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15 October 2017


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Dear sir, I am sorry this happened to you. We live in a terrible world. Our only hope is in God's justice.


I believe you, Pat.

But then, while no doubt vaguely a hippy at the time, I would have never spat on anyone. Including US soldiers. Strictly my curiosity might have prevented that.

But yes, concerning the larger context of some specific encounters with US soldiers in Berlin in the early 70s no doubt raise a lot of questions on my mind. Unfortunately the Omniscient Narrator, who no doubt given his superior knowledge might be able to answer my questions, is not available in this context.

But yes, I was reminded of our exchanges on the topic while watching the Vietnam series. ...

Bill H

In the Ken Burns documentary there is a bit near the end where a woman, after telling of her anti-war experiences, reflects on "the things we said back then, and the things we did." She has a very bleak look on her face as she stands silent for a moment and the she says, very simply, "I'm sorry."

I hope you saw that. It wasn't much, but every little bit helps.



There were many other ways that soldiers were treated poorly. A classic was for a ticket agent to simply deny you a seat on commercial aircraft when they were available. For me thespitting experience was incredible. I had just left my wife in Maine with her mother and flown to San Francisco. I walked through the terminal and stood on the curb waiting for the shuttle bus to Travis AFB and this happened within seconds. It was a great surprise. I was in heavy combat within three or four days after this because the second phase of the 1968 communist Tet offensive was in full bloom when I arrived. But, no matter, I survived. No, the worst thing about my story is that the NY Times suppressed my comment. The comments they did publish are about how much the ant-war people loved and treasured the soldiers and how little girls met them at the very same airport with chocolate chip cookies. pl


I know that in Lee County, FL at that time, I never heard of anyone disrespecting soldiers. The biggest problem we had was that so many who came back from service in Viet Nam had serious drug problems. The overdosing on heroin was close to epidemic at the time.

I am not claiming that it did not happen elsewhere. I just know it did not happen where I lived.


I am a lefty. I am anti-war. That said, the people who I have the most respect for are the veterans here at SST.

Those bozos at the NYT are not lefties. They cheerlead for endless war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria - and then they have the temerity to disrespect the men and women who fight and die on behalf of their country. Unbelievable. They are despicable.

Perhaps I should apportion more of the blame to the woman. Her conduct was disgraceful. But the hypocrisy of the supposedly "leftist" news media enrages me.

yt kealoha

better than being pissed on i guess.

IMO the left is engaged in editing the narrative of that time so as to absolve itself of the ugliness of its own actions.

The left is engaged in editing the narrative. period.
ANY narrative, worldwide, not just in the US.

This of course will pass but only after bitter and ugly struggles and will never completely disappear because it's a godless religious creed.



Just do you understand - It was the policy and program of the communists in VN to sell American draftees very strong heroin at very low prices, practically nothing. pl


Pat, strictly I am missing the VW bus. ;) Not that it matters.

On the other hand I stopped to read here:
Trash cans at the Los Angeles airport were piled high with abandoned uniforms, according to one eyewitness, a sight that would surely have been documented by news photographers — if it had existed.

Let us agree. Your favorite in my stories in Berlin, maybe yours too, in hindsight is the soldier that visited me in full army gear. Although, I completely forget what made him show up. I vaguely recall, he might have asked me, if he could come see me. And as is my default, I surely responded: why not?




Since publication of my post my comment to the NY Times has magically appeared in the comments section of the article. Well, at least they read the blog. pl



Yes, some draftees dumped their uniforms as soon as they could. This was the result of the abominable reaction to them by the general public. pl

Cold War Zoomie

"In the Ken Burns documentary there is a bit near the end where a woman, after telling of her anti-war experiences..."

I just finished the entire series and think he did a good job showing that both Democratic and Republican administrations were flawed and self-serving. But I think he leaned more towards the anti-war viewpoint than the "Silent Majority" side. Not a ton, since he kept reiterating that the polls showed support for Nixon throughout, but he definitely leaned enough to notice. And I was glad to see some of the anti-war guests admit that the movement had gone way too far, especially the woman you mention. I'm a left-leaning veteran and it still makes me wince when I see footage of Jane Fonda in Hanoi and the anti-war crowd waiving Vietcong flags. What a bunch of morons! Totally counterproductive. It also shows how today's political polarization is actually pretty tame.


I was lucky enough not to get spat on. A good friend of mine was not only spat on but had feces thrown at him. This was not at the airport. He was in full dress blues out collecting toys for the "Toys-for-Tots" program. https://www.toysfortots.org/

So even though he was helping the local community, providing Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids, the antiwar crowd went after him. Those dirtbags were not lefties. IMHO they were draft dodgers and hippies, duped by "Uncle" Ho's agitprop and under the influence of LSD. I'm a lefty. I would have taken a stick to those sleazeballs if they had done it to me. My colleague who was attacked showed great fortitude and dignity in resisting that impulse. He probably understood that they wanted a reaction.


No doubt not helped by McNamara and LBJ meaningfully lowering the standards of draftees to include criminals and the low IQ. I don't know if you personally saw this as an issue but Westmoreland and many others did.


Colonel -

I note that the article in the NYT you refer to was an op-ed opinion piece. The author Jerry Lembke is a well-known denier of the spitting incidents. He wrote a book about it as well as a book about Hanoi Jane.

With this opinion piece, Lembke is only trying to drum up flagging sales of his books. The NYT was played. IMO they should deny space to those who benefit monetarily from their op-ed pieces.

Lembke is reportedly a veteran himself, but I have not found a bio of him online.



The general trend on the left is still disrespect of those who serve or at best damning with faint praise. The effort to push PTSD stigma seems very popular at the moment.


I have noted that there is sometimes a lengthy delay between responding to an article & one's comment actually being posted on major media sites. Not sure if it's slow pocessing of algorithms that filter out "offensive language" (whatever that is these days), or "curating" (doncha love that suddenly popular concept?) or both, that's the cause.
Anyway, I was pretty anti-VN war policy as a high school kid in the '60's, but I was already well-aware that national policy was not made by vote of those in uniform. {when your Dad's in uniform, that became pretty evident} I never personally witnessed such disrespect for uniformed citizens, but even then it was clearly occurring, as it did to you & others. Terrible times all-around... a lot to reflect upon for emotional pure-ends-justify-any-behavior types.



I never was disrespected. Rather I was a drafted loser. Ignored.

After returning in 70-71 I was stationed at Fort Lewis. Saturday when duty ended I was so eager to get out I would drive home to Seattle in uniform and change to civilian clothes there. I was an oddball; 27, single, with a college degree. When the Elite discovered that American conscripts wouldn’t fight the Empire’s endless unwinnable colonial wars; the Deplorables were thrown in the trash. Thus, their lowered life expectancy. The NYT article is feel good propaganda to hide this. Kevin Drum is a perfect example of the attitude of the coastal urban elite;

The last thing corporate media will do is discuss the actual causes of the polarization of America.


The left/right way of looking at politics doesn't mean much.

There's central power and there decentralized grass roots organization, and NYT are 100% in support of central power... sure they might quibble with the neocons over who gets the spoils or exactly which group of foreigners need a beating this week; but they don't disagree over anything fundamental.

Dave Schuler

Something that needs to be kept in mind is how many of the protesters weren't anti-war. They were on the other side.


Gee, I guess the authors next story will be about those wonderful young ladies of Haight Asbury and their remarkable training and preparation to become the elected leaders of today's ideological utopia-California.


"They are despicable."

Thanks for saving me the trouble.

People and those who disparage the west in general, the US, Europe and Great Britain would IMHO, do well to contemplate the nobility of this Kurdish woman who left Denmark to fight ISIS in Syria:


“I was willing to give up my life and freedom to stop ISIS advancing, so that everyone in Europe can be safe. This was my choice. But I am seen as terrorist by my own country.”

Try to understand that "crooked timber of humanity" we certainly are constructed of ourselves, but people the world over have tremendous appreciation for our achievements.

" ... so that everyone in Europe can be safe."


I can’t see how to view comments for the NYT piece. Anyone have a link?

I went to Manhattan during a weekend break from school in the 70s. I watched a parade of vets walking down Central Park West to Columbus Circle. I was standing around 63rd St. People were throwing things at them, yelling antiwar things, and, yes, spitting. Never forgot seeing this. So the guy who wrote this article doesn’t have a fucking clue what he’s talking about, and is haughtily claiming an event in Seattle represented the reaction of the rest of the country.


Appreciate the link. Very interesting article. I agree with nearly everything of you say, but not sure I completely follow. I don't know Drum, he may be as you say, but French fellow he quotes very specifically says he is anything but Coastal elite. He's in Tennessee. French's observations are fascinating. Not being near flyover country myself it's nearly priceless reporting.

David Stockman can really go on and on about things, but he is brilliant and has vast experience of DC. He really despised what he calls "The Imperial War City" -- his version, more or less of the Colonel's matchless "Borg." So if you can wade through the screed like rantier segments there are some valuable nuggets. I bring your attention to this one:


Not so much in its predictive capacity, but because of the split he detects within the GOP. He happens to think DJT is a goner by sometime early next year via the 25th amendment, by the way, but he's entitled to his opinion. Scroll down past his quadruple witching theory (fascinating as it is), just past the lengthy quote from Bannon grey italics to this:

"You might say thems is fighting words. And notwithstanding the obvious bluster and megalomania, Bannon does have a very serious angle that's being thoroughly overlooked.

To wit, the GOP's bigger hitter financial base is no longer Wall Street or the Fortune 500. Most of the leadership in those precincts went globalist and pro-establishment long ago.

By contrast, today's GOP money bags come from Flyover America's big winners in the energy patch, real estate, communications and technology. The latter have been taken for granted by the Washington GOP, but they are overwhelmingly hard-core conservatives and seriously doubt that they have gotten much at all for the hundreds of millions they have pumped into the RNC, the Republican congressional campaign committees and the high profile personal PACs of the likes of Karl Rove.

We have no doubt that Bannon is on to exactly that fissure and will be dramatically more successful in raising big dollars for GOP primary challengers than is now understood. In fact, his plan is to hit the GOP establishment where it really hurts---by raiding its campaign money machine: ... "

And so on. My point is that he is most likely correct here, and it no longer does justice to what's transpiring to lump "the elite" together. Too coarse grained by a long shot. He's very an exceedingly perceptive fellow. I hope at the least you get a good chuckle reading him. His take on recent nixing of the JCPOA last week is a minor masterpiece:


And many SST contributors will get a kick out of "Brennan, Rice, Power, lock them up!", his take on the Russian hacking hysteria:


I really enjoyed "Crazy Time in the Imperial City" recently here:


-- his very funny deconstruction of the utterly idiotic, IMHO, Google and Facebook so called revelations of late:

"Who are they frickin' kidding?

The Wall Street Journal's left-hand column headline this morning reads, "Google Unearths Russia-Backed Ads Related to U.S. Politics on Its Platforms."

"Unearths" is the operative term because apparently it took some heavy-duty Big Data Digging to find these malefactors. Here's the meat of this ominous new discovery:

Google found that accounts linked to the Russian government bought $4,700 worth of ads, while accounts with other Russian links spent $53,000 on ads, one of the people said. Google used signs such as Russian IP addresses, Russian language settings or payments in Russian rubles to link customers to Russia, the person said. It isn’t clear how Google tied some accounts to the Russian government.

We have struck a line through the numbers to emphasize that there is no "k" or "m" "adjoining them in the text. The Russian "government" allegedly bought adds worth the grand sum of 4,700 dollars and no cents during the last election cycle in a dastardly attempt to throw the election to the Donald!

As for the $53k of Goggle ad purchases by accounts with "other Russian links", we won't profess to be stumped.

After all, there are 144 million Russians with 42,762,784 IP addresses (to be exact) domiciled within the borders of that fair land. But insofar as we can tell, the entire nation has not yet been turned into an army of Putin-zombies trolling the worldwide web in order to subvert American democracy. .. (continues at link)"

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