Chickenhawk Congressman Smears Military Expert

Center for American Progress military expert Lawrence Korb testified before the House Armed Services Committee this morning, challenging escalation proponents to have the courage of their convictions and call for a draft if they would like the surge to continue indefinitely.

One right-wing Ohio Congressman, Michael Turner, desperately tried to smear Korb during his question and answer period. Turner started off his smear attacks against Korb by questioning his credentials to speak before the panel:

TURNER: I was looking at your bio…that incorrectly I believe referred to you as Doctor Korb. And you do not have a PhD.

KORB: I do.

TURNER: You do have a PhD?

After humiliating himself once, Turner next turned his guns on Korb’s prepared written testimony. “I’ve not seen citations like this before the committee,” Turner said, noting that Korb referenced research sources in his statement. Korb said he provided the citations for the lawmakers as a reference point for more information. He noted that Gen. Jack Keane, a co-panelist, “did not have any footnotes. His were all opinions.”


After falling flat in his numerous stabs at Korb, Turner moved onto the next smear. Taking a comment made by Korb completely out of context, Turner asserted that you’ve told us “you’re not a military expert.” Korb responded:

I’ll put my record in terms of scholarship, in terms of analysis of war in terms of military issues up against anybody.

Watch it:


After propagating his false smears, Turner refused to allow Korb time to answer and attempted to flee the committee room quickly. Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) told Turner to sit down and listen to Korb’s response.


ThinkProgress contacted Turner’s office for comment on the incident. Andy Bloom, communications director for Turner, told us that Turner has never served in the military and has no substantive military experience. Asked if Turner was participating in a coordinated effort to smear Korb, Bloom said, “I can’t be certain.”

Turner is a classic “chickenhawk,” a term used to refer to strident war proponents who have never personally experienced war. Korb, on the other hand, is a Navy captain who served in Vietnam. He has served in the Pentagon, taught at the Naval War College and Coast Guard Academy, and has twice traveled to Iraq. He recently returned from a 10-day visit to Baghdad (see his dispatch here).

If you wish to contact Turner’s office, you can do so here.

UPDATE: Commenter Midwest Product fine-tunes the definition of “chickenhawk”: “A chickenhawk is someone who ascribes the bravery of soldiers in wartime to themselves because they take a pro-war position.”