Friday, January 06, 2006

Chicken Hawks

So I Metro-ed up to Ballston (the most macho town in the Universe, except maybe for Johnson City) to go to a 'Town Halll Meeting' on the Iraq "war" with Democratic Congressmen Jim Moran and Jack Murtha. Here's the main question I now have to ask: How early do you have to get there to get into this kinda thing?

About a thousand people showed up and filled up the room and an overflow room (capacity 550) with television monitors and I didn't get into either. I got home in time to watch some of it on CSPAN2. I suspect that people asked the questions I would have asked, and perhaps more gracefully than I would have. It was an interesting scene outside the meeting, a swarm of Lyndon Larouche-ites handing out glossy brochures, a few Dittoheads heckling the crowd. One of them had a big sandwichboard with a picture of an Arab man on the front, complete with Arabic writing on his head-scarf, in case our reflex bigotry hadn't already been triggered. He flapped his arms like a chicken and advised the crowd loudly, "Just get up there and go bwok-bwok-wok and they'll give you the mike."

He was a doughy supperannuated frat-boy, endlessly smug, so I shouted back to him, "You're so brave, why aren't you over there?" He hesitated for a second and then told me with great unction, "I'm a twenty- year veteran." A veteran desk-jockey I'm sure, from the thousand-yard sneer that twisted his face. Being the son of a decorated veteran, and having grown up on Army bases, I doubt very seriously that anybody who's really been in the shit feels the need to come out and call his fellow citizens cowards. In fact, I'll bet hawkishness is inversely correlated to actual combat experience.

Which leads me to this ethical question: Isn't it always wrong to advocate a war that you have no intention of fighting?

And this practical question: If you're not willing to sacrifice by serving, paying higher taxes, sending your loved ones, or doing something else meaningful, costly, painful to match the sacrifice you expect of others, in what sense are your supporting the effort? If you just talk the talk, or type the type, aren't you just lower than snake shit?


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