January 27, 2007

Bring Me The Hide ...

... of the moron that would do this at today's peace protest in Washington D.C.:

... There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administrationís policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back. ...

Seriously, WTF!? As this post by MissLaura at DailyKos points out, Vietnam-era stories of alleged spitting appear to have been largely apocryphal, but they've blown up into some sort of axiomatic thing that where there were war protestors, they were spitting on vets. Jesus.

Considering the context and the way this story is bound to get exaggerated, repeated and used to brand every single person that showed up at that protest, including and especially the organizers, it'd be nice if the reporter who wrote this story had been more specific about what happened. They apparently didn't see it themselves, an argument was involved, and someone with a vested interest in discrediting the protest is here making a highly specific claim. One that just happens to dovetail with a popular story about Vietnam that every American with a functional frontal lobe has heard. It includes no details whatever about whether the alleged spitter was with a particular group, was male or female, nothing.

If this happened, I'm sure it would be widely and uniformly condemned among those opposed to the war. If it didn't, it's a high stakes thing to allege.

Update: A watchful kossack looked up Joshua Sparling and found that he was a featured guest at last year's state of the union address. Also, ironically, the reporter for the NYT piece wrote an article a while ago on the Bush administration's use of psy-ops. So yeah, I'm not going to take Sparling's word that this happened the way he says it did.

Update the second: Digby takes this 'spitting protestor' story to the woodshed in two consecutive posts. Interesting that at least three noisily publicized and easily caricatured victimizations at the hands of dirty, anti-war hippies have happened to this same, 24 year old wounded veteran.

Bring me the hide of the editor who decided to give this story the green light.

Posted by natasha at January 27, 2007 08:33 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |