Letters to the editor

Editor, the Advocate:

Jerry Lembcke’s book “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam” reduces the experiences of returning veterans of the Vietnam war to being symptoms of PTSD or to being lies propagated by politicians.

Having read accounts by Vietnam veterans, I doubt that Lembcke’s research was thorough or without the influence of his own interpretation. What follows is part of a lengthy response from the website of Vietnam Veterans for Factual History.

Vietnam Veterans for Factual History:

Professor Jerry Lembcke wrote “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” which concluded that the spitting stories were a myth.

Lembcke didn’t bother to reveal that he was a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and was a Marxist and an anti-war activist who had an agenda in publishing his book.

Lembcke’s “proof” that spitting didn’t occur was soundly debunked by Jim Lindgren of Volokh Conspiracy, including proof that he lied about several things he stated in his book.

Contemporaneous documentation has been found in the (PA) Bucks County Courier, Times, New York Times, the Pomona Progress Bulletin, the Associated Press, the Panama News, the Washington Post and the Odessa American, among others.

Adrienne Smith, Victoria

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(2) comments

Douglas Josef Halepaska

Very well written Adrienne and I'm very glad to see that you chimed in on the Subject Glen.

Glenn Wilson

Adrienne -- Kind of a rush seeing the Pomona (CA) Progress Bulletin mentioned in your letter. I had a 132 paper delivery route with the PB back in the mid 1950's, when Pomona's population was slightly less than Victoria's now. As for the spitting, it was a known thing, not a rumor or a lie. It was easily observed in TV news coverage and newspaper photos of the riots and near-riots that occurred whenever groups of returning troops hit the streets. Our troops in Viet Nam did the same thing as our troops have been doing in the Middle East; kill mass quantities of people, both civilian and military, and blow-up everything in sight in a country that could never, ever, pose the slightest threat to the U.S. mainland. Back then it was, "Baby Killers!" and spit. Now, it's "Thank you for your service". Go figure.

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