Monday, January 5, 2009

Fonda - Old News Still Rankles

January 5, 2009
Fort Collins, CO

Following at the end of this post is one of many variations of e-mails that circulate about Jane Fonda in reference to her nefarious activities during the Vietnam War. I received this one before the holidays and it was suggested I debunk it or at least confirm its authenticity. Actually, I didn't have to look far to find that some of the claims made in this email are false while others are all too true. I have included links to these sources.

In 1999, Jane Fonda was indeed profiled on ABC in A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women hosted, I believe by Barbara Walters. The same program profiled Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey. (FYI: none of these women, including Walters would make my top 100 list). The fact that ten years later, the idea of Jane Fonda honored in such a manner still rankles speaks volumes.

In July 1972, Fonda visited Hanoi. She engaged in spreading anti-war propaganda, belittled the United States government, our president and blatantly accused our soldiers of being war mongers, killers and worse - liars. In North Vietnam, Fonda was photographed seated on an anti-aircraft battery. She also participated in several radio broadcasts on behalf of the Communist regime, asking US aircrews to consider the consequences of their actions. During this visit she also visited American prisoners of war (POWs). When cases of torture began to emerge among POWs returning to the United States, Fonda called the returning POWs "hypocrites and liars." She added, "These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed." On the subject of torture in general, Fonda told The New York Times in 1973, "I'm quite sure that there were incidents of torture... but the pilots who were saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that's a lie."

Is FREE Speech in regard to Fonda's misadventures during the Vietnam War in play here? Most certainly, it is. That argument has been made time and again. I might add, not very convincingly. What some fail to realize, apparently Fonda among them, is that when exercising that LIBERTY for which so many have fought and died -- one must also be prepared to LIVE with the repercussions of our words as well as our actions.

It should go without saying, sorry doesn't mean much to those who were betrayed. Just to be clear on what some say qualifies as an apology -- Fonda did not really apologize -- and says she will not ever apologize. What she was sorry about was the fact that she posed for photos which depict her as being undeniably the traitor she is. A picture is worth a thousand words... or a thousand apologies... I guess... or so say they say...

From a 1989 interview: “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.”

No matter how long she lives or how much she accomplishes in her lifetime, she will always be Hanoi Jane to most, and thus, lower than pond scum to most. By most, I mean, those intelligent, articulate, informed individuals who can read between the lines and hear the insincerity in Fonda's claims of miscreant youth and maligned idealism. By most, I mean those of us who sat on the edge of the sofa during the Vietnam War hoping the little bomb and battle icons on the nightly news maps were far from where we believed our loved ones were stationed. Since communication was far from being the instant gratification it is these days, if those bomb icons were too close for comfort, we would worry for days and sometimes weeks before we learned that loved one was safe. In July of 1972, I was 16 years old, with the responsibility of my own family, including a husband in the USAF. Needless to say, I have a bit of trouble with Fonda's claims of irresponsible youth at age 34.

No matter how close Fonda was to the action, her status as Fortunate Daughter did not place her in harm's way -- nor did she have to worry for her loved ones during that time. Does that rankle? You bet it does.

Sadly, Fonda and those of her ilk still out there making noise that no one is really listening to can only survive on what she was -- once-upon-a-mostly-forgettable-time. Fonda's claim to fame doesn't amount to more than a flea stuck on Barbarella's butt. Why give her more credence than her due?

To the best of my knowledge, at least part of the e-mail I received can be attributed to the following letter:

Shame on Jane
By Michael Benge
To whom it may concern:

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Viet Nam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Viet Nam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi.

My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border.

At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.). We were Jane Fonda’s "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as "humane and lenient."

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel rebar placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped. Jane Fonda had the audacity to say that the POWs were lying about our torture and treatment.

Now ABC is allowing Barbara Walters to honor Jane Fonda in her Feature "100 Years of Great Women." Shame, shame on Jane Fonda! Shame, shame on Barbara Walters! Shame, shame on 20-20. Shame, shame on ABC. And, shame, shame on the Disney Company.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released [in 1973]. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me, her husband, Tom Hayden, answered for her. She was mind controlled by her husband.

This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as "100 Years of Great Women." After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the antiwar movement. I said that I held Joan Baez’s husband in very high regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and went to prison in protest.

If the other antiwar protesters took this same route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended the war much earlier, and there wouldn’t be as many on that somber black granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is democracy. This is the American way.

Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to Hanoi, wore their uniform, propagandized for the communists, and urged American soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs murdered, she called us liars.

After her heroes—the North Vietnamese communists—took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head forever. Shame! Shame!

Respectfully,
Michael D. Benge

cc: Mr. Eisner, Walt Disney Co.

Mike Benge was a civilian POW from 28 Jan 68 - 5 Mar 73
http://www.1stcavmedic.com/shame_on_jane.htm

Snopes.com has a rather lengthy article which pretty much covers the claims made below and is worth the read. http://www.snopes.com/military/fonda.asp

She's Still Hanoi Jane by By Robert J. Caldwell, April 10, 2005 is another good article: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050410/news_mz1e10caldwl.html

Jane Fonda's "Apology": New Whine in Old Bottles by Henry Mark Holzer, FrontPageMagazine.com, Thursday, April 07, 2005 lists, among other things Fonda's activities in VietNam. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=F509F51F-D635-4987-B3ED-2FBA348AF97B

This is the email I received:

Just a reminder of who she really is!!!!!
SHE REALLY WAS A TRAITOR!!
In Memory of my brother -in- law
LT. C.Thomsen Wieland
who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton

IF YOU NEVER FORWARDED ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE
FORWARD THIS SO THAT EVERYONE WILL KNOW!!!!!!

She really is a traitor…

A TRAITOR IS ABOUT TO BE HONORED
KEEP THIS MOVING ACROSS AMERICA

This is for all the kids born in the 70's who do not remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear.

Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.' BY BARBRA WALTERS.

Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot.

The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the 'Hanoi Hilton.' Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.

He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant's feet, which sent that officer berserk. In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton', the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a peace delegation visit. They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper. Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day. I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam , and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years...

I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs...).

We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals.'

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would
be willing to meet with her. I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient.' Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane. I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.

These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget...' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.

There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in
blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.

RONALD D. SAMPSON, CMSgt, USAF

PLEASE HELP BY SENDING THIS TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SEE THIS MAYBE HER STATUS WILL CHANGE