I dont particularly like the term chickenhawk, though as a Vietnam vet Ive been known to use the concept in arguments with others who have known next to nothing about the effects of war. Despite my distaste for that word, I liked most of what Dave Rogers had to say November 14th about Christopher Hitchensessay in Slate. In particular, I agreed with Dave that the Bush administration and the warbloggers purposely exaggerate the dangers from Iraq in order to convince others that we must invade now.
Obviously Sadam is a miserable excuse for a human being, and its doubtful his own people would miss him, but that doesnt mean that hes likely to use weapons of mass destruction against the USA. Certainly he was willing to use them against his own people and against Iranians, but thats because they had no viable counter threat. However, he didnt use them against us in the Gulf War, precisely because he knew that their use would immediately result in the end of he and his regime.
Using that argument to justify an unprecedented American first strike on Iraq, in my opinion, is totally unconvincing. Although I could well image a religious fanatic like Bin Laden turning to such weapons, I find it difficult to imagine any scenario under which Sadam would use such weapons. I dont think he is religious enough to want to die as a martyr for the Islamic cause.
Worse yet, the argument doesnt even consider the moral issues involved in such an attack. Its too bad that more of the arguments about whether we should or shouldnt invade Iraq dont focus on the moral issues discussed in this article in the Christian Science Monitor. If more arguments would focus on the moral grounds discussed in the just war theory at least we would have a consistent way of judging them rather than having to rely on name-calling and red herrings to help us decide how we feel.
Of course, perhaps the reason so few refer to the concepts of a '"just war" may be because the Catholic Bishops, using those very principles, recently expressed opposition to America's invasion of Iraq.