Larry Elder

Chicken hawks: "cowards" who support the Iraq war, but never served in the military.

An e-mail going around the Internet purports to list "chicken hawks," including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Vice President Dick Cheney and others. It includes people like myself, who applied for and received student deferments during the Vietnam War.

Many oppose the Iraq war in good faith, believing the war ill-advised, while questioning its prosecution. But the anti-war critics' sudden respect for military service simply astonishes. Call them born-again GI Joes. When did military experience become so important?

Former President Bill Clinton remains rabidly popular among Democrats. The former president continuously offers his opinions about world affairs, including the war in Iraq. But where were the chicken hawk accusers when Clinton ran for president? Recall that Clinton campaigned -- not once, but twice -- against two opponents who not only served, but served heroically and with distinction.

Clinton first, in 1992, defeated George Herbert Walker Bush. Bush-41 enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday, and after completing 10 months of training, he became the youngest naval aviator in the war. On a mission to attack Japanese installations in the Pacific, Bush's plane was shot and the engines caught fire. Bush completed his attack -- releasing his bombs scoring several damaging hits -- then flew several miles out to sea where he bailed out, and rescuers fished him from the water hours later. Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the USS San Jacinto.

Clinton, running for re-election in 1996, defeated Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan. Fighting the Nazis in the hills of Italy in April of 1945, Dole's platoon came under attack. His radioman hit, Dole crawled out of his foxhole to assist the downed man. Nazi machine gun fire tore into his upper right back and arm. His right arm was so badly damaged it was unrecognizable. He was not expected to live. The extensive therapy for his rebuilt arm took about three years and nine operations. Dole, twice decorated for heroic achievement, received two Purple Hearts for his injuries and the Bronze Star Medal for his attempt to assist the downed radioman.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.