As a first-class airline passenger gave up his seat to a service member on a recent flight, many of his fellow passengers applauded, but an associate professor at Pennsylvania's Drexel University took the less popular route: He tweeted that he was "trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul." George Ciccariello-Maher's tweet quickly landed him (and his employer) in hot water, USA Today reports, rounding up some of the critical Twitter responses that followed. In a notable one, the Navy SEAL credited with killing Osama bin Laden went on Fox & Friends to call Ciccariello-Maher, who quickly turned his Twitter account private, a "blowhard" who "lives in a bubble."
On Facebook Thursday, Ciccariello-Maher insisted that his tweet was being taken the wrong way. The incident took place just two days after US airstrikes killed dozens of civilians in Mosul, Iraq, he said, adding that he can't respect "a brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq that has not made our world any safer." He also says the war "has taken advantage of economically disadvantaged Americans," and that while he respects "anyone who makes difficult and dangerous decisions out of economic necessity," including soldiers, he saw the passenger's move as a "smug and self-congratulatory gesture." The real way to support soldiers, Ciccariello-Maher says, is to bring them home safely, give them access to proper medical and psychological care, and keep female soldiers safe from sexual assault. (This is not the professor's first brush with controversy.)