Tracked down the “Spitting on veterans” business. Never made any sense to me. I don’t remember anybody doing it, and can’t see why anybody like me would do it. I might think veterans are not the brightest bulb in the box, or simple victims, but spitting on them or anybody else for their weaknesses isn’t cricket, no matter what I may think of what they may have done.
Stiffed, by Susan Faludi discovered the origins of the rumor. Vietnam-era veterans were far more political than the troops today. First of all, they were mostly draftees. Professional cadres, as we have today, consider it part of their job to be apolitical. The German pre-WWII Heer took it as far as not being allowed to vote. The Vietnam boys were always ready for protest, whether off-duty in their own era, or marching against the Iraq war today.
The people who spit on them were WWII veterans, who either considered them losers if parading with their units, or traitors, if protesting. No matter how they suffered in a war — probably because of their suffering — soldiers support the war they were in. Even today, Korean war veterans are appalled that anyone would negotiate with a Korean government, as though talking to what is perceived as the archetypal Monster betrays their own efforts as archetypal Heroes. Women, of course, know that any male can be either Hero or Monster. If we just talk to the Beast, the very thin skin that covers the Hero may sluff off. It does no good, for us, to fights Beasts; that way lies dead women.
When we consider that most of the victims of all wars are and have always been women — maybe we should be doing more spitting on ALL the beasts.