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Reply #7: Vietnam Veterans Were Not Spat On [View All]

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dreissig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-04 09:39 AM
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7. Vietnam Veterans Were Not Spat On
The reports of Vietnam veterans being spat upon did not appear before 1980, long after the war was over. Sociologist Jerry Lembcke, himself a Vietnam veteran, researched this issue exhaustively, and believes this is an urban legend.

. . . Lembcke is a sociologist at Holy Cross College, a Vietnam veteran who was an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. His readable and well-documented book demolishes the lie that the antiwar movement was anti-soldier and that the vets were spat upon.

Of course it is hard to disprove a myth and hard to prove that something never happened. Still Lembcke has extensive evidence showing that the spitting image is an illusion created by the Nixon-Agnew administration and the mass media (especially Hollywood movies). From the beginning, the antiwar movement worked closely with veterans. Many leading antiwar activists were veterans of earlier wars. Many antiwar groups, such as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), worked to support GIs and defend GI political rights.

By 1968, a large number of Vietnam vets were key activists in the movement. Polls conducted at the time showed that most combat troops viewed the antiwar movement as their only real supporter. Other polls conducted at the time showed that over 94% of returning troops said they were greeted positively by people their own age who had not served in the military. Even more telling, there is no documentary evidence (not one letter, photo, news clip, press report, or police report) of an antiwar protester spitting on a returning vet. There are, however, a number of photos and stories showing protesting vets being spat upon, sworn at, and pelted with eggs, by pro-war members of the VFW or American Legion. The stories of spat-upon veterans started appearing in the late 1970s, and all such stories have proven either demonstrably false or nearly impossible to prove
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