The Rise of the Liberal Hawks 

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Thousands of people gathered to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak in 1967 at Harlem’s Riverside Church, spilling out the doors as far as 120th Street. King criticized the Vietnam War in front of the public because it had “broken and eviscerated” the domestic civil rights and anti-poverty movements.  

Martin Luther King Jr. and The Rise of the Liberal Hawks 

“The largest purveyor of violence in the world today” was the American government. 

In 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested assistance from Congress in thwarting the Russian invasion by quoting a different MLK address. “I’ve got a dream. Each of you is familiar with these words today. I can say, “I need something to save our skies.  

Democrats passed a $40 billion (about $120 per person in the U.S.), (about $120 per person in the U.S.) package of guns and other aid to Kyiv with a unanimous vote two months later. 

These two examples show a change in the American left’s view of the military and war. Progressives view war as fundamentally cruel and dehumanizing, stifling progress, restricting free speech, and diverting funds to the “military-industrial complex.” 

Vietnam War and the Iraq War:

Vietnam War and the Iraq War and The Rise of the Liberal Hawks 

The left was at the forefront of resistance to both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, denouncing American war crimes such as the slaughter at My Lai and Abu Ghraib.

Progressive military opponents have long accused it of wrongdoing, including discriminating against LGBTQ service members and recruiting in poor communities.

Former American presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and his associates have all been characterized as liberal hawks due to their contributions to making America the most potent military force in the world. 

This approach is also seen to align with the Clinton Doctrine. Most of the time, the term “liberal hawks” is used to describe liberals and leftists who supported or still support the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was ordered by the U.S. Congress and led by President George W. Bush. 

The disagreement has been the subject of a heated debate on all political fronts.


Trump surrounded himself with a phalanx of generals because he viewed the military as a symbol of authority. However, he lost faith in the military when he saw they were not a Praetorian Guard that would carry out his orders, protect him from all adversaries, both domestic and foreign, and keep him in power by force if necessary. 

trump and army

Trump disrespected the culture’s most revered rites and beliefs by calling American generals “dopes” and “babies” who “want to do nothing but fight wars,” calling those lost in battle “losers,” and implying that Gold Star families had spread COVID at the White House. American POWs said that they preferred those who did not capture.

Despite warnings from military authorities that it would damage the military’s code of justice. Trump pardoned three service personnel who had been charged with or found guilty of war crimes. 

Christopher Miller said Trump instructed him to mobilize the National Guard to defend his followers from Congress.

This situation led to a fundamental conflict between the military’s adherence to the Constitution and the code of honour. When Trump asked why American generals couldn’t be more like Hitler’s generals, he didn’t mean the Wehrmacht officers who attempted to assassinate the Nazi leader but rather the fervent loyalists who fought in the rubble of Berlin. 

Trump has fostered conservatives’ assumption that Biden has been indoctrinating the military with liberal views since he left government. The U.S. military is at risk of turning into “a bunch of pansies,” according to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who also suggested cutting off funds to the military until it ends its diversity initiatives: “Go after their budget.” 


It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. With equal pay, socialized medicine, and the best government-run childcare program in the nation, the military is the poster child for big government. 

Now progressives are expressing new gratitude for an institution that understands the value of diversity, cares about the rule of law and is willing to stand up to Trump when the future of democracy was most in danger. 

Wesley Clark joked that there is “the purest application of socialism.” Liberal Hawks recognize that the military operates in a world of actual threats, intricate logistics, and basic respect for reality in an era of pervasive conspiracy theories like QAnon. 

People frequently hold onto lies until they collide with the truth, “typically on a battlefield,” according to George Orwell.

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