Sparling -- what's going on at protests these days?

Perhaps Sparling deserves his own thread.

So, what’s the deal here? Two vets on opposing sides of a volatile argument square off?

Spit at, as opposed to spit on? Some people get “spittin’” mad, some spit on the ground in disgust. Old Greeks spit to ward off the evil eye. Beijingers spit constantly for a range of reasons. But there is a difference between a guy who spits on the ground in anger/disgust and somebody who goes the extra little mile to spit on an opponent in an argument.

Media Matters has an interesting take on this as well:

[quote]Conservatives have been telling stories of anti-war protesters spitting on returning Vietnam veterans for decades, even though, as College of the Holy Cross associate professor of sociology and anthropology Jerry Lembcke wrote in an April 30, 2005, Boston Globe op-ed, “[t]here is an element of urban legend in the stories.” Nevertheless, Lembcke wrote, the “image of spat-upon veterans is the icon through which many people remember the loss of the war, the centerpiece of a betrayal narrative that understands the war to have been lost because of treason on the home front.”

In reporting that the protester spit “at the ground near Mr. Sparling,” Urbina left open the possibility that the protester – if he or she did, in fact, spit – may have not intended to spit at Sparling or anyone else. And how near was “near”? Six inches? Six feet? However, the very next phrase – “he spit back” – suggests that the protester did, in fact, spit at Sparling, and he was simply retaliating. Which is it?[/quote]

Interesting piece in which Sparlings words have been clearly been twisted about by the MSM’s right-wing wacko brigade:

[quote]Following Sparling’s appearance on Fox & Friends, during which he proposed marriage on the air to his girlfriend, Kilmeade stated affirmatively that protesters were “spitting on” him – even though Sparling claimed he was “spit at,” not “spit on”:

DOOCY: By the way, if you’d like to send an email to the happy couple, send it to, and we will pass it along to the future Sparlings.

KILMEADE: Especially if you have a different view from those who were spitting on him and cursing at him over the weekend.[/quote]

Also, a quick look at whether the stories of Vietnam vets being routinely spat upon were true:

[quote]STORIES ABOUT spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. It’s hard to say where they come from. For a book I wrote in 1998 I looked back to the time when the spit was supposedly flying, the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found nothing. No news reports or even claims that someone was being spat on.

What I did find is that around 1980, scores of Vietnam-generation men were saying they were greeted by spitters when they came home from Vietnam. There is an element of urban legend in the stories in that their point of origin in time and place is obscure, and, yet, they have very similar details. The story told by the man who spat on Jane Fonda at a book signing in Kansas City recently is typical. Michael Smith said he came back through Los Angeles airport where ''people were lined up to spit on us."

Like many stories of the spat-upon veteran genre, Smith’s lacks credulity. GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops. There may have been exceptions, of course, but in those cases how would protesters have known in advance that a plane was being diverted to a civilian site? And even then, returnees would have been immediately bused to nearby military installations and processed for reassignment or discharge.

The exaggerations in Smith’s story are characteristic of those told by others. ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. That’s not true. A 1971 Harris poll conducted for the Veterans Administration found over 90 percent of Vietnam veterans reporting a friendly homecoming. Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans joined the opposition to the war.[/quote]

What is interesting is that the stories echo similar tales that appeared regarding German troops returning from World War I and of French troops coming back from Indochina. Now, of course it is not impossible that somebody was spat upon at some point in time, but that’s not the point – was it usual, routine, common enough? With 90 percent reporting a friendly homecoming (and other percentages filling other categories like “neutral, neither friendly nor unfriendly”), are we going to make some broad brush assumptions about the American people’s treatment of troops returning from an unpopular war?

I think you really need to get it out of your system and show everyone exactly how you feel.

Find a vet from Iraq and spit on him. Go ahead. You [i]know[/i] you want to.

Just be damn sure he’s in a wheelchair or in a hospital bed. That will give you an even chance.

So what’s the new Republican definition of “spit on”? When I’m cruising up and down Taiwan in a little blue truck, spitting betel-nut juice into little cup, apparently that’s close enough to count as “spitting on an Iraq vet” in the GOPper loosey-goosey way of figuring these things.

[quote=“Doctor Evil”]I think you really need to get it out of your system and show everyone exactly how you feel.

Find a vet from Iraq and spit on him. Go ahead. You [i]know[/i] you want to.

Just be damn sure he’s in a wheelchair or in a hospital bed. That will give you an even chance.[/quote]

I notice you didn’t address any of the points mofangongren raised, or the article about the myth of Vietnam Vets being spat on. Can you supply any evidence at all that spitting on Vietnam Vets was a regular event? My father and uncles were treated as heroes when they came back from Vietnam, but that was, like the article said, after they returned to base and were reprocessed. When they came home on leave the town erupted in celebration. My father’s primary contact with Vietnam War protestors was not until he returned to civilian life and became a policeman. He was assigned to the University of Texas during the protests there in '71 and '72. The worst treatment he ever received was when he attended a protest on one of his off days (when he was not in uniform). You see he asked a cute blonde student for her phone number and she said no :frowning:

I would like to see evidence that Vietnam Vets were spat on in any kind of a systematic way. Hell I’d like to see just one article from the Vietnam era, not the ‘80s, reporting a vet was spat on.

I think the first thing that ought to be tested is GOPper depth-perception. Sparling says that he was spat “at” which isn’t the same as when you’re spat on. But hey, they’ve got the MSM guys at Fox News spinning that into “spat on” and that’s what these guys believe.

I notice you didn’t address any of the points mofangongren raised, or the article about the myth of Vietnam Vets being spat on. Can you supply any evidence at all that spitting on Vietnam Vets was a regular event?[/quote]

I was spit on.

Texas. For Christs sake, what do you expect??? :unamused:

So, you weren’t even around during the war. That explains that.

[quote=“Doctor Evil”][quote=“gao_bo_han”]
I notice you didn’t address any of the points mofangongren raised, or the article about the myth of Vietnam Vets being spat on. Can you supply any evidence at all that spitting on Vietnam Vets was a regular event?[/quote]

I was spit on.[/quote]

Of course! This is all just a matter of defining terms – “on” in the GOP lexicon clearly means “at”, usually from a long distance away onto something else far away. Now, please clarify how many miles away the spitter was when he spat tobacco juice into a cup, spat toothpaste into a sink, spat betel nut leftovers on the ground, etc.

Or, in the alternative, were you physically touched by any spit?

Or, in the alternative, were you physically touched by any spit?[/quote]

I said (since you have serious reading problems) I was spit on.*

You’ve already got some fans…now get yourself a fucking cowbell.

  • In the late 1960s and early to mid 1970s, at USC, it was common to have “antiwar” protesters throw blood on ROTC instructors and cadets. For several years they had to stop wearing their uniforms. I personally saw this.

[quote=“Doctor Evil”][quote=“mofangongren”]
Or, in the alternative, were you physically touched by any spit?[/quote]

I said (since you have serious reading problems) I was spit on.*[/quote]

So long as “on” has the same meaning as it does for the rest of us, then I’m fine with it.

Now, the only research so far done into spitting on vets indicates that it was not common, although your personal experience might have been different. If you spent a lot of time around Californian universities during that time, it’s also quite possible that the environment there wasn’t exactly a slice of normal America. :rainbow:

Man, now you’ve got Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” stuck in my head. :frowning:

Well I had hoped Doc Evil’s spitting incident was an awful confluence of a particualrly tender home coming favour and the fact some women just won’t swallow, alas I see now given the context that isn’t the case.

It really is no wonder the American body politic is marked by such vehemence.


Some people pay to be spat on, some pay to be swallowed from. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Sorry to hear that. But was it common? That’s the issue. It stretches credulity to claim that kind of activity was par for the course when not one incident was reported during the Vietnam era.

Austin was and is a liberal stronghold in Texas. And you can bet those war protestors weren’t members of the College Republicans.

Are you implying this was widely reported. The article MFGR posted and others I’ve seen online all claim the “spitting on vets” thing was never reported during the Vietnam era. A group of vets claimed in happened…but 10 years after the fact.

As the article stated, Vietnam war protestors welcomed vets, and thousands become part of the movement.

So, you weren’t even around during the war. That explains that.[/quote]
Not very hard to find. Lets start with a ‘reprint’ of an editorial cartoon of the time and a newspaper article which includes a couple of incidents.

“”“How’s it feel to be a murderer?” asked the faculty advisor of Al Zellar who was mustering out after a year’s infantry service in Vietnam. Jim Minarik, another infantry veteran of that war walked out of doors in his uniform and was twice spat upon, was denied restaurant service, and called a “war criminal” all before he had time to buy a civilian suit. Jim Kerns pulled down a Vietcong flag here and spent nine hours in jail before Judge Halleck dismissed his case. Veterans are advised, one of them said, not to mention Vietnam service when making applications.”
And some further verification:

[quote]Resolving The Spitting Debate
Posted by Dan Riehl on February 3, 2007 - 19:27.

There’s a growing blog debate going on as regards peace activists spitting on returning veterans during the Vietnam era. It begins here at Slate in an article claiming the charges are false.

[i]The myth of the spat-upon Vietnam veteran refuses to die.[/i] 

At Volokh, Jim Lindgren points out some weaknesses in search mechanisms that could lead to the stories not showing up in contemporaneous reports, leading to the assumption that it didn’t happen.

Always up for a Google challenge, I decided to take a look and can confirm that spitting and more did in fact take place. Stored on a government server found via advanced Google, there’s this first person account - also available in pdf.

As a young Marine officer Carl Bourne was trying to help recruit University of Connecticut students into the USMC. Some UConn students responded by [b]spitting at him and throwing ink on his dress uniform,[/b] Bourne said about his experience on the Storrs campus.

[b]Bourne was the target of spitting and ink throwing in 1973.[/b] As a lieutenant he paid for his uniforms, so the ink was not a welcome alteration, especially considering the low pay of the early 1970s. He said he was also called a "baby killer" – right in his own home state.

Another instance is documented in a government fact sheet.

[url=]The Legacy of Psychological Trauma from the Vietnam War for American Indian Military Personnel[/url]

[b]"I was spit on and called a baby-killer in the mainstream culture when I first came home,[/b] and no way any college would accept me or any good job would be open to me. I felt too ashamed and enraged to accept the love and gratitude my family and community showed me. I thought I was going crazy, waking up in a sweat trying to choke my wife, seeing signs of Charley around every corner when the weather was hot and steamy.

Another report covering multiple instances from Cornell that should also be available through the Library of Congress and a Veteran’s History Project.

The Tet Offensive began 37 days after Henschel arrived in Vietnam. His unit was sent into Hue, the old imperial capital.

Henschel's platoon was almost wiped out and Henschel himself was shot in the head when he tried to rescue a wounded comrade. The unconscious Marine was placed on top of a tank. When a shell hit the tank, Henschel fell off, and the tank apparently ran over his left leg.

"At this point, probably everyone thought I was dead, but I was unconscious for seven weeks. I regained consciousness in San Diego, Calif., at the naval hospital there. I weighed 72 pounds," Henschel said.

Henschel tried to go to college after he recovered, but he had trouble concentrating because of his injury and discovered that many fellow students at Cornell were hostile.

[b]"I can't count the number of times I was called a murderer," he said. "And actually spit in my face."[/b]

Another first person account via a DOD publication:

Back in the 1960s, Cannon graduated from high school and 10 days later was enlisted in the Air Force. He was stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines for 17 months beginning in June, 1967. [b]Upon his return to the United States, he was spit on three times while riding the cable cars in San Francisco simply because he was in uniform.[/b]

This below from a California Assembly Bill on Public Safety circa 2003:

[b]"Overcome by their hatred, people threw rocks at the returning soldiers.  Some spit at them.[/b]  Others physically attacked them and tormented them.  No one should have to endure that kind of hate-related violence for simply agreeing to serve their country."

None of the above reports have a dog in this fight now. But obviously they support reports like this at Black Five:

It happened to me, and I asked my father if it had ever happened to him.  If anyone were to be on the receiving end, it would have been him after being involved in the Ohio State riots and Ohio University riots for years.

[url= The Jawa Report suggests,[/url] the notion that returning veterans weren’t abused, particularly by spitting, after Vietnam is simply pathetic revisionism by an increasingly revolting Left that opposes the war, while claiming to support the troops.

Were that so, they would not be so interested in revising history and, by default, calling so many of our troops, both past and present, liars to boot.

So, can we question their patriotism now?[/img][/quote]

So yes, it is documented.
As one responder to the above article posted:
[i]“The real purpose of Holocaust revisionism is to
make National Socialism an acceptable political alternative

[b] The purpose of anti-patriotic historical revisionism must be similar in nature. It exists to make traitorism an acceptable political alternative."[/i] [b]

A quite good article:
Spitting on Veterans
BY SETH GITELL, February 6, 2007, URL:

I came back from VN in the spring of 1971. I was not spit upon nor accosted by protesters. I was a medical evac so I was shielded from what was happening. I wound up at an Air Force Hospital in San Antonio, Texas for a few months. Maybe I saw your Father. Or he saw me. It was a long time ago.
And, it was a long long time before I told many people who didn’t know me that I was a VN Vet. Or even spoke about VN with somebody who wasn’t there.