This is a new term that I first saw coined in Tech Central Station. This column (and the term) is about people (specifically, liberals) who oppose any military action despite having never served in the military. I would take it a step farther and include those who also have no immediate family who served in the military.
Anyway, the full column is here and the excerpt to hook you is right here:
Any yammering propeller-headed nitwit can tell the world to make love, not war, and no one can impeach his sincerity in making that plaintive demand. By contrast, anyone who supports the war had better be a card-carrying military veteran, or else be condemned as a "chickenhawk" -- no matter how wise, eloquent, or inspiring their pro-war position might be.The last sentence, I think, is the most profound of all. People who seem to have a problem with American "oppression" (who wouldn't know real oppression if it buried them in a mass grave) are the ones who equate peace with a lack of military action (i.e. war)...when it is this very lack of military action that causes what I call a "warless peaceful oppression." How sick must you be to support that?
The problem isn't chickenhawks -- people who support the war but never served in the military, and probably never will.
The problem is stateside armchair philosophers who oppose military action and military policy, even though they never served in the military. The problem is anti-war punditry from intellectuals who think that an IED is a contraceptive and couldn't tell the difference between bounding overwatch and watching Baywatch. The problem is intellectuals who think their education and politically-correct ideology lets them know what the military needs -- better than the military knows it.
The problem is chickendoves.
In my fleeting moments of empathy, I can muster some modicum of sympathy for the condemnation of chickenhawks. I watched the remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, the same as everyone else. I remember the grotesque contrast between the enthusiasm of the naïve pro-war schoolteachers and the bloody realities of the World War I trenches. (Pro-war schoolteachers! It sounds like science fiction.) No one smiles at the thought of fat white guys in fezzes and monocles sipping cognac while pushing little men across a map, plotting out wars where poorer, browner men die to support the fantasies of empire.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the peace vigil: the allegedly poorer, allegedly browner men support the war, and the fat guys in fezzes and monocles now inveigh against it. Military support for the war and the Bush administration is exceptionally high. It's the well-to-do in the ritzy suburbs who wring their hands, mumbling "Dulce Et Decorum Est" while listening to dreary reports about the Iraqi quagmire on NPR. To generalize: the closer and more intimate you are with the war in Iraq, the more you support it.
The chickendoves don't care. Heck, what do soldiers know? They're only battle-hardened professionals with unusually high educational achievements and hands-on experience with the occupation of Iraq. That the chickenhawks are on the same side as the real hawks is just a curious accident, one that will not prevent the chickendoves from "defending" the soldiers whose opinions they casually dismiss.
"But shouldn't the burden of proof rest upon those who call for war, instead of peace? Don't the inherent dangers of war compel us to demand that its advocates walk the talk?" In brief: no and no. War is extraordinarily bad. But a bad peace can be worse. The graveyards of the world are filled with the bodies of those who died from a hateful "peace." Given the hideous acts of oppression and injustice that spring from the lack of war, why shouldn't we hold peaceniks to the higher standard of sincerity?