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May 21, 2008

Iraq Has Become Vietnam!

In the comments to previous posts, I've been assured that the thinly veiled contempt displayed by several of our Congressional overlords and pundits like Dick Cavett for our armed forces was some sort of aberration. While I've been heartened by your expressions of support, stories like this only convince me that I have been right to maintain that recent open attacks on the military are bringing some very nasty stuff out of the woodwork: (via Glenn Reynolds, who has more on this.)

Dept of Transportation Federal Transit Administration sends:

Recently, there have been local incidents in which military personnel have been verbally assaulted while commuting on the Metro. Uniformed members have been approached by individuals expressing themselves as anti-government, shouting anti-war sentiments, and using racial slurs against minorities.

In one instance, a member was followed onto the platform by an individual who continued to berate her as she exited the
metro station. Thus far, these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of the Reagan National Airport and Eisenhower Ave metro stations on the yellow line, however, military members should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while in mass transit.

...Here are a few friendly reminders of personal protective measures that can help you to stay safe:

- If possible, do not commute in uniform (military members)

-Do not display DoD building passes, "hot cards", or personal identification in open view outside of the workplace

-Do not discuss specifics about your occupation to outside solicitors

-Always try to remain in well lit, well populated train cars if traveling via metro

-Be vigilant at all times!

So now soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines traveling to work in our nation's capital are supposed to hide the fact that they have volunteered defend this country as though it were something shameful in order to avoid being attacked by the very people whose freedoms they guarantee? What's next? Gold stars? It would seem that the Leftosphere has gotten its wish: at long last Iraq has become Vietnam:

Many 1967-72 Spitting Incidents Are Documented in the Press.

Hundreds of Vietnam-era veterans have publicly claimed in recent decades that they were spat on by citizens or anti-war protesters because of their military status, either before they went to Vietnam, when they were on leave, or after their returned from overseas. Yet several journalists and at least one scholar, sociologist Jerry Lembcke of Holy Cross, think that such things never happened, that they are an “urban legend.” Lembcke claims: “Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus.”

We've come full circle. Of course it always helps when the mainstream media show a strange disinclination to cover behavior that contradicts the preferred narrative.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: most people are sheep and attitudes are contagious. Tom Harkin and his ilk have a lot to answer for.

UPDATE: When I originally posted this, the contact information in the linked post had been redacted:

For this and any other suspicious activity, NGB personnel are also asked to notify the Pentagon Command Center at (***)***-****, and the NGB Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer, MSgt *********, at (***)***-**** or (***)***-**** (after duty hours).

Now, they have been restored to Mr. Yon's post.

I am a little leary of this since I was unable to find any reference to this either on the FTA website or elsewhere on the 'Net. This doesn't mean it's not valid, but I have a call in to the Federal Transit Administration asking them to verify that they put out an advisory to this effect (though clearly the one in the linked post did not come directly from them). I'm also doing some other checking.

I'll keep you all posted.

Update: Per this post, this whole incident was blown out of proportion:

Bob Owens, known as "Confederate Yankee" in the blogosphere, has run down the source of the memo advising soldiers not to wear their uniforms while commuting. He says there is only one confirmed incident of harrassment of soldiers on the Metro.

Posted by Cassandra at May 21, 2008 07:42 AM

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It happened to me and my friends at Travis AFB and San Francisco Airport. We were told we would not be reimbursed for ruined uniforms anymore and were to wear civies off base while traveling.

Paticularly helpful (sarcasm alert) were the Krishna's banging their tambourines and doing their best to shame us "baby killers, rapists and murderers" etc.


Posted by: vet66 at May 21, 2008 09:10 AM

"...Here are a few friendly reminders of personal protective measures that can help you to stay safe:

- If possible, do not commute in uniform (military members)

-Do not display DoD building passes, "hot cards", or personal identification in open view outside of the workplace

-Do not discuss specifics about your occupation to outside solicitors

-Always try to remain in well lit, well populated train cars if traveling via metro

-Be vigilant at all times!"

Boy does that take me back. It's Deja Vu all over again.

Hey! I have a thought. This time around, why don't we demand that LE arrest the slime for assault and the courts enforce the penalties? Either that or it may be discovered that there are a lot of old codger's with one thought ricocheting around in their addled old mind, Not again, not this time.

Maybe I better start using my oak walking stick more than the cherry one. =8^}

Posted by: bthun at May 21, 2008 10:01 AM

The more I think on this the more enraged I become. Folk in the military and those supporting them are doing their utmost for this nation. Yet the elected leadership sits on their arse belaboring the most insignificant minutia, as often as not, about matters of little import to the health and welfare of the nation. Meanwhile the socalists/anarchists scum run unchecked, free to assault and batter when the opportunity arises, from the safety of their roaming mobs. Apparently supported by a government unwilling to act in defense of those who defend her.

Nope, not this time, not again. First off, as soon as the BP subsides, I'm going to write to my two US Senators and my US House Rep. This can not be allowed to stand.

Posted by: bthun at May 21, 2008 10:29 AM

I must say that I entirely disagree with the advice given. I would say the absolute opposite. Travel in uniform if at all reasonable. Display if at all possible DoD building passes and hot cars.

Do travel in well-lit metro cars.

Do stand up.

You are not our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. But you stand for them.

Sitting here in NYC, I do little for our soldiers other than occasionally buying one a drink (each time I should spy one) in a random airport as I flit about.

Posted by: levi from queens at May 21, 2008 10:59 AM

I agree.

But first of all let's see if this is even a valid memo.

It is not entirely implausible because there have been similar incidents all over the country and over in the U.K., too. But I don't want to go rushing off a cliff here. I linked it because it was from someone I considered a fairly credible source. But when I can't find any corroborating evidence I start to get a little bit suspicious. It only takes a moment to make a few phone calls - now let's allow the system to work and we'll find out what the deal is.

I think sometimes on the Internet we can get so addicted to instant feedback that we almost prefer that to accurate gauge :p Me, I'm willing to wait.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 21, 2008 11:05 AM

...they are an “urban legend.” Lembcke claims: “Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus.”

Lembcke obviously didn't interview the guy who tried to impress his girlfriend by inflicting expectoral castigation on my fresh-from-RVN bod in the San Fran airport bar.

He's probably still recognizable by his flat nose and limp, which he got when he -- unfortunately -- got his foot tangled in what was probably an errant barstool, propelling him face-first onto my fist, which I had inadvertently clenched to protect my beer.

The bartender, an astute individual who received his training in observation while serving with the First Cav, saw the whole thing.

The guy's girlfriend was, sadly, too hysterical to be coherent and, since her story was *wildly* at odds with both my account of the incident and the bartender's corroboration, the airport police (sterling fellows, one of whom *also* served in the First Cav) logged the event as an unfortunate mishap and called for an ambulance.

*cherubic smile*

Posted by: BillT at May 21, 2008 11:10 AM

I would not be surprised in the least because as vet66 pointed out, we've been here done that once before.

Ahhh well, just chalk up my anger to nothing more than vapors from an urban myth... Heh.

Posted by: bthun at May 21, 2008 11:17 AM

I know.

I started to go down the road of linking to YouTubes of some of those wonderful "peace protests" where the anti-war folks are filmed swearing at amputees and telling them to 'enlist' and 'go back'. But the problem with all of this is that there is so much anger out there.

I guess I don't want to do the whole provocation thing. I am more interested in making the point that vilifying people for serving their country is not right and secondarily, those who maintain that the anti-war crowd doesn't do that are willfully closing their eyes both to what happened in Vietnam and what is going on today. Thank God not everyone who is against the war acts like that. I don't want to tar everyone with the same overly broad brush. But I get equally annoyed with the folks who deny that this stuff goes on in order to justify saying or doing anything they want to with no consideration of the effect it has.

Now we have some of this stuff on tape so there is actual evidence that it does occur, and that it is all too often whitewashed in the media. But it's important to be accurate and truthful too.

Hence the caveats until this is verified.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 21, 2008 11:30 AM

If this is did occur, I disagree with the advice mike gave as well. Although this advice is always given to military personel and Americans citizens (no us flag shirts) when they're visiting another country, however this is America, next will be that policeman can't where uniforms (due to recent bad publicity). And what should we do about some of those obvious jarhead haircuts.
I agree they should always stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings and in well populated areas, as should most people, but most folks have cell phones, if they are getting harrassed they can call those blue uniforms. If they're female I suggest a buddy system and mace. And maybe a little taiquando if need be (self defense only of course).

If our military can handle al Qaeda

Posted by: Mrs G at May 21, 2008 12:26 PM

oops finishing thought. If our military can handle al Qaeda they can handle these wackos.

Posted by: Mrs G at May 21, 2008 12:29 PM

I agree with you, Mrs. G. The solution is not to run and hide, but to wear the uniform proudly. It's not something to be ashamed of.

I'm sure the guidance was given (if it was given) with the intent of preventing problems. It's always a challenge when making policy to get the right balance between managing risk and imposing limitations and causing inconvenience. Often people err on the side of managing risk because if someone is hurt, everyone asks, "Why didn't you do something to prevent this?"

Posted by: Cassandra at May 21, 2008 01:27 PM

This advice seems similar to something someone (CJ @ ASP?) posted a while back (before that bombing of the Times Square recruiting station) that was put out by some official associated with the Pentagon (don't recall if it was branch-specific or intended for all military personnel - I'll see if I can find it after school [the kids are in music for the next 10 minutes...]). So, I'd tend to believe this is accurate...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at May 21, 2008 01:49 PM

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at May 21, 2008 01:52 PM

wear not where, geesh, I guess I'm showing my military intelligence ;)

Posted by: Mrs G at May 21, 2008 02:24 PM

-Do not discuss specifics about your occupation to outside solicitors

Hmmmm. An FTA official would have phrased that as "Do not disclose specifics of..."

Posted by: BillT at May 21, 2008 02:49 PM

Letting spies go off scott free, not hanging Valerie Plame or destroying her career, not executing State Department bureaucrats on the dole from the Saudis or leaking classified documents for media perks, all these types of things that weren't done just tells people

"hey, there's no cost to being a spy, saboteur, or traitor, so might as well attack, attack, attack cause there's great benefits to treason if the money's flowing and you can get it"

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 21, 2008 03:06 PM

Here is what I saw at Camp Shelby this week, truly ticked me off. Why are these things not in the MSM? Please, notify everyone you can and email, forward to all the news, local papers etc. We have got to shine a big giant spot light on these people and let them know this behavior will not be tolerated!!!

Posted by: tom carsley at May 21, 2008 07:56 PM

Now Tom, you mustn't question their patriotism. After all they 'support the troops'.

Posted by: Schnauzer at May 21, 2008 08:51 PM

As we await confirmation of authenticity, I will say that from the days when the SDS/Weathermen, hippies, anarchists and communists first found their collective voice in the 60's until today, the typical example of postremus Megaptera novaeangliae prodigo progressive protester has not, IMO, changed much, if at all.

Still lower than whale ______.

Posted by: bthun at May 21, 2008 11:51 PM

History repeating itself? Say it ain't so!

Sickening, as always...

Posted by: camojack at May 22, 2008 03:50 AM

I'm not sure that supporting the troops in getting killed in war for no reason is the same as supporting the troops in fighting the good and hard fight.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 22, 2008 09:16 AM