Sunday, August 15, 2004

Spitting on Veterans

Written by an anonymous person who only identifies as "Chookie."

Who's spitting on Veterans now?

In the early seventies, when our country was as bitterly divided over issues as it is today, there were disturbing stories circulating about how returning Viet Nam veterans were being taunted and spat upon by peace activists. While these stories are believed to be popular myths disseminated to discredit the antiwar movement, alas, in recent days, vicious attacks on combat veterans are in fact occurring with alarming frequency in the homeland.

The scars of some veterans are being re-examined lately, with charges that they are really not that big or bad after all, inferring that the veterans who bear them are unworthy of the Purple Heart medal they were awarded – as has happened to John Kerry. A veteran who lost both legs and his right arm to the blast of a grenade in Viet Nam has been called a traitor and compared to a Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and even mocked by a suggestion he foolishly received his grave injuries on the way to a beer party -- as happened to Senator Max Cleland. A veteran who spent 5 years of his youth in one of history’s most infamous POW camps, tortured and abused, one day found himself whispered about as having been a "weak-minded coward" driven mad by his ordeal and perhaps even a Communist agent —as happened to Senator John McCain.

Today’s soldiers serving their country in the field should note well that what really matters these days is not the fact that they served honorably – indeed, one can stay stateside voluntarily during a war one fervently supports and only fly training missions over one’s home state and be said to have served "honorably". It doesn’t matter if you served courageously, or with distinction, or that you were maimed, or disabled fighting for your country – what matters these days is that you think as you ought to think. Be aware that your opinions will be monitored for correctness, and that your attitude will be noted…and you better get it right or else. Many have called for their fellow Americans to "Support Our Troops!", but why aren’t these same individuals or organizations denouncing the defamation of veterans like Kerry, McCain, or Cleland? Where’s the outrage? I don’t think it’s because the Viet Nam war is ancient history, as veterans of the Greatest Generation, like "Flyboy" George HW Bush, are still regularly praised for their bravery in combat service.

Could it be politics? What all the veterans I have named above have in common is having run against GW Bush in an election or having opposed some aspect of his policies. In the past, it was alleged to be the shameful behavior of the antiwar movement, but who is spitting on veterans now?"

No comments: