The Moose has never been fond of the “chicken hawk” epithet. It is usually employed as an ad hominem attack in substitute for serious debate. Moreover, as has been endlessly pointed out, some of our most effective wartime Presidents (Lincoln and F.D.R.) had no or minimal experience.
But, the Moose became softer on the use of the chicken hawk epithet when he witnessed innumerable right wing talking heads disparage Kerry’s heroism during the August contretemps over the Swift Boat allegations. You would think that those who never risked their lives for their country would be reticent about questioning Kerry’s courage under fire.
In today's New York Times, Tom Friedman cogently calls the cons to task,
"Conservatives profess to care deeply about the outcome in Iraq, but they sat silently for the last year as the situation there steadily deteriorated. Then they participated in a shameful effort to refocus the country's attention on what John Kerry did on the rivers of Vietnam 30 years ago, not on what George Bush and his team are doing on the rivers of Babylon today, where some 140,000 American lives are on the line. Is this what it means to be a conservative today?"
Meanwhile, the Vice President has suggested that Kerry is a veritable wimp when it comes to defending America. Note this quote from yesterday’s New York Times, “John Kerry would lead you to believe he has the same kind of view that George Bush has, that he would be tough and aggressive," Mr. Cheney said. "I don't believe it. I don't think there's any evidence to support the proposition that he would, in fact, do it."
As has been pointed out, Kerry has been ahead of the pack in warning about loose nukes and proliferation. But, perhaps the Moose does not sufficiently appreciate the Vice President’ expertise on evading defense of the homeland. Note this passage from a recent Washington Post piece on the candidates' military records, “Critical biographers have noted that Richard and Lynne Cheney had their first child in July 1966, nine months and two days after the Johnson administration expanded the draft to include married men without children.
The deferments kept Cheney out of the military until 1967, when he turned 26 and became ineligible for the draft. He would later insist that he complied with the conscription laws and would have been "happy to serve" had he been drafted. But as he told The Washington Post in 1989, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service."
Other priorities? Sounds pretty tough!