There is sizable element within the Republican Party who are never-enlisted warmongers and chickenhawks—like South Carolina Republican Party's hateful political operative Todd Kincannon—who secretly wish antiwar veterans dead in body bags. Last week, Kincannon went on a diatribe on Twitter against antiwar activist and Iraq War veteran Michael Prysner, saying that Prysner should have "come home in a body bag."
What Kincannon wrote on Twitter was disgusting. Sadly, this sentiment is shared by many in the Republican Party. This is not an exaggeration. When I participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, a lot of the signs I produced for our group were specifically antiwar. The slime that was directed at us from passersby because of those signs were always dripping with partisan language.
Because, after all, it was unthinkable even then that someone could be against wars under both Democrat and Republican presidents, and anyone protesting the wars must be an Obama-loving peacenik. However, the worst insults were always reserved for the Veterans for Peace contingent of which I was also a member.
What could explain this hatred? I believe it is simply the matter of their patriotism being implicitly challenged, particularly among chickenhawks, by veterans who served their country and came back questioning American imperialism. There is a discomfort in knowing that you did not have the courage to put your own life on the line in a war you eagerly supported only then to be confronted by someone who did and who can call you out for being a coward.