In 1971, pretty much as the war was almost over VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) gathered together to throw their Medals at the Capitol, while inside John Kerry delivered a speech, and gave testimony of atrocities uncovered during the "winter Soldier" Conference. For most people this was the ultimate display of defiance of a corrupt war that was no longer supported by even the people fighting it.
Reality, was a bit different. See in 1970, during the Cambodian Incursion US troops FINALLY stuck at the Ho Chi Mihn trail. They had finally gone on the offensive and tried to really solve the problem. Political back lash stopped them short of some key objectives that might have crippled the NVA even more. Indeed one of the last battled of the Vietnam War, which took place at FSB Ripcord, was the Army trying to Attack. See, right up until the end of ground combat, we really wanted to WIN, and a lot of the "disillusionment" came from an Administration (Johnson) that neither knew what to do with a military, or how to treat it. A war for Body Count was doomed to drag us down, and make Vietnam a pointless brawl. A war to keep Vietnam Free, that would have worked.
Now this scene of Veterans throwing their medals, has a lot of problems to it. For one, this was entirely a political stunt by the new Left, and as such it was meant to garner as much publicity as possible. Worse, it was found out after the fact that some of the people that threw medals weren't even Veterans. Inside, John Kerry was spinning tales of horror that shocked the conscience, that, truly horrified not only the nation but its leaders, and launched his forthcoming Tenure in the Senate.
One tiny little problem. A majority of it was false. Not only never happened but made up. It was found (much much later and with much investigation) that some of the most horrific tales of slaughter weren't told by actual Veterans, but by random people, some of them strung out on drugs. How many times have you heard the whole "ears on necklaces" meme? You think: it was a brutal war, seeking a body count of course that had to mess with people's heads. . . Yes it did. That does not mean that people would go around cutting off ears and stringing them around their uniform. You think someone, company commander, Bn Sergeant Major, or hell maybe even the guy's Battle Buddy, might have gotten that guy the hell out of there? Indeed when you actually live in the military you realize how ludicrous this meme is.
For most Americans this was the "turning point". But again that doesn't make sense, because the Turning point actually started in 1969 when Nixon began the Vietnamization program and started troop draw-downs. Indeed while there were still a few major battles to be fought, in terms of timing it would have been like someone protesting WWII after the US Army crossed the Rhine in January of '45. What VVAW actually accomplished has been hyper-inflated in both history, and popular culture. Now IVAW, which strangely enough seems to employ the same tactics as VVAW (to include having non-veterans and SMs who never set foot in the Area of Operations as members) has decided to hold their own medal tossing at NATO. Gee. Lets see what's wrong with this.
1). NATO never has, nor to my knowledge ever will have anything to do with Iraq. The US may come to Europe's aid if say the Balkans start acting up, or some EU yahoo gets it in their head to oust someone that should have been ousted decades ago, but don't expect them to reciprocate.
2). Iraq Veterans Against the War. . . ok. . . So War's over buddy. There might continue to be some SOCOM involvement but really the War (Second Gulf War, Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Global War on Terror- Iraq Front. . . take your pick, all are accurate all have been used) is OVER. You haven't seen any AVAW groups have you? So Iraq Veterans being against the War in Iraq makes a whole lot of sense protesting a completely different front with completely different history (and problems).
3). In all seriousness, a majority of the folks in IVAW beclown themselves by wearing partial uniforms, or dress in ways that are just plain stupid. Take the star of Occupy for a short while, Marine Sgt Shamar Thomas. He was yelling at NYPD (for no apparent reason) with Desert Marcam top and medals on. . . Wrong wrong WRONG! Almost immediately he was ripped a new one by Veterans (but most especially by Marines) and it was found out that his tales of Combat were greatly exaggerated. It might be the cool and hip thing to do to wear the uniform all jacked up, but to anyone that's actually worn the uniform it signals one thing Sh**bag. A worthless troop who probably isn't worth giving the time of day because he's a grade a screw up.
4). Lastly, what exactly do you hope to accomplish? A dozen guys at best throwing a bunch of brass and ribbon at a building where the people inside are never even going to see it, and during the backdrop of near riots from "peace" protestors. . . you're gesture will mean all of Jack and Squat. If anything it illustrates how foolish you are.
Of course we will no doubt be treated to round after round of people talking about it. I'm sure the next time anyone has a large meeting or hearing about the war we can expect to see the same over and over again. This pointless meme of Iraq=Vietnam has been debunked so many times that it almost elicits face palm when someone tries to bring it up again, but for the Again Hippies, and the children that for some bizarre reason want to follow in their footsteps this is the only meme they know, so they'll try again and again to get you to believe that meme too.
Actually when put in terms like that, I'm not sure which its more of; sad or pathetic.