On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, a member of a prominent law school staff sent out an email soliciting "much needed supplies to be put in care packages to be sent to deployed troops." The email specifically mentioned that one law school student, deployed to Afghanistan, would be a recipient. A member of the faculty reacted rather strongly:
"The solicitation email was a political statement, although cast as support for student activities........I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.......The politics of that solicitation are that war is legitimate, perhaps inevitable, and that patriotic Americans should get behind our troops. We need to be more mindful of what message we are sending as a school. Since September 11, we have had perhaps the largest (American) flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act. Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Buch administration and which continue during the Obama administration."
The professor further criticizes unnecessary foreign invasions by the U.S. and questions our sending support to the military instead of Americans who are losing their homes due to the economic collapse.
It is not my intention to engage the professor in a wide ranging political debate. His anti-war sentiment is a worthy matter for discussion. What takes me aback is the apparent basis and catalyst for his broadside against our servicemen and our flag.
We are at war. We are at war with terrorists. The signal event was the attack on 9/11. It was not the first act of war by terrorists against the U.S. but it maximized our awareness of the threat to our homeland. Our troops are fighting those who have sworn allegiance to our destruction. They are killing those who are sworn to kill us. These dedicated men and women are sacrificing their lives so that we can be safe on our own soil. They put themselves in harms way not for self-aggrandizement but to preserve our liberties which, ironically, permit their being criticized by those of the professor's ilk. Their devotion to the protection of our country constitutes nobility which cannot be surpassed. Where do we get such men? I stand in awe of them. Whenever I see one of our troops, I approach and say, "God bless you." The inevitable response is "Thank you, sir." Their foes are insane radicals who deem it an honor to blow themselves up so as to inflict damage on us. They face and slay this dragon every day. I pray for their safety, these bravest of men and women. How can a national fight for survival be denigrated? And how can our troops, exhibiting the utmost bravery under heinous conditions, not receive our boundless admiration and gratitude? To disrespect those who risk their lives for their country is, to me, unfathomable. I shall support them in any and every way I can. They are in my prayers every night.
The American flag makes me proud. Its size has no bearing on what it symbolizes. Whether hanging on a front yard porch, as a lapel pin, as a rear windshield adornment or yes, even as the largest flag in New England hanging in a law school atrium, it is the flag to which I pledge allegiance. With its history, it shall always represent the grandeur of America and its glory shall in no way be diminished by how many proudly fly. We are a Democracy concerned with our national security---not a national security state.
Now, in the wake of Veterans Day, for an intra- school solicitation of care packages to cause such a negative discourse on the role and purpose of our troops, warrants the suggestion that there is something wrong with the professor's picture.
A patriot is defined as a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies and detractors.
Our armed forces personnel are patriots who risk life and limb in protecting us against murdering zealots. Disapproval of our foreign policy does not justify abandoning their support. Try explaining that connection to a Gold Star Mother.
In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.
Our troops are fighting, ready to sacrifice their lives, to protect our cherished freedoms. Questioning our support for them should not be sparked by a solicitation for care packages.
That is what is shameful.