This morning I woke up to my Facebook’s newsfeed ablaze about Steven Salaita’s article featured on Salon.com. The article is about the lionization of the American military. I strongly disagree with the majority of the statements Salatia made in the article. Furthermore, the title, “No, thanks: Stop Saying ‘Support the Troops’” is intentionally provocative and is created with the intent to elicit a negative reaction among the mainstream public.
Usually in these situations, I would completely dismiss the article and go on with my day. However, I found out that Salaita was a professor at my beloved alma mater and I felt compelled to write this letter to the Collegiate Times as a levelheaded response.
Salatia states that, “A nation that continuously publicizes appeals to ‘support our troops’ is explicitly asking its citizens not to think. It is the ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy, presented to us in the guise of democratic preservation.” I completely disagree with that statement.
To me, “support our troops”, means simply showing consideration for individuals who are willing to make the extreme sacrifice of their livelihood for the betterment of our society. It is common courtesy to appreciate individuals who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order for others to live in a free society. In no way, shape, or form does the statement “Support our troops” mean we should defer our views on foreign policy to the current administration.
At the same time, the phrase “Support our troops” isn’t universal tacit approval of American foreign policy. There have been several instances during both the Bush and Obama administrations that I wholeheartedly disagreed with the actions that our military has taken. Does that mean I should take out my frustration on soldiers following orders? Absolutely not.
Salatia is more than welcome to disagree with NSA privacy violations, the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the questionable intentions of the Iraqi invasion. However, bemoaning the lionization of the military for the government’s follies places blame on the wrong agent.