Sunday Morning Think Piece:
Chickenhawks exist in every war
Many years ago when the phrase "Drug War" was coined a household word by director Michael Mann's two films titled such, we had in our employment a large number of Special Agents who were veterans of both the drug war and real war, including our Administrator at the time, Stephen Greene who served in Vietnam. I won't go through the long list of highly talented and exceptionally gifted Special Agents whose abilities were unmistakably augmented by their real war experiences. I must, however, include the name John Marcello because without his assistance as Drug War Consultant, Director Mann's two award-winning reports, "Drug Wars" and "Drug Wars II", would never have evoked the huge public response for a sustained DEA attack on the criminal empires that made no distinction between schoolyard or street corner when it came to selling their poison.
But even back then when DEA was at its highest and most successful activity in combating the narcotics cartels at home and abroad, much of our work was stunted and hamstrung by individuals currently described in a term applicable to their real war absence: "chickenhawks". In DEA these were individuals who possessed not a shred of intuition, instinct, knowledge, experience or guts when it came to fighting the drug war. But due only to their seniority, political appointment or because they were closely related in some form or fashion to the person who advanced them rapidly from grade to grade, they commanded the drug war... and the results of their shabby leadership are evidenced today in current reports of rising drug use.
During our early Drug War days DEA's experienced leadership was successfully toppled by a succession of "chickenhawk regimes" who quickly proceeded to lose the war. Our first chickenhawk was Thomas A. Constantine, a mouse of a man his chickenhawk lieutenants considered a God-send to DEA. Under Constantine, completing good investigations was replaced by a demand for handing in good paperwork. The aggressive Group Supervisor who kept his people on the street seeking cases was replaced by the paper-pushing GS whose chief accomplishments were in administration and bookkeeping. And it was because Constantine's 'chickenhawk' promotions lacked case experience and feared the street, agents were ordered to spend more time in the office and less time on the street because it was only in the office where the chickenhawk supervisor really felt he or she was in command of their troops. The Op/Plan today is an extension of chickenhawk policy ... a means of extending office control to the street.
Today our president is directing the efforts of our entire nation toward another real war. And with the exception of our Secretary of State (who was instrumental in our losing the first Gulf War) all of the people involved in leading our nation toward war in the Middle East are chickenhawks. The highest ranking presidential advisers who are today beating the drums of war have never seen a single moment of war, and even less military duty. Much like former Administrator Constantine who never worked for a federal agency prior to being handed our nation's premier anti-narcotics agency, let alone never made a federal drug arrest; followed by Donnie Marshall whose negligible street time as an agent was much criticized and chastised; followed by Asa Hutchinson whose biggest federal case was prosecuting two adults for having extramarital sex (a case he lost)... our current national security staff is run by individuals with no war experience.
George W. ("Walker" or "Weasel", whichever you prefer) Bush did not campaign as a military or wartime president. In fact, after being elected he immediately reversed his campaign promises to our military, for which he was roundly criticized. George Bush campaigned as the "CEO" president... a label he now strongly avoids due to the failures of his leadership to push for an aggressive cleaning up of that house. Since his (s)election George Bush as been proven wrong about a great many of his campaign promises and his decisions. He has repeatedly reversed himself and he is the constant recipient of challenges even from members of his own Party. Should a man who makes as many empty promises, bad and reversed decisions, and forces many in his own camp to distance themselves from some of his policies be trusted with warmaking? Where it is less costly to change one's mind over a policy decision, it is impossible to bring back the dead killed in war, and far more costly to rebuild from the rubble of war.
Some will rightfully argue that Bill Clinton had no military or war experience. That is true. However, Bill Clinton was ably assisted by a vice president who did have military and war experience. When Al Gore volunteered for enlisted military service and demanded he be sent to Vietnam, Dick Cheney submitted his draft dodging application and thereafter pursued every avenue to avoid serving his country. Gore chose pride in military service, Cheney chose making money. The war VP Gore led in Yugoslavia did not cost the life of a single American. The war VP Cheney has led in Afghanistan has resulted in almost as many friendly fire deaths as combat deaths... with at least one American left alone on the battlefield to the mercy of the enemy's machetes. Cheney is now asking American parents to trust him with more military lives.
Some senior military members are today questioning the morality of Vice President Cheney. As yet unsubstatiated and unproven reports of homosexuality in Dick Cheney's past are giving way to reports that because of his past and present close-quarters involvement with many homosexuals he is actively working behind the scenes in a secret movement to dismantle "Don't ask, Don't Tell". (This talk does not include his homosexual daughter and his former Public Affairs officer, reportedly also a homosexual, who is now working in the private sector as a Pentagon/Military reporter.) Cheney's purpose, it is alledged, is to fully integrate homosexuality in all levels of military life, then publicly advocate that all restrictions to homosexual recruitment and service be eliminated after highlighting the battlefield contributions of homosexual members awarded high military medals for valor or merit.
Real leaders must be real people of unquestioned integrity and experience... lest they lose wars and harm America. Leaders must be men and women their troops on the battlefield or the street corner look up to and respect. The drug war of yesteryear was transformed when its leadership was transferred from men and women of proven experience to men and women of weak and immoral background. The drug war began to fail when an (alleged) lesbian running the Justice Department was assisted by a megalomaniac, territorialist FBI director, who was assisted by a moron from the corrupt NYSP. Today our warmaking apparatus advocating war is led by an (alleged) lesbian running the National Security Council, who is being assisted by a standup comic running the Department of Defense, who is being assisted by a Joint Chiefs Chairman whose closeness to an active battlefield was 45,000 feet up.
Our Commander in Chief avoided active duty. He even went AWOL for eleven months to ensure he didn't go to Vietnam. Our vice-president states he had "priorities" other than national defense and security during the Vietnam War... as did the hippies and anti-war protesters who also had "other priorities". Condoleeza Rice's only memories of human tragedy are hand-me-down tales of her great-great grandparents performing domestic service during Slavery. Ms. Rice's entire lifetime has been spent appearing and behaving as something she is not. To appear white she weekly she 'fries' her hair. Her sex life allegedly involves pretending to be the male partner. And it is to this 'leadership' our nation is being asked to sacrifice its children in a battle not even proven necessary?
Predictions of the drug war's failure were spoken on a daily basis all throughout the events over the past fifteen years that culminated in DEA's failure to decrease narcotics distribution today. Predictions of our upcoming real war setbacks warn us hourly that victory is not assured, indeed victory is highly questionable. Victory comes only from good, solid, respectful, experienced leadership. Our nation and our agency sadly lacks the level of leadership needed to win either the real war or the drug war.
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