Last week, while promoting the new feature “The Butler,” Jane Fonda commented on portraying conservative icon Nancy Reagan. “I don’t think that whatever differences there might be in our politics really matters,” she said. True, actors need not reflect the outlook, abilities or personality of the people they portray – another interesting contrast in the same movie is Robin Williams being cast as Dwight D. Eisenhower.
But while she was talking about portraying the wife of preeminent Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan – the man who said “It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas” — Fonda, with no evident sense of irony, was wearing a shirt bearing the image of herself as Hanoi Jane. It was a raised middle finger to the Vietnam veterans she once said she was sorry she hurt.
Fonda went to North Vietnam in July 1972 on a communist propaganda junket. Pictures of her tour – famously sitting on an anti-aircraft gun that was used to shoot at American planes – became durable images of the anti-war movement. At the time she said, ““If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist.” The idea of praying to an atheistic creed called into question whether Fonda herself understood the first thing about communism. But Fonda was an outspoken critic of the war effort at home and abroad, and her celebrity gave her access to the media and a façade of credibility.
Veterans of the conflict in Southeast Asia never forgave Fonda for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. In a 1988 interview with Barbara Walters, Fonda tried to make amends. “I was trying to help end the killing and the war,” she said, “but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I’m…very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families.” Her trip to North Vietnam was sloughed off as a youthful indiscretion.
Now, apparently, Hanoi Jane is back. The hard left view of Vietnam has become institutionalized, and she can fly her true colors once again. She is not alone. Last week President Obama, meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, repeated the myth that Ho Chi Minh was an admirer of Thomas Jefferson and the principles of the Founders. In fact Ho was a founding member of the French Communist Party, and a committed Stalinist. He used Jefferson’s words to try to curry favor with the United States at the end of World War Two, seeking sympathy in his struggle against French colonialism. But this was a cynical ploy that failed. When Ho took power, anyone who openly espoused Jefferson’s ideals was asking to be liquidated. The only people who believed in Ho the Jefferson worshipper were American “useful idiots.” But Mr. Obama was weaned in that milieu, the Ayers/Wright/Alinksy radical wasteland.
So the President of the United States gives life to a myth discredited by any serious student of history, and condones the worst radicalism of a vacant, nihilistic era. Fonda meanwhile trashes her own alleged sympathy for the Vietnam vets while mockingly promoting her role as the wife of the greatest communist stopper of all time. Everyone associated with the Nancy Reagan film should be ashamed. We are presented with a clear choice — watch a true anti-American communist apologist ply her trade on the screen, or support the truth about America by staying away and spreading the word why you made that choice. It should be boycotted by anyone who opposes brutal communist regimes, re-education camps, and mass murder.
Phillip Jennings, Captain, USMC (ret) served in Southeast Asia 1965-70, and is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War. James S. Robbins is Deputy Editor of Rare and author of This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive.