On November 21, 1970 Jane Fonda told a University of Michigan audience of some two thousand students, "If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would some day become communist." At Duke University in North Carolina she repeated what she had said in Michigan, adding "I, a socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist society, all the way to communism.
On August 22 1972, during an unauthorized visit to North Vietnam, Jane Fonda made a Broadcast over Radio Hanoi to American servicemen involved in the Indochina war.
On April 30 of 1999, ABC aired "A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women with Barbara Walters" honoring Hanoi Jane and others.
Read Michael D. Benge's letter and Jane Fonda's own words broadcast over Radio Hanoi below; then decide for your self if she deserves the honor.
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. [Emphasis added]
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!
Michael D. Benge
Broadcast Over Radio Hanoi To American Servicemen Involved In The Indochina War by Jane Fonda, American Actress, Political Activist.
August 22, 1972 - The following public domain information is a transcript from the US Congress House Committee on Internal Security, Travel to Hostile Areas, HR 16742, 19-25 September, 1972, page 671.
This is Jane Fonda. During my two week visit in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, I've had the opportunity to visit a great many places and speak to a large number of people from all walks of life--workers, peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women's union, writers.
I visited the (Dam Xuac) agricultural co-op, where the silk worms are also raised and thread is made. I visited a textile factory, a kindergarten in Hanoi. The beautiful Temple of Literature was where I saw traditional dances and heard songs of resistance. I also saw unforgettable ballet about the guerrillas training bees in the south to attack enemy soldiers. The bees were danced by women, and they did their job well.
In the shadow of the Temple of Literature I saw Vietnamese actors and actresses perform the second act of Arthur Miller's play All My Sons, and this was very moving to me--the fact that artists here are translating and performing American plays while US imperialists are bombing their country.
I cherish the memory of the blushing militia girls on the roof of their factory, encouraging one of their sisters as she sang a song praising the blue sky of Vietnam--these women, who are so gentle and poetic, whose voices are so beautiful, but who, when American planes are bombing their city, become such good fighters.
I cherish the way a farmer evacuated from Hanoi, without hesitation, offered me, an American, their best individual bomb shelter while US bombs fell near by. The daughter and I, in fact, shared the shelter wrapped in each others arms, cheek against cheek. It was on the road back from Nam Dinh, where I had witnessed the systematic destruction of civilian targets-schools, hospitals, pagodas, the factories, houses, and the dike system.
As I left the United States two weeks ago, Nixon was again telling the American people that he was winding down the war, but in the rubble-strewn streets of Nam Dinh, his words echoed with sinister (words indistinct) of a true killer. And like the young Vietnamese woman I held in my arms clinging to me tightly--and I pressed my cheek against hers--I thought, this is a war against Vietnam perhaps, but the tragedy is America's.
One thing that I have learned beyond a shadow of a doubt since I've been in this country is that Nixon will never be able to break the spirit of these people; he'll never be able to turn Vietnam, north and south, into a neo-colony of the United States by bombing, by invading, by attacking in any way. One has only to go into the countryside and listen to the peasants describe the lives they led before the revolution to understand why every bomb that is dropped only strengthens their determination to resist.
I've spoken to many peasants who talked about the days when their parents had to sell themselves to landlords as virtually slaves, when there were very few schools and much illiteracy, inadequate medical care, when they were not masters of their own lives.
But now, despite the bombs, despite the crimes being created--being committed against them by Richard Nixon, these people own their own land, build their own schools--the children learning, literacy--illiteracy is being wiped out, there is no more prostitution as there was during the time when this was a French colony. In other words, the people have taken power into their own hands, and they are controlling their own lives.
And after 4,000 years of struggling against nature and foreign invaders--and the last 25 years, prior to the revolution, of struggling against French colonialism--I don't think that the people of Vietnam are about to compromise in any way, shape or form about the freedom and independence of their country, and I think Richard Nixon would do well to read Vietnamese history, particularly their poetry, and particularly the poetry written by Ho Chi Minh.