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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,The O'Meara BS: Were Vietnam veterans spat upon? (176* d) RE: BS: Were Vietnam veterans spat upon? 20 Nov 02

"For every complex question, there is an answer that is simple, elegant, and wrong."

OK, I'm a Vietnam Veteran. I was also active in the Vietnam Vets Against the War, in the Washington, D.C. area in the very early 70s. Please note that it says Against THE War, not Against War. I have never been a pacifist, but I could not allow more people to be killed in a war we would never win if I could help it.

As for being spit on, that has been used often by VVets as a symbol of the attitude we felt from those around us when we came back from Vietnam. Those who supported the war, the John Waynes, suspected people were dying for no good result, and the anti-war people, the Jane Fondas, suspected their activities were in fact prolonging the war. None of them could handle dealing with their own guilt and the last thing they wanted was an actual Vietnam Vet around to bring up the problems. So we were pushed away.

The attitude I felt was a subtle but effective shunning, especially devastating when it came from my immediate family and old friends. ("Call me sometime, we'll do lunch.") My old buddies wanted to drink beer and talk football, but running through my head were memories of blood and death and thoughts of betrayal and unanswered questions. Their response was to push those things, and me, away. "You don't know how to have fun anymore."

There's no "fault" involved here, no one knew what was going on down in the mind's secret corners. None of us understood that for the first time in history the private soldier was being held accountable for his actions in the insane world of combat, and being blamed for somehow causing the war in which we were, at best, victims.

Thats too much for most of us to explain, or even to understand, so instead we said we were "spit on."

I'm sorry, but I can only talk about Vietnam in short bursts, and I have to get away from it now. Maybe I'll have more later.


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