Sheddin' The Light of Truth: What was true then, is still true, today...
Chuck "Mutt" Winant
La Mesa, Ca
Among the many half baked lies about America's war against Viet Nam is the "they spit on us" myth that has served so well to deter many from any actual examination of the War. In the article "Viet Nam Veterans Now Get Warm Welcome", Aug 17, I'm now told I had bottles and eggs thrown at me...
You know, after seeing what my country was up to in Viet Nam, the LAST thing I cared about was getting a parade. I'm hardly alone in this.
Oh, we were "spit on", all right - by the Veterans hospitals, foul dungeons where many died from medical neglect, by a VA which stonewalled any investigations into Agent Orange, and had but one bed, nationally, for heroin addiction.
We were spit on by a series of thuggish Saigon regimes, the last of which- Thieu/Ky, got rich off of, traffiking in that heroin.
We were spit on by our own Services, when returning vets, denied health care or drug treatment, were given bad paper discharges for speaking out - just like todays returning vets! There was no "diagnosis" of PTSD, back in the day, so not even any counseling, one on one or in a group setting, was available to us.
That is, until Viet Nam Veterans Against The War documented a common problem amongst returning Veterans that they called Post Vietnam Syndrome, later (1983) to become clinically recognized as an anxiety disorder called PTSD, with the publication of the DSM-III. With this development, the Swift Boat types created the media spin that we were cry babies, rather than veterans that were psychologically damaged by their harrowing experiences in an illegal war.
Who could forget the hosing we got from the VFW and Legion, who used their political weight to limit the new crop of veterans from getting the benefits they themselves enjoyed - shades of John McCain - voting down every VA bill that expanded veterans right and benefits for Veitnam Veterans. When anti War Viet vets joined VFW and American Legion posts, those posts were dropped from the rolls.
Then we were spit on by the political generals of the Pentagon, Hackworths' "Perfumed Princes" - who put thier careers ahead of what was good for the country as well as the troops. And we were spit on by pro war flag waving nonothings, who reacted in rage and sometimes violence against Viet Nam vets who dared speak the obvious about that uspeakable war.
People who opposed that war stood behind us, and with us. They were on OUR side. Anti War vets, like Viet Nam Veterans Against the War fought all those forces to bring to light the realities of Agent Orange, and what they called PVS, going so far as to seize unused wings of VA hospitals, setting up our own PVS treatment centers, and forcing the military to upgrade thousands of bad discharges.
A parade? You want to buy me with a fucking PARADE? - tell you what; You want to honor my voluntary tour in Viet Nam, derail these latest public wars for private profit, devote however many billions it will take to do right by our wounded, and the damage we inflicted, and have those responsible for these disasters bought to justice.
GORDON MARSHALL. "DSM-III." A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. 6 Oct. 2009