There was something ideologically appropriate about the 81-year-old Jane Fonda receiving a lifetime achievement award from Michael Moore at his recent film festival. They have plenty in common. Both are limousine leftists who praise vicious communist regimes like Hugo Chavez’s. Both hate capitalism but love its creature comforts.
But there the comparisons end. Try as he might, Moore has yet to achieve Fonda’s level of America-hating.
For the ‘80s generation, Fonda is the spandex-clad celebrity who performed in aerobic exercise videos. But to the older generation of baby boomers, she is either a leftwing hero or a traitor, based on how close one was to the prison camps of North Vietnam.
The most notorious visual example of Fonda’s treason against the United States during the Vietnam War was her sitting atop a Vietcong anti-aircraft gun that shot down numerous American planes. Surrounded by Vietcong officials, she positively glowed.
To her credit, Fonda did apologize for this: “I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in an anti-aircraft gun, which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes. It hurt so many soldiers. It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless.”
But there is much more she should apologize for. Today, she states that her activism was to save American lives, but she was actually vociferously pro-Vietcong. Traveling eight times to North Vietnam, she did propaganda broadcasts for the regime.
In one broadcast, she compared American pilots to Nazi war criminals: “Use of these bombs or condoning the use of these bombs makes one a war [like those] in Germany and Japan, men who committed these kinds of crimes were tried and executed.” By contrast, she lauded the Vietcong as conducting a “brave and heroic fight.”
The most disgusting aspects of her activism concerned American prisoners of war who were tortured by their Vietcong captors. When the returning POWS spoke of this, she mocked them as “liars” and “hypocrites.”
Many reported later that refusing to meet with her while they were in captivity resulted in more torture. David Hoffman, an American POW, later told his story:
When Jane Fonda turned up, she asked that some of us come out and talk with her. No one wanted to. The guards got very upset, because they sensed the propaganda value of a famous American war protester proving how well they were treating us. A couple of guards came to my cell and ordered me out. I resisted, and they got violently angry. My arm had been broken when I was shot down, and the Vietnamese broke it a second time. It had not healed well, and they knew it caused me great pain. They twisted it. Excruciating pain ripped through my body. Still I resisted and they got more violent, hitting me and shouting, ‘You must go!’…I was dragged to see Fonda. I decided to play the role. I knew if I didn’t, not only would I suffer–but the other guys would be tortured or beaten or worse.
When American aid was withdrawn from South Vietnam in 1975 and the North invaded the South, the result was a bloodbath. North Vietnam imprisoned and tortured 150,000 South Vietnamese. Horrified, former anti-war activist Joan Baez and 84 others wrote a New York Times article asking the Vietcong to stop the torture. Fonda refused.
Moore has yet to engage in this blatant treason. Until he plops himself on an al-Qaeda anti-aircraft gun and calls American POWs in al-Qaeda’s blood-stained hands healthy and happy, he will not match Fonda, who is less a “useful idiot” and more a conscious traitor.