‘Chicken hawk’ label may stick to Cruz

Ted Cruz has been a U.S. senator from Texas for less than a month and he’s already earned an unfortunate label: chicken hawk.

The newly minted Republican lawmaker has criticized two decorated combat veterans, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel, for being insufficiently appreciative of the military.


Why has he earned the “chicken hawk” tag? Cruz hasn’t served a day in the military. It’s a term usually applied to those on the right, from those on the left, when they espouse quick military action without ever having served in the military, let alone exposing themselves to combat.

Kerry was a Navy officer who saw combat in Vietnam and received three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star during that terrible conflict; Hagel was an Army infantry sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts and, as President Obama said while nominating him to the defense job, still is carrying shrapnel from that time. Cruz was one of just three senators to oppose Kerry’s appointment at State and plans to oppose Hagel’s appointment as defense boss.

Ted Cruz’s criticism of both men stems from differences over their views on Israel and Iran, or so he said. But then he entered that dangerous realm of being an armchair critic of two tested combat veterans when he never has donned his country’s military uniform.

Cruz is certainly within his rights as a senator to criticize others in public life. He just needs to take greater care in how – and at whom – he delivers such criticism.

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