The following is a comment on my recent blogpost: Kill Anything That Moves – The Real American War In Vietnam, by Nick Turse: A One-Sided View of the War
Calvin Tuttle says:
March 15, 2013 at 5:55 am
I would have thought that even the author of a novel about the Vietnam War would be somewhat better in touch with the reality vs. the myth of the times. As Vietnam veteran and associate professor of sociology at Holy Cross College Jerry Lembcke has persuasively pointed out through extensive research in his extremely well written work The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, there is absolutely no documentation whatsoever to back up that tired cliche which he uses that soldiers who had returned from Vietnam were spat upon by supposed deranged hippie chicks.
Kill Anything that moves is as important a contribution to vast Vietnam War record as any ever published. Extremely well written, Turse takes a story hard to hear and offers a book hard to put down.
The research and documentation are unparalleled in my experience and he makes a decades old account compelling in our present circumstance of war without end. Kill Anything That Moves is a Must Read!
Whether or not there is evidence of actual spitting*, the Vietnam veteran returned to a country where, even if he was able to talk about his war experience, nobody (hippie chick or mainstream citizen) wanted to hear it. The now ever-present “Thank you for your service” was missing from the American vocabulary. “Thank you for your service” has now become a standard phrase. It can be spoken by the enthusiastic military hawk or by those whose underlying feelings are “I am against this war but I want to separate my disdain for the war from my feelings about the warrior” or even “Thank you for going so that I didn’t have to do it myself.” The thank-you covers much ground and allows one to respectfully bring a conversation to a close. I use it to honor the person who made the sacrifices, while at the same time I oppose wars that we continually enter under false pretenses and execute with absurdities such as Nick Turse describes in his nonfiction and I describe in my fictitious Cologne No. 10 for Men, and that inevitably kill countless innocent civilians.
*Chicago Tribune staffer Bob Greene received over 1000 letters from veterans, many of which recounted specific details of being spat upon (while others reported receiving good treatment): see Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam (1990)