Thomas L. Knapp
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Tom Knapp is Managing Editor of Free-Market.Net and publisher of Rational Review.

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Chicken Train

"When your country is attacked," says Field Marshal David Horowitz, "there can be no such thing as an 'anti-war' movement. Protestors against America's war on terror are not peaceniks, they are America-haters and saboteurs, and they should be treated as such."

Field Marshal Horowitz's exploits on the battlefield might be legendary -- if he had ever served so much as a day in uniform. The closest Horowitz has ever been to the sound of the artillery is writing a book called The Art of Political War. Move over, Sun T'zu.

Horowitz, like so many others in the War Party, is referred to by his betters as a "chickenhawk" -- one who, having declined to fight the wars of his own youth, now feels qualified to send others off to bleed and die in pursuit of his political goals.

Oh, he wrestled with it, of course -- in his "Letter to a Political Friend" (published in the collection Destructive Generation) he reveals that he was full of self-doubt, right up to the time the war in Vietnam ended (he spent the mid-Sixties in London, studying Marxism, before returning to the U.S. to agitate against the Vietnam War).And then, mirabile dictu, the picture resolved itself and he realized how wrong he'd been, only minutes too late to enlist.

He's not alone, of course. Rush Limbaugh, the Terror of Baghdad, managed to get himself classified 4F and avoid the draft because of his health problems -- he had a pimple on his ass.

Ann Coulter, as evidenced by her subsequent work, couldn't hack the rigorous IQ testing required of those who want to peel potatoes in the mess halls which feed our nation's defenders.

Dick Cheney says that he "had other priorities."

John Ashcroft has falsely claimed, throughout his political career, to have been a "law professor" during the time when he should have been marching in the ranks. His former fellow faculty members, of course, remember that he was actually a "supply professor" -- a substitute teacher at Southwest Missouri State University (which is not, and never has been, a law school).

Tom DeLay and Bill Bennett hid out in grad school. Dennis Hastert's job was so important to the national security that he couldn't be spared to man a foxhole. Wrestling coaches don't grow on trees, you know.

Jack Kemp was kept out of the trenches -- but not off the football field -- by a knee injury.

Silverfoot Junior, of course, had a daddy who could pull strings to get him into the Air National Guard, from which he promptly deserted.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the people who now propose to mobilize their fellow Americans and march them into Baghdad. Not themselves, of course ... they're too old. They've kicked themselves for decades for missing out on the opportunity when they were younger and, by God, they don't mean for a single American youth to suffer the same fate. The Chicken Train is now boarding at Gate 2002 -- don't be late, or you may be detained as an "enemy combatant."

Congress, per the Constitution, is empowered to "determine the Rules of its Proceedings." In the case of any authorization for war on Iraq, it should adopt a special rule for voting: each member of the House and Senate is to cast his or her vote by hand, in writing -- on the back of his or her DD-214.

Horowitz is right about one thing: those protesting his lunacy aren't "peaceniks." Many of us have already done what he never deigned to do. We've served in uniform, often at risk to our own lives. When he can say the same, perhaps he'll deserve to be taken seriously.

Thomas L. Knapp was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1995, after a decade of infantry service, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.