Not Everyone is Grateful

I would like to think that the sentiments of gratitude that I expressed on the previous post would be shared by all Americans who have benefited from the sacrifices made by our veterans. I know that an overwhelming percentage of my fellow Americans do but then there are those like Suffolk Law School professor Michael Avery. I found this gem from Michael Graham through Instapundit. I do not think Michael Avery will be doing anything on Veteran’s Day.

On Wednesday a member of the Suffolk Law School staff sent out an email soliciting “much needed supplies to put in care packages to be sent to deployed troops.”  You know, stuff like beef jerky, instant coffee, trail mix, etc? Scout troops do stuff like this all the time.  In fact, the email specifically mentioned that one Suffolk Law student deployed to Afghanistan would be a recipient.

Pretty basic, patriotic stuff, right?  Well, read this response from one of the Suffolk Law professors who received it, a (ahem) “gentleman” named Michael Avery:

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.  I understand that there is a residual sympathy for service members, perhaps engendered by support for troops in World War II, or perhaps from when there was a draft and people with few resources to resist were involuntarily sent to battle. That sympathy is not particularly rational in today’s world, however.  

The United States may well be the most war prone country in the history of civilization.  We have been at war two years out of three since the Cold War ended.  We have 700 overseas military bases.  What other country has any?  In the last ten years we have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary foreign invasions.  Those are dollars that could have been used for people who are losing their homes due to the economic collapse, for education, to repair our infrastructure, or for any of a thousand better purposes than making war.  And of course those hundreds of billions of dollars have gone for death and destruction. 

Perhaps some of my colleagues will consider this to be an inappropriate political statement.  But of course the solicitation email was a political statement, although cast as support for student activities. 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 Sept. 11 we have had perhaps the largest 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 Bush administration, and which continue during the Obama administration.  

Why do we continue to have this oversized flag in our lobby?  Why are we sending support to the military instead of Americans who are losing their homes, malnourished, unable to get necessary medical care, and suffering from other consequences of poverty?  As a university community, we should debate these questions, not remain on automatic pilot in support of the war agenda.  [all emphasis added]


There is so much wrong with this that I really don’t know where to begin. I think that it would be a good idea for Professor Avery to visit an actual “national security state” such as North Korea or Cuba. Maybe, though I doubt it, he might gain some appreciation for the freedoms he has and gratitude for those who have fought to defend it.

And here are the responses that Michael Graham received on his blog. I don’t think that Professor Avery is likely to be very popular off the Suffolk Law School campus. In the school, however, he will probably end up being regarded as a hero.


Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. This day began as Armistice Day, November 11 1918 being the day that Germany signed the armistice that ended World War I. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in 1919 to celebrate the courage of the men who fought and died in that war. The day was changed in 1954 in order to honor the veterans of all the wars of America.

I don’t have anything else to say except Thank You to all of the veterans who have served your country. You are better men and women than I am.

%d bloggers like this: