Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Shame and Cowardice of the Chickenhawk

The usual definition of a chickenhawk is someone who supports war but actively avoids fighting. Whenever I think of one, what comes to my mind are Young Republicans, but also leftists, who are just as bad if not worse.

A writer, whose name unfortunately completely escapes me, said the aforementioned definition is not totally accurate. A better one is that a chickenhawk is someone who believes supporting war is a sign of his personal bravery and patriotism, and is convinced that those who oppose war, for whatever principled and thoughtful reasons, are always cowards and traitors.

Still, chickenhawks are cowards. Why, then, can they not see what they are?

There is only one reason: They deceive themselves as to what they truly are. They idealize themselves as proud, brave and patriotic, while others, more clear-sighted, see them for what they are: cowards who will do nothing except stand on the sidelines and yell, "Okay, throw the ball here! Now throw it over there!"

When people refuse to see their bad qualities (what Jung called their Shadows), there is only one thing they can do to protect their self-delusion: project those qualities on other people. Here is an example: when leftists talk about "hate" (which they do all the time), they are projecting their own unacknowledged hate onto other people.

Chickenhawks are the same: They cannot acknowledge their own cowardice, so they must project it onto others. Those Others, to the chickenhawk, are the cowards and traitors, not the chickenhawk.

Yet, the chickenhawk must know, somewhere deep inside, that he is a coward, and so has to be ashamed of himself. How does he cover up his shame? With pride. Pride on top, hiding shame underneath.

The first time I ran across that formulation of pride covering shame was in John le Carre's novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, when he wrote of Leamas' "protective arrogance concealing shame."

Plato once wrote, "The cause of all sins in every case lies in the person's excessive love of self." I wouldn't call what he's writing about "self love." Excessive pride, arrogance, grandiosity, yes, but not self-love.

The social researcher James Gilligan, who spent 35 years dealing with prisoners, wrote, "Shame . . . motivates not confession but concealment of whatever one feels ashamed of." Guilt, he writes, can on the other hand lead to confession and penance.

He also writes, “…people who feel ashamed typically attempt to diminish that painful feeling both by assuming attitudes of arrogance, self-importance, and boastfulness.”

We'll never see confession and penance from chickenhawks, because they have no guilt. And it's a lot easier to admit guilt than shame. And chickenhawks' shame and cowardice is something they will not, cannot, admit. So they project it onto others: “You should be ashamed of yourself for being a coward who’s not supporting our country and its wars.”

I believe the average chickenhawk must be exceptionally narcissistic, which is correctly defined as splitting things into all-good and all-bad – idealization and devaluation. The chickenhawk has to see himself as all good (brave and patriotic), so his own unacknowledged badness (his cowardice) has to be projected onto others.

The late M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, called this kind of projection “the genesis of human evil.” If he’s correct, and I believe he is, then what chickenhawks are doing, in their self-deception, their unacknowledged cowardice, their arrogance and grandiosity, and their scapegoating of the innocent, is evil.

I sometimes wonder if chickenhawks ever think about how they would handle combat. I think they'd do what a soldier friend of mine saw another soldier do: brag to everyone how tough and brave he was (pride), but when the first shot was fired, he turned and ran (shaming himself).

It's probably a good thing chickenhawks aren't in the military: their cowardice and incompetence would probably get innocent soldiers killed. No, not probably. Would.

There's an old saying -- and I have no idea where it's from -- that the best warriors are the least war-like. I will nod and agree with it.

Why in the world anyone listens to chickenhawks is beyond me. Would anyone in his right mind listen to any coward about anything? All of them should be laughed at and ridiculed into silence -- because the one thing no coward can stand is to be laughed at.

Natural Law and War

I believe in Natural Law. Law is discovered, not created. This applies not only to physical laws, such as the law of gravity, but also to the laws of economics, society, war, and human nature.

Apparently our coming war with Iraq is a done deal. Let's apply some Natural Law and see what we come up with.

A big strong country with a big strong military will always beat a little weak country with a little weak military.

Iraq is already one-third conquered as it is. After ten years of blockade, I don't believe they'll offer much resistance. The 22 Islamic countries in the world have a combined GNP (excluding oil) slightly less than that of Spain. Iraq has a GNP the size of South Carolina.

The invasion may not be exactly a "cakewalk," but it'll be close. A lot more of them will die than us. Most of "them" that die will be innocent.

Slave soldiers are no soldiers at all.

The conscripted slave soldiers in Iraq's army will surrender by the thousands, if we let them. It's what they did the first time, when they were surrendering to TV news crews. They don't want to die for a nut like Saddam Hussein.

Democracy is an inferior form of government that will always collapse.
After we conquer Iraq, what exactly are we going to do with it? Try to impose the silly and dangerous leftist dream of "democracy" on it? I doubt most of them know what "democracy" means ("It means...freedom! And, uh, jobs! Yeah, that's it! Freedom and jobs!") Even most Americans don't understand what it means. Self-rule? What exactly is that? The rule of the majority over the minority? The rule of organized special-interest groups busy trying to steal everyone else's money? Iraq is a country that has no understanding of "self-rule" in the slightest. Because of this...

When one country conquers another, it will be there a long time.

Because it will be trying to set up a stable government that will be no threat to the conquerors. Har har! Right now the "President" of Afghanistan has the American military as his Praetorian bodyguards because other Afghanis are trying to kill him.

Conquered countries are a financial drain on the conquerors.

I've never understood Empire. In the history of the world, not one colony has ever been a financial benefit to the conqueror. Not one. They've always sucked more treasure from the conqueror than they've given back.

Now maybe certain people will benefit. I think it's pretty obvious that a armchair-general chickenhawk warmongering coward like Dick Cheney will make out like a bandit on the oil money from Iraq. But the American public? They'll just expend their blood and treasure on a country halfway around the world.

It's a lot easier to conquer than occupy.

If we're big and strong, and they're little and weak, conquering is easy. But occupying is a whole different ballgame, because...

Guerilla warfare is the only way a weak occupied country can fight back against its conqueror.

Guerilla warfare is the Achilles' Heel of any occupying army. We forced the British out during the Revolutionary War through guerilla warfare, and Zionists forced the British out in Palestine the same way.

It's not possible to tell a guerilla from the innocent. A guerilla may be a cabdriver by day, then sneak into the woods at night and shoot an enemy soldier in the head. Then he goes home, goes to sleep and drives his taxi the next day.

Because of this, the only way to completely put a stop to guerilla warfare is to...

Kill everyone.

And we're not going to do that.

What's probably going to happen is the US government is going to conquer Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. We're going to be there for years, expending the American public's blood and treasure. The US military will have to tolerate casualties from guerilla warfare. But in the long-run...

Empires always withdraw.
In the history of the world, not one Empire hasn't collapsed or withdrawn from the territories it occupies. They have destroyed themselves economically trying to run the Empire. They're resorted to ruinous inflation, or destructive deficit spending. Either way, it's ended up collapsing the Empire.

So either we can withdraw now, or we can withdraw later. Of course we will withdraw later, because...

All governments are stupid.