By George Ciccariello-Maher (March 30, 2017)
Two days after U.S. airstrikes incinerated an estimated 200 civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul, I sent a personal tweet in reaction to what I considered a smug and self-congratulatory gesture by a first-class passenger toward a uniformed soldier. Maybe predictably, my tweet has since been fed into and misrepresented by the outrage machine that is right-wing media. Needless to say, my personal views expressed off-campus have absolutely nothing to do with those of my employer, Drexel University.
I respect anyone who makes difficult and dangerous decisions out of economic necessity — whether they are public school teachers, construction workers, economic migrants, or young soldiers. What I don’t respect is a brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq that has not made our world any safer — a war that has taken advantage of economically disadvantaged Americans, a war that has given the world ISIS, and a war that has wrought carnage like that seen in Mosul and elsewhere.
The best way to support troops is not with symbolic gestures and first-class seats, but by bringing them home safely, by ensuring that women in uniform are not subjected to what is an epidemic of sexual assault, and by providing dignified medical and psychological care. Those who today claim to demand respect for the troops show little in the way of respect for how they are treated in and out of the military.