Robert L. Jamieson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a column about a parade announcer and people in the crowd abusing a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was carrying a Veterans For Bush sign, so this should be taken in context, but he was called "baby killer" and "murderer", just like the vets that came back from Vietnam.
A few weeks ago I started a post predicting that this sort of thing would make a comeback. I didn't post because I couldn't find some citations I needed. I started thinking about this when Daily Kos scorned the contractors killed in Fallujah. He said they deserved what they got because they were mercenaries. Yet somehow I doubted that Kos was really all that picky about who their employers where. I suspected that he simply feared to reveal his general contempt for US military personnel.
During that time period, Atrios said several times that he was really on the side of the troops because he wanted to bring them home, but he also wrote that he believed they were engaging in atrocities and cruelty over there.
It has become a commonplace in some Democrat circles that US servicemen are dupes. They are the underprivileged, the poor and stupid, who only join because they want an easy job or a college education. Even a couple of national Democrat politicians expressed views like this. The reason I never posted on this is because I couldn't find those quotes. I still can't, but now that Michael Moore has endorsed the idea in his enormously popular mockumentary I suppose I don't need any more evidence.
And then there was the reaction to Pat Tillman's death.
Apparently, many Democrats divide the military up into two camps, the poor, stupid, minority dupes, and the gung ho, white, patriotic warmongers. Clearly people in the second class deserved to be spit at and called baby killers. And for that matter, since all the US soldiers are committing horrible war crimes like at Abu Grahaib, the dupes don't ultimately deserve any better.
Combine this with the fact that many Democrat activists have fond memories of spitting on returning Vietnam vets, and you have the recipe for a return to the Vietnam nastiness. Until now, they have been kept in check by a feeling that swing voters would turn against them if they showed how they really feel. But over time the fringe elements will come to care less about politics and more about their own rage. Especially as the election nears and it becomes clear that John Kerry doesn't stand a chance.
If the left does start attacking vets then America needs to react better than we did after Vietnam. We need to organize counter protests. We need to be there to protect them because they were there to protect us.