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"Troops spit on" myth or truth?

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Followup on RJ's thread that degraded into a Vietnam discussion.

 

Did it really happen?

Were troops spit on?

Does anyone have PROOF that it happened? Or is it just all hearsay?

 

There's even a book about the phenomenon.

 

http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=215

 

The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, by Jerry Lembcke (New York University Press, 1998)

Many Vietnam veterans repeat a common litany: anti-war protesters spit upon them. This book attempts to debunk what Lembcke concludes has become a modern urban myth.

How does one attempt to prove a negative - that something didn't happen? This author does it by examining the positive side and failing to find any conclusive proof that it occurred. Along the way he finds many indications that it is indeed a myth.

His research examined newspapers from New York and San Francisco, as well as police reports detailing the interaction between protesters and veterans. No spitting incidents were reported, and the observers noticed that over time the veterans assumed leadership positions among the protesters. Lembcke did find newspaper reports of spitting during demonstrations in the late 1960s, but they referred to hawks spitting on anti-war protesters.

Reinforcing his myth hypothesis, Lembcke cites a Harris poll reported to Congress in 1972 that indicates 93% of returning veterans found their homecoming friendly, while only 3% found it unfriendly. The poll also reported that over 75% of returning vets were opposed to the war.

The first documented reports of being spit upon don't begin to appear until the early 1980s. According to the author, who is currently an associate professor of sociology, the time delay is a strong indication that the story is a myth. So where did the myth come from?

First, remember that we lost the war. There are historical examples of mistreatment myths in which the abusers are said to be traitors to the national cause. In post-WWI Germany, the Fascists exploited similar rumors to arouse popular anger toward Jews, homosexuals, and women. After France's defeat in Indochina, the contrast and conflict of the male warrior image with the more feminine factors of society were blamed for the defeat.

Second, right after the Vietnam War, the U.S. economy went into the tank. The working-class boys and girls who had served were hit the hardest by the lack of jobs combined with inflation. When they lost their jobs they began to doubt their worth.

Perhaps most important in producing the myth were political machinations. The image of the Vietnam vet in the early 1970s was strongly anti-war. There is no place in the American memory for the factually accurate image of vets throwing their medals back at Congress. This image had to be changed if the United States ever wanted to go to war again.

The image began changing when Nixon lost popular support for the war. He created the notion that society should support the war because the troops were there: we needed to keep fighting to bring the POWs home. The anti-war veteran image was changed further when the Nixon administration alluded that anti-war vets were effeminate and mentally suspect. This attitude was bolstered by popular film images of Post-Vietnam Syndrome (later Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD).

The Bush administration used the idea that Vietnam vets had met with malevolence to rally support for the Gulf War, arguing that opposition to the war was tantamount to disregard for the troops' well-being. By the time the bombing began, the troops' presence in the Gulf became the reason for the fighting.

Though no definitive proof can be produced to absolve activists, or to confirm their innocence, one can examine existing records and determine that, with the lack of positive proof and in the face of other events, it is unlikely any spitting occurred.

The author, who served in Vietnam and joined VVAW on his return, comments that on announcing that he was exposing the myth he was met by two reactions, "Myth, hell, it happened," or "It's about time." Personally, I'm glad he did.

 

Discuss.

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There was a vet on SOL that said they threw urine on him. Spitting is believeable. Go to the Bronx Zoo on Wed when all the special ed kids go for free. Be AMAZED at the number of folks wearing spit proof helmets.

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View PostThere was a vet on SOL that said they threw urine on him. Spitting is believeable. Go to the Bronx Zoo on Wed when all the special ed kids go for free. Be AMAZED at the number of folks wearing spit proof helmets.

 

You sure those aren't for the aviary?

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I was spit on by a Muslim woman while walking in NYC right after Sept.11 while I was in uniform. She also cursed me in Arabic. Plenty of people saw what happened and while some looked disgusted, others looked at her like she was a hero. But I'm sure it didn't happen- I must have just imagined it.

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View PostI was spit on by a Muslim woman while walking in NYC right after Sept.11 while I was in uniform. She also cursed me in Arabic. Plenty of people saw what happened and while some looked disgusted, others looked at her like she was a hero. But I'm sure it didn't happen- I must have just imagined it.

 

 

I can't believe the *itch had the balls to do that. But, we do tend to bend over backwards to protect our enemies. It is what supposedly makes us 'great'. shakehead.gifkooky.gif I think it just makes us look weak. frown.gif

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View PostI was spit on by a Muslim woman while walking in NYC right after Sept.11 while I was in uniform. She also cursed me in Arabic. Plenty of people saw what happened and while some looked disgusted, others looked at her like she was a hero. But I'm sure it didn't happen- I must have just imagined it.

 

 

It is hotter when they swallow. Damn lazy ass white people.

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Jane Fonda Did Not Go TO HANOI ; John Kerry really spent Christmas at Anchor on his Swift Boat in Cambodia, His crew didnt want to go so they stayed back at Base so they have no idea where he went

 

Jane Fonda & John Kerry Photo's DO Not Hang in War Crimes Museum in Hanoi either.

 

Now tell me why America would open their arms and welcome Home WAR Criminals such as John Kerry said they all were .

 

I never could figure out why John Kerry wanted to be the HERO from VN War when he stated that Major War Crimes were being committed and it was a No Nothing War, but I am a HERO. Just ask me .

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