Great Expectorations

Friday, July 03, 2009


Controversy over a 2007 news account about a war protester spitting on an Iraq vet at a peace march unearthed a trope that dates back to Vietnam. Fifteen years ago, sociologist and Vietnam War veteran Jerry Lembcke researched spitting stories in the media during the 1960s and 70s. He told us two years ago that not a single first-hand account was published.

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Comments [4]

Frank G. from New Jersey

I have read the transcript of your show and feel that it is biased in that you make it sound like no one was spit on because you have not spoke to any one who was yet the Iraq vet says first hand he was and has a witness. I have spoken to Vietnam Vets who been spat upon and otherwise hassled at airports and other places. I am a Vietnam combat vet and immediately upon returning from Vietnam felt and heard the anti war climate in this country and immediately tried to put it behind me never speaking of it, never associating with any veterans groups or the VA system. Most of my friends never even knew I was a vet much less a Vietnam Vet. I never brought it up due to what I saw going on related to the war and how vets were treated. I think there is more support today but still for the sacrifices our service men and women make there needs to be more. Shows like yours don't help to support veterans and how they are viewed.
Frank G.
New Jersey

Jul. 06 2009 03:54 PM
geo8rge from Brooklyn, NY

So are we taking the NY Times seriously again? I think the days are over when a single un referenced NYT article on a controvertial subject should be the subject of discussion.

Jul. 06 2009 11:04 AM
Carl S from Chicago Il

Although Jerry Lembcke is a God damn fraud as a scholar he always seems to get is 5 minuets in the spotlight when the opportunity arrives. Professor Jim Lindgren tore this charlatan to pieces by demonstrating that Lembcke's use of Nexis to "verify" accounts of protestors spitting on vets was deeply flawed as it only goes back to 1983. Lindgren was able to document “dozens” of such incidents.

In short is he a fraud and I am tired of NPR giving him space to regurgitate his lies.

Jul. 06 2009 12:17 AM

I'm furious! I don't know if it is true or not, but for my part, I am NOT going to call a vet form any war a LIAR! How dare you?!

Until you have walked in his shoes you can kiss my you know what! OK, this is way beyond my usual speech. I'm usually very level-headed and factual.

Not so for this one. My brother is a retired full Colonel radiologist. He served in the first Gulf War and came home with all kinds of illnesses. So, when they tell you they don't fight with chemical warfare, they are out and out liars.

I served in the National Guard. You insult all of us by saying we would like about this. Most military people are not political activists as you seem to denote. Most of us are simply regular people who served our country and thank goodness made it back home....and we did it to protect YOUR right to say terrible things about us, the right to speak out, and look at the thanks our soldiers get!

Sorry, but I am beyond livid at the moment!

Jul. 05 2009 11:38 PM

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