Skip to comments.Debunking a spitting image - (says Viet Vets never spat upon when they returned to USA!)
Posted on 05/01/2005 8:53:50 PM PDT by CHARLITE
STORIES ABOUT spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. It's hard to say where they come from. For a book I wrote in 1998 I looked back to the time when the spit was supposedly flying, the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found nothing. No news reports or even claims that someone was being spat on.
What I did find is that around 1980, scores of Vietnam-generation men were saying they were greeted by spitters when they came home from Vietnam. There is an element of urban legend in the stories in that their point of origin in time and place is obscure, and, yet, they have very similar details. The story told by the man who spat on Jane Fonda at a book signing in Kansas City recently is typical. Michael Smith said he came back through Los Angeles airport where ''people were lined up to spit on us."
Like many stories of the spat-upon veteran genre, Smith's lacks credulity. GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
The Globe does its readers a disservice by failing to inform them of the background of Mr. Jerry Lembcke (Debunking a Spitting Image, April 30), describing him merely as an associate professor of sociology and author. In fact, Mr. Lembcke is a long-time radical activist with a history of publications written in support of Marxist ideals, including the book "One Union in Wood," a political history of the International Woodworkers of America endorsed and recommended by the Communist Party, USA. He was also a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, an organization that specialized in making allegations that American troops routinely committed horrendous war crimes in Vietnam, while offering little if any proof to back up their charges.
Mr. Lembcke's article is merely a rehash of the same claim he has made for years; that he has been unable to confirm any spitting incidents in his own research. Without any information on his background and political bias, one might easily mistake this contention for a dispassionate, scholarly opinion.
In his 1990 book, Homecoming, Chicago Tribune writer Bob Greene documented several dozen spitting events, and found no reason to suspect they were untrue. Other accounts abound, reported by stable, honest men who have no reason to lie. But alas, Mr. Lembcke finds all these accounts unpersuasive.
I have a personal friend who had acid thrown in his face by an antiwar demonstrator while serving in the U.S. Army during a protest in San Francisco. His recollection of the event cannot be explained away with psychobabble terms such as "gendered subtext" or "failure of masculinity." There are legal records: his attacker was charged and convicted of assault.
The truth is that many Vietnam veterans did return home to be greeted with contempt and abuse, and a number report having been physically spat upon. Considering Mr. Lembcke's history of political extremism, there is little reason to take his word over theirs. It seems much more likely that his real purpose is to cast doubt on the dismal treatment of Americas Vietnam veterans that he himself helped bring about.
Scott Swett, Executive Director
Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation
Oh. And that urban myth about Jane Fonda sitting atop a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun? False. Pure myth. Never happened.
I guess this same guy would say there were never back alley abortions because they weren't reported in the papers (except when the women died). And blacks were never spit on because each time it happened, someone didn't go running to the Boston Globe to tell them about it.
I'm sure the Globe would have put every spit-on Vet story on their front page. Yeah. Sure.
No it is the Globe that Lacks credulity. It is the poor step child of the NYT trying to get the Step parent's approval and as such will attempt anything for that approval. Even trot out a tired old tale and try to sell it as the truth.
That only illustrates how sloppy his research is. There were plenty of claims and news reports about it. Plenty. Anyone who lived through that time has to be aware of that. How old is this loser anyway?
Utter and complete BS right there. The vast majority of troops arrived via chartered civilian aircraft, and landed at civilian airports. From there, they made connections on other civilian airlines. Just like today.
The only difference today is that returning troops at least get a round of applause when deplaning. Any spitters would be quickly handled by patriotic citizens and airport cops.
This article is a "spit in the face" to every soldier who served in Vietnam.
Uh, 20-to-1 which way?
Funny, I was hearing stories of it before I even left Viet Nam in early 1971.
As I've said over on SVPT, it's strikes me as very odd how these people will blindly accept sKerry's words of war crimes and atrocities committed in Viet Nam, even after Naval Intelligence performed an in depth investigation, ordered by Congress and offering those winter soldiers of sKerry's amnesty and not one would back up, support, or show any proof or documentation of their claims.
Now, in an effort to heap further garbage on the backs of Viet Nam Veterans, they demand documentation and police reports of us being spit on.
I hate to tell the editors at the Boston Globe, but the spitting wasn't always a literal spitting upon. Having someone sit next to you with their small child, visiting with you and playing games with the child, while on a flight from Seattle to St. Louis to change planes, having her realize you were in the Army, after landing and putting on my Army Greens Jacket, then snatch her daughter away while yelling get away from that killer is just as hurtful as being physically spat upon, if not more so.
I once knew a Marine in 1968 who was standing on a corner in Anaheim, CA who was on his way to Disneyland on a weekend liberty before being shipped off to Viet Nam.
While the Marine was standing on the corner with others waiting for the traffic light to change so they could cross the street, a car came by and was slowing down to make a right turn right in front of the Marine and others.
As the car slowed down, a young man leaned out of the window and spat at the Marine.
I know this story is true because I was that Marine.
Some of us flew on to Chicago and landed at OHare (again,not a military base)where there was a larger group of protesters.This group had some spitters,but they mostly just cussed us.
From there,3 of us flew to our final stop at Norfolk Regional Airport(not military).There were no protesters,the three of us said our goodbyes and hustled off to meet our families who we could see were waiting for us.
The writer is a liar.
If they don't print it you get $5.00.
I'll offer this: In early May 1969 I flew into Travis AFB. While moving through SFO, and in uniform, I was spat at. None of the spittle landed on me although it did hit some of those next to me.
I will testify, under oath, that this event happened.
In 1972, I remember landing in Oakland and then catching a flight home to Phoenix from San Francisco airport. These weren't military bases. It was on that flight from San Francisco where a young hippie couple decided to humiliate me because I was required by regulation to wear my uniform when traveling. But hey, what do I know? I'm only a veteran not a brilliant Leftwing journalist trying to impress my boss with my anti-American/anti-military psychobabble.
Thanks for posting this. I have a friend who was in the Air Force as an undergraduate pilot, just out of college, attending pilot training at Williams AFB in Chandler, AZ. He's told me several times about having to be careful when they went into town (Phoenix)-- especially near the University of Arizona. They liked hanging out around the area because of the young women-- but many times they'd be shouted at (such as called "baby killers" by activist students) or otherwise harassed, including spitting, as they were identified as GI's by their short hair and military pass stickers on their car.
Meanwhile some of their fellow pilots were being shot down in Vietnam, and held by their captors in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton", as Hanoi Jane openly sided with the communists and ridiculed their claims of harsh treatment.
This is just more of the Boston Globe's way of preparing for the campaign of Kerry.
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