Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Give 'Em Hell Michael Avery!

Michael Avery is a professor at Suffolk University Law School in Massachusetts. When he and his colleagues were asked to send "care packages" to troops stationed abroad, he had plenty to say about it.

Simply put, Avery questioned the very ideal that one must support the military and its actions around the globe. Needless to say, he has created a firestorm of criticism.

I have been thinking a lot about these issues lately. I used to say that the Bush administration was fascist but I now realize I was wrong. We have a system which is headed faster and faster down the slope to being fascistic and it will be so whether a democrat or a republican is president. As Avery points out, the Obama administration is Bush the sequel when it comes to diminishing our legal rights and promoting a national security state.

After a determined internet search I found Avery's email address and told him that I and many others support him. I am reluctant to reveal that address because I fear that he will get a lot more hate than love These are his words in an email sent to his colleagues.

"I think is 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 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 invasion. Those are dollars that could have been used for people who are losing their homes 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 state. 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, we should debate these questions, not remain on automatic pilot in support of the war agenda."

Mr. Avery's punishment has yet to begin. I'm sure that the university will be forced to take him to task or fire him, or burn him at the stake and then cut out his tongue. I also predict that some eager reporter will ask the Obama administration to comment.

Mr. Constitutional Law Professor killer in chief will no doubt toss Avery under the back wheels of a very big bus. Count on it.