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Jane Fonda's "Apology": New Whine in Old Bottles By: Henry Mark Holzer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, April 07, 2005


With the publication of Jane Fonda’s autobiography, the public in general and veterans in particular have once again been insulted by her contentless “apology” for a single episode in her multi-faceted junket to Hanoi in July 1972. Fonda’s charade on “60 Minutes” the other night was simply a robotic reprise of what she has been repeating as a mantra for years in words carefully crafted by her spin doctors.

In our 2002 book, Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, Erika Holzer and I wrote the following:

 

[After the Vietnam War ended], Fonda went on with her life – garnering more adulation as an actress; becoming a fitness guru; providing untold millions to her office-seeking politician husband Tom Hayden in support of an assortment of far-left causes; marrying media billionaire Ted Turner; establishing herself as a Hollywood icon; piling up award upon award; and recently pursuing other causes. But she has never been made to account for her wartime trip to North Vietnam.

 

Fonda’s seeming apology on Barbara Walters’ TV show “20/20” in 1988 was hollow and insincere – not to mention, incomplete. Her pose, she told Walters, on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American planes was “a thoughtless and cruel thing to have done.” She was sorry she had hurt the prisoners in the Hanoi Hilton, she had been “thoughtless and careless.” [This footnote followed the text]: During an interview in 2000 Fonda told Oprah Winfrey, “I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in antiaircraft carrier [sic.] which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes. That had nothing to do with the context that photograph was taken in. But it hurt so many soldiers. It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless. I wasn’t thinking; I was just so bowled over by the whole experience that I didn’t realize what it would look like.” The Washington Times, July 7, 2000, (commentary by Bruce Herschensohn). Fonda limiting her “apology” to the antiaircraft gun incident is yet another example of her attempt to minimize her activities in North Vietnam.  On February 9, 2001, Fonda was at it again on Walters’ “20/20” show. Walters said Fonda had been “against the war,” and the actress agreed, leaving the implication that being against the war justified her propagandizing for the enemy from its own soil. Yet millions of loyal Americans, who also opposed the war – including some much more prominent than Fonda – never traveled to the capital of a country that was killing our troops and torturing our prisoners. Fonda said, “It just kills me that I did things that hurt those men,” apparently referring to our POWs. It’s obvious she never bothered to find out how she hurt “those men” – men who were injured, sick, debilitated, and treated by their captors in a manner that in [our] book [we] could hardly bring [ourselves] to describe. She made no effort to learn the toll her activities took on the morale of our prisoners and men still in the field, nor the punishment some received for upholding their honor and refusing to meet with her. Worse…after repatriation was concluded on April 1, 1973, and the details of our POWs’ ordeal were revealed, Fonda called the returned POWs “liars and hypocrites” for reporting that they had been brutally tortured. Finally, Fonda told Walters and her viewers that hurting the prisoners was “not my intent.” In [our book] we spend dozens of pages discussing Fonda’s intent. One wonders what Fonda’s answer would have been if Walters had asked Fonda what her intent was. So, once more, the Jane and Barbara show allowed Fonda to offer yet another glib, superficial “apology,” just like her earlier ones, aimed at convincing the gullible that Hanoi Jane is truly sorry for what she did in North Vietnam. She is not. She never was. Once the full truth is known, even the gullible will not take seriously any more Fonda “apologies.”

 

What makes Fonda’s regret ring so hollow and self-serving are her revealing words in a 1989 interview, in which she stated categorically: “I did not, have not, and will not say that going to North Vietnam was a mistake…I have apologized only for some of the things that I did there, but I am proud that I went.” [This footnote followed the text]: Even genuine repentance on Fonda’s part would not have erased…what she had done in Hanoi.

 

Jane Fonda’s conduct in Hanoi is examined at length in Aid and Comfort. To summarize:

 

·        Touring the so-called “War Crimes” museum in the company of North Vietnamese Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, and there making pro-Communist and anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Touring a North Vietnamese hospital in the company of North Vietnamese Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, and there making pro-Communist and anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Touring dikes and populated areas in the company of North Vietnamese Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, and there making pro-Communist and anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Touring the North Vietnamese countryside in the company of North Vietnamese Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, and there making pro-Communist and anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Making a live broadcast, through the radio facilities of the North Vietnamese regime, containing pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda, which broadcast was taped for later replay.

 

·        Touring a textile center in the company of North Vietnamese Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, and there making pro-Communist and anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Making a second live broadcast, through the radio facilities of the North Vietnamese regime, containing pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda, which broadcast was taped for later replay.

 

·        Meeting with seven captured American airmen and haranguing them with pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda.

 

·        Being interviewed by a French journalist and continuing to make her pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda statements.

               

·        Making a third live broadcast, through the radio facilities of the North Vietnamese regime, containing pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda, which broadcast was taped for later replay.

 

·        Holding a press conference in Hanoi, where she described her activities since arriving in North Vietnam, and continuing to make her pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        Making a fourth live broadcast, through the radio facilities of the North Vietnamese regime, containing pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda, which broadcast was taped for later replay.

 

·        Making two more live broadcasts on one day, through the radio facilities of the North Vietnamese regime, containing pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda, which broadcasts were taped for later replay.

 

·        Meeting with North Vietnamese Vice Premier Nguyen Duy Trinh and continuing to make her pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda statements.

 

·        In the company of Communist civilian and military officials and members of the international press, posing in the control seat of a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, feigning taking sight on an imaginary American aircraft, and, by her conduct and words, continuing to make her pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda statements.

 

Has anyone heard an “apology” for any of this from Hanoi Jane?

Henry Mark Holzer, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, is a constitutional lawyer and author most recently of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, 1991-2006, A Conservative’s Perspective.



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