I know I could batter internet memes all day, but this one, by the Democratic Underground, particularly annoys me, as has the “chicken hawk” canard that knee-jerk anti-war activists have been wielding for decades.
To begin with, it’s an ad hominem argument, and thus unethical on its face. The question is whether a military option is the best and most responsible solution to an international problem, not who is asserting that it is. It is also an incompetent argument, as in stupid. There is nothing about typical military experience that conveys expertise in foreign affairs or international politics. Military service, as in training, marching, being deployed and shooting a gun, and military action, as a strategic tool of diplomacy and international politics, are two different things. Lincoln was a superb Commander in Chief, but he didn’t gain that ability from his brief combat experience fighting Black Hawk Indians.
In fact, what is the statement above supposed to imply? No Commander in Chief has had to risk personal combat if he chose war. Because there has been no draft since the the Nineties, the only way a political leader would ever have military experience would be if he chose a military career, which would mean that the meme suggests that a military career is a prerequisite for national leadership. But Democrats don’t believe that; nobody believes that. In fact, Democrats are wary and suspicious of the military, which they believe, with some justification, is biased toward military involvement. They don’t even especially respect military service: look at how James Webb was treated in his brief presidential run.
The smear on the Republican field is a dishonest Catch-22: if someone has a military background, like John McCain, well, “those guys always think war is the answer.” If a candidate believes that the United States should use military force but did not serve, then he’s a hypocrite. “If you like fighting so much, why did you let poor guys and blacks do it for you, huh?” This is the pacifist strain in the Democratic/progressive ranks, being deceitful and hypocritical. Obama and Clinton ran against three war heroes: was the idea behind picking the leaders who didn’t know which end of a gun to hold that it wouldensure that they would never advocate military action, or that they would be incompetent executing it, or what?
The meme is also historically ignorant, and especially so for Democrats. Who was the most vociferous advocate in the Continental Congress for war against Great Britain? One of the few Founders with no military experience, that’s who: John Adams, and aren’t we glad he wasn’t shushed by stupid memes. The U.S. has fought in two World Wars, the first under one Democratic hero (until recently), Woodrow Wilson, and the other under the greatest Democratic icon of them all, FDR. Neither had any military service.
The argument that there is anything unseemly or hypocritical about statesmen without service records supporting military action is cynical, dishonest and brain-dead. Nobody should make it, Democrats least of all.
Your Facebook friend or Twitter pal who posts this meme is channeling idiots, and you can tell them I said so.