I don't know if this has been widely noticed, but there seems to be a strange new trend in punditry: pundits claiming that, by writing in support of a war, they are in fact brave strong warriors. To wit:
Clifford May(former New York Times reporter): "There is a war of arms. And there is a war of ideas. They are not just inter-related, they are interdependent. They are equally consequential. ... Let’s take just one example: In the 1930s, Churchill fought a war of ideas. He tried to warn the world about Hitler; tried to warn Europe and America that Hitler’s hatred and ambition had to be checked. But most people did not listen. Churchill’s ideas did not prevail. They called Churchill a “war monger.” ... So yes, Kathryn, you are fighting a war. And your e-mailer is ignorant about how wars are fought, about how wars are won and lost, and about the way the world actually works. "
Hugh Hewitt (possibly the world's dumbest talk-radio host): " I'm sitting in the Empire State Building. Michael, I'm sitting in the Empire State Building, which has been in the past, and could be again, a target. Because in downtown Manhattan, it's not comfortable, although it's a lot safer than where you are, people always are three miles away from where the jihadis last spoke in America. So that's...civilians have a stake in this. Although you are on the front line, this was the front line four and a half years ago."
Mark Steyn: "In fact, the notion that “fighting” a war is the monopoly of those 'in uniform' gets to the heart of why America and its allies are having such a difficult time in the present struggle."
And, earlier: "I don’t particularly like journalism. I don’t particularly like writing newspaper columns. I’m sick of having to make what I think should be an obvious case again and again and again. And I’d much rather pack it in and sit on my porch in New Hampshire and enjoy the view of the mountains. But I do it because I want us to win."
This trend doesn't require much analysis; as someone else pointed out on a board, it's part of a general attempt to turn a policy dispute (is a war a good or bad policy) into a matter of courage and will-power -- meaning, if you think a war is a good policy you instantly become a superior person. It's a way of blaming the loss of a war not on the people who start it, but the people who oppose it as bad policy. Neat trick, that.
Or as Glenn Greenwald puts it: "Chicken-hawkism is the belief that advocating a war from afar is a sign of personal courage and strength, and that opposing a war from afar is a sign of personal cowardice and weakness. A "chicken hawk" is someone who not merely advocates a war, but believes that their advocacy is proof of the courage which those who will actually fight the war in combat require."
Also, note how many of these pundits compare the current situation to World War II: you can guarantee that any dictator anywhere will be compared to Hitler, anyone who wants to kill a lot of people right now will be compared to Churchill, and anyone who wants to, say, wait a week before killing a lot of people will be compared to Chamberlain. I have no idea where this WWII obsession comes from -- maybe it's a holdover from the '90s "Greatest Generation" craze -- but it's far more tiresome and pointless than those who are obsessed with Vietnam.