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Tomorrow is the day we honor the fallen American heroes of so many wars. To avoid staining our national day of mourning, I felt it more appropriate to dedicate this post at this time to a very different kind of American. They may be clueless neocons, erroneous White House talking heads, or smear artists and their self-appointed town criers. But what they all have in common is that each one bravely ducked when called and later took part directly or indirectly in assaulting the reputation of those who stood in harm's way. They are known, affectionately, as Chicken-hawks:

  • President George W. Bush - served four years of a six years Nat'l Guard commitment, some say after daddy's friends pulled some strings to keep him out of Vietnam. The circumstances of his early separation from state-side service are still controversial (details)
  • Karl Rove, occasional Deputy Chief of Staff and alleged full time smear artist, escaped the draft and did not serve
  • VP Dick Cheney - several deferments, by marriage and timely fatherhood  
  • Former VP Chief of Staff I. Lewis Scooter Libby - did not serve
  • Secretary of State and former NSA Condaleeza Rice - did not serve
  • Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - did not serve.
  • Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert - did not serve.
  • Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay - did not serve
  • House Majority Whip Roy Blunt - did not serve
  • Majority Whip Mitch McConnell - did not serve
  • Rick Santorum, third ranking Republican in the Senate - did not serve.
  • Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott - did not serve

Illustration provided by Karen Wehrstein

Recently while stammering out a convoluted apology for avoiding service, one budding Yellow Elephant mentioned in part that he 'can support the Yankees without wearing their uniform.' Not too far off: Your average Chicken-hawk does not play for the Yankees because they lack the physical skill required to walk out on that field and compete; likewise, maybe they do not serve in Iraq because they lack the simple courage required to walk into a recruiting office and sign up. But how about his role models?

  • Rush Limbaugh - did not serve
  • Sean Hannity - did not serve
  • Pat Buchanan - did not serve
  • Ann Coulter - did not serve
  • Ralph Reed - did not serve
  • Bill O'Reilly - did not serve
  • Michael Savage - did not serve
  • Bill Kristol - did not serve

The 101st Fighting Chicken-shit Keyboardists and assorted neocon shills may be conspicuously absent when their country is in need, but they're always at the ready to order other people's sons and daughters into the meat grinder. They sure seem to pop up on the Quad when the battle is over and the band is a'playin. And they're always on duty, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to smear any survivors with vicious accusations of cowardice or worse when Neoconia calls. Just a couple of examples of their bipartisan handiwork include smearing Democrat Max Cleland, triple amputee, awarded both the Silver and Bronze Stars for valorous action in combat. The same treatment was shown to Republican John McCain who won the Silver & Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross and spent over five years being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton.

In another time and place, some of today's not-so-brave might have elbowed little old ladies and children out of the way to secure a berth on the last lifeboat on the Titanic, or maybe they''d have ratted out resistance fighters to the Gestapo in WW2 France. But today is the eve of Memorial Day and this is America, 2006. Ergo, present day Chicken-hawks will pay their respects by milking the courage of war heroes. They will then churn it into buttery lubrication to help coat their lies and incompetence, so as to slip more easily down the collective gullet and penetrate deep into our national psyche.

To a Chicken-hawk on Memorial Day, a bronze plaque inscribed with the names of the fallen is more than an earnest reminder of ultimate sacrifice. It is a convenient shield to protect the latest revelation of bloody negligence or deadly deceit. It matters not if the entombed accept the wisdom of a specific conflict or respect those that dispatched them: After all, dead men tell no tales and thus cannot voice dissent, or refuse to enable neocon affectations.

The current crop of chicken-shits are by no means the first to brandish ideological armor made of hastily fashioned flesh and bone taken from their needless war victims. They did not invent the vicarious pose, wreath in one hand and flag in the other, or write the first poetic speech spoken in the safety provided by such profound tragedy. They're not the first to conflate questions over a massive cluster-fuck with attacks upon those who's shattered remains lay beneath the brass and marble props making up the background of each shameless photo-op. Today's Republican Chicken-hawks are not the pioneers of bloody combat blunder.  

"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew, Someone had blunder'd: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. --Charge of the Light Brigade

But in my opinion, what makes this latest craven breed of prestige parasites particularly loathsome is that once off stage and out of frame, they will insidiously cut VA benefits in favor of corporate welfare and tax cuts for billionaires. The case for contempt rests on the undeniable fact that they spooked us into war against the wrong country. In plush ideological laboratories, senior slime artists will sink their fangs into the broken bodies of war dead, drain the unwitting corpses of the last drops of dignity, and then parade around glowing with the stolen glory. The final exhibit in this disgusting series is that with distended yellow-bellies now camouflaged red, white, and blue by that theft, they will commence to discredit and destroy any veteran, living or dead, who won't expedite the revolting neocon-authored actions hurting the very soldiers the Chicken-hawks honor in pretense. It's enough to make one vomit.

I reserve tomorrow for those who served with honor. But today, I recognize the puppet masters and their fleshy mannequins, who will shortly swagger over sacred graves, bravely intercept the standing ovation intended for the dead, and unflinchingly bask in the goodwill directed at the lost. They have all but sworn under oath to stay their deadly course, brook no change, and justify every new body bag as giving meaning to the coffin that came before it; an endless procession cleverly contrived to evade responsibility, to forever postpone their day of accountability, the future fallen be damned.

I fear the Chicken-hawks will continue to enlist the dead and maimed in their grotesque media pageants, to cover their blunders and attack any opponent, every week, every month, and yes, even every Memorial Day, ad infinitum. Until We the People finally put an end to this gruesome nightmare.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 28, 2006 at 06:06 AM PDT.

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