Sorry, Jane, Apology Not Accepted
Jane Fonda wants the country to forgive her for her trip to Hanoi during the Vietnam war. But I say, “not yet.” The reason: she’s not really sorry! Read her new book, My Life So Far. Here’s what she says about her terrible visit to the enemy’s camp in July of 1972, when Richard Nixon had already begun pulling American troops out of South Vietnam and was trying to get the South Vietnamese to take over the fighting and working to bring our prisoners of war home:
” . . .I do not regret that I went. My only regret about the trip was that I was photographed sitting in a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun site.” (See page 291.)
Well, if she doesn’t regret making that trip, how can anyone forgive her? She admits that the photograph made it look as if she were merrily willing to gun down American pilots. And she’s “sorry” for the disturbing, but supposedly false, impression it gave. Her only objective, she insists, was to meet with the North Vietnamese to help end the war. But this excuse is nothing new, as the media are suggesting. She’s been saying virtually the same thing since her “20/20” interview with Barbara Walters in June of 1988. (See HUMAN EVENTS, July 2, 1988, issue.)
But that picture–dreadful as it was–was hardly the only appalling thing about that trip and the truth is she probably was ready and willing to shoot down American pilots. At the time she was in Hanoi, Fonda, for all practical purposes, was a Communist herself. She was certainly rooting for Ho Chi Minh’s military to defeat the “imperialist” United States of America involved in the supposedly “criminal” war against that lovely Red regime in the north. She fully embraced Communists, communism and revolutionaries in 1972 and way beyond that date. Her heroes were Black Panther thugs such as Huey Newton and Red dictators such as Fidel Castro.
We know of her revolutionary ardor because she used to run off at the mouth about her views. The Detroit Free Press, for instance, quotes her as saying in a Nov. 22,1969, Michigan State University speech: “I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become Communist.” That statement has been quoted for years (in HUMAN EVENTS among other places) and has never been denied and is certainly not apologized for (or explained away) in her new memoir.
Here’s another Fonda gem. On July 18, 1970, the People’s World, the West Coast’s Communist Party publication, carried a telephone interview with Fonda in which she said: “To make the revolution in the United States is a slow day by day job that requires patience and discipline. It is the only way to make it. . . . All I know is that despite the fact that I am one of the people who benefit from a capitalist society, I find that any system which exploits other people cannot and should not exist.”
Karen Elliott in the Dec. 11, 1971, Dallas Morning News reported that Fonda said at the University of Texas: “We’ve got to establish a Socialist economic structure that will limit private profit-oriented businesses. Whether the transition is peaceful depends on the way our present governmental leaders react. We must commit our lives to this transition. . . . We should be very proud of our new breed of soldier. It’s not organized but it’s mutiny, and they have every right.” (Emphasis added.)
Her broadcasts from Hanoi to U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers were not designed to “end the war,” as she pretends, but to give the Communist North Vietnamese a sweeping victory. She didn’t care a fig about the American soldiers or our POWs, as she now insists. In fact, she hurled the most venomous kinds of attacks upon her own country and threatened American GIs with war crime trials and executions if they tried to shield the South Vietnamese from a Communist takeover.
We know this because the House Internal Security Committee (HISC) compiled her 1972 broadcasts to U.S. and South Vietnamese servicemen. (That compilation and other Fonda statements can be found in Henry Mark and Erika Holzer’s well documented 2002 book, Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam.)
Here’s just a small sampling of her Leninist polemics against America:
To South Vietnamese soldiers she said: “We understand that Nixon’s aggression against Vietnam is a racist aggression, that the American war in Vietnam is a racist war, a white man’s war. . . “ And then: “We deplore that you are being used as cannon fodder for U.S. imperialism.”
To Saigon students: “A growing number of people in the United States not only demand an end to the war, an end to the bombing, a withdrawal of all–all U.S. troops and–an end to the support of the Thieu clique, but we identify with the struggle of your people. We have understood that we have a common enemy: U.S. imperialism. We have understood that we have a common struggle and that your victory will be the victory of the American people and all peace-loving people around the world.”
Again, to the students: “As an American woman, I would like to tell you that the forces that you are fighting against go far beyond the bombs and the technology. In our country, people are very unhappy, People have no reason for living.”
To U.S. servicemen: “I don’t know what your officers tell you that you are dropping on this country. I don’t know what your officers tell you, you are loading, those of you who load the bombs on the planes. But, one thing that you should know is that these weapons are illegal and that’s not, that’s not just rhetoric. They are outlawed, these kinds of weapons, by several conventions of which the United States was a signatory. . . . And the use of these bombs or the condoning the use of these bombs makes one a war criminal.
“The men who are ordering you to use these weapons are war criminals, according to international law, and, in the past, in Germany and in Japan, men who were guilty of these kinds of crimes were tried and executed.”
Jane Fonda tapes were played repeatedly to our POWs, many of whom expressed their outrage to the Holzers for having been branded “war criminals” and accused of “gratuitously killing innocent civilians.” “It’s difficult to put into words,” one ex-POW told the authors, “how terrible it is to hear that siren song that is so absolutely rotten and wrong.”
Having examined the content of her remarks, the late Brig. Gen. S. L.A. Marshall informed the HCIS: “There is no question about the intent of the Fonda broadcasts. The evidence prima facie is that the purpose is to demoralize and discourage, stir dissent and stimulate desertion.”
Does Fonda express regret for any of this? Not in her book. Nor in her April 3 interview with Leslie Stahl on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Did she have a “lapse of judgment,” Stahl wanted to know, in meeting with seven POWS in North Vietnam, “giving the appearance of a staged event at their expense?” Fonda: “No.” Nor, said Stahl, “does she apologize for making broadcasts on Radio Hanoi.”
She also does not honestly address the immense human tragedy that took place after the North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam and Pol Pot conquered Cambodia. Other anti-war activists had been bothered by what happened. Singer Joan Baez took out full-page newspaper ads in May1979, condemning Vietnam’s Communist rulers in the harshest language, urging them to “end the imprisonment and torture” of innocent men, women and children in the South. In addition to the ads, Baez sent out special packets to reporters detailing the horrors that had been documented in such publications as Le Monde and Le Figaro.
When this reporter asked Peter Necarsulmer, a Baez publicist, whether Fonda had been contacted on the mater, Necarsulmer said that Baez had twice tried to reach her by letter, one a “long and detailed” report explaining the situation. Unfortunately, said Necarsulmer, Jane never did respond. This incident, of course, is not even mentioned in Fonda’s book, let alone apologized for.
In short, Jane Fonda hasn’t really shown she’s sorry for anything, other than being “caught on camera” in a pose she almost certainly intended as an act of defiance against her own country.