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Blogosophical Investigations
Monday, October 07, 2002  


If you have a distaste for war and the political classes, and you don't mind swallowing your propaganda whole from US Democrats, you could do worse than visit the Chickenhawks database, run by the New Hampshire Gazette. This lists

public persons - generally male - who (1) tend to advocate, or are fervent supporters of those who advocate, military solutions to political problems, and who have personally (2) declined to take advantage of a significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime.

This is, of course, a long list of overwhelmingly Republican politicos and media personalities, since they‘re the ones who are ‘bellicose’. The definition of ‘bellicose’ is highly question-begging, since we can disagree profoundly about which problems demand political solutions and which ones military. (But congratulations to the NHG for keeping the distinction between ‘bellicose’ and ‘belligerent’ sharp. Perhaps the confusion is less prevalent on their side of the Atlantic.)

Many of the names will be meaningless to most British readers. But right at the top is George W Bush, described as having avoided the Vietnam War by being AWOL – from the National Guard, in which he was enrolled. Something about his having missed a year or more of his service. There are fistfuls of links, which I don't care about enough to follow up.

Bush Senior can’t be faulted, of course. Rumsfeld escapes the list.

With disarming honesty, the site owners say up front:

Some individuals may qualify more for their political associations than for any demonstrated personal tendency towards bellicosity.

Thanks for making that clear.

I hope that Clinton will be reassessed:

He may have launched a few cruise missiles to distract us from a dalliance with a girl half his age, but our judges believe he wasn't bellicose enough to make the cut. Your mileage may vary.

Surely his bellicosity rating should be boosted by his recent recruitment-drive speech at the Labour Party conference in Blackpool - intended to corral the lefty sheep behind Blair by disngenuously hinting that with their support he can rein in Bush?

(By the way, since we've mentioned Clinton - Ken Starr is listed as a chickenhawk, with the profession of ‘Persecutor’.)

I’d like to see the Statistical Assessment Service give this listing a going-over. Till then, read it for enjoyment value.

11:10 AM

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