, but has not personally served in the military is a dove defending self and nation. Doves defending themselves do not become chickenhawks, but are still doves.

The second version is much better. In the counterarguments, we should point out that fascists deliberately use chickenhawk when what the mean is civilian or dove as well as pure non sequiturs as a way of protecting chickenhawks.


— Ŭalabio 00:34, 2005 Mar 10 (UTC) The article mentions that women are seldom called chickenhawks because women are barred from serving in combat. This was true during the Vietnam War and previous wars, but today women are permitted to serve in combative roles, with the exception of the Special Forces and the Submarine service. -- 23:27, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Scope of article, counterargument section, encyclopedic revisions[edit]

This article is nowhere near encyclopedic at present. It consists of an encyclopedic presentation of how the term is used, followed by a lengthy editorial against the point of view of those who use it. Notable arguments should be mentioned and summarized, not presented in such loving detail. As a first step, I'll remove completely the section derived from an anonymous blogger. Wikipedia doesn't present the opinions of every blogger on every topic we cover. JamesMLane 04:56, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you. The arguments ought to be paraphrased (and shortened), although the links to the original sources, clearly, ought to be kept. Each separate argument doesn't need its own subheader either—it's over-weighing the TOC. thames

I suppose I can see why you two think the article is overweighted with counterarguments, although my POV is that this is bc the argument itself is so weak as to invite many counterarguments. I agree that the article could conform better to an encyclopedia style and maybe I'll attempt to contract some of the additions I made. However, removing one of these arguments because it was well summarized by an anonymous blogger is a form of the argument from authority and doesn't address the validity of the counterargument at all. The point, if not the whole para, should be reinstated.
Kaisershatner 15:16, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Okay. Made some big edits, await feedback. :Kaisershatner 16:30, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think that's good work. Thanks for taking the initiative on this. thames 16:38, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This Wikipedia article seems to go beyond it’s intent. It seems to make more a political statement then to be informative. The chickenhawk term by itself is offensive, and even if it were true that the term can be applied to the current administration, is it appropriate to ignore the great mass of readers who do not share this opinion and will not see this article as balanced? The article even provides pictoral examples of distorted images of this same leadership. These pictures promote bias. I feel the article shoud not provide these images. They shoud be provided as a link. Their inclusion destroys objectivity. Also, providing a list of chickhawks! It rings of McCartyism. 04:44, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

How chickenhawks treat those in the military[edit]

We should mention that chickenhawks have nothing but contempt for those serving. A prime example is when shrubya said:

Bring it on!"

This was his challenge to the freedomfighters of Iraq, trying to repel the foreign invaders, to kill as many of the USMilitary as they can. While we are at it, we should also mention how chickenhawks support the troops, namely, place them in harms way without reason, and challenge people to kill them.


— Ŭalabio 04:07, 2005 Mar 23 (UTC)

I think that particular example is covered by the general concept of their hawkishness. A better example might be Bush's cutting veterans' benefits, or his failure to attend a single military funeral during his term as President. The tough question, though, is whether information of that sort is too peripheral to the concept of "chickenhawk" to be included in this article. I'm inclined to think that it does NOT merit inclusion here unless some notable spokesperson (an elected official, a well-known commentator, etc., but not just some random blogger) criticizes such a policy and calls its proponents chickenhawks as a result. The article shouldn't be a grab-bag for everything uncomplimentary that everyone has ever said about Bush in relation to military matters. JamesMLane 04:38, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree with JamesMLane on this one—unless Bush's characteristics are shared by all chickenhawks, then it should be left out of the article. thames 15:46, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It should be obvious that Walabio doesn't intend to bring NPV edits, as he states that he's an al queada in Iraq/Bathist part supporter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:28, 26 July 2010

lengthy quotes[edit]

i have removed the following quotes from this article. their proper place is in wikiquotes. if you so desire, move them there. Kingturtle 04:40, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • "We know who the chicken hawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others," he said. "When it was their turn to serve where were they? AWOL, that's where they were...the lead chickenhawk against Sen. Kerry [is] the vice president of the United States, Vice President Cheney."

United States Senator Frank Lautenberg, on the floor of the Senate, April 28, 2004 [1]

  • "The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians wife [who]was fighting her way across D.C., with The Pentagon in flames, to try and collect our daughter from a suddenly closed school, was attempting to deal with anthrax in our mailbox, was reading up on the pros and cons of smallpox vaccinations, and was coping with the consequences of a Muslim copycat loony who'd tried his hand as a suburban sniper...My wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified from utterance?" Columnist Christopher Hitchens in Slate. [2]

Kingturtle's Edits[edit]

Kingturtle, I see that you're an admin. Is there a WP policy that says that articles can't include quotations (ie that all quotations must be at Wikiquote rather than in an article)? Also, is providing external links to POV editorials itself NPOV? I beg to differ. Respectfully, Kaisershatner 20:22, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm not an admin, but I'll jump in with my opinions anyway. There is no policy that all quotations must be banished to Wikiquote. Linking to a POV editorial is consistent with NPOV; we provide information about notable opinions, and, as with other types of information we provide, we can link to a site that gives more detail than is appropriate for the article. JamesMLane 23:58, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The list of quotes that I removed were not part of the main article. They were simply a list of lengthy quotes. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not states (under the section on Wikipedia is not a general knowledge base) that Wikipedia is "not an indiscriminate collection of items of information." Furthermore, Wikiquotes was created for exactly what this list of quotes was meant to do. Kingturtle 05:48, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Chickenhawks are Fascistic Neocons.[edit]

I tried to put this in the summaryfield yesterday, but ran out of room:

Someone tried calling Bill Clinton a chickenhawk. While I pointed out that he was a dove who had to take military action, it occured to me that all chickenhawks are fascistic neocons:

Lincolnian Republicans and Democrats almost never call each other chickenhawks. Every now and then, a Lincolnian Republican or a Democrat points out that a Fascistic Neocon is a chickenhawk. The fascistic chickenhawks known as neocons try to make themselves look better by calling a dove forced to take militaryaction a chickenhawk. We should point out that chickenhawks are fascistic neocons.

Those fascistic chickenhawks evidently believe in murder by war for making their greedy selves richer — as long as someone else does the fighting, dying, and murdering.

It seems to me that the fascistic chickenhawks hijacked the Republican party in the primary of 2000 as a way of saying “¡Screw you!” to Eisenhower for ruining their plans to seize control of the nation by warning us with his speech about the Military/Industrial-Complex.

— Ŭalabio‽ 02:04:50, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

Walabio, your position is both extremely POV as well as just plain erroneous. If you had even read the article, you would know that the term chickenhawk has been around for longer than the neocons themselves. Chill out. thames 02:42, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

I know the term has been around for a long time, but the fact is that >90 chickenhawks are fascistic neocons making up <10% of the population. ¿Do you see a pattern?

— Ŭalabio‽ 03:10:59, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

There's a lot of zaniness in the above, but let's get one thing straight: Clinton was no "dove", by any definition. Sheesh. Mirror Vax 09:10, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I do not remember Clinton invading and plundering any countries. All I remember were a few limited humanitarian actions. ¿Which country did he invade on false premises for stealing the oil?

— Ŭalabio‽ 01:18:38, 2005-08-11 (UTC)

Clinton was certainly labeled an imperialist for the wars in the Balkans. I have whole book of essays edited by Tariq Ali which said that the Balkan wars were just an excuse to expand the U.S. empire through NATO action. thames 13:40, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
I do not believe that Clinton conquered the Balkans and plundered them. ¿Where is the plunder? ¿Where is the occupation? Yugoslavia is better now that NATO ended the civil war. ¿Is Iraq better now that we plunder it?

— Ŭalabio‽ 07:15:54, 2005-08-27 (UTC)

Fortunately, what you believe doesn't really matter. Clinton was labeled an imperialist for tha balkan wars, and as a matter of fact NATo and European troops are still occupying the former Yugoslavia. thames 13:56, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Walabio must be about 10 years old. Clinton lead 3 military actions on Iraq during his presidency. And those were unilateral executive actions. He didn't go to congress or the UN, like his successor.
The above silliness is a characteristic of how the term "chickenhawk" is used. Every president has to make these decisions, regardless of whether he has a former military career.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:28, 26 July 2010

POV slant[edit]

The article seems to focus too much on the fallacy and too little on why the term is in current use. This article gives an arguement in favor of the term that is missing from this Wikipedia article. -- LGagnon 03:17, August 27, 2005 (UTC)

Added Explanation of why chickenhawk is a pejorative.[edit]

Added explanation for why chickenhawks are perceived to be unsuitable to send others to war: "This is usually argued to be the case because of the "chickenhawk's" lack of experience with the true costs of war, or the "chickenhawk's" perceived hypocrisy and lack of moral standing to force others to risk death or injury when they were not willing to risk their own life and limb when given the chance."

I replaced a sentence that just repeated the previous sentence, only in inverted form, and added no information. I believe it is necessary to explain somewhere on this page (I think it belongs here), WHY the term "chickenhawk" is used pejoratively.

Also, note that under the "Chickenhawk Counterarguments" section that it refers to the "experience and moral standing" issue, whereas the sentence that I changed referred ONLY to the moral standing issue. But also note that this section did not specify WHY there could be an issue with experience OR moral standing.

Gui2u 02:56, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

AndrewBartlett: reverted changes[edit]

Andrew: you made several changes to this page of which I kept some but removed the following.

1. You added a statement that the "clear implication of chickenhawk argument is there ought not to be civilian control of the military". This is NOT a clear implication of calling someone a chickenhawk - this is what is being ARGUED by this counterargument. It is therefore misleading and POV.

2. The statement that you added back: "The chickenhawk argument does not, by its nature, respond to the substance of the hawks' arguments.", is not clear. What does it mean?? How is this a counterargument??

3. In the "Double standard" counterargument you introduced clear POV by singling out Clinton for attack by removing the counterargument which was balancing the Clinton claim.

4. In the "Irrelevance" counterargument you introduced clear POV by changing an argument that applies equally to Clinton and Bush by editing out the Bush part of the argument.

Gui2u 01:13, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Proposed List of ChickenHawks[edit]

Proposed for inclusion into article, a list of prominent right-wing Republicans and military service

George W. Bush - National Guard back when service there meant you did not see combat. Even so, went AWOL for a year. Dick Cheney - did not serve. John Ashcroft, Attorney General - did not serve. Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense - served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor. Rep. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House - avoided the draft, did not serve. Rep. Tom Delay, House Majority Leader - avoided the draft, did not serve. Rep. Roy Blunt, House Majority Whip (MO) - did not serve Dick Armey, Former House Majority Leader - avoided the draft, did not serve. Sen. Bill Frist , Senate Majority Leader (TN) - did not serve. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Majority Whip, (KY) - did not serve. Sen. Rick Santorum, (PA), third ranking Republican in the Senate - did not serve. (1) Trent Lott, Former Senate Majority Leader (MS) - avoided the draft, did not serve. Jeb Bush, Florida Governor - did not serve. Karl Rove - avoided the draft, did not serve. Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House - avoided the draft, did not serve. Bill Bennett, (author of Why We Fight), did not serve. Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice, did not serve. Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, did not serve. Phil Gramm, former Senator. Did not serve. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, did not serve. Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, did not serve. Rep. Henry Hyde, (IL) did not serve. Jack Kemp, did not serve. Sen. Don Nickles, (OK) did not serve. J. C. Watts, Former Congressman, (OK), did not serve. Bill Simon, did not serve. Saxby Chambliss, did not serve. Marc Racicot, avoided the draft despite a lottery number of 23. see

Right-wing preachers and pundits

Rush Limbaugh, demagogue, did not serve due to anal cyst. P. J. O'Rourke (author of Give War a Chance), did not serve. Bill Kristol, editor The Weekly Standard, did not serve. Bill O'Reilly, Fox News celebrity, did not serve. Sean Hannity, Fox News celebrity, did not serve. Wolf Blitzer, CNN Newsman. Did not serve. David Horowitz, Right Wing media hit man. Did not serve. Mike Savage, Right Wing media hit man, did not serve. George Will, columnist, did not serve. Pat Robertson, politician/preacher, His US Senator daddy got him out of Korea when war began. Ralph Reed, did not serve. Jerry Falwell, preacher/politician, did not serve. Ken Starr, did not serve. Gary Bauer, politician/preacher, did not serve. Alan Keyes, did not serve. Roger Ailes, Fox News President, did not serve.

Active avoidance distinguishes the Chickenhawk[edit]

The article does not mention the key attribute of the chickenhawk being a prior history of actively avoiding military service combined with a present history of actively advocating military action, e.g. Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Dubya, et al, ad nauseum.

How is a prior history of actively avoiding military service to be documented? Seki1949 (talk) 04:41, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Wrong place for this line?[edit]

"However, these arguments fail to appreciate the implied distinction that chickenhawk applies to those who actively and repeatedly avoided military service, as opposed to not merely choosing voluntarily to serve."

It seems strange that this sentance has been added to the "Chickenhawk counter-arguments" section since A: It is not a counter argument and B: It constitutes a statement that all the above arguments are wrong based simply on an uncited opinion. If someone knows of a source that made this claim then add "However, XXX claims..." or something. In the meantime I'm removing it.The preceding unsigned comment was added by Edders (talk • contribs) 15:55, 27 December 2005.

Many sources define the term as describing one who avoided military service, as opposed to simply not having served. See NH Gazette and Howie's Stupid GOP Quote Page, for e.g. The former defines it as:
 A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly
 when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most
 emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in
 that person’s youth.
The latter:
 A chickenhawk is a term often applied to public persons generally male - who
 (1) tend to advocate, or are fervent supporters of those who advocate, military
 solutions to political problems, and who have personally (2) declined to take
 advantage of a significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime.
I believe those definitions are most apt—and therefore, the criticism of the arguments is correct, and the sentence should be reinstated.--RattBoy 15:51, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

--Edders 17:23, 5 January 2006 (UTC) Since you've got a source then I have no objection to reinstating it, although it's worth rewriting the original line to ensure the reader knows that it is an opinion and not a fact. Also, I'd recommend using the NH Gazette as the source since it sounds rather more professional than "Howie's stupid GOP quote page"


I want to add this picture, but I don't know how to, or if it would violate copyright. [3] Perhaps there is a clearer version that somebody can find and upload. --JianLi 18:47, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it violates copyright. It appears on, and thus I believe no copyright applies.--RattBoy 13:42, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Chickenhawk counterarguments[edit]

From the criticism of Bill Clinton, I removed the following sentence:

However, (the contention that Clinton is not vulnerable to the claim of being a chickenhawk)
is disputed since his administration performed numerous unilateral military actions and Clinton
even initially supported Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

The reasons are numerous:

  • It's redundant, adding little content beyond the initial sentence in the paragraph—it reads like "He said - she said - he said," which could go on ad infinitum.
  • It's POV. Calling the second Iraq War "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is phrasing used by militaristic war supporters.
  • It's unsourced. What does "numerous unilateral military actions" mean? For Clinton to be a Chickenhawk, he must be both a "chicken" and a "hawk." The former charge is easy to substantiate, since he famously avoided military service; the latter, much more problematic. The US did participate in military actions under Clinton, as it has under every president. For "numerous unilateral military actions" to have meaning, the number and scale of military operations conducted under Clinton must be compared with those of other two-term presidents. I believe that, compared to Reagan (Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Iran-Contra...), Nixon (Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile...), and Johnson (Vietnam, of course), Clinton is clearly not a hawk.--RattBoy 13:42, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Clinton can not be called a Chickenhawk in relation to the Vietnam war because he was opposed to the Vietnam war. The term Chickenhawk can be more clearly used if someone is in favor of a war but avoids military service in this war. It is quite rational for someone to be in favor of some wars, but opposed to other wars. BradMajors 19:23, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

About Wilson and Roosevelt: some have repeatedly removed my sentence that "(It must be noted that neither of those presidents had been of typical military age during a major war.)" Howard Dean called it "besides (sic) the point." Of course it's relevant to the discussion. They didn't avoid service in a time of war—so the "chicken" tag doesn't apply in their case. (Nor does the "hawk" necessarily apply in either case. Does anyone really think that WWI and WWII were wars of choice for America?)

Those who wish to remove that sentence: please justify your edits here.--RattBoy 02:27, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

Anon placed a POV and "Factually-disputed" tag, claiming that "Kerry is not a war hero and Clinton did not apply military restraint." Looks like it's his POV showing through in the tag. I recommend that it be removed, especially because: 1) the article doesn't say that Kerry is a war hero (though his medals could be considered qualification for that description), and 2) the article merely states that "Others...argue (Clinton) was not a military hawk and practiced military restraint."

This is an article about a controversial topic. If axe-grinding editors are going to slap POV tags on it every time it references someone they don't agree with, it'll go nowhere. I'm removing the tag.--RattBoy 11:55, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

I returned the POV. All this page amounts to is left-wing whining. A Joker card depicting Bush? If the Attention Whore got deleted, either so should this one, or I can bring back the attention whore article and display prominantely Cindy Sheehan and Jesse Jackson.--Bedford 23:18, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

People who could never be considered chickenhawks[edit]

This is a fun section! I notice that, as originally constituted, the list consisted only of Republicans (don't even claim that Zell Miller is anything but a Republican these days!), including thet ol' Marine whut gave arms to an Axis of Evil regime and then lied about it to the American people. I'm sure that was an oversight, so I added a few others.

While we're at it, let's add a section to the NASA article, entitled "People who were never astronauts?" I nominate Julius Caesar, Pee Wee Herman, and John Wayne Bobbitt. And under Curling, we can add "People who never curled in the Olympics," including Tiger Woods, Idi Amin, and Michelle Kwan. Now if that ain't encyclopædic, I don't know what is.

Jeez.--RattBoy 01:38, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Amen, RattBoy. Looks like great minds think alike. : ) dbtfztalk 01:44, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

"People who could never be considered chickenhawks"[edit]

Do I really need to explain why it's just plain dumb to have a section for "People who could never be considered chickenhawks"? (Anyone can "consider" anyone anything, we can't list every notable person who's ever been in the military, etc.) I'm going to be bold and delete this whole section (unless someone beats me to it). dbtfztalk 01:40, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

The section was added by one "Frankenfactor." The silly section pretty much constitutes his/her entire edit history. Good on ya, mate, for deleting it.--RattBoy 01:48, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Richard Perle worth a mention[edit]

Perle nearly came to blows with author Tom Clancy for coming across as a heartless demon. Perle thought General Colin Powel to be weak because he seemed too concerned about the safety of his troops during the Gulf War.

Dean, Mar10,2006


The definition of chickenhawk currently reads;

"Chickenhawk is an epithet used in United States politics to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who votes for war, supports war, commands a war, or develops war policy, but has not personally served in the military, especially one who opted out of a previous war on dubious grounds."

Shouldn't it read something more like;

"Chickenhawk is an epithet used in United States politics to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who actively supports aggressive military action abroad, but has not personally served in the military and moreover opted out of military service on dubious grounds"

I understood the term to apply to politicos who were 'chicken' ie draft dodgers but also 'hawks' ie supporters of aggressive military action. Alot of the spurious debate here (and the crap counterargument section) seems to stem from the poor definition. If there's agreement, I propose changing it. Whaddaya reckon?Felix-felix 10:12, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Your definition is closer, although it misses the mark on several counts. It does not accurately describe how the term was used before the First Gulf War, it doesn't accurately describe why the term is applied to guys like Donald Rumsfeld or Dan Quayle or George Bush (all of whom were in the military), and it doesn't accurately describe how the term is applied to younger "hawks" who never had a draft to dodge. I've rewritten the article with a fuller history (and hopefully a better definition) of the term. Hope you like it. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 16:12, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Your definition is wanting in many respects.
  • Your use of the word, "insult," is POV. "Criticism" would be much more nPOV.
  • Your criticism of Felix's definition is weak; GW Bush and Dan Quayle served in uniform, but in a capacity deliberately calculated to minimize their risk.
  • Your other comments—that the term is usually applied to Republicans, that it's typically used by those who haven't served in the military, etc.—are POV. And they're poorly sourced. Have you references to back up your manifold edits?--RattBoy 23:57, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Taking these one by one:
  • Calling someone a "chicken" is an insult; not mentioning this obvious fact would be POV. (Other political name calling, like useful idiot or idiotarian are also insults -- and both those articles mention that they are insults.)
  • Felix's proposed definition said that a chickenhawk "has not personally served in the military". Clearly, that's factually wrong.
  • Nowhere did I say that the term is "typically used by those who haven't served in the military." As for the other (that's it usually applied to Republicans), there are currently about 10 referenced examples of people who have been called "chickenhawks" in the article -- all of them Republicans (or associated with them, like Clarence Thomas). As mentioned in the article, the "Chickenhawk Database" says frankly that their targets are those on the "right wing". By all means, if you have a referenced list of Democrats who have been called "chickenhawks", let's have it. I am not aware of a single example, but I could have missed some.
--Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 01:01, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Kevin, I didn't expect such prompt action. The definition still seems a little wishy-washy, perhaps something along the lines of; "the term originally applied to....and more recently has been widened to include younger war supporting republicans who had no draft to dodge"? I also note the line

"Opponents of the term argue that it is an ad hominem logical fallacy, that it is historically unsound, that it is inconsistently applied, and that it suggests ideas that are contrary to certain fundamental principles of American democracy."

appears in the introduction which neatly summarises the objection to the term-rather better than the terrible counter argument section, which not only misses most of the point of the insult (FDR a chickenhawk??)., but also reads like a particularly poor piece of political hackery ('some opponents say..., some proponents say...')Its a crap section, I vote to chuck it out altogether.Felix-felix 11:36, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments. (I didn't really do a rewrite so quickly -- I actually rewrote the article some time ago, and forgot to upload it; your message was a reminder.) I'm not sure what is still wishy-washy about the new definition: I've tried to be as precise and neutral as possible, with the hope that someone who knows nothing about the topic will know exactly who has been called a chickenhawk, by whom, and why. The previous version of the definition avoided any mention of politics (!), despite this being fundamentally a political term. That was certainly wishy-washy; if any wishy-washiness remains, let's identify precisely what it is and get rid of it.
A short "objections" section is necessary I think because a number of notable writers have weighed in against the term, and we should outline those objections. But you're right, any objection that is not directly attributable to a published source should be deleted. I think I've flagged all of the "some people say" weasel lines with "citation needed" alerts. Unless citations show up soon, these unsourced claims can be deleted.
Michael Kelly's piece, cited in the article, mentions that FDR would be a chickenhawk by modern standards, so we can include that claim. Kelly was arguably correct: FDR had opportunities to serve in two wars, and did not do so. I'm sure some youngsters have been misled by the "Chickenhawk Database", which at one time claimed that FDR didn't serve in the military because "he had polio"! The New Hampshire Gazette is blissfully ignorant of FDR's age when he contracted polio, so let's not burst their bubble. But it's enough to mention that FDR's cousin TR urged FDR to resign as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to join the World War I -- which is precisely what TR did in the war with Spain -- but FDR declined. (And no, New Hampshire, not because he was in a wheel chair.) --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 15:25, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Rebuttals against the againsts by a casual reader[edit]

1:General Washington was a founding father and his military experience was considered an asset.

Washington was the only president to personally lead troops in battle while commander in chief. (The Whiskey rebellion) He was obviously overqualified to be a chickenhawk.

2: The "chickenhawk" idea implies no such thing regarding military superiority over civilians in time of war. It "implies" what it boldfacedly states. Anyone who thinks resorting to war is the one and only answer to all difficult situations abroad yet couldn't bring themselves to risk their own life in defense of their nation when they had a chance to is a hypocrit.

3: Of course Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt were capable wartime leaders. Of the three, Roosevelt is the hawk. All four of his sons served in World War II and were decorated for bravery. It also comes to mind that capable is a key word. None of them going to extreme measures to avoid military service also seems pertinent.

4: Not one of the politicians accused of "chickenhawkishness" were civilian targets in the wars they avoided serving in.

5: The majority of the voting public is not likely to be elected POTUS and decide foreign policy means but one thing.

6: Again, most of the nation's views are not what's in question here.

7: Hypocricy is a reflection of character or lack of and when the decision to go to war is the first, last and only thought of the CiC or any cabinet member involved in the war vs peace decision making process yet the decision to avoid going to war was the first, last and only thought of that same person when he was eligble to serve in a frontline capacity ... it reflects a less than desirable character trait in the opinions of many. Granted, for some it doesn't seem to matter a hill of beans.

8: Police chiefs don't rise to their position via election. Let's change this to sheriff. And if the sheriff of the county decided to have all his deputies shoot everyone they thought was breaking the law yet the sheriff, himself, broke and ran from the law in his younger, pre-sheriff days then maybe this correlation would come a step closer to having some relevence. But not much, as it would still be a stretch, even from the opposite pov.

9: A civilian can be guilty of crime and avoiding conscription. This example is used versus Clinton. And both examples still avoid the basis for the term chickenhawk. What's required in the decision making process involving committing a generation of this nation to risk life and limb for cause is the perspective of rational thought. The hypocricy behind the mere act of rushing headlong into war when it only involves a gameboard on the oval office desk versus a mad dash to avoid it when it involves the possibility of being where the meat meets the metal appears to negate such.

10: Many veterans do. But again .... not every non-vet is a chickenhawk, either. This argument loses sight of the reason for the term.

11: I'm all for equal critisim. Did Clinton rush headlong into it without looking for a peaceful alternative?

12: They'll most likely care more about it from now on. This is just another variant of a ballotbox endzone dance. Let's see how far the next chickenhawk goes if he's another politician who avoided war at all cost.

Posted by on main article, moved here by Borisblue 04:19, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Unverified statements[edit]

The following statements were tagged "citation needed" in the article for quite some time. They were moved here since no citations were forthcoming:

  • Lautenberg was in turn accused by critics [citation needed] of being a hypocrite based upon his previous support of Bill Clinton, who had also avoided serving in the Vietnam War.
  • Double standard. Some claim [citation needed] that the use of the term is not applied equally, notably as to President Bill Clinton who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War but ordered US soldiers to fight in numerous armed conflicts and even initially supported the invasion of Iraq, yet is rarely labeled a chickenhawk by those on the political left.
  • Irrelevance. Many claim [citation needed] that the American voters have proven that they do not care about a politician's wartime service or lack thereof since both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (twice each) won presidential elections by defeating decorated war heroes despite their own lack of wartime service.

Glenn Greenwald definition/redefinition[edit]

I've just added some text about Glenn Greenwald's narrower definition of the term "chicken hawk", which he introduced in this blog post. My contribution is pretty rough; please improve it, particulary the part after the quote.

Greenwald's blog post now appears twice, once in the references and once under "External Links". Is that OK?

If you were wondering about recent edits which gave "chicken hawk" this new meaning, now you know where they came from. Greenwald has lots of devoted followers, who will probably continue attempt to make this article reflect his new "reality".

Cheers, CWC(talk) 12:19, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for that explanation. I was wondering why this article, after being practically untouched in June, starting receiving a flurry of POV-pushing edits all of a sudden. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 13:00, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

For clarity, note that Greenwald's view is not that he is proposing some innovative and idiosyncratic new definition of the term. His argument is that he is making explicit a way that people use the term. (He concedes that it is also used in the more general sense, which he views as a fallacy.) Of course, you may disagree, but that at least requires some argument. Here are two examples of prominent people using the term "chickenhawk" in a way that better matches the narrow definition given by Greenwald. In both chickenhawks are satirized for viewing their polemics as analogous to military combat:

  • Kos (perhaps the best-known political blogger in existence) writes: "The fighters over at the National Review, under fierce artillery barrage, bravely soldier on. Why, they have suffered fierce casualties in their war on terror, like some tendonitis, a carpal tunnel or two, and that twitch on that guy's back when he bent over to take out file folder from a cabinet. Such are the horrors of chickenhawk war."[4]
  • Here is a Tom Tomorrow cartoon in a similar vein.[5]

Crust 13:56, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Um, sorry, but I see nothing whatsoever in those links relating to the new "Greenwaldian" definition — they are both conventional old-fashioned chicken-hawk slurs. Remember, GG's definition says that only people who advocate war without having served and view that advocacy as proof of their own manliness/courage are to be regarded as chickenhawks. (If anyone can find an earlier definition along the same lines, in which the manliness bit is a requirement for chickenhawk status, not just a concomitant thereof, we should mention it in the article.) Cheers, CWC(talk) 15:55, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
CWC, thanks for the reply. The point of those examples is that Kos and Tomorrow are mocking the chickenhawks precisely for thinking that they are engaging in a courageous struggle analogous to combat ("the manliness bit" as you put it), hence jokes comparing paper cuts to IEDs or whatever. If you follow through the links, Kos is going after Cliff May for saying to fellow blogger KLo "So yes, Kathryn, you are fighting a war". Crust 16:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Hey Crust, thanks for removing my goof about introducing a new definition. But I still don't see anything in the Kos or TomT links about manliness, courage, self-esteem etc coming from advocating war.
Further to Crust's edit summary: Glenn G, a prolific linker, doesn't give any link to support his idea of what "chicken-hawk" means. Does anyone have a link or citation for a definition agreeing with Glenn G's and predating it? I've never seen the term used that way before, so I'm fairly sure Glenn G was innovating. (Of course, I'm not a WP:RS.) Cheers, CWC(talk) 18:47, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Let me try to explain the Kos/May example again. May says of Lopez -- and by extension himself -- that by blogging in favor of the war she is fighting the war. This is all in reply to an email she received that said "you do not fight - you never have and, hopefully, never will have to". Now we can debate to what extent this is rhetorical and maybe you would argue that Kos misunderstands May or whatever. Still, I think it is pretty clear that it is this equation of pro-war commentary with actual combat that is prompting Kos to reply, labelling May a chickenhawk. Do you disagree?
Re earlier explicit definitions of this type (presumably from a prominent source): I don't know of one. Of course most commentators just use a term without writing up a definition. Definitions are the sort of thing people typically worry more about in encyclopedias than blogs. ;) But even if we find blogger or op-ed columnist XYZ wrote down such a definition six months ago, does that really get us anywhere? It seems to me we would just switch to debating whether it was XYZ's private definition instead of Greenwald's. Crust 20:12, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Card images[edit]

The “Card Images” detract from the article. For the following reasons the “Card Images” should be removed from the article.

The image of George W Bush and Dick Cheney is obviously derogatory in its intent. The descriptions beneath the images are POV. The images have no clear reason for their inclusion and are not necessary. The image’s placement is inappropriate being entered under “Arguments for and against the term” and “History of the term's usage”. The images accept the card makers definition of “chickenhawk” and do not necessarily conform to the definitions of this article.

I propose a description and a link to the “Card Image” would strengthen the article without detracting from content and restore objectivity. If the images are to be included, they should be listed in an appropriate section with a description on how they apply the term “Chickenhawk” as well as disclaimers.

Those images are "copyright 2004 Jerry Vasilatos and Nitestar Productions", and were added by User:Nitestar, who also added a to the "External Links" section. (It's the first link under "Advocates of the term".) That deck is a commercial product, sold via that website (and some stores). Those images were advertisements! So they are not allowed in Wikipedia.
I've left a warning on Nitestar's talk page and removed the linkspam from the article. Cheers, CWC(talk) 19:27, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, let's at least give Nitestar credit for not being surreptitious (note copyright holder). ;) Crust 14:06, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

A limited kind of fame[edit]

A recent edit to the article bewildered/bothered me enough that I've listed it at Wikipedia:Edits_with_silly_edit_summaries#H. Cheers, CWC(talk) 14:34, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Use by pro-war bloggers[edit]

The article currently has the following paragraph:

The second sentence seems inaccurate to me (although I quite enjoyed the "blotter" typo). I did a Google search for their motto "we eat chickens for lunch". It gets 822 hits. Of the first two pages of hits, one is this Wikipedia article. All the others are conservative blogs (most occuring only once, a couple twice). So the notion that this got more play on the the liberal side of the blogosphere seems way off to me. I am deleting the second sentence from the article. Also I'll switch "right-wing" to "pro-war" in the first sentence. Crust 13:55, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Robert Mason was first to record!

Denying the antecedent[edit]

I think it is good to have a list of arguments for the use of the term, and a list of arguments against the use of the term. But this one is in the against list, and it seems like a logical fallacy. I don't, however, want a list of 'arguments againsts the arguments against' list, and all the variations thereoff.

  • Using the same logic that only veterans have the experience and moral standing to advocate war, then only veterans have the experience and moral standing to oppose war. For the sake of consistency, people who use the term "chickenhawk" should also dismiss non-veteran opponents of war as "chicken doves."[14][12] Or to put it another way, "If only a soldier can speak for the war, then how can somebody who is not a soldier speak against the war?"[15]

One may want to claim that 'non-veterans cannot support a war', and/or that 'only veterans can oppose the war', but the second does not logically follow from the first. To argue that the first proposition is wrong because the second proposition is wrong is an invalid Reductio ad absurdum argument; to argue that if you accept the first you must, to be consistent, accept the second is the fallacy of Denying the antecedent. I'm wary of just removing the argument, but neither do I wan't to add what could be seen as a 'pro' argement to the 'anti' section (even though, technically, pointing out that an 'anti' argument is fallacious is not in itself an arguement for the 'pro' position) - 03:34, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Removed "Famous Chickenhawks" section[edit]

I removed the following text from the article:

By the technical definition (that is, not Glenn Greenwald's inventive version), the following famous men in history were Chickenhawks (that is, they supported or pushed for war without serving in the military personally):
President Bill Clinton
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
President Abraham Lincoln

First off, it's blatant and unrestrained original research. Second, Abraham Lincoln had about as much military service as was typical and ordinary for men of his generation (too young to fight in the War of 1812, and when the U.S. regular army was a rather tiny force), namely a month in the militia during the "Black Hawk War"; and he was by no means a general war advocate (he was radically opposed to the U.S.-Mexican War of 1848, for example). AnonMoos 02:02, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Opinion from the most correct, best person (me)[edit]

I do NOT approve of the war in Iraq, and I am not especially militant. But anyone who has ever seriously used the term "chickenhawk" is a massively obnoxious fuckhead. Because it implies that someone who isn't in the military can't have an opinion regarding the defense of the nation? I'm sorry but that is undemocratic and un-American. The military should be influenced, subordinated and controlled by civilians! Civilians being defined as those who are not in the military. The fact that this term exists and is an article on Wikipedia is offensive! It's offensicve because its very idea is undemocratic. Anyone who accuses anyone else of being a 'chickenhawk' OR supports the existence of this article is un-democratic and loves the military more than the People. Peace out ya'll. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:34, 15 January 2009

The foregoing soapbox comment should probably be removed, but the statement that having a Wikipedia article is "offensive" could, if read liberally, be about the article instead of just the writer's general ranting, so I'll leave the comment in. In response to the anon: Wikipedia isn't about what's inoffensive, it's about the world as it is. I personally consider the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse to have been highly offensive but we of course report on it. JamesMLane t c 09:18, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Joseph Lieberman[edit]

Added information on Senator Joseph Lieberman. Feel that it is a useful balance to the discussion of Dick Cheney. Seki1949 (talk) 02:11, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Relevant uses[edit]

I have removed 2 examples of the use because they don't appear notable. Including something like Politician A called Politician B a "chickenhawk" just because it happened or just because you have a source runs afoul of WP:UNDUE and WP:RECENTISM. There needs to be justification for the inclusion. Niteshift36 (talk) 14:59, 5 January 2012 (UTC)


Requires extreme care is making contentious claims about any living person, and those claims which are clearly "opinion" have been removed per that policy. Collect (talk) 14:16, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

One thing I disagree with is that if Al Franken included specific individuals as comic-strip characters in his best-selling book, we can report that Al Franken did so (without endorsing the truth of Al Franken's characterizations). At this moment, the only individual named in the article as having been accused of chickenhawkery is Bill Clinton, which would strike some as being blatantly unbalanced... AnonMoos (talk) 22:21, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Remove him then is the obvious way to make sure that WP:BLP is followed. Cheers. Collect (talk) 22:32, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Whatever, dude -- I'm interested in trying to actually improve this article, and not just maximizing the excisions and so minimizing the content. BLP does NOT mean that we're forbidden from reporting that "A said B about C" if A, C, and what A said about C are all notable (which certainly seems to be case with Al Franken's book). AnonMoos (talk) 00:10, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I suggest you read WP:BLP -- any contentious claims must be strongly sourced -- that Franken calls someone a "chicken hawk" in a work of fiction does not make it a fact. Nor is Franken's opinion about any living person notable in the sense of superceding WP:BLP policy. Cheers. Collect (talk) 01:24, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Your habit of providing redundant repetitive links to basic Wikipedia policies, as if no one had ever read them except you, is really not helpful, and in fact is likely to come across as rather condescending and hostile. Meanwhile, if Al Franken says something, that doesn't make it so, but if it exerted significant influence on the development or usage of the term "chickenhawk" (the actual topic of this article, remember?), then we can report what Al Franken said, without endorsing it, and there is no BLP violation. Sounds like you're the one who needs a little refresher course ("If an allegation or incident is notable, relevant, and well-documented, it belongs in the article — even if it is negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it." etc.)... AnonMoos (talk) 03:32, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I repeat Wikipedia policies until I think the personhas read them. FICTIONAL WORKS MENTIONING A LIVING PERSON ARE NOT FACTS Is that clear enough for George III to read without spectacles? Such fictions are not remotely a notable "allegation or incident" about the living person. The aim of Wikipedia is to produce an encyclopedia. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:59, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Charlie, it really doesn't matter how often and how loudly you repeat wrong "facts"[sic], or how supercilious and condescending you are when you tell people that nobody in the world understands Wikipedia policies except you -- you're still wrong, even if you're loudly and frequently wrong; and your supercilious and condescending tone makes it much more difficult to constructively work with others to improve Wikipedia, without doing anything whatsoever to persuade other people that false is correct. All the figures mentioned in the comic-book chapter of Al Franken's book are fully public figures, and no one with half a brain ever thought that they served in a special secret unit in Vietnam under Oliver North. That being the case, there's no violation of whatsoever of WP:BLP (I'll do it the way you do it and redundantly repeat it for no particular reason: WP:BLP, WP:BLP, WP:BLP -- is that enough?) for Wikipedia to report that public political figures have received political criticism (which goes with the territory in being a public political figure), if the aforesaid criticism is highly-relevant to the history of the term Chickenhawk (which is what this article is actually supposed to be about, remember?) -- AnonMoos (talk) 17:34, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Tell ya what - post this at WP:BLP/N and that you want living people who were characters in a piece of fiction labelled as "chicken hawks," See if it flies. I quite suggest it will not. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:37, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


I think one important aspect of the chickenhawk label isn't merely that someone didn't serve and then later advocates for military intervention. We don't leave military decisions to just those who happened to have been in the military. The crucial element of it, as a pejorative, is that the chickenhawk did not serve, advocates intervention, AND imputes that he is brave or manly for doing so. So, for example, George W Bush, who pulled strings to make sure he didn't go to Vietnam, can be considered a chickenhawk for his military bravado surrounding the Iraq War. The central element for me is not the policy decision to use force but the claim that doing so makes one courageous when you don't actually have any skin in the game. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LetMeLogIn (talkcontribs) 16:36, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Your personal opinion isn't really what is relevant here. As for your historical facts.......Bush has an honorable discharge, do you? Niteshift36 (talk) 16:43, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
No, I agree that it isn't enough to have avoided service and later advocate for war. That does not make you a chickenhawk, at least in the opinion of the majority of the media and the public (I'm willing to bet a lot of money on that). You become a chickenhawk when you avoided service and now try to obtain a tough guy image from advocating for a war and calling people who oppose the war "pussies" and so on. If you portray the war as a necessary evil that you regret being necessary and express that you cannot imagine what it must be like for the people on the front then you are not being a chickenhawk. The current definition provided by Wikipedia is wrong. (talk) 21:15, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

promotion of Franken's book[edit]

The historical usage was definitely regarding sexual paedophiles. The New Yorker usage in 1986 for the topic of this article is sufficient, though we might also note the sexual implication (many cites available dating to 1977 in the New York Times). I note that there are a great many political usages well prior to Franken's book - so inserting it makes little sense to the article. Collect (talk) 11:31, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

  • Agreed. Especially when the unsubstantiated claim here is that it was Franken that essentially adopted it to the current use. Niteshift36 (talk) 12:21, 13 November 2012 (UTC)