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Mon May 28, 2012, 04:38 PM

Obama says Vietnam veterans too often 'denigrated'

Source: AP-Excite

By KEN THOMAS

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama paid tribute Monday to the men and women who have died defending America, pointing to Vietnam veterans as an under-appreciated and sometimes maligned group of war heroes who remained true to their nation despite an unwelcome homecoming.

"You were sometimes blamed for the misdeeds of a few," Obama said at the Vietnam War Memorial. "You came home and were sometimes denigrated when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened."

"Even though some Americans turned their backs on you, you never turned your back on America," Obama said.

Marking Memorial Day at both the black granite wall honoring more than 58,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War and earlier at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from the capital, Obama noted that for the first time in nine years, "Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq," and the nation was winding down its role in the conflict in Afghanistan.

FULL story at link.



Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20120528/D9V1TMT82.html




President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Reply Obama says Vietnam veterans too often 'denigrated' (Original post)
Omaha Steve May 2012 OP
zbdent May 2012 #1
hrmjustin May 2012 #2
DrDan May 2012 #3
may3rd May 2012 #11
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #14
Bigmack May 2012 #19
upaloopa May 2012 #22
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #27
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #34
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #38
ieoeja May 2012 #50
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #56
Nuclear Unicorn May 2012 #37
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #39
Nuclear Unicorn May 2012 #42
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #44
Nuclear Unicorn May 2012 #48
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #29
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #31
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #32
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #36
Art_from_Ark May 2012 #75
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #76
humblebum May 2012 #46
apocalypsehow May 2012 #52
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #57
apocalypsehow May 2012 #60
Bigmack May 2012 #58
apocalypsehow May 2012 #59
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #63
Bigmack May 2012 #65
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #68
Bigmack May 2012 #69
apocalypsehow May 2012 #71
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #62
Bigmack May 2012 #66
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #67
ieoeja May 2012 #70
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #74
apocalypsehow May 2012 #72
RobinA May 2012 #61
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #64
humblebum May 2012 #41
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #43
humblebum May 2012 #45
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #47
DrDan May 2012 #20
Brooklyn Dame May 2012 #4
LiveNudePolitics May 2012 #5
HereSince1628 May 2012 #6
sad sally May 2012 #16
madrchsod May 2012 #18
Alamuti Lotus May 2012 #7
bemildred May 2012 #8
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #9
freshwest May 2012 #10
may3rd May 2012 #12
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #13
former9thward May 2012 #15
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #17
ieoeja May 2012 #51
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #55
yellowcanine May 2012 #73
upaloopa May 2012 #23
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #24
upaloopa May 2012 #26
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #30
upaloopa May 2012 #33
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #40
upaloopa May 2012 #49
ieoeja May 2012 #53
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #54
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #28
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #35
GeorgeGist May 2012 #21
mollerjay May 2012 #25
The Wizard May 2012 #77
SGMRTDARMY May 2012 #78

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 04:43 PM

1. Look for a Teahadist to claim

racist Obama called him a n*gger ...

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 04:43 PM

2. He is right but that war was still wrong.n/t

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #2)

Mon May 28, 2012, 05:02 PM

3. it's not up to those that serve to decide that

they "serve" - not make those decisions.

Unfortunately, those that decide are somewhat lacking.

ok . . . mightily lacking.

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Response to DrDan (Reply #3)

Mon May 28, 2012, 06:52 PM

11. Those that returned individually were often targeted at airports by groups that past judgment

 

calling them baby killers and would be spit on as they saw their "strength in numbers" over the singled out returning GI

true stories

all with the same common theme

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Response to may3rd (Reply #11)

Mon May 28, 2012, 08:40 PM

14. Coming through SFO in 69

 

I was called all kinds of vile names but I wasn't spit on, maybe because the girl who looked like she was about to realized that it would be a huge mistake to do so.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #14)

Tue May 29, 2012, 12:09 AM

19. I call bullshit on both of you....

... when I came back the only crap I got was from the WWII supply pogues and office weenies. They called us losers. The kids at the state college I went to welcomed me like a friend.

All that "spitting at the airport" stuff is crap.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Spitting-Image-Memory-Vietnam/dp/0814751474

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Tue May 29, 2012, 08:53 AM

22. You are wrong. That book doesn't prove it didn't happen and the author said so to me on the

Mike Malloy show. His exact words were, "I can't prove it did happen and I also can't prove it didn't."

I called in to the show because I was spat on March 18, 1968 in SFO.

Now I can't prove to you that it happened and you will believe what you want. I understand that from reading other threads about this here at DU over the years.

I know from this is that history is not written by those who lived it but it becomes what most people believe it is.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:20 AM

27. Call bullshit all you want

 

Last edited Wed May 30, 2012, 12:31 PM - Edit history (1)

you weren't there, I was. I wasn't spit on but I was called a bunch of vile names as was my brother when he returned.

I don't really give a darn what you think, it happened.


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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #27)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:57 AM

34. I had always thought the stories of returning soliders being maligned (called names or

 

spat upon) were an urban legend. But in the face of your first-person affirmation that such occurred, I simply have to say whoever did that (called you names or spit on Upaloopa) had his or her head completely and thoroughly up his or her ass.

I''m not a vet but have been involved in many actions with my local chapters of Vets for Peace and Iraq Vets Against the War. These are some of the finest people I have met in my life and the thought of anyone insulting any of them for the crimes committed BY THEIR LEADERS ]in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or anywhere else makes me really fucking angry.

Proves that 'head up the ass syndrome' is not confined strictly to the right wing.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #34)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:30 PM

38. I really don't think it happened that often

 

and the few that did disrespect us were probably angry at the politicians and not really angry at the returning vets, we just happened to be the most visible symbols of the war.
Looking back, youv'e got to wonder if maybe some of these people weren't RW assholes who were trying to make the anti-war movement look bad.
At this time in my life, it just doesn't matter anymore.

Thank you for all you have done for the veterans of this country.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #38)

Wed May 30, 2012, 03:43 PM

50. How did the WW-II vets treat you?


American Legion post in my hometown swelled in membership because they welcomed Vietnam veterans while the posts in every one of the neighboring towns did not.

As the other poster noted, WW-II vets often treated Korean and Vietnam veterans horribly. My Korean vet dad was part of the gang that gained control of the local Post mostly to ensure the Vietnam vets didn't get the same unwelcome they had received.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #50)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:08 PM

56. They treated us decently.

 

My dad was a Korean Vet himself, was a Marine at the Chosin Resevoir when the chinese attacked.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #27)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:27 PM

37. It's still happening

At this very forum people say US soldiers kill innocent women and children to serve corporate masters.

It's vile, disgusting and it validates why so many distrust progressives.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #37)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:37 PM

39. I hereby challenge you to provide one link to a post at DU that

 

says "US soldiers kill innocent women and children to serve corporate masters" (or even anything similar to that).

Most here are sophisticated enough to understand that soldiers are merely the instruments to execute their leaders' policies.

If you can provide no link, I would respectfully request that you self-delete your slur upon progressives and DU.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #39)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:11 PM

42. Only ONE post?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002739558

26 and its sub-thread claims quite clearly that US troops only serve corporate interests

45 says US wars are for corporations

54 says there is blood on the hands of those who support the wars

47 people sign up made to slaughter innocents

106 doubles down on 47

65 cannon fodder

116 invading other countries and slaughtering their innocents

97 there's nothing heroic about killing innocent people

107 "which American hero did this" (pic of dead ME girl)

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #42)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:17 PM

44. You know something? Citing your own flame-bait OP and responses to it

 

as 'proof' of your original slur only demonstrates your utter intellectual dishonesty and moral bankruptcy and depravity.

No need to reply. I'm putting you on Ignore, as I have no desire to ever read another word you write, EVER.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #44)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:30 PM

48. So, I provide the proof yet an OP meant to honor the troops is "flamebait"

Please note -- by your own standards -- ONE instance of my inciting those repugnant comments. What did I say that could have possibly provoked those responses?

Sorry, but there are some nasty, disturbed people who validate stereotypes of progressives who denigrate and spit on troops even if only in a rhetorical sense.

"your utter intellectual dishonesty and moral bankruptcy and depravity"

Intellectual dishonesty is taking proof you asked for and then claiming the OP somehow induced the responses made by cited posts. Moral bankruptcy? Depravity? Seriously? I've seen people stammer when confronted with facts they were unpreapred to contest. I've never seen someone's head pop before.

BTW -- the only thing "ignore" does is allow people to refute posts unchallenged while everyone else watches. Ignore-ance is bliss.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Wed May 30, 2012, 10:33 AM

29. Absolutely right!

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #29)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:38 AM

31. Absolutely wrong

 

you weren't there just like he wasn't there when it happened to me in SFO in 69.
Granted I wasn't spit on, but I sure was called some pretty awful names.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #31)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:41 AM

32. Why do you want me or anyone else to believe you?

 

You're an Army vet?

And you have tender feelings?

I don't care.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #32)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:19 PM

36. You misunderstand me

 

I honestly don't care if you believe me or not, it happened, I was there, you were not, but as I said in an earlier post, it doesn't matter anymore, I've moved on.
Watching Pres. Obama giving his inspirational speech at the Wall the other day really set me at peace.

Peace be with you.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #31)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:48 PM

75. 1969, huh?

Would that have been before, or after, the revelations about the My Lai massacre?

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #75)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:01 PM

76. Wow, I hadn't thought of that

 

I came through SFO in early Dec.. Maybe thats what it was all about.

Thanks for that tidbit

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:20 PM

46. Excuse me, but the "spitting on" or "spitting at" did happen to many. And I think it

 

had much to do with individual situations, timing, and location.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:04 PM

52. So, I take it you were following both of those two DU posters around in real life to be able to say

that their posts on this thread are "bullshit." Either that, or you're accusing two fellow DU'ers of being liars. If it's the latter, you really should put your money where your mouth is and come out and say it, instead of mealy-mouthing around about how when you "got back" ( ) you got welcomed with big hugs & kisses.

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Response to apocalypsehow (Reply #52)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:10 PM

57. I sincerely thank you

 

but it really doesn't matter what he thinks, I was there, it happened, I've moved on.
Again thanks.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #57)

Thu May 31, 2012, 01:17 AM

60. I appreciate. Bullshit like what that poster is peddling needs to be called out, and I have done so

below. But I well understand your wish to move on, and respect it.

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Response to apocalypsehow (Reply #52)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:40 PM

58. Read the book...

... "Spitting Image" by Jerry Lembcke before you pop off. I call bullshit. Whether a "sea story" or purposeful lie... I don't know. I have no idea what kind of unit/MOS the guys who claim they were spit on were in the military, but me and my brother Marines were barely human by the time we got back, and anybody who spit on, at, or near us would have been committing a grave mistake. Who - in civilian life - would allow such a thing? Now... think of somebody who has been in the bush for a few months... meaner than hell... skin all fucked up with jungle crud... body dehydrated, and all strung out. Nevah hoppen...

GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops. There may have been exceptions, of course, but in those cases how would protesters have known in advance that a plane was being diverted to a civilian site? And even then, returnees would have been immediately bused to nearby military installations and processed for reassignment or discharge. Lembcke's research is impeccable. A Vietnam vet himself, he investigated hundreds of news accounts of antiwar activists spitting on vets. But every time he pushed for more evidence or corroboration from a witness, the story collapsed--the actual person who was spat on turned out to be a friend of a friend. Or somebody's uncle. He writes that he never met anybody who convinced him that any such clash took place.

Many times, troops flew home in uniform for the discount. The airlines had no documented incidents of spitting or disrespect. The movie "Rambo" was the first time people ever heard about this shit. Some people have a hard time separating reality from the movies.

"In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Indeed one soldier wrote angrily to Vice President Spiro Agnew that the only Americans who seemed concerned about the soldier's welfare were the anti-war activists.
While the veterans were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their service, this sense of unease was, Lembcke argues, more often rooted in the political practices of the Right. Tracing a range of conflicts in the twentieth century, the book illustrates how regimes engaged in unpopular conflicts often vilify their domestic opponents for "stabbing the boys in the back."
Concluding with an account of the powerful role played by Hollywood in cementing the myth of the betrayed veteran through such films as Coming Home, Taxi Driver, and Rambo, Jerry Lembcke's book stands as one of the most important, original, and controversial works of cultural history in recent years."

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #58)

Thu May 31, 2012, 01:15 AM

59. I have read it sport, and it's mostly bullshit. For starters, GI's coming straight from combat zones

were funneled through military bases, but left with discharges in their hands through civilian terminals on their way home. The author simply ignored that aspect of it, because it didn't fit his BULLSHIT narrative.

Further, "airlines" didn't keep any kind of "documentation" about what happened in the terminals their airlines flew to, for the obvious reason that they didn't own those terminals - only what happened at their boarding points or on board their flights. More serial dishonesty from your favorite author.

As for the rest, you have simply cut & pasted from a review on Amazon, which means you're a plagiarist, as well as someone who has managed to insult DU veterans. Nice going....

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Response to apocalypsehow (Reply #59)

Thu May 31, 2012, 09:33 AM

63. Amazing ain't it

 

This poster is calling us liars because it isn't in some bullshit book.

Unless this Jerry Lembcke interviewed ALL VN vets, then he doesn't know if it happend or not.

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Response to apocalypsehow (Reply #59)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:03 AM

65. I put it in quotes... and I earned the fucking right to call bullshit. nt

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #65)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:44 AM

68. So putting it in quotes makes it fact?

 

You earned the right to call other VN vets liars because you are a VN vet?
Wow.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #68)

Thu May 31, 2012, 02:28 PM

69. Putting it in quotes makes it not plagiarism. And...Yup... I earned that right! nt

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #68)

Thu May 31, 2012, 03:16 PM

71. Even there he's not being honest: he did not cite his quote, and spent 2/3rd's of his reply typing

his own material before shifting, with no cite, into repeating another person's words without credit or citation. Putting quotation marks around something while in the middle of typing something else without making it clear - with a credit, an ending cite, or both - simply doesn't cut it with ethical persons.

He knows what he was doing - just doesn't like getting called on it.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #58)

Thu May 31, 2012, 09:26 AM

62. I ain't reading no book

 

and quit insinuating that we are liars, as I said, I was there, it happened, I don't give a fuck what this Jerry Lembcke said or wrote.
You can believe me or not, I just don't care anymore.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #62)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:12 AM

66. "I ain't reading no book"... says a lot. ....

Question... why would you take shit like that from some civilian? Why would you take shit like that from anybody? Afraid you might get hurt? Afraid you might get in trouble?

Hell, anybody who was there lived with the idea of getting hurt. Anybody who was there had already been in as much trouble as they would ever be in.

You say they called you names. How did you respond? Nothing?

Doesn't make much sense to me.

Maybe you have exaggerated this incident over time. That's as much as I'm willing to give.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #66)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:40 AM

67. How did I respond

 

I didn't commit any violence, I just wanted to go home on leave. Why would I take shit from a civillian? Because he's not calling Vets. liars like you are. Why should I read a book written by some asshole who says it didn't happen? Were you or him there in 69 when it happened to me? No, neither of you were, so how can you say it didn't ever happen? Did Jerry interview ALL VN vets? No, he didn't, so how can he say it didn't happen?

I really don't give 2 cents on how much sense it makes to you.
Maybe you exaggerated your Vietnam service, I don't know, but I'm willing to believe that you served and served honorably.
As far as how much your willing to give, Who fricken cares what your willing to give.

Once again, I was there, you or Jerry were not, it happened and I've moved on.

You know what, I'm done. You believe what you want to believe, like I've said time and time again, I've moved on and I truly don't care what other people belive or don't believe.

Peace be with you brother vet.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #67)

Thu May 31, 2012, 03:01 PM

70. "Why would I take shit from a civillian? Because he's not calling Vets. liars"


You were "called all kinds of vile names," but they did not accuse you of misremembering, so that was okay.


The "spit on" Vietnam vet story is a lot like Sherman's march to the sea. Just as contemporary southern accounts praised Sherman and his men, there were no contemporary reports of Vietnam vets being spat upon. In both cases the bad stories came out later which makes them sound an awful lot like propaganda.

Consider the one poster on this thread who claims to have been literally spit upon. He says he didn't say anything for 30 years because nobody was talking about it. Does that have the ring of truth to you? Who has not heard this story repeated a thousand times over the past 40 years?

Propaganda works. The day after 9-11 the Republican meme was, "bet you're glad Gore didn't win now, huh?" The national security debate during the previous year's election consisted of Gore warning us that Islamic terrorism was the #1 national security threat facing this nation. Bush/Cheney responded by mocking Gore for making this claim. So this Republican meme should have been a horrible embarrasement.

Yet, it worked. People agreed. I know one person who voted for Gore in 2000 then voted for * in 2004 precisely because of this.

These people were there. They could not have possibly missed the mocking of Gore during the 2000 election. But millions of Americans would swear up and down on a stack of bibles today what happened it did not happen.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #70)

Thu May 31, 2012, 06:38 PM

74. Once again

 

where you there in 69? No, you weren't. Don't believe it, I don't give 2 shits whether you do or don't. I know what happened, I was there.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #62)

Thu May 31, 2012, 03:20 PM

72. Don't bother with the book - it's largely a mass of opinons, and not much substantiation. I believe

what you say, because I don't make it a habit of running around DU implying my fellow DU'ers are liars unless I have good cause and reason to do so.

Others, not so much. It's the nature of so much of the nastiness on anonymous Discussion Boards, and I apologize to you for it on behalf of my fellow DU'ers who choose not to act that way.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #19)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:13 AM

61. This Kid

at a state college at the time thanks you for the good word. The veterans on my campus pretty much stuck together, but they were always welcome. Us "kids" were a bit in awe of you "grown-ups." You were only a little older than us but you had been around, whereas we pretty much went from home to college. We weren't always good at bridging the gap, but that was not because of any negativity. On my little campus in western PA in 1975, anyway.

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Response to RobinA (Reply #61)

Thu May 31, 2012, 09:45 AM

64. I don't think it was a widespread problem

 

but it did happen, I was on my way home on leave from my first combat tour in 69 coming through SFO in my uniform when a small group of college aged kids approached me and started to call me some pretty vile names, a young girl looked like she wanted to do more, but I guess the look in my eyes told her that just might be a big mistake.

Most of the anti-war protesters were well meaning people but you will always have agitators in every crowd.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #14)


Response to humblebum (Reply #41)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:16 PM

43. I think you replied to the wrong post.

 

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #43)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:18 PM

45. My apologies.nt

 

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Response to humblebum (Reply #45)

Wed May 30, 2012, 01:29 PM

47. No problem.nt

 

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Response to may3rd (Reply #11)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:06 AM

20. you missed my point

whether a war is right or wrong is not a decision for those that serve - it is a decision for the politicians that take us there. Their decision, unfortunately, is often made based on the wrong factors.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 05:14 PM

5. More than lip service needed

More than lip service is needed, Vietnam Vets were treated horribly then and now. It is not right, not fair, and the president is correct, it is SHAMEFUL. Many vets from from our past and present wars need so much help. Put a few dollars into the mix, and help a vet, because they gave up so much for us. I am as broke as the next gal, and I felt I should do SOMETHING besides saying I support the troops, or thanking soldiers who can't hear me for their sacrifice, so....Celebrate Memorial Day at Lukes Wings: Flying families & Lifting spirits. http://livenudepolitics.com/?p=1467

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 05:31 PM

6. As a Vietnam vet I say thats nice but I really don't care about a lost reception decades ago.

I care that vietnam vets, and vets who served throughout SE Asia, now in their late 50's, 60's, and seventies, have higher rates of coronary artery disease and type II diabetes than people who didn't serve in Vietnam and SE Asia.

CAD and Diabetes have both been related to herbicide exposure, including agent orange. Don't take my word for it. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3702250?uid=3739976&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=56213414743. Pesiticides and herbicides were used extensively on US military bases throughout E Asia. Under current funding rules from Congress, veterans who served in Vietnam can get medical care through the VA for Type II diabetes and coronary heart disease, and even service related disability.

Lots of veterans were exposed. Everyone's heard of agent orange and the Air Force's operation "Ranch Hand" that spread that stuff over large areas of Vietnam, sometimes directly on American forces. What most Americans and many vets don't realize is that Agent Orange and similar herbicides were widely used on US military bases throughout E Asian during that period of time.

Vets were exposed from Thailand to South Korea, and many are getting very very sick decades after that exposure.

So I say...The apologies are nice, but, you know most of us are way way over it. I get that it's a social tool. A way to leverage 40-50 year old guilt among
today's politicians and citizens to support for vets of current wars.

If you want to be faithful to Vietnam veterans, help get the word out...herbicide exposure way back then is causing diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease NOW!
Pressure Congress to fully fund programs to identify and treat veterans who were exposed and never knew it.










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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #6)

Mon May 28, 2012, 10:41 PM

16. From an AP story today (just posted it), this fact jumped out - "230,000 new claims from Vietnam

veterans and their survivors because of a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange exposure..." Damn, is the government's plan to wait out the remaining Vietnam veterans so the claims will be a moot point?
#####

More than 560,000 veterans from all wars currently have claims that are backlogged — older than 125 days.

The VA's benefits chief, Hickey, gave these reasons:

—Sheer volume. Disability claims from all veterans soared from 888,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million in 2011. Last year's included more than 230,000 new claims from Vietnam veterans and their survivors because of a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange exposure. Those complex, 50-year-old cases took more than a third of available staff, she said.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #6)

Mon May 28, 2012, 10:59 PM

18. my brother in law is in his last few months of his life

his childhood buddy just died. both served together in Vietnam and both were exposed to agent orange and other chemicals. both had cancer of the liver.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 05:33 PM

7. denigrated most by leaders who sent them off to die in the first place

 

interestingly enough, it is those very same leaders and their successors who a) beat the drum loudest for more to go off to kill & die, and b) demand the most praise for their misdeeds that put others at risk. And this guy is no exception to that, but eh.
Political leaders of both parties and their business tycoon friends enjoy saying things like this, but don't do a fucking thing for the homeless vets I see every day. I do more for these people when I hand a $5 to somebody than the national leadership does with their far greater resources, don't need the fucking condescending lecture.

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Response to Alamuti Lotus (Reply #7)

Mon May 28, 2012, 05:49 PM

8. +1.

It was not the people that didn't welcome them home, it was their "leaders", the same ones that failed them.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 28, 2012, 06:40 PM

9. Sly Stalone, a Rambo pretend vet who pretended to have been spat upon so he could be a victim

 

in his movie Rambo, would agree with the assessment that "You were sometimes blamed for the misdeeds of a few," and "You came home and were sometimes denigrated when you should have been celebrated."

That's never been my experience. In fact, in my first contact with civilians after returning to the real world, a girl came up and gave me a flower with a kiss. (Thank you, whoever you are.) A few hours later, a total stranger took me to dinner with his family. (I appreciated that as well.) A week later, I found a job and was at work. I've never been a victim of civilians who "blamed me or anyone else for the misdeeds of a few." I've never been "denigrated by civilians when I should have been celebrated." Some persons have claimed that we were victims. I don't see it that way. Some professional chicken-hawks have sought favorable attention and made money while saying that we (and them in return) are special, but they have done more of a disservice to us, our children, and our grandchildren than the ones that they blame for failing to give special attention to us.

All of this is ancient history. You want to find some "victims?" Look for those like Sly Stalone and John Wayne who never served but wanted to be vicarious victims. Stalone claimed that he was spit upon after returning to the States. It never happened. John Wayne in his movie The Green Berets gave the impression that he was defending his honor and those with him from the unjustified and silent criticism of the less-than-patriotic reporter that accompanied them. It was a movie. Most people with good sense understand this.

If you genuinely want to find those who have been denigrated when they should have been celebrated, look for old hippies and war protestors. They are truly the ones who should have been honored on a national scale.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Mon May 28, 2012, 06:43 PM

10. Thanks for your story, it needs to be heard.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Mon May 28, 2012, 06:54 PM

12. many people dodged the draft in various ways

 

Every one has a story as to why of course.

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Response to may3rd (Reply #12)

Mon May 28, 2012, 07:34 PM

13. I don't mind draft-dogers. But draft-dodging chicken-hawks gets to me.

 

How do we know that Bush was in the Air National Guard? There's one photo of him sitting in a cockpit with a flight suit. There's also a second photo with him stading. But that's it. If someone had actually served in the National Guard and then became President, then wouldn't there be one or two people who would gladly say that they served with him? But no one seems to have been able to remember him.

In contrast, we know that Insane McCain served. He crashed at least five planes, including one in flight school.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #13)

Mon May 28, 2012, 09:03 PM

15. The controversy about Bush is the '72 and '73 period when he was in Alabama.

No one disputes his service in Texas from '68 to '72. He trained as a F-102 pilot in Texas but when he transferred to Alabama his service became spotty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush_military_service_controversy. In the interest of accuracy factcheck.org says McCain did not crash five planes. http://www.factcheck.org/2008/09/mccains-plane-crashes/

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Mon May 28, 2012, 10:49 PM

17. "McCain did not crash five planes"? Another good story ruined by the facts.

 

I think that it was W.C. Fields that came up with that first.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Wed May 30, 2012, 03:56 PM

51. Yup. The Admiral's son only lost 3 jets. The other two don't qualify.


On the USS Forrestal his jet was just happened to be where the fire occurred. And the 5th was an accident that did not result in loss of the plane.

From your link:

"McCain did lose two Navy aircraft while piloting them. One crash was found to be be McCain's fault, the other due to an engine failure of undetermined cause.. A third was destroyed on the deck of the carrier USS Forrestal when a missile fired accidentally from another plane hit either the plane next to McCain's or, less likely, his own aircraft, triggering a disastrous fire that killed 134 sailors and nearly killed McCain. A fourth plane was lost when he was shot down over North Vietnam on a bombing mission over Hanoi.

"A fifth alleged "crash" turns out to be a misinterpretation of a flight accident that did not result in the loss of the aircraft. McCain admitted to causing that incident through 'daredevil clowning' but returned safely."

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #51)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:45 PM

55. He's probably the only one who crashed a plane in flight school and still be allowed to fly.

 

Of course, his grandfather plus his father were well respected Admirals. And everyone can screw up sometime.

Still, I like the short-hand expression, "He crashed five planes." I know, he actually crashed fewer than that. Too many stories are ruined by the facts.

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Response to may3rd (Reply #12)

Thu May 31, 2012, 03:38 PM

73. There weren't that many actual "draft dodgers." In the sense of being drafted and then finding a

an illegal way not to serve. Many had legitimate reasons. For example, conscientious objectors to all wars, not just Vietnam, could do alternative service for two years. That person is not a draft dodger, imo. Also many students up until the high school graduating class of 1970 could automatically get a student deferment until they graduated from college. I graduated from H.S. in 1969 and so had a student deferment until I graduated in 1973 from college - and the draft had ended by then. Was I a draft dodger? I don't see how, as I never dodged the draft - I was never drafted. And my primary reason for going to college was to get an education, not avoid being drafted. Was it fair that I got to go to college and some of my high school classmates got sent to Vietnam? Probably not, at least I didn't think so. But at age 18 there wasn't a heck of a lot I could do about it. It certainly didn't make any sense - or even occur to me to give up my student deferment and submit to the draft just because the system wasn't fair. People who enlisted in the national guard, etc, were not draft dodgers. Yes, they may have avoided being sent to Vietnam and that may have been their motivation. But that doesn't make them a draft dodger.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Tue May 29, 2012, 09:01 AM

23. I wonder when you came home and where. I was treated like shit when I came home in 1968.

It could be that we had different experiences because of the different times when they happened. What happened to you does not mean something else didn't happen to others.

Basically you are calling others liars when you really don't know their story. My case is that I was spat on, called a baby killer more than once and could not put on a job application that I was a Vietnam vet. They called us walking time bombs.

I am not calling you a liar so don't call me one. You did not have my experience and for that I am glad.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #23)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:45 PM

24. Others have had experiences similar to both of ours.

 

Some have said that they were actually spat upon or know others that were. Others say that never happened to them. Some of those question whether it happend to others. You can find both types of responses identified in a columnist's book (by Bob Greene) Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam. You might find it worthwhile because his book includes 63 accounts of spitting by people who wrote letters in response to his solicitations for first-hand accounts.

However, Greene includes 69 accounts to the contrary by persons who said that they returned to the States without such experiences and who did not belive the spitting accounts. Greene also questioned whether the spitting stories made sense. He noted
"Even during the most fervent days of anti-war protest, it seemed that it was not the soldiers whom protesters were maligning. It was the leaders of government, and the top generals—at least, that is how it seemed in memory. One of the most popular chants during the anti-war marches was, “Stop the war in Vietnam, bring the boys home.” You heard that at every peace rally in America. “Bring the boys home.” That was the message. Also, when one thought realistically about the image of what was supposed to have happened, it seemed questionable. So-called “hippies,” no matter what else one may have felt about them, were not the most macho people in the world. Picture a burly member of the Green Berets, in full uniform, walking through an airport. Now think of a “hippie” crossing his path. Would the hippie have the nerve to spit on the soldier? And if the hippie did, would the soldier—fresh from facing enemy troops in the jungles of Vietnam—just stand there and take it?"


Greene is not a Viet Nam vet. But one that is (sociologist Jerry Lembcke) also analyized the claims in his book The Spitting Image.
The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam is a 1998 book by sociologist Jerry Lembcke. The book argues that the common claim that American soldiers were spat upon and insulted by anti-war protesters upon returning home from the Vietnam War is an urban legend intended to discredit the anti-war movement. Lembcke's book argues, further, that posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a socially constructed diagnostic category that disparages the image of Vietnam veterans and provided another way to discredit the many veterans in the anti-war movement. Lembcke writes that this discrediting of the anti-war movement was foreshadowed by Hermann Göring's fostering of the stab in the back myth, after Germany's defeat in Europe in 1918.
...
The Spitting Image asserts that the claims of abuse of soldiers by antiwar demonstrators became ingrained in the American consciousness only some years after the war had come to a close; Lembcke attributes the legend's growth to films relating to Vietnam, notably Rambo. He writes that these claims were used by President George H. W. Bush as a way to help sell the Gulf War to the American people.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spitting_Image


Regardless of whether our experiences and memories differ, there is one fact that is absolutely true. Nobody ever spat upon Sly Stalone when he alleged returned from Viet Nam as a soldier. That never happened.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #24)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:13 AM

26. Well the people who wrote the books weren't there.

I never knew that anyone else had the same experience as I did until in the late 90's when I heard the author of that book on KPFK. They had a fund drive and that book was one of the gifts.

I heard him again on KPFK years later and I talked to him on Mike Malloy's show after that.

I was shocked when it happened but let it go because I didn't expect any negative reactions and because they told us that even though we were discharged, we were subject to the UCMJ for 72 hours. I wanted to go home not get into trouble.

I know what happened to me and because of that and because of the books that say it didn't happen, I have relearned a lesson that I learned when I was younger. No matter what the truth is, truth becomes what the majority of people think it is. It use to bother me a lot but as I get older it doesn't really matter as much.

Only people like you and me discuss it. My wife and others I know don't want to hear stories about the Vietnam War.

So you learn to live with it.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #26)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:21 AM

30. For claification, the similar experience = some say that it happened while others not only say

 

that it didn't happen to them but they question whether any of the stories make sense.

I am in the latter category. I can be diplomatic, but that doesn't mean that I will cooperate or be forced into saying that I believe something when I do not. While those who have not been in the service may not readily understand this, I can be tolerant, as more than a few vets are, of other vets who make up sea stories or repeat them. If I ever want to hear sea stories, I can go down to the local VFW and have a drink or two. Some of us know that bull-shit stories are being told at the time, but say nothing genuinely confrontational because the sea stories are generally being told in a way that develops comradery. We know that it is bull-shit at the time. In the company of fellow vets, none of us need to be truth seekers.

Please don't misunderstand. When I say that we have had experiences similiar to others, I mean that there are people who disagree on the issue. I recognize that. However, if anyone wants to push an issue and want me to agree that soldiers were spit upon, I can also call "Bull Shit." The Viet Nam War was more than 40 years ago for some of us. Nobody can play the I-was-spat-upon-victim for that length of time. Even Sly Stalone (a perfect example of on-screen self-pity) moved on and made other movies.

I went in the military to protect American values, including the right to free speech. I do not believe the memories of the hippies and other war protestors from that era should be denegrated by imaginary stories by anyone claiming they were spat upon or know people who were. That includes Rambo.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #30)

Wed May 30, 2012, 11:44 AM

33. Well I am not trying to convince you of anything or make you say anything you don't want to

other than I don't think you should "call bullshit" on something you disagree with. Saying you disagree with it is enough.

And like I said, I can live with people calling me a liar because I know I am not and that is enough for me. I am 66 and as you get old you learn that there are many things you have no control over and it just doesn't matter as much as when you were younger. At least that is true in my case.

I was spat on, you don't believe it happened and that's were it has to lay.

It was a very intense and disagreeable time in my life. I can't do anything about what happened but I can do something about how I deal with it.

I will continue to speak up when people like you call "bull shit" because others are listening or reading. They have to make up their minds. You choose to post parts of books to support your belief. I only have my experiences. You want to convince people to agree with you and I don't need for them to agree with me. I hope they do but I have only my word. I have never lied about my experiences in Vietnam or my coming home.

The thing that is striking to me is that no matter what we have experienced, we will never be totally welcomed home. There will always be those calling us liars for their own reasons. So be it. I will die in a few years as will all of us and as I said, the truth or history will be written by those who did not live it and will be what the majority believes it is.

On edit, I never joined the VFW or any other veterans group except the Vietnam Vets against the war. My reason is because I don't enjoy sitting around with other vets drinking beer and telling war stories. In the 80's in San Diego I worked with Vets who had PTSD on a volunteer basis. That is the extent of my "telling sea stories." I never supported the war. I was drafted and did what I could to not support the war when I was in Vietnam. I am proud to say that I was never asked to re-up. I helped send a few officers to prison and would gladly do it again.
I have no motive or desire to convince you or anyone else of what they should think about that war. We as a country will always convince ourselves that we are defending freedom or some other bull shit.
These wars are for the sole purpose of supporting what President Eisenhower warned us about a long time ago, the military industrial complex. Too bad we didn't listen to him. We wouldn't be having this discussion if we did.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #33)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:41 PM

40. Thank You

 

thats how I feel also. People can call bullshit all they want, they weren't there when it happened but at this point in my life, it doesn't matter anymore.
Your right about not being completly welcomed home but watching Pres. Obama the other day at the Wall sure went a hell of a long way and now I am at peace with myself.

Peace be with you brother.

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Response to SGMRTDARMY (Reply #40)

Wed May 30, 2012, 02:40 PM

49. Sorry to be extending this out but I always wanted to say this. I seems real funny to me that

those who call us liars say we are trying to discredit the anti war movement. I always felt that I was a part of the anti war movement. I after six months in country it was clear to my superiors that I did not support the war. I was assigned a permanent duty building a barbed wire fence around Long Binh. Basically they left me alone.

When I got to SFO I saw a guy and girl coming toward me. I remember telling myself that I was just like them and was only wearing this uniform so I could fly stand-by.

So when the guy came up to my face and spat on me I was really confused. I had no idea what to expect and was only interested in going home to Ohio. I did not react because of being told that we were subject to the UCMJ for 72 hours. This was in March of 1968. What I felt bad about was not because I was spat on, it was because they did see me as one of their own. I felt no animosity toward them.

I never told anyone about that incident because I forgot about it. I was only reminded when I heard the author of the book saying spitting was myth on KPFK. That was over 30 years after it happened. I had no idea that others were saying it happened to them. I never heard anyone (not even Rambo, I hated those movies) talk about it. I could not have made up a story like that because it would never have occurred to me. I would have to be very original to think up something like that. And most of all I saw myself a part of the anti war movement when I got home. I had nothing against the hippies! To this day I wished I had stayed in San Francisco in 1968.

So even though they call me a liar, none of their supporting reasons really apply to me. I never talked about being spit on because I forgot about it. I didn't know others were talking about it until 30 years later. I had nothing against the anti war movement. When I got my draft notice I had lots of friends telling me I should go to Canada. I spent some time thinking about what I should do. I decided to put in my two years and hoped that I would survive to live in the USA and not in Canada as a alien.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #30)

Wed May 30, 2012, 04:31 PM

53. Bartender told great stories about his service in Vietnam and as a Chicago cop.


Turned out the stories were borrowed from other people. That was *not* why he got fired, but the truth came out shortly after his firing.

The cops stopped coming to the bar.

Not because a former bartender was a fake cop. But because the bar fired him.

Its almost like they are a club. Membership is automatic if you're a vet/cop. But they occasionally bring in members who did not work in either of those careers. A lot of vets still hang at the bar. And most of them at one time or another have insisted that I too am a veteran. I guess because I can talk the talk with them instead of just listening.

It might be because none of them were Marines. Since my dad was, and I sometimes share his old stories - he was very proud of his ability to li..., er, tell tale tells - I guess they need me to be their token Marine.

So just to make them happy I occasional remind them that since none of them were Marines they ain't shit.



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Response to ieoeja (Reply #53)

Wed May 30, 2012, 05:33 PM

54. There's so many fakers. Some are better than others.

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #24)

Wed May 30, 2012, 09:28 AM

28. I came through SFO in 69 from my first tour when a bunch

 

Last edited Wed May 30, 2012, 11:34 AM - Edit history (1)

of college aged kids started calling me all kinds of name, this one girl looked like she wanted to spit on me but thought better of it when I stared her down.

The fact is, it did happen, it happened to my brother as he returned, and it happened to friends of mine, but ya know what, it just doesn't matter anymore, I've moved on, raised a family, retired from military service and am enjoying the time I have left on this earth.

What happened over 40 years ago is in the past.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Wed May 30, 2012, 12:06 PM

35. I think all Vietnam vets (except maybe Westmoreland and Abrams) were victims of the

 

imperial hubris of their leaders.

I had the great fortune to meet and talk with Ron Kovic at Occupy Los Angeles last November (before the raid), and he told me that the number of Vietnam and other vets with unseen wounds far exceeds those like him with visible wounds.

Daniel Ellsberg said that the Vietnam War will not be over until we erect a monument in D.C. to those who resisted it. I think this thread illustrates the truth of that idea. Maybe also a monument to the large numbers of dead and wounded Asians might be appropriate too.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 06:47 AM

21. rewriting history.

teh stupid it hurts.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 01:50 PM

25. K&R

 

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:36 PM

77. When I returned in 68

I was a bit on edge. The Tet Offensive had just concluded, and had anyone even looked at me funny they would have been met with extreme prejudice. Fortunately I didn't go through any civilian airports. Yes I did kill innocent civilians. What a terrible burden to put on the shoulders of a 20 year old kid. We invaded and destroyed a country that neither harmed nor threatened to harm Americans or America. The Vietnam war will be a dark shadow on America's conscious until our entire generation is gone. The rich made enormous gains on the blood sweat and tears of America's youth. Fuck all those assholes who victimized a generation of Americans and the Vietnamese people.
Oh, and one more thing. Ho Chi Minh was a ruthless dictator and we were spreading democracy--------------at gunpoint.
Some things never change.

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #77)

Thu May 31, 2012, 09:28 PM

78. Well said

 

Like an asshole, I then believed what our political leaders were telling us so I volunteered for a 2nd tour in 70, what a fucking mistake that was. Anyway, I came home pretty fucked up in the head but luckily, I had a wonderful woman at home who helped me work through my issues, I was going to get out but we talked about it and both decided that I would make a carreer of the Army and the rest is history.

From one vet to another
Welcome Home Brother.

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