Virginia Tech University professor Steven Salaita wants people to stop saying 'support the troops'

Salaita wrote column for Salon political website

DENVER - An associate professor at Virginia Tech University is causing a controversy with his column entitled, "No thanks: Stop saying 'support the troops.'"

Steve Salaita wrote the column after being asked to donate his spare change to our troops at a convenience store.

"Supporting the troops is a cheerful surrogate for enabling the friendly dictators, secret operations, torture practices and spying programs that sustain this terrible economy," Salaita wrote in the column.

"In recent years I’ve grown fatigued of appeals on behalf of the troops, which intensify in proportion to the belligerence or potential unpopularity of the imperial adventure du jour," Salaita wrote. "In addition to donating change to the troops, we are repeatedly impelled to 'support our troops' or to 'thank our troops.' God constantly blesses them. Politicians exalt them. We are warned, 'If you can’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.' One wonders if our troops are the ass-kicking force of P.R. lore or an agglomeration of oversensitive duds and beggars."

"Such troop worship is trite and tiresome, but that's not its primary danger. 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," Salaita wrote.

"It's Anti-American," KMGH-TV viewer Julia Johnson said after reading the column. "Why would he say the things that's he's saying?"

Johnson said she and others have contacted the president of Virginia Tech to voice their outrage about the column.

Salaita tweeted Wednesday that he doesn't hate America or the troops.

"First person to find a quote where I say I hate America or the troops wins an introductory primer on reading comprehension," Salaita tweeted.

He also clarified his feelings on the High Hewitt radio show, "I want us very much to support the human beings who comprise the military. I want us to question and challenge the platitude, support the troops, and think about who that platitude, whose interest that platitude actually serves."

Read the initial column:

A phone call to Virginia Tech University has not yet been returned. The person answering calls to the university said the school was quite busy with calls.

According to Virginia Tech's website, Salaita writes and teaches in the areas of American literature, ethnic studies, indigenous studies, and critical theory. The school's website said he has written three books: Anti-Arab Racism in the USA, The Holy Land in Transit and Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Radford University in Virginia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

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