While it seems the mainstream media paused last week’s avalanche of attacks on progressive Hawaiian Democratic rep. Tulsi Gabbard, which painted her as a Russian stooge for daring to oppose Washington’s addiction to regime change wars abroad, in favor of new controversy surrounding another progressive, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and charges of anti-Semitism leveled at her for criticism of pro-Israel money in US politics, Gabbard hasn’t let up a bit in terms of the intensity of her attacks on the warmongering establishment within both parties. In a new televised message Gabbard excoriated the pundit class for constantly dreaming up “new places for people to die”.
Gabbard released the half-minute video on Tuesday appropriately called “Warmongers in their ivory towers” wherein the US Army reserve officer and Iraq War veteran slammed the Washington culture of “powerful” decision-makers who “sit in ivory towers” and send other people’s children to war, while themselves never stepping close to a battlefield.
The message — which is all the more powerful given she has likely personally lost friends in the Iraq and Afghan “endless wars” — is reminiscent of Ron Paul’s fearless attacks on the neocons during the 2012 Republican primary debates as “chicken hawks”. Paul, also a veteran, brought the term into national consciousness.
It denotes those who advocate for US overseas military conflicts and foreign adventurism yet who avoided all military service in their careers. At that time Congressman Paul called out Newt Gingrich after Gingrich smeared Paul’s non-interventionism position as “dangerous”.
“When Newt Gingrich was called to service in the 1960s in the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that and got deferments and didn’t even go,” Paul said related to the primary debates in a 2012 CNN interview, and added, “Some people call that kind of program a chicken hawk, and I think he falls into that category.”
We remarked previously that Gabbard, as a rare Congressional voice who has personally experienced the ravages of one recent regime change war and its lasting consequences for both common Iraqis and the American people, has emerged as a “Ron Paul of the Left” of sorts (at least on foreign policy that is).
And like Paul before, she could emerge in 2020 as a rare voice spotlighting Washington’s addiction to regime change and “endless wars” abroad, and the military-industrial complex’s fueling America’s “global policeman” mentality, and its blindly obedient cheerleaders in the mainstream media. This will at the very least make the foreign policy debate during the next election — usually a mere single point of view establishment echo chamber — more interesting.
This is especially true given that she’ll likely unleash her “warmongers in their ivory towers” who think up “new places for people to die” attacks on her warmonger opponents during the Democratic debates. Seeing this is certainly something to look forward to.
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Meanwhile the “chicken hawk” phenomenon is given deeper treatment in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Skin In The Game, a key passage of which is quoted below:
“Now some innocent people, Yazidis, Christian minorities, Syrians, Iraqis, and Libyans had to pay a price for the mistakes of these interventionistas currently sitting in their comfortable air-conditioned offices. This, we will see, violates the very notion of justice from its pre-biblical, Babylonian inception. As well as the ethical structure of humanity.
Not only the principle of healers is first do no harm (primum non nocere), but, we will argue: those who don’t take risks should never be involved in making decisions.
This idea is weaved into history: all warlords and warmongers were warriors themselves and, with few exceptions societies were run by risk takers not risk transferors. They took risks –more risks than ordinary citizens. Julian the Apostate, the hero of many, died on the battlefield fighting in the never-ending war on the Persian frontier. One of predecessors, Valerian, after he was captured was said to have been used as a human footstool by the Persian Shahpur when mounting his horse. Less than a third of Roman emperors died in their bed –and one can argue that, had they lived longer, they would have fallen prey to either a coup or a battlefield.”
“The interventionistas case is central to our story because it shows how absence of skin in the game has both ethical and epistemological effects (i.e., related to knowledge). Interventionistas don’t learn because they are not the victims of their mistakes.“