It's probably Jane Fonda's fault.
- Uke Man
p.s. I've had this posting in the file for a while, but I think it is timeless. Now, with the conviction of "Scooter" for lying to cover up the lies and dirt Cheney stirred up for political gain, is a good time to share this example of lies for political gain in support of a war.
If this bit doesn't impress you, wait for the next spitting report.
Newsweek Perpetuates a Lie
Sat Jan 27, 2007
In a story about Chuck Hagel and John McCain's friendship and differing views on Iraq, Newsweek says of the Vietnam era:
(Returning GIs were sometimes jeered and even spat upon in airports; they learned to change quickly into civilian clothes.)
There's a small problem with that: Despite the widespread belief these days that troops returning from Vietname were spat on, there's not a shred of evidence from that time period that this ever happened. In his book The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, the sociologist Jerry Lembcke looked for evidence of episodes of spitting. As he wrote in a 2005 Boston Globe op-ed:
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. 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 goes on to cite a 1971 poll finding that more than 90% of Vietnam veterans said they had met a friendly homecoming. Unless someone can step up with some actual evidence, reporting from the time the spitting was supposedly happening, not unsubstantiated rumors, supposedly reputable media outlets like Newsweek need to avoid making these misrepresentations and retract the ones they've already engaged in.