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Really Angry Veterans
June 16, 2004 6:32 PM   Subscribe

The Swift Boat Veterans video you didn't hear about. Shown on CSPAN-2, now available on their website (downloadable video in WMV format), but not widely reported by any major news service. The angriest group of Vietnam vets you might ever see--men who served with and around John Kerry, united in their opposition to his becoming President. Part 1 Part 2
posted by kablam (102 comments total)

 
Of what exactly are they accusing him? They keep mentioning the truth, but they can't seem to come to a point.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:41 PM on June 16, 2004


disinfopedia
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:41 PM on June 16, 2004


is that the group fronted by O'Neill, the guy Nixon sent out to debate Kerry back during Vietnam? And there's this, too: 3. John O'Neill founded Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He says Kerry is "unfit to be commander in chief" because he told Congress in 917 about reports of atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Is O'Neill credible?
Richard Nixon was terrified about the impact of John Kerry's truthtelling. To "neutralize" Kerry, Nixon's dirty trickster, Charles Colson, chose John O'Neill to birddog and debate Kerry, and used the power of the White House to get maximum coverage for O'Neill.
O'Neill was a law clerk for William Rehnquist, who was made Chief Justice by George H.W. Bush. In 1990, GHWB considered O'Neill for a federal judgeship.

posted by amberglow at 6:43 PM on June 16, 2004


What ever happened to the National Guard veterans for Bush that Gary Trudeau was trying to recruit?
posted by inksyndicate at 6:43 PM on June 16, 2004


What baffles me about this is that they seem to be saying that Kerry was so bad that they'd rather have a coke snorting draft dodger (who's also a pretty incompetent president). I mean, at least Kerry was bloody there, and in a combat role no less. You would think that's worth something, no matter how bad he was.
posted by ehintz at 6:44 PM on June 16, 2004


Imagine if people searching for "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" found the Disinfopedia page that Armitage Shanks told us about. That would be ironic, wouldn't it?
posted by pmurray63 at 6:46 PM on June 16, 2004


Just because I had to look to make sure, this John O'Neill thug / scumbag that NIxon hired and who is behind this is entirely different from John P. O'Neill who was on the Bin Laden case before anyone else.

Kablam: WTF? You didn't look up who's behind this group before forming your post?
posted by Space Coyote at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2004


I say this not to knock the post, which is interesting, but: I am keeping this video for the next time I have insomnia.
posted by scarabic at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2004


Supreme Court Justice Kennedy defines "civilization" as "obedience to law". Where there is no submission to law (internal and external values), there can be no civilization. Conservative versus Liberal human conduct has to do with "obedience to law", and defines how one willfully consents to laws and principles. One group is a conservative (read from) translation of law. One group is a liberal (read into) translation of law, always reading between the lines.

Conservatives accept laws and principles, per se, as written, by not reading into the words their own ego spin. Conversely, liberals look at law as a guideline of reason. The modern Liberal examines the American Constitution as a "living" document, meaning they can alter their translation over time. To them, "ends justify the means". To them there is no black and white, just 100% gray. The RIGHT to bear arms in 2004 differs from the 1776 RIGHTS, per their private reasoning.

Current Liberal Supreme Court justices are now looking beyond our Constitution, our Civil Code, into foreign and international laws as to just what is RIGHT (constitutional) or not RIGHT (not constitutional). EQUALITY RIGHTS trump majority laws legislated and authorized by Congresses, Governors, Mayors, and Presidents.

American Civilization is (was) a LEGAL system, not a JUSTICE system. American Civilization was founded upon LAWS authored by the elected majority via congress and city councils. We arrest by laws. We judge by laws. We condemn and sentence by laws. Nonetheless, to the liberal, to the leftists, RIGHTS trump law; thus rights trump justice, thus rights trump NATIONAL CULTURE as we know it. The minority, not the majority, has the RIGHT to rule.

You wonder why the largest body of delegates to the Democratic Convention is teachers and lawyers, not labor or workers? One body propagandizes and softens the masses with their egotistical views of RIGHTS, and the other body jumps in and makes an extravagant livelihood on RIGHTS lawsuits. You wonder why you see a great civilization only in the rear view mirror?


-- from one of the more active posters to the site's bulletin board
posted by digaman at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2004


Is it proper to for veterans to employ the Navy Insignia as the principal front graphic for a completely political site? I mean, could Clinton, Bush I, Ford or Carter use the Seal of the President any way they wanted to, like on a porn site or something?
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:59 PM on June 16, 2004


From the Disinfopedia page:
The group's founder is "retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, a cigar-chomping former Vietnam commander once described as 'the classic body-count guy' who 'wanted hooches destroyed and people killed.'"

"Until now," he adds, "Hoffmann has been best known as the commanding officer whose obsession with body counts and 'scorekeeping' may have provoked the February 1969 massacre of Vietnamese civilians at Thanh Phong by a unit led by Bob Kerrey -- the Medal of Honor winner who lost a leg in Nam, became a U.S. senator from Nebraska and now sits on the 9-11 Commission."

posted by bashos_frog at 7:00 PM on June 16, 2004


FYI...Part 1 is a 219Mb file(49 minute vid) and Part 2 is 143 Mb(less than 49 minutes).

The condensed version can be found in their mission statement "We believe it is incumbent on ALL presidential candidates to be totally honest and forthcoming regarding personal background..." or by reading "The Letter."
posted by jaronson at 7:09 PM on June 16, 2004


These guys also went after McCain, trying to foster rumors about his being a Manchurian Candidate.
posted by inksyndicate at 7:10 PM on June 16, 2004


Oh, don't stop there--

After journalist Gregory Vistica exposed the Thanh Phong massacre and the surrounding circumstances in the New York Times magazine three years ago, conservative columnist Christopher Caldwell took particular note of the cameo role played by Kerrey's C.O., who had warned his men not to return from missions without enough kills. "One of the myths due to die as a result of Vistica's article is that which holds the war could have been won sensibly and cleanly if the 'suits' back in Washington had merely left the military men to their own devices," Caldwell wrote. "In this light, one of the great merits of Vistica's article is its portrait of the Kurtz-like psychopath who commanded Kerrey's Navy task force, Capt. Roy Hoffmann."...

As for O'Neill, his Republican loyalties may well have been cemented in 1974. Three years after Colson first brought him to the White House to meet with Nixon, who encouraged the young O'Neill to "get" Kerry and the protesters in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he launched his legal career with a coveted clerkship in the United States Supreme Court. No doubt it was mere coincidence that O'Neill clerked with William Rehnquist, the controversial conservative who was Nixon's favorite justice and who went on to be appointed chief justice by President Reagan...

When the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" launched its campaign against John Kerry 10 days ago, leadership and guidance were provided by Republican activists and presidential friends from Texas -- notably Houston attorney John E. O'Neill and corporate media consultant Merrie Spaeth. Indeed, although the group made its debut at a press conference in Washington, it looked and sounded like a Texas GOP operation.

On closer inspection, the ostensibly nonpartisan "Swift Boat Vets" seem to have another pair of significant sponsors with deep and long-standing Republican connections in Missouri. Both are officers of Gannon International, a St. Louis conglomerate that does lots of overseas business in, of all places, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

...None of Gannon's profitable activities in the communist republic would be possible, of course, without the approval of the Hanoi government, which Franke has described as "strong" and "stable." Nor would Gannon be conducting business in Vietnam without the Clinton administration diplomacy, assisted by Sen. Kerry, that established diplomatic and trade ties with the United States in 1994. Franke first began traveling to Vietnam on behalf of Operation Smile, an American charity that provides plastic surgery to children abroad. The relationships he established during those humanitarian missions provided a considerable advantage in doing business under government auspices.

It was also during those early visits to Vietnam, as he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that Franke reached a clearer understanding of the war he had once fought as a young Navy lieutenant.

"As I looked back 20 years, I saw that it was a very imperial relationship we had with these people," said Franke in 1989. "We were young. We were there because we were told to be there and that they were the enemy. This time I saw them as human beings who had fears and hopes the same as we."

Yet he evidently cannot forgive John Kerry for reaching the same conclusion about that war and its victims, so many years before he finally did.


All from Conason
posted by y2karl at 7:10 PM on June 16, 2004


This was THE FIRST people who served with Kerry veterans group I heard about. I think mefis don't know enough people who listen to right wing radio. I'm sure this was covered by Fox News too.
posted by goneill at 7:10 PM on June 16, 2004


I'm with mr_roboto, here. Do they say anything of substance? I don't see anything but "We don't like him."

From their mission statement:

Now that Senator John Kerry is the presumptive nominee of his Party for president, numerous questions have been raised concerning Mr. Kerry’s service in Vietnam and concerning his subsequent antiwar activities. Our mission is to provide solid factual information relating to Mr. Kerry’s abbreviated tour of duty as a member of Coastal Division 14 and Coastal Division 11.

But nowhere on the site do they say what those questions are or provide factual information about Kerry's tour of duty. Is there something in the video? If so, why don't they put it on the site?

I've got nothing against them publicizing their opinions about Kerry, and asking him not to use images of them is fine, but they dress things up as if there's some scandal without ever providing any real information.
posted by whatnotever at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2004


If you want to get technical, O'Neal is one of seven members of the "Steering Committee" which also consists of a military chain of command that does contain O'Neal.
posted by jmd82 at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2004


That's funny because the angriest vets I know display their overwhelming anger towards that little cowardly prick currently holding sway over the presidency. Go figure.
posted by filchyboy at 7:18 PM on June 16, 2004


But pmurray, wouldn't that mean that we'd have to link Swift Boat Veterans For Peace from our blogs, too?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2004


by the way, kablam, on your previous several assertions that Iraq is pumping out oil at pre-war levels front:
Attacks cut Iraq's oil exports - Pipelines blasted; world prices rise

Insurgents stepped up their campaign against Iraq's infrastructure yesterday, blasting two oil pipelines, cutting the country's oil exports, and driving up world oil prices. In separate attacks, gunmen ambushed a convoy of civilian contractors, killing as many as four of them, and assassinated a top security official in Iraq's North Oil Co.

Authorities curbed oil exports through the Persian Gulf by half -- from an average of 1.85 million barrels per day to more than 800,000 barrels -- after saboteurs blasted the two pipelines on the Faw peninsula of southern Iraq.

The attacks sent temporary ripples through international petroleum markets, but crude futures ended lower. Contracts for US light crude for July delivery rose as high as $38.40 during New York trading, before easing back to settle at $37.19 per barrel, down 40 cents. July contracts for Brent crude rose as high as $35.90 at one point before retreating to $35.29, down 20 cents in London.

Iraqi officials told Dow Jones Newswires they expected to have the damage repaired within a few days. However, petroleum analyst Paul Horsnell, the head of energy research at Barclays Capital in London, said that as a result of the blasts, Iraq would probably fail to meet its export target of 2 million barrels a day for June.


Looks like you were wrong again.
posted by y2karl at 7:26 PM on June 16, 2004


by the way, kablam, on your previous several assertions that Iraq is pumping out oil at pre-war levels front:
Attacks cut Iraq's oil exports - Pipelines blasted; world prices rise


I didn't see anything about that in this post.
posted by jmd82 at 7:30 PM on June 16, 2004


That's funny because the angriest vets I know display their overwhelming anger towards that little cowardly prick currently holding sway over the presidency. Go figure.
posted by filchyboy at 7:18 PM PST on June 16


That's what i see too. You know, the one who cut their pay, told the Iraquis to bring it on, etc. I guess those would be 'angry vets without jobs in the current administration'.
posted by Miles Long at 7:33 PM on June 16, 2004


No doubt about it -- these guys don't seem to like Sen. Kerry.

Too bad the current resident of the Oval Office can't get so many veterans together to talk about what they remember of his war service.
posted by moonbiter at 7:40 PM on June 16, 2004


kablam- I don't know a single person who hasn't heard of this group. Or their clear connection to the Bush campaign. Or their outright hypocrisy.
In Tuesday's "cease and desist" letter, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called on Kerry's campaign to stop what it said was the unauthorized use of the images of some of them in a 60-second biographical spot titled "Lifetime." The ad began running nationwide in early May.

The U.S. Navy photo in question depicts 20 officers, including Kerry, and was taken January 22, 1969, on the island of An Thoi in Vietnam. The ad shows only a portion of the picture -- not all of the men are visible -- and is displayed for two seconds.

A Kerry spokesman dismissed the group's claim, noting the Swift Boat Veterans used an enlarged version of the same photo at a news conference announcing the anti-Kerry group's formation in early May.

"Somehow they didn't call to ask if they could use John Kerry's image," Michael Meehan said. "When it was useful for their politics they show a big blowup."
Mmmm. Principle-icious.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:42 PM on June 16, 2004


Damnit, seeing as I've never heard of them, I need to get out from under my rock!
And how exactly do they have a connection to Bush besides their support? Honestly curious. Even if there is a strong connection, does that invalidate their motives beyond that fact you don't like Bush?
posted by jmd82 at 7:47 PM on June 16, 2004


They also mentioned this group on that bastion of right-wing ideology NPR. So, yeah, not exactly a secret.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:52 PM on June 16, 2004


Even if there is a strong connection, does that invalidate their motives beyond that fact you don't like Bush?

Apparently the group only exists because some Republicans made calls, or were called.
posted by amberglow at 7:55 PM on June 16, 2004


One does have to question the character judgment of a group fronted by John O'Neill, a man who thought that Nixon was an example of a good president.
posted by deanc at 8:19 PM on June 16, 2004


Do they say anything of substance?

They seem to focus on the service record, thinking that releasing it is going to screw Kerry somehow.
posted by scarabic at 8:20 PM on June 16, 2004


hasn't it been released already? (and many on the other side look forward to more opportunities to compare service records)
posted by amberglow at 8:35 PM on June 16, 2004


"Even if there is a strong connection, does that invalidate their motives beyond that fact you don't like Bush?"

How about the fact that several of them never even served with Kerry? Is that (in)validation enough?
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:12 PM on June 16, 2004


Maybe so. My point is that a Bushy connection doesn't invalidate a point, just like being connected to Kerry doesn't invalidate a lefty argument.
posted by jmd82 at 9:39 PM on June 16, 2004


If this is the best the Republicans can come up with, they're fucked. I mean jesus, talk about a snore-fest.
posted by aramaic at 9:57 PM on June 16, 2004


May 20-23 CBS News poll
VOTE CHOICE 2004: KERRY VS. BUSH
(Among registered voters)

Veterans:
Kerry: 40%
Bush: 54%
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:20 PM on June 16, 2004


GOP think tank stooges appearing to be the "everyman?" Accusations of a "liberal media?"

Oh my! Someone call Mulder and Scully!
posted by skallas at 10:27 PM on June 16, 2004


Newsmaxfilter.
posted by owillis at 10:39 PM on June 16, 2004


Wait a minute, let's think about this calmly and rationally.

Apparently Republicans want us to believe that they prefer to vote for someone who ducked his service to his country by hiding out in the Alabama National Guard and refusing to report for his physical to certify him for flight status (some would say he went AWoL, but since there's no one to testify that they saw him report to duty we should just take his word for it) to a man who not only served his country but received three Purple Hearts for being wounded while serving it.

I'm sorry, what was the question again?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:50 PM on June 16, 2004


May 20-23 CBS News poll
VOTE CHOICE 2004: KERRY VS. BUSH
(Among registered voters)

All:
Kerry: 49%
Bush: 41%
posted by mr_roboto at 11:00 PM on June 16, 2004


Vets against Kerry... I just don't get it.

Well until you consider that most vets in the US today have never been in combat, or served during war time, or voted, or attained higher education...

It's important to remember that "Veterans" don't automatically equal "Vietnam Veterans"... which I think is a conclusion that a lot of us jump too. Every year, poor and lower-middle class teenagers and young adults enlist and are discharged... and some how they are defined as a voting block?! I call bullshit on that...

As for Vietnam Vets against Kerry... I'm sorry, that's just eating your own... like, did they leave their brains on the battlefield or something? Bush is a better choice how??? Because he got us INTO a war? It doesn't make sense and this whole vets-against-kerry-meme just seems like so much GOP fakery.
posted by wfrgms at 11:10 PM on June 16, 2004


Who knows what their point is, who cares? Honestly, this is a fucking lame thread. Can someone delete it?
posted by delmoi at 11:22 PM on June 16, 2004


*presses the delete key, looks blankly at the screen, moves on*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on June 16, 2004


...did they leave their brains on the battlefield or something?

I think you may have touched on something there. My old dad, (bless his heart) is a mean old cuss who says he misses the good times on Guadalcanal (the turning point in the war in the Pacific and the site of some of the fiercest fighting of WWII) with the 1st Marine division.
Here's his diary
from that time. He misses those days, he says. I don't get it. Camaraderie aside, I don't understand how, after seeing inconceivable horrors that nobody should ever have to see in their life, a lot of these old vets failed to learn that war is not a good thing. WTF!?
posted by wsg at 1:39 AM on June 17, 2004


I also hear that, in 1968, the dam Bill Clinton tried to give up his US citizenship !!!
we must investigate, since the liberal media never did

oh, and Hillary murdered Vince Foster, too

___

May 20-23 CBS News poll
VOTE CHOICE 2004: KERRY VS. BUSH
(Among registered voters)

Veterans:
Kerry: 40%
Bush: 54%
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood


care to link any poll re the African American vote, Steve?
because if Kerry's 40% with veterans makes him weak and somehow unfit to be President, what should we think of Bush's 9% (more or less) with African Americans?
posted by matteo at 3:37 AM on June 17, 2004


Nominee for the most bitch-slapped FPP of all time.
posted by sic at 3:40 AM on June 17, 2004


Whatever the veterans' feelings about Bush, aren't they instrinsically inclined not to challenge an active Commander-in-Chief? Especially one engaged in a conflict (Iraq, war-on-terror)?
posted by scarabic at 3:59 AM on June 17, 2004


The thing about these guys (the followers, not the cynical organizers) is that they are living in the past - they just never got over the war. At the announcement of the formation of their group, several of these old guys cried as they spoke of Kerry's testimony after the war. They clearly took it extremely personally, and have never ever gotten over it. To them, Kerry is the personification of the public at large turning against a war they never thought - and still don't think - was anything less than glorious. They just don't understand why so many people turned against it and they find it easy to blame Kerry.
Kerry's "band of brothers" call the war senseless and stupid; these guys still think it was a triumph - or would have been if guys like Kerry didn't go all long hair and weenie on them.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:11 AM on June 17, 2004


Whatever the veterans' feelings about Bush, aren't they instrinsically inclined not to challenge an active Commander-in-Chief? Especially one engaged in a conflict (Iraq, war-on-terror)?

They probably are, but not when that active Commander-in-Chief is cutting (or planning to cut) vet programs and benefits, and they need those services (especially medical)
posted by amberglow at 5:26 AM on June 17, 2004


"Nonetheless, to the liberal, to the leftists, RIGHTS trump law; thus rights trump justice, thus rights trump NATIONAL CULTURE as we know it. The minority, not the majority, has the RIGHT to rule." ( From Digaman's excerpt from the "Swift Boat Veterans" discussion board )

I thought "our rights trump all" was a Libertarian position. And this - "The minority, not the majority, has the RIGHT to rule" : that's the political philosophy of many of the top members of the GW Bush Administration - who are Straussians.

Swift Boat Veterans for political incoherence ?
posted by troutfishing at 5:26 AM on June 17, 2004


Everyone with half a brain agrees that US involvement in Viet Nam was a bonehead idea. How is opposition to a bonehead idea a bad thing? Especially if one was a distinguished participant in said idea, got a view from the battlefield, and decided on the merits of that experience to call the idea boneheaded.
posted by Optamystic at 5:31 AM on June 17, 2004


Is this the best you have, right-wingers?

Pathetic.
posted by salmacis at 5:32 AM on June 17, 2004


KABLAM!
posted by quonsar at 5:54 AM on June 17, 2004


The depressing part about this is that, if I had a viable third option, I wouldn't want Kerry in office either.

I mean, Bush has to go, but if the best we could offer was Kerry, it's hard to get excited. I don't see Kerry as the opposite of Bush - I see him as a "kindler, gentler Bush." I'm not sure we're trading up on this one, y'know what I mean?
posted by FormlessOne at 5:59 AM on June 17, 2004


(Make that "kinder"...)
posted by FormlessOne at 6:00 AM on June 17, 2004


Veterans:
Kerry: 40%
Bush: 54%


Isn't it worth considering that people who join the army are more likely to be conservative? What's the normal percentage of veterans who vote democratic?

sure, this is old news, but I appreciate the links to disinfopedia and the various other response articles.
posted by mdn at 6:07 AM on June 17, 2004


Basically, the conservative stand as I understand it on Kerry vs Vietnam is thus:

-----
Yes, in retrospect Vietnam was a bad thing, we did many, if not most things, wrong, and there was really nothing good to come out of it.

Except, AT THE TIME, we didn't know that, so Kerry is a traitor of sorts for protesting it back then. You're either for us or against us. The fact that LATER it was found to be such a clusterfuck is irrelevant.
-----

Logic would suggest that the normal response would be people who hated Kerry at the time would come around and think maybe he wasn't so bad after all, along with all the other activists and hippies, because *THEY WERE RIGHT*.

But, many Vets and conservatives still resent, hate even, hippies and Jane Fonda and Kerry and everything else pertaining to that time period.

For some reason, it's okay to say Vietnam was stupid NOW, but to have said it back then was treason.

I've tried very hard to understand it, but I don't.

On preview: MDN, I think one would be hard pressed to find 40% of veterans who would consider themselves to be liberal as opposed to conservative.

The real surprise in S@L's post is how HIGH the Kerry vote is among Vets, not how low. Put another way, Bush would *ONLY* garner 54% of Vet vote? That is quite nearly astounding.

I agree with the poster above that finds surprise that they'd prefer a draft-dodging possibly AWOL guardsman to an active duty, in hostile territory, wounded in action true combat veteran.

*shrug*
posted by Ynoxas at 6:15 AM on June 17, 2004


The fact that LATER it was found to be such a clusterfuck is irrelevant...

...many Vets and conservatives still resent, hate even, hippies...


interesting how hippies knew it was a clusterfuck from the get-go, but it took these deep-thinking conservatives how long to see it was a bad thing? morans!
posted by quonsar at 6:52 AM on June 17, 2004


This makes perfect sense to me. Gannon is the Halliburton of Vietnam- they swooped in and took advantage of political chaos for economic gain. The thing that probably pisses them off the most is that it looks increasingly like Iraq won't offer the same opportunity.

I mean, Bush has to go, but if the best we could offer was Kerry, it's hard to get excited.

The patient is bleeding out on the table, man. Do you want to stand around and have a probing discussion about suture techniques, or do you want to sew the guy up?
posted by mkultra at 6:58 AM on June 17, 2004


not widely reported by any major news service.

Just checking in to mock this sad attempt at claiming a media cover-up. Despite the lack of credibility of this "organization," I've heard this story from many places, first coming across it on the front page of Google News.
posted by soyjoy at 8:02 AM on June 17, 2004


Is there a 'Vets For Kerry' group?

If not, why not?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:18 AM on June 17, 2004


On a search for 'swift veterans', disinfopedia is 2nd return.

Keep it up guys.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:23 AM on June 17, 2004


The patient is bleeding out on the table, man. Do you want to stand around and have a probing discussion about suture techniques, or do you want to sew the guy up?

Problem is that either surgeon is going to botch the job, and the patient's status will be that of victim...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on June 17, 2004


Is there a 'Vets For Kerry' group?


there are a bunch of them, dash
Veterans for Kerry (they have state groups too)
Veterans United for Kerry
Texas Veterans for Kerry
Republican Veterans for Kerry is being launched soon too

many more also
posted by amberglow at 9:31 AM on June 17, 2004


The fact that Kerry is getting 40% of Vet support is a lot considering he's a Massachusetts liberal. Can anyone dig up Clinton or Gore's numbers with vets?
posted by chaz at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2004


I'm truly impressed at how lazy those of you are who didn't even bother to look at the videos. But, to make things easy for you, just download the shorter, second video. Right at the beginning they go over a *handout* that the frightened DNC put out to the reporters *at the press conference*, which is basically what you can read at the disinfopedia (lazy, lazy) site. The DNC handout.

The Swift Boaters *refuted* most of the points most of you agonizers have been making. In the video you didn't watch. Because your minds were made up as soon as you read that someone didn't like John Kerry.

But don't let the truth get in the way of your hate.

I await your personal attacks.
posted by kablam at 11:18 AM on June 17, 2004


here is the link that was quite buried in that site, outlining some of their grievances with Kerry.

click
posted by eurasian at 11:48 AM on June 17, 2004


It's just flabbergasting that anybody with such a deplorable Senate record and a public history of outright anti-American bile, lies, and fabrication would ever consider running for president in his wildest dreams. And he's a traitorous ratfink pinko to boot:


"In the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the "War Crimes Museum") in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), a photograph of John Kerry hangs in a room dedicated to the anti-war activists who helped the Vietnamese Communists win the Vietnam War. The photograph shows Senator Kerry being greeted by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Comrade Do Muoi."

Much more at wintersoldier.com.
posted by hama7 at 11:51 AM on June 17, 2004


So we're now uncritically accepting the communist propaganda that conforms to our political biases? OK.

Any idea what might be going on in that picture? Could that be Kerry on one of his diplomatic missions to repatriate the remains of American soldiers?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:05 PM on June 17, 2004


Reasons why I love MetaFilter: completely un-ironic use of the word "pinkko".
posted by Space Coyote at 12:21 PM on June 17, 2004


It's just flabbergasting that anybody with such a deplorable Senate record and a public history of outright anti-American bile, lies, and fabrication would ever consider running for president in his wildest dreams. And he's a traitorous ratfink pinko to boot

And he's a poopy-pants too!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:36 PM on June 17, 2004


I'm truly impressed at how lazy those of you are who didn't even bother to look at the videos.

No, it's not laziness. Maybe, if you weren't so lazy, you could have transcoded the video to something I could actually view on my computer, instead of WMV?

But don't let the truth get in the way of your hate.

Because this FPP was surely motivated by love and truth. Let's examine just one line of your "truth."
not widely reported by any major news service
Now, Google News is not a particularly reliable way to check this claim. After all, stories only stay in that database for around a month, so any references to this group before mid-May won't be included. If I had Lexis-Nexus access I'd use that. But, let's just see what Google has to say. Because the Swift Boat Veterans used PRNewswire to spread their claims, the story has appeared at Yahoo.com. Now, I won't bother including all the small regional papers that wrote stories off of that release. I assume you mean the big, liberal media. So I won't bother listing all the stories from the conservative sites like NewsMax (3), WorldNetDaily (3), FrontPageMag (1), TownHall (2), or NRO (1). Now, how do you justify saying the media didn't cover this story when 2 seconds of research turn up articles from CNN and the New York Times? What, you want some Washington Post coverage? There's none in GoogleNews' results, but what happens when you expand to regular Google? There's an article on the subject from the Herald, in ultra-liberal Boston. Another from the even-more-liberal LA Times. And, yes, a story from that Queen of the 'Liberal Media,' the Washington Post. Again, I ask, how can you justify saying that the media ignored this story? Hell, it was even a top story on CBS News one night!

So, kablam? What's the reasoning?
posted by jbrjake at 12:47 PM on June 17, 2004


I'm truly impressed at how lazy those of you are who didn't even bother to look at the videos

Apparently enough people looked at them to crush their server, as it is now returning errors on both files.

Audio seems to be downloadable though.

Instead of forcing people to download overly large media flies that don't play on all platforms, why not actually refute what people are saying?

Its like arguing that evolution is false, and pointing at a university library and screaming that "the answer is in there!" and huffing about it.

By all means, enlighten us.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:04 PM on June 17, 2004


And he's a traitorous ratfink pinko to boot:

You forgot to mention his table manners.

/wonders why the resident right-wing MetaNannies didn't start Yet Another MetaTalk "shit list" thread about this "biased", "newsy" post. Can't imagine....
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:15 PM on June 17, 2004


But, but, but Kerry flipped the bird to a decorated veteran ... who told him that he couldn't honor the dead of Vietnam by visiting a public landmark/memorial ... and flipping the bird to someone decorated as a hero is ... well ... its RUDE! Would you trust someone RUDE? Would you vote for somebody who might call someone else a "Son-of-a-bitch"?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:50 PM on June 17, 2004


But don't let the truth get in the way of your hate.

I downloaded both and watched it. There is no "there" there. Basically, it was the equivalent of a meeting of like-minded VFW guys grousing about how they don't like a particular political candidate. That these dudes happen to have the kind of sponsors that could get them on C-SPAN2 is the only difference I saw.
posted by moonbiter at 5:45 PM on June 17, 2004


a public history of outright anti-American bile

Personally I think attacking someone you don't agree with politically with charges of Anti-American bile is the height of what it means to be "anti-American".

Say what you want about Kerry's politics, policies, etc. I know I'm WAY to the right of him on many issues, but to call him anti-american is tired, retarded, stupid, and, ironically, anti-American.
posted by chaz at 5:54 PM on June 17, 2004


I await your personal attacks.

Your mother was a hamster, and your father was a traitorous ratfink pinko to boot.
posted by soyjoy at 8:15 PM on June 17, 2004


The anti-Clinton slime machine is back -- and this time its mud pies are aimed at John Kerry.
posted by homunculus at 8:27 PM on June 17, 2004


Supreme Court Justice Kennedy defines "civilization" as "obedience to law"....One group is a conservative (read from) translation of law. One group is a liberal (read into) translation of law, always reading between the lines.
etc etc etc


Not a bad dichotomy. Rather well elucidated, I'd say, the difference between the fundamental meaning of conservative and that of liberal. Seen this way, I know to be wary of conservatism, for I despise rule followers.

However I also despise wishy washy liberals. There are good, soft hearted liberals, ones who I could never be, yet I could still respect, but wishy washy feeling, not thinking liberals - that can never be. They are as bad as the conservatives.

I'm reminded that the reason for my disinterest might be an inarticulated belief that I am unlikely to be able to effect a worthy change in the System. Same basis for others' apathy.
posted by firestorm at 8:40 PM on June 17, 2004


I tried to read the link that eurasian cites as the meaty one outlining their grievances.

guy #1
"I'm angry."

guy #2
"Kerry's indecisive."

guy #3
"Kerry's has impulsive judgement and is aggressive."


Righto. Sure, this makes a lot of sense.
posted by NortonDC at 9:01 PM on June 17, 2004


But don't let the truth get in the way of your hate.

It's always the rabid Clinton Haters who claim all their perceived foes do is go Bush=Evil ! and then, like rats in a maze, head straight for the same ol' same ol' rank demonization.

I await your personal attacks.

Now, there is that note of desperation again. The Titanic has hit the iceberg and there aren't enough lifeboats.
posted by y2karl at 9:38 PM on June 17, 2004


Personally, I'm of the opinion that the Vietnam war _was_ winnable. It was simply immoral, and in order to win it, even more immoral things would needed to have been done than were. Winning the Vietnam war would not have made it more moral, and so, John Kerry's moral stance against the Vietnam war should be evaluated for what it is, without regard to whether or not it "made America lose". One can be morally upright and still treasonous, and similarly, one can be extremely patriotic and utterly contemptible morally. I'm not claiming Kerry was an utter paragon of virtue, but charges that he somehow lost the war for America, or contributed to America's defeat, and this makes him a bad person and morally unsuitable for the presidency, are inappropriate at best.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:45 AM on June 18, 2004


Regarding Kerry's service, and subsequent protests of Vietnam after his return:

Some veterans and currently serving soldiers seem to forget one little, itsy bitsy, fact: they are legally obligated to disobey illegal orders.

Now it is often very difficult for the average GI Joe or Jane to know what might be legal or illegal. They are purposely kept ignorant of most such legal issues, and their training indoctrinates them to obey. But they sign on the dotted line to uphold the law, which does not say that illegal orders must be obeyed.

It seems clear in hindsight that much of the war in Vietnam (and, by golly, our little debacle in Iraq, come to think of it) was the result of illegal orders. Taken as a response to this, Kerry's protests show his understanding of the rule of law, and the obligation of the citizen and the soldier to oppose and refuse to obey those orders which are illegal.

It is not an easy stand to take. It would require incredible resolve, and the ability to think independently, and the guts to stand up against the entire apparatus of a system which had proved capable of killing its own (Kent State) who protested against the war.

So, given this, Kerry seems to have done the right thing. Veterans who oppose Kerry for his protests after the war, seem to be stuck at the point of understanding that the War in Vietnam resulted from illegal orders, and their complicity in those orders.

So sure they are angry. It seems to be a displaced anger, the anger of someone who understands that they were wrong, but who can't acknowledge that error -- and that complicity -- in the propogation of an illegal war.

So, what about this Iraq War? Hmmmm.....
posted by mooncrow at 8:12 AM on June 18, 2004


So Kerry testifies before the US congress that *he* *and* those he served with, committeed HORRIBLE war crimes, that he *witnessed* and *confesses to* committing himself. Even going so far as to say WHAT war crimes *he* and *they* committed.

That is FACT. It is HIS sworn congressional testimony. That HE is a self-confessed WAR CRIMINAL.

But almost everybody else who he served with, near, and who were in command over him say they DID NOT COMMIT WAR CRIMES.

And that, too, is FACT.

And they rather resent his lying about it. And, in his 3-4 months spent in Vietnam as a Swift Boat Commander, they allege that he was a "loose cannon" with strange and sick notions of what he was there to do. And THEY, his peers, wanted that he should GO HOME, and ADVISED him to GO HOME.

And when he went home, he called THEM "war criminals" before the entire nation.

And FOR THESE REASONS, they believe he is UNFIT to be the President of the United States.

Clear enough for you?

The best thing you can say is that John Kerry is a WAR CRIMINAL.

But if he is a LIAR, then he just BETRAYED his friends and LIED to the country, but he is NOT a WAR CRIMINAL.

In either case...
posted by kablam at 3:27 PM on June 18, 2004


People who USE EXCESSIVE CAPS are doing so because they are TRYING TO CONVINCE THEMSELVES OF WHAT THEY'RE SAYING. Generally it only ANNOYS OTHERS and GETS YOU IGNORED.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:04 PM on June 18, 2004


The best thing you can say is that John Kerry is a WAR CRIMINAL.

But if he is a LIAR, then he just BETRAYED his friends and LIED to the country, but he is NOT a WAR CRIMINAL.

In either case...


So, what you're trying to say is that he's just like Bush? Is that it?
posted by amberglow at 4:20 PM on June 18, 2004


kablam, there are medications that can help you with your condition.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2004


kablam, so, I'm still waiting for a response. Where do you get off saying that this story hasn't been covered by any major news service? You're obviously still reading the thread, so why do you refuse to explain your words?

In the meantime, stop talking out of your ass. You're offering a false dilemma, you're totally misrepresenting and distorting Kerry's own words, and it's unbecoming. Have you even read Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony? This line of yours makes me think not:
So Kerry testifies before the US congress that *he* *and* those he served with, committeed HORRIBLE war crimes, that he *witnessed* and *confesses to* committing himself. Even going so far as to say WHAT war crimes *he* and *they* committed.
Please. That's not what he said at all. He said he was representing the soldiers who had told their stories at the Winter Soldier conference. He never said in sworn testimony before congress that he committed war crimes. I quote:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
I understand it's easy to get confused. Meet the Press is so much like the Capitol building, isn't it?

I'll leave you with some words from John Kerry on this matter, since you decided not to even mention his statement on this, as if he hadn't been asked about his MtP comments in the intervening decades:
I think--look, there's no excusing shooting children in cold blood, or women, and killing them in cold blood. There isn't, under any circumstances. But we're not asking, you know, nor is Bob Kerrey saying, "Excuse us for what we did." We're asking people to try to understand the context and forgiveness. And I think the nation needs to understand what the nation put its young in a position to do, and move on and take those lessons and apply them to the future.
btw, you do know that the US soldiers did commit war crimes in Vietnam, right? That it's not just some liberal conspiracy? It happened.
posted by jbrjake at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2004


jbrjake: "You made a comment, and you said something."

There, I've given you 'in depth' coverage. Just like the major media. Go ahead, find an in-depth analysis in print from the NYT, LA Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Reuters, AP, or CNN. Not *an opinion* of what they said or didn't say, but *actually* what was said.

You won't find it.

And I've never argued that war crimes were committed by other people in other places. Just that Kerry admitted to and accused his Swift Boat peers and commanders of committing them.

And if someone falsely accuses me of a war crime, in front of the Congress and the people, I am not going to just "let it go, because it was way back then." And then, if the traitorous, treasonous, son of a bitch then says that *I* support his worthless, enemy-loving ass, he can go to Hell.

For years, Vietnam vets have taken being spit at by leftists,
cursed, accused of horrible crimes and incompetence, called psychopaths and "baby killers" and drug abusers. And now, after all these years of "taking it", these same SCUM who shat on them want to show how noble they are by embracing them?

In addition to all their other hate, leftists must think that Vietnam veterans are idiots.
posted by kablam at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2004


jbrjake: "You made a comment, and you said something."

There, I've given you 'in depth' coverage. Just like the major media.


That's strange. I remember seeing a lot more detail in the articles I linked to above.

Go ahead, find an in-depth analysis in print from the NYT, LA Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Reuters, AP, or CNN. Not *an opinion* of what they said or didn't say, but *actually* what was said.

You won't find it.


kablam, now you're moving the goalposts. Your FPP makes no mention of "in-depth analysis." You claimed there hadn't been any coverage from the major media, as if this story was being supressed. It was trite hype to get more people to read your post, only made less credible by your refusal to admit as much. As for a non-opinion article about what was actually said, I already linked to one above:
In a news conference, the swift boat group -- composed of about 215 former officers and enlisted men who served in Kerry's wartime division -- declared Kerry unfit to be president because of his statements in 1971 alleging that U.S. soldiers committed routine atrocities during the war. Kerry raised the allegations in testimony to a Senate committee investigating the war that year.

The group also raised questions about Kerry's service record, for which he was awarded three Purple Hearts, and Bronze and Silver stars for valor. In particular, the group's founder and co-chairman, Texas lawyer John O'Neill, alleged in an interview that Kerry was awarded his first Purple Heart for a wound that was minor and self-inflicted.

"I have very serious questions based on talking to people who were involved in those incidents," said O'Neill, a former naval officer who has been a longtime Kerry critic. Calling Kerry's wound "trivial and insignificant," he said that it may have been the result of a fragment from an M-79 grenade Kerry launched at close quarters. "It was fraudulently reported [by Kerry] and used as the basis for leaving Vietnam early." O'Neill did not serve with Kerry.

Kerry spokesman David Wade denounced the statements as "a false, lying smear campaign against a decorated combat veteran." He added, "This is the ugly face of the Bush attack machine questioning John Kerry's patriotism."

Marc Racicot, chairman of Bush's reelection campaign, said in a statement: "Neither the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign nor the Republican National Committee have coordinated or participated in the planning of this news conference." O'Neill also denied any connection to the Bush camp.
I'm not sure what you'd like from the media. Perhaps they should have transcribed the entire CSPAN video or something? Would that have made you happy? They reported what the charges were that the group was lobbing at Kerry. They quoted them. They quoted Kerry's spokesman. They quoted Bush's spokesman. How is that anything but classic, by-the-books journalism?

And I've never argued that war crimes were committed by other people in other places.

Thus, I asked if you realized war crimes were committed during Vietnam....You know it is pretty well established, and your argument suffers by your flat-out denial of reality.

Kerry admitted to and accused his Swift Boat peers and commanders of committing them.

Again, you're moving the goal posts. Your last post claimed Kerry had said these things before Congress in sworn testimony. That's perjury you're tarring Kerry with. That's a huge charge to make against a public figure. Also, that is not true. Ergo, you lied. Rather than admitting it, you just move on. Pretty pathetic, man.

And if someone falsely accuses me of a war crime, in front of the Congress and the people

Um, he didn't falsely accuse anyone of war crimes in front of Congress. He repeated the testimony soldiers had made at the Winter Soldiers thing about war crimes they themselves had committed. Someone saying soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam is not someone falsely accusing you of a war crime, it's just stating history.

I am not going to just "let it go, because it was way back then."

Oh come on. I never said that and you know it. Don't put words in my mouth.

And then, if the traitorous, treasonous, son of a bitch

Traitorous? Treasonous? Really? Could you direct me to the evidence of this please? You're just libeling a man who doesn't even have a voice here to defend himself. Running around accusing your political opponents of being treasonous traitors is really low, kablam.

For years, Vietnam vets have taken being spit at by leftists,
cursed, accused of horrible crimes and incompetence, called psychopaths and "baby killers" and drug abusers. And now, after all these years of "taking it", these same SCUM who shat on them want to show how noble they are by embracing them?


Well, I never did any of those things. I wasn't even alive at the time. So why don't you respond to what people in this thread are actually saying instead of frothing at the mouth about slights you suffered from totally different people decades ago? As for Vietnam vets being accused of horrible crimes--come on, try living in the present with the rest of us. Here, McNamara has admitted war crimes took place. The issue is moot. My generation doesn't even think of blaming the soldiers. But we can also accept that wrong shit happened.

BTW, just so you know? You seem really dated when you call those who disagree with you 'leftists.'
posted by jbrjake at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2004


I find it much easier to read kablam's posts when I imagine him as a cartoon figure. Which, you know, he is. A true caricature of a right-wing nutter.

I applaud his skill. It must take intense dedication to pull it off!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:52 PM on June 18, 2004


Well, I'm hardly left-wing, but I still think that many American soldiers did immoral things in Vietnam. There is nothing particularly laudable about excusing what they did because they belong to our group of choice rather than another group.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:29 AM on June 19, 2004


five fresh fish: well, it's easy for me to look at Mefi lefties as cartoonish, too. First of all, without actually looking at the video they attack *me*, then they spout things that were refuted *on* the video (basically a DNC "hit sheet" by some anonymous partisan spin doctor), and they attack *me*. Then of course, there are the endless digressions about different times and places that have nothing to do with the post--and the assertion that these somehow matter. And finally, the "that was then and this is now" argument, finishing up by roundly attacking *me*.

Now seriously, when you all act like Daffy Duck screaming at the top of his lungs while violently tearing the curtain up, it's pretty obvious that John Kerry is in deep trouble--that partisanship aside, he is permanently marked like Jane Fonda, not as a hero, but as a traitor. And no amount of soap will wash the blood from his hands.

BTW, if you didn't get the download, it is propagating rapidly. I saw a copy on USENET yesterday, on alt.binaries.multimedia. As afraid as you seem to be, I recommend that you go there and try to stop other people from downloading it.
posted by kablam at 10:39 AM on June 19, 2004


it's pretty obvious that John Kerry is in deep trouble--that partisanship aside, he is permanently marked like Jane Fonda, not as a hero, but as a traitor. And no amount of soap will wash the blood from his hands.

So, what you're trying to say (again) is that he's just like Bush? Is that it?

We've heard your stuff before, by the seriously unhinged Ann Coulter, and others. It's an absolutely ridiculous charge that someone's a traitor when they've spent their entire life, fighting for and serving their country, in war, after the war, and in Congress. There are no facts to support what you're saying--at all.
posted by amberglow at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2004


And if someone falsely accuses me of a war crime, in front of the Congress and the people, I am not going to just "let it go, because it was way back then." And then, if the traitorous, treasonous, son of a bitch then says that *I* support his worthless, enemy-loving ass, he can go to Hell.

[....]

Now seriously, when you all act like Daffy Duck screaming at the top of his lungs while violently tearing the curtain up

[....]

he is permanently marked like Jane Fonda, not as a hero, but as a traitor. And no amount of soap will wash the blood from his hands.

Project much?

FFF's wrong. You're not a cartoon. Cartoons generally aren't this self-contradictory, hammy, and over-the-top.

So do you have any excuses for accusing Kerry of perjury? It's not tough, I'll even throw you a life preserver. You can just say you confused Kerry's MtP interview with his Congressional testimony. Everyone makes mistakes, but the honest thing to do is admit it when you're confronted with them. I'm still waiting. Because you can talk all you want about us being afraid...as long as you dodge responding to the actual points being made by the people in this thread, it just seems like more projection.
posted by jbrjake at 11:05 AM on June 19, 2004


Some of the MeFi lefties are cartoons, kablam. That doesn't make you any less cartoonish.

The Wile E. Coyote was always after that roadrunner. Never did he figure out the futility of it, never did he learn from his mistakes, never did he realize how foolish it was to remain so committed to capturing that bird.

The same is true of your desperate support for the right. You do not seem capable of recognizing any weakness, error, imbalance, or wrongness on the right's part. It's downright comical.

That there are lefties who are the same is just saying that they are playing Bugs Bunny to your Wile E. Coyote.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:52 PM on June 19, 2004


For years, Vietnam vets have taken being spit at by leftists, cursed, accused of horrible crimes and incompetence, called psychopaths and "baby killers" and drug abusers. And now, after all these years of "taking it", these same SCUM who shat on them want to show how noble they are by embracing them?

There is no documentation for any Vietnam vets being called baby killers or spat upon in airports by hippie girls or anywhere else. Claims abound, yes, but no documentation. Just as there is no documentation for any feminists burning bras or anyone being actually abducted by aliens. I don't recall that any women have ever claimed to have burned a bra and while hundreds, if not thousands of people claim to have been abducted by aliens, there is no documentation.

The closest case that comes to the spitting myth is Ron Kovic and a bunch of fellow Viet Nam Veterans Against The War demonstrated before the Republican Convention in Miami in 1972 and supposedly got spat upon by a bunch of Young Republicans.

See also Myth Making and Spitting Images from Viet Nam

In 1995 sociologist Thomas Beamish and his colleagues analyzed all peace movement-related stories from 1965 - 1971 in the NY Times, LA Times, and SF Chronicle (495 stories). They found no instance of any spitting on returned troops by peace movement members, nor any taunting. Indeed, they found few examples of negative demonstrations involving returning troops of any kind, or even of simple disapproval of returning soldiers. Three years later, sociologist Jerry Lembcke conducted a similarly exhaustive study for his book, The Spitting Image, with like results. He discovered war protesters being spat upon by war supporters, and hostile acts toward Vietnam veterans by conservative, pro-war groups like the VFW, but no taunting or spitting on returned veterans by peace movement members. Returned veterans and in-service GIs were welcomed in the peace movement, and many assumed leadership roles. Yet the myth endures.

The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

From Lembcke's comment via email in Swerdloff's aptly named The Turth Is Out There thread:

One thing to keep in mind is that no one can prove a negative. I can’t prove that no Vietnam veteran was spat on and I have never claimed that I could. Nor, in response to David Dark, to I construe, in any way, my own spitless homecoming experience as evidence for my argument. I can tell you that I’ve never found any material corroboration for those claims such as photos or news reports or even claims made in the day that such events were occurring. And note that stories of spitting are often accompanied by charges that “we were hit with eggs” and (re lola’s posting) “the protesters carried signs calling us `baby killer.’” While spit on a uniform might be hard to photograph, eggs and signs are magnets for photojournalists. To make that point, I included in my book, THE SPITTING IMAGE, news photos of an anti-war activist with egg on him and protesters with a placard reading “We like soldiers, we don’t like war.” While I can’t say there is no photo of a protester holding a “baby killer” sign, I do believe that, had they been part of the protest repertoire, we would have no trouble finding an example in the newspapers from those years. I have never seen one.

The burden of proof for the spitting stories lies with those who claim it did happen. And, contra postings by Joaquim and David Dark, thirty-year-old accusations that protesters spat on GIs are just that—accusations, not evidence. Saying, as I do, that, if you want me to believe someone’s story I need to see some corroborative support, is very different than calling that person a liar.

But as y2Karl suggests, the myth is not about the veracity of one, two, or even a handful of such stories. The myth is the betrayal narrative for why we lost the war, i.e. that we lost because of betrayal at home. The spat-upon vet stories function in our culture the same way the stab-in-the-back stories functioned in inter-war Germany—to help construct an alibi for the war lost and a cause for the repression of dissent at home.

posted by y2karl at 5:50 PM on June 19, 2004


Now, y2karl, don't be doing that. Wile E. Coyote depends on his Acme Spitamatic for this episode of catching that wiley roadrunner. Never you mind that it didn't work the first time, didn't work the second time, didn't even work the third time: Wile E. is gonna use it again, because that's what Wile E. does.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:58 PM on June 19, 2004


Frankly, comparing John Kerry's actions - serving his country loyally when called upon, then denouncing a war he considered morally injurious to America, to Jane Fonda's (which I'm inclined to agree were treasonous) is wrong-headed, if not offensive. Criticism is not treason, and we should be worried when the two are compared seriously.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:10 AM on June 20, 2004


y2karl: your info is quite the eye opener.

I've always heard the "spitting on GI's" thing, and never been sufficiently motivated to look it up as it seemed to be such "commonplace knowledge".

Your info should be retooled into a front page feature.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:55 AM on June 20, 2004


IMO, only a tool would retool that info. It's not best of the web. It's not going to engender reasonably intelligent debate. It would only end up being yet another flamefest between the nutter rights and the nutter lefts. That's about the last thing this place needs. It's getting really fucking old.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on June 20, 2004


I'm not surprised that spitting isn't documented. Why, exactly *would* spitting be documented? Before "anti-hate" laws were created, how many instances of violent attacks against homosexuals were documented *as such*, not just as "assault"?

We know that draft card burning and bra burning took place because we have photographs. But what photos would you expect of a Vietnam vet being abused, discriminated against, or maligned as a drug addict, "baby killer", or "war criminal"?

We also know that there is tremendous collective guilt today by those who persecuted them in the past, or shirked their duty, or just who "weren't chosen" and feel guilty about it.

There *is* no "honor" in having protested the war, *despite* the claims of protestors to the contrary. They may have had a right to protest, but IN NO WAY does that equate to what honorable men and women did who served their country at risk to their lives.

An no, John Kerry is not an honorable man, either. His motives for "serving" were always self-serving. Perhaps he just wanted to kill someone. But those who were there with him, to serve their country, and to perform honorably, found *what he was* to be objectionable.

Was his chosen callsign of "Boston Strangler" a witticism? Did he think he was supposed to, that his command wanted him to, commit war crimes? What a bizarre and distorted view of Vietnam and the US he must have had. Or does he still have it?
posted by kablam at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2004


I'm not surprised that spitting isn't documented. Why, exactly *would* spitting be documented? Before "anti-hate" laws were created, how many instances of violent attacks against homosexuals were documented *as such*, not just as "assault"?

A. Because it would be news. TV news, especially local TV news was as patriotically themed as it is now. There would be police records, there would be records of related assaults on servicemen--while unlike the missing reports of service men being spat upon in the 60s and 70s, there were reports of assaults on individuals identified as homosexuals in press stories in the 50s--there would be angry letters to the editors, there would be stories written in the paper at the time. There would be fire eating editorials by the TV station manager. You have no memory of how right wing the local TV was during the war. I do. People did not publically diss returning Viet Nam veterans in any way whatever, as far as the historical record goes. They had no disrespect for them in the first place. If they did, they would get their asses kicked first by the vets--the sories are overwhelmingly about women spitting on returning vets, by the way--and second by the cops. It would have been in the paper and on TV.

The spitting stories don't start until the 1980s. It's propaganda, Kool Aid drinking victimology-by-proxy, deep hypnotic voodoo--an urban legend fit for Snopes.

We know that draft card burning and bra burning took place because we have photographs.

We have pictures of draft cards being thrown into a burning barrel. We don't have photographs of bra burnings. That's more Kool Aid history of the movies.
posted by y2karl at 1:03 PM on June 20, 2004


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