December 03, 2008

Martin on "Chief Chicken Hawk"

Correspondent Melvin Martin responds to the "Chief Chicken Hawk" t-shirt:As an Indian man, I find this t-shirt offensive to Indian people for the following reasons:

1. The description is not only lame in the worst sense as it utilizes words and phrases seemingly taken from the back covers of the horribly written, New Age-oriented Indian romance novels that involve Indian men and white women, but overall, it is nauseatingly juvenile and cheap joke-directed at our expense. They are trying too hard to be funny, and they fail miserably.

2. The term "chicken hawk" is offensive to all of the Indian military veterans and active duty military personnel (who have historically served this country in numbers greater than their proportion to all other U.S. ethnic groups). A "chicken hawk" is a political smear word that originated in the post-Vietnam years, used in America to mainly criticize any political figure (or television/talk radio personality) who is strongly supportive of warfare, but has never seen actual combat nor even served in the armed forces at all. Over the years, the term has also evolved to apply to anyone who had the connections to enable them to serve stateside in the National Guard or Army Reserve or to anyone who resorted to using college and even marriage deferments to avoid military service--and who advocates the use of military force in almost any situation involving U.S. foreign policy.

Notable chicken hawks (of the most extreme sort) are Vice-President Dick Cheney and vitriolic radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh, to name just two. Cheney could have served his country during the Vietnam-era, but had "other priorities" as he has publicly stated time and time again over the past eight years (just to be fair though, Bill Clinton is a chicken hawk in the expanded sense of the term in that he chickened out of military service during the Vietnam campaign via his repeated use of college deferments). And Limbaugh has always struck me as no more than a physically deflated, gelatinous blob of pure cowardice. Other chicken hawks of Limbaugh’s caliber are Sean Hannity, William Kristol and Bill O'Reilly. Lastly, to attach this term to the word “chief” adds severe injury to insult as in Indian warrior culture, a man usually became a chief through exceptional bravery in war.

3. And just in case no one knew it, “chicken hawk” is slang used in the primarily American and British gay cultural context to indicate an older man who prefers younger men (or even teenage boys) for sex partners. The younger males are often referred to as "chickens" (they, of course, being the chicken hawk’s prey animal). In 1975, when I was just 22-years old, and a freshman in college in Los Angeles, I overheard the following conversation between two men in their sixties at an RTD bus stop:

First man:  “Where ya headed, Phil?”
Phil:  “Whorehouse!”
First man:  “Whorehouse? There’s one around here?”
Phil:  “Yes, in Hollyweird. Can you imagine, fifty chicken boys?”
First man:  “Uh, no, Phil. I can’t imagine that.”
Phil:  “And the police know all about it, so la-de-da!”

(Important note: In the LGBT community, the term “chicken hawk” is used very derisively and it would be incredibly unfair of me to imply that all or a majority of gay men are “chicken hawks.”)

So, from my perspective as an Indian man, the use of “chicken hawk” relative to anything Indian is possibly one of the worst insults known to our community. But then again, when it comes to non-Indians making a buck off us (in this case, the online marketing of an infantile line of t-shirts)--has it ever really mattered? Life goes on, and when it comes to Indian people, it’s always business as usual.
Below:  "I'm an Indian chief, a draft dodger, and a sexual predator!"


dmarks said...

Hannity is too young to have been any sort of draft-dodger, which makes it hard for him to be of Limbaugh's caliber. Then it starts to get to the point where "chicken hawk" refers to anyone who has not been in the military who sometimes supports military solutions to problems. If you stretch the definition enough to include Hannity, even President-Elect Obama ends up being a "chicken hawk". Obama generally supports military action in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. Hannity supports military action in Iraq, but opposed U.S. military intervention in the former Yugoslavia.

Back to the general subject, the "chief" stereotype is generally offensive/stereotypical, and I think applying it with animals tends to make it even worse.

Anonymous said...

Chickenhawk Sean Hannity Smears War Veteran John Murtha – Again
Reported by Ellen - June 14, 2006

It takes a special brand of bully to smear a war veteran, especially when the smearer, himself, never had enough patriotism to enlist. But chickenhawk Sean Hannity was obviously feeling emboldened last night by what he considered President Bush’s “successes” of the day – his surprise trip to Iraq and the Special Prosecutor’s decision not to indict Karl Rove.

Mr. Martin

Sean Hannity is not only a chickenhawk he is chickenshit to boot. However, you forgot the mother of all chickenhawks: Bush 43. Didn't he go AWOL? Oh,that's right, his papa got his ass out of Nam'.

As an emrolled member of the Oglala, Lakota I find the chickenhawk logo very offensive. I served my country, in the infantry, so I feel that I deserve to comment on Hannity's lack of testiculat fortitude. He's a GOP tool.

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

Anonymous said...

With the closing of the American frontier in the late Nineteenth Century and the success of the Wild West Show, Euro-Americans quickly came to see the Native American, especially the Plains Indian, in mythological terms, and as a people of the past. Once no longer a threat, the Noble Savage made a comeback. Though he never completely replaced the Ignoble Savage, the Noble Savage was appropriated to represent that vanishing culture, whose demise was inevitable, if tragic, given the march of White hegemony under the banner of manifest destiny. The demise of the Indian coincided with the rise of a new form of advertising; the Victorian trade card. These postcard-sized lithographed images were mass produced in the latter quarter of the Nineteenth Century and became the most important form of advertising of the era. They were widely distributed in stores and as premiums packaged with some products, and were collected by many Americans because of their often lush, colorful graphics. The manufacturers of trade cards catered to America's carnivalesque fascination with imagery, and they often mined the racial attitudes of the time to promote a sense of Euro-American middle class consumer solidarity. Blacks, Asians, Irish, and Indians were all marginalized in Victorian trade advertising in order to foster this sense of White American identity.

By the 1880s, Eastern Indians had somewhat assimilated, certainly more than had those in the West, and thus had become largely invisible to Euro-Americans. Since most Americans in the era had never seen a "real Indian" (one "in the wild" of the Plains), their exoticness became the perfect advertising vehicle. Most prevalent were Quack medicines that identified themselves with Indianness. Part of the Indian myth included the notion that Indian communion with nature put them more in tune with the natural healing powers of the earth. Indians held medicinal secrets lost to the science of civilized man, except for the product being advertised, of course. In an era of consumerism when there were virtually no regulations controlling medicinal products, manufacturers pumped out pills, oils, and potions that claimed to cure everything from falling down stairs to migraines to "women's diseases" to liver ailments. Containing mainly innocuous ingredients, these products were successfully marketed by connecting them with Indian mythology in the minds of Euro-American consumers. In doing so, the noble savage Indian stereotype was restored, to coexist side-by-side with the ignoble savage. The Indian squaw became the "princess," while the male often became the noble, picturesque warrior: clean, stoic, dressed in feathers, in harmony with nature. By connecting the Indian with products, the consumer endorsed the inherent righteousness of the displacement of that primitive culture of the past by the more civilized, capitalist culture of the future, and further cemented the image of the Indian as a people of the past in the minds of Americans of the present.

Nathan W.
Chicago, IL

dmarks said...

Bush 43 didn't go AWOL. Unless, of course, you believe Microsoft Word documents written in the early 1970s.

However, while he was in the military and served well enough to get an honorable discharge, he was nowhere hear combat.

Anonymous said...

Bush was AWOL
by kos
Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 10:22:14 AM PST
With all the wingnut crowing about CBS and 60 Minutes, you'd think they blew the story that Bush had been AWOL. Fact is, CBS got one piece of evidence wrong, from a while truckload of evidence.
Fact is, the Associated Press did the most work on the issue, filing a whole slew of FOIA requests and lawsuits to get the necessary docs. Salon summarized their findings.

Upon being accepted for pilot training, Bush promised to serve with his parent (Texas) Guard unit for five years once he completed his pilot training.
But Bush served as a pilot with his parent unit for just two years.

In May 1972 Bush left the Houston Guard base for Alabama. According to Air Force regulations, Bush was supposed to obtain prior authorization before leaving Texas to join a new Guard unit in Alabama.
But Bush failed to get the authorization.

In requesting a permanent transfer to a nonflying unit in Alabama in 1972, Bush was supposed to sign an acknowledgment that he received relocation counseling.
But no such document exists.

He was supposed to receive a certification of satisfactory participation from his unit.
But Bush did not.

He was supposed to sign and give a letter of resignation to his Texas unit commander.
But Bush did not.

He was supposed to receive discharge orders from the Texas Air National Guard adjutant general.
But Bush did not.

He was supposed to receive new assignment orders for the Air Force Reserves.
But Bush did not.

On his transfer request Bush was asked to list his "permanent address."
But he wrote down a post office box number for the campaign he was working for on a temporary basis.

On his transfer request Bush was asked to list his Air Force specialty code.
But Bush, an F-102 pilot, erroneously wrote the code for an F-89 or F-94 pilot. Both planes had been retired from service at the time. Bush, an officer, made this mistake more than once on the same form.

On May 26, 1972, Lt. Col. Reese Bricken, commander of the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, informed Bush that a transfer to his nonflying unit would be unsuitable for a fully trained pilot such as he was, and that Bush would not be able to fulfill any of his remaining two years of flight obligation.
But Bush pressed on with his transfer request nonetheless.

Bush's transfer request to the 9921st was eventually denied by the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver, which meant he was still obligated to attend training sessions one weekend a month with his Texas unit in Houston.
But Bush failed to attend weekend drills in May, June, July, August and September. He also failed to request permission to make up those days at the time.

According to Air Force regulations, "[a] member whose attendance record is poor must be closely monitored. When the unexcused absences reach one less than the maximum permitted [sic] he must be counseled and a record made of the counseling. If the member is unavailable he must be advised by personal letter."
But there is no record that Bush ever received such counseling, despite the fact that he missed drills for months on end.

Bush's unit was obligated to report in writing to the Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base whenever a monthly review of records showed unsatisfactory participation for an officer.
But his unit never reported Bush's absenteeism to Randolph Air Force Base.

In July 1972 Bush failed to take a mandatory Guard physical exam, which is a serious offense for a Guard pilot. The move should have prompted the formation of a Flying Evaluation Board to investigation the circumstances surrounding Bush's failure.
But no such FEB was convened.

Once Bush was grounded for failing to take a physical, his commanders could have filed a report on why the suspension should be lifted.
But Bush's commanders made no such request.

On Sept. 15, 1972, Bush was ordered to report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, the deputy commander of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery, Ala., to participate in training on the weekends of Oct. 7-8 and Nov. 4-5, 1972.
But there's no evidence Bush ever showed up on those dates. In 2000, Turnipseed told the Boston Globe that Bush did not report for duty. (A self-professed Bush supporter, Turnipseed has since backed off from his categorical claim.)

However, according to the White House-released pay records, which are unsigned, Bush was credited for serving in Montgomery on Oct. 28-29 and Nov. 11-14, 1972. Those makeup dates should have produced a paper trail, including Bush's formal request as well as authorization and supervision documents.
But no such documents exist, and the dates he was credited for do not match the dates when the Montgomery unit assembled for drills.

When Guardsmen miss monthly drills, or "unit training assemblies" (UTAs), they are allowed to make them up through substitute service and earn crucial points toward their service record. Drills are worth one point on a weekday and two points on each weekend day. For Bush's substitute service on Nov. 13-14, 1972, he was awarded four points, two for each day.
But Nov. 13 and 14 were both weekdays. He should have been awarded two points.

Bush earned six points for service on Jan. 4-6, 1973 -- a Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
But he should have earned four points, one each for Thursday and Friday, two for Saturday.

Weekday training was the exception in the Guard. For example, from May 1968 to May 1972, when Bush was in good standing, he was not credited with attending a single weekday UTA.
But after 1972, when Bush's absenteeism accelerated, nearly half of his credited UTAs were for weekdays.

To maintain unit cohesiveness, the parameters for substitute service are tightly controlled; drills must be made up within 15 days immediately before, or 30 days immediately after, the originally scheduled drill, according to Guard regulations at the time.
But more than half of the substitute service credits Bush received fell outside that clear time frame. In one case, he made up a drill nine weeks in advance.

On Sept. 29, 1972, Bush was formally grounded for failing to take a flight physical. The letter, written by Maj. Gen. Francis Greenlief, chief of the National Guard Bureau, ordered Bush to acknowledge in writing that he had received word of his grounding.
But no such written acknowledgment exists. In 2000, Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett told the Boston Globe that Bush couldn't remember if he'd ever been grounded.

Bartlett also told the Boston Globe that Bush didn't undergo a physical while in Alabama because his family doctor was in Houston.
But only Air Force flight surgeons can give flight physicals to pilots.

Guard members are required to take a physical exam every 12 months.
But Bush's last Guard physical was in May 1971. Bush was formally discharged from the service in November 1974, which means he went without a required physical for 42 months.

Bush's unsatisfactory participation in the fall of 1972 should have prompted the Texas Air National Guard to write to his local draft board and inform the board that Bush had become eligible for the draft. Guard units across the country contacted draft boards every Sept. 15 to update them on the status of local Guard members. Bush's absenteeism should have prompted what's known as a DD Form 44, "Record of Military Status of Registrant."
But there is no record of any such document having been sent to Bush's draft board in Houston.

Records released by the White House note that Bush received a military dental exam in Alabama on Jan. 6, 1973.
But Bush's request to serve in Alabama covered only September, October and November 1972. Why he would still be serving in Alabama months after that remains unclear.

Each of Bush's numerous substitute service requests should have formed a lengthy paper trail consisting of AF Form 40a's, with the name of the officer who authorized the training in advance, the signature of the officer who supervised the training and Bush's own signature.
But no such documents exist.

During his last year with the Texas Air National Guard, Bush missed nearly two-thirds of his mandatory UTAs and made up some of them with substitute service. Guard regulations allowed substitute service only in circumstances that are "beyond the control" of the Guard member.
But neither Bush nor the Texas Air National Guard has ever explained what the uncontrollable circumstances were that forced him to miss the majority of his assigned drills in his last year.

Bush supposedly returned to his Houston unit in April 1973 and served two days.
But at the end of April, when Bush's Texas commanders had to rate him for their annual report, they wrote that they could not do so: "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report."

On June 29, 1973, the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver instructed Bush's commanders to get additional information from his Alabama unit, where he had supposedly been training, in order to better evaluate Bush's duty. The ARPC gave Texas a deadline of Aug. 6 to get the information.
But Bush's commanders ignored the request.

Bush was credited for attending four days of UTAs with his Texas unit July 16-19, 1973. That was good for eight crucial points.
But that's not possible. Guard units hold only two UTAs each month -- one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. Although Bush may well have made up four days, they should not all have been counted as UTAs, since they occur just twice a month. The other days are known as "Appropriate Duty," or APDY.

On July 30, 1973, Bush, preparing to attend Harvard Business School, signed a statement acknowledging it was his responsibility to find another unit in which to serve out the remaining nine months of his commitment.
But Bush never contacted another unit in Massachusetts in which to fulfill his obligation.

Sounds like he lied about going AWOL too. Thank god his ass is gone next month.

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

Anonymous said...


Read "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". There is a hilarious chapter about him and Cheney a few other GOP Chicken-Hawks who didn't have the ballz to serve in Nam'.

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

dmarks said...

I did read that book. AWOL is a specific charge. He did not get charged with it. In fact, he got an honorable discharge, something you don't get if you go AWOL. Kos's headline is thus a dubious claim. Bush served stateside, as many did during that era. His being born to privilege made sure his service was safe, just like that of Al Gore and many others. Cheney and Limbaugh did not serve at all. Nor did O'Reilly, and I believe he was of draftable age. Hannity is too young.

Dan Rather's forged evidence is rather central to this story, which is pretty much a misleading effort of pseudo-journalists who want to include evidence they like and exclude what proves them wrong (by those who created it, not you)

It is similar to the smear job in that anti-Obama book over the summer that was entitled "Obama Nation".

Anonymous said...


Dude, I think we are losing focus on the core issue here. Native American stereotyping and racism. Who really gives a hoot about the coward Hannity, the pill-popping Limbaugh, and the disgruntled middle aged white guy Bill O'Reilly?

The fact is the "ChickenHawk" image offends Native peoples. Some non-Indian nut out there is trying to make a quick buck at the expense of Indians. If that were a "Chicken-Jew" the ADL and the ACLU would be all over it. It is just an Indian image being exploited so they don't give a damn. Double standard forces are at play here. As an Native American vet I stand up against this kind of institutional racism, you should too, even if you are not Indian.

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

dmarks said...

I said above: "Back to the general subject, the "chief" stereotype is generally offensive/stereotypical, and I think applying it with animals tends to make it even worse."

There is agreement about this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are in agreement about the use of animals and names and stereotypical negative Native images, with one caveat. Natives Americans are still considered second class citizens in a country we use to "own". For example, you put a negative image of an African-American caricature or perhaps an Asian or even Middle Eastern stereotypical visage and all hell would break loose.

A Native American symbol of valor and bravery, the "War Bonnet", attached to the head of a chicken is not kosher. In modern U.S. society, Native Americans are still on the periphery in all basic tenets, especially basic civil rights. The "ChickenHawk" line of racist t-shirts proves my point. Nobody is outraged because it is not "all the rage". Hollywood picks up the NA torch when it's convenient for them. When they can make a quick buck off of us. It's a dichotomy in which the Indians are the real losers, like the author of this article says: "It's business as usual".

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

dmarks said...

Actually, I agree with all the points made about the shirts, including the ones you made just above.

Anonymous said...


It was not my intent to come across as an arrogant "know it all". Native issues such as this are near and dear to my Lakota heart. Your feedback has been invaluable.

Thank you sir,

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

dmarks said...

You came across fine, and I am sure everyone would agree with that. No worries or problems. I hope I see your comments on other posts at this blog.

Anonymous said...


As long as this blog keeps posting relevant articles such as this one. Look forward to hearing more from this Indian.

Have a great weekend!

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

Anonymous said...

Quite colorful, indeed. I had to look hard to see the chickenhawk, sorta lookes like David yeagleys profile, naw its too pretty!

I think David yeagley has done a lot more harm to the Indians Image by supporting the sterotype of the cartoon Mascots image...he is not a Vet. or Warrior nor Culturaly inclined, therefore should not say a damn thing about the Indians. He continues to associate himself with being Indian for profit, order him a chickenhawk shirt! Fits his image to a T.

He tells the Indian to stop crying about the past..its past. He wants all the Indians not to speak of being Indian, forget your past, assmilate...he is the only one allowed represent Indians since he is educated with all those degrees, he wants to lead the Indians into the Future.

OMG run....the sky is falling.

dmarks said...

"He continues to associate himself with being Indian for profit"

So Ward Churchill and David Yeagley do have something in common, after all.

Anonymous said...


I know who Ward Churchill is. Who is David Yeagley?

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux

Rob said...

One can be a "chicken hawk" without being eligible for the draft, of course. All you need is a hawkish attitude on war coupled with a failure to enlist in America's all-volunteer military.

True, Hannity is too old to have served in Vietnam. But he could've enlisted and served in the first Gulf War. He could've enlisted and served, period, because he's such a big military supporter. And he's definitely hawkish on the two Bush wars.

In contrast, I don't think Obama has been that big of a military supporter. He may have opposed the first Gulf War and he certainly opposed the invasion of Iraq. His position on the war in Afghanistan is moderate: "The solution in Afghanistan is not just military--it is political and economic. That is why I would also increase our nonmilitary aid by $1 billion." These are not the words of a hawk.

In short, Hannity is a lot more of a chicken hawk than Obama is. You'd have to stretch the definition to include Obama, but you don't have to stretch it to include Hannity.

P.S. Here's the official definition from Wikipedia:

Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, but has never personally been in a war, especially if that person actively avoided military service when of draft age.

The term is meant to indicate that the person in question is cowardly or hypocritical for personally avoiding combat in the past while advocating that others go to war in the present. Generally, the implication is that "chickenhawks" lack the experience, judgment, or moral standing to make decisions about going to war.

Rob said...

The dubious Rather documents and lack of a formal AWOL finding don't prove that Bush didn't skip some of his duties. J. Kills Straight's long posting from Kos suggests that something shady was going on.

I wonder why Bush went 42 months without getting a physical. Perhaps he didn't want the doctors to detect all the booze and drugs in his system from his party days and nights.

Rob said...

I'm not sure how your comment is relevant, Nathan. Are you saying something about how the white man has commodified Indians?

In any case, let's note that your passage comes from the Authentic History Center as partially quoted in Mythologizing the American West.

David Yeagley is an alleged Comanche who is rabidly right-wing and anti-Indian. He's also a chicken hawk like Hannity, Limbaugh, and Cheney. You can read about him in Yeagley the Indian Apple.

Anonymous said...


As an NA I thank you for addressing issues concerning NA peoples.

Now, about this "ChickenHawk" thing, "Dumbsfeld" and Bush, two high ranking CH's were warned of the danger of invading Iraq by an Army General named Shinseki. Consequently, Shinseki was fired, he was terminated so that Bush could have his war:

"Shinseki was Army chief of staff when, during the run-up to the Iraq war, he publicly disputed the Bush administration's determination to invade with a relatively small force. To maintain the postwar peace in Iraq, Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2003, "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" could be necessary. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reacted by telling reporters that the estimate "will prove to be high," and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz called it "way off the mark."

When Shinseki retired that summer, neither Rumsfeld nor Wolfowitz attended his farewell ceremony.

Three years later, Gen. John P. Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command and the main architect of U.S. military strategy in Iraq, told the same committee, "General Shinseki was right." And in January 2007, President Bush ordered tens of thousands of U.S. troops back into Iraq to stabilize and secure the country."

"Irony is not without a sense of humor". Shinseki's appointment as VA Director is Obama's way of rewarding him for having the testicular fortitude to stand up against "ChickenHawk" #1 (Bush).

J. Kills Straight
Lakota. Sioux