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KUHNER: Humbling Hanoi Jane
Fonda whines when dissed by capitalist system she once condemned
Question of the Day
Hanoi Jane has been humbled. Recently, the home shopping channel QVC canceled a scheduled appearance by Jane Fonda. The actress was supposed to discuss her latest book, "Prime Time." She is shocked and angry that QVC disinvited her because of mounting public opposition.
"The network said they got a lot of calls," Ms. Fonda wrote on her personal blog, "criticizing me for my opposition to the Vietnam War and threatening to boycott the show if I was allowed to appear." She added: "I am, to say the least, deeply disappointed that QVC caved to this kind of insane pressure by some well-funded and organized political extremist groups."
QVC is right. In fact, they should never have invited her in the first place. Ms. Fonda did more than oppose the Vietnam War: She actively aided and abetted the enemy. Like many in the anti-war '60s left, she was a traitor who openly supported the North Vietnamese communists. For years, Ms. Fonda has sought to cynically and mendaciously obfuscate her moral culpability.
The great liberal myth - the basis of the modern new left - is that the '60s represented a triumph for freedom and social justice. All of the "liberation" movements - homosexual rights, multiculturalism and radical feminism - stem from that turbulent decade. Yet, at its core was opposition to the Vietnam War. For peaceniks, America's involvement in that conflict reflected the country's profound sins: racism, imperialism and militarism. Only a humiliating defeat could cleanse the United States of its chauvinistic, evil nature.
This is why anti-war activists, such as Ms. Fonda, championed a victory by the Viet Cong. They celebrated North Vietnam's Marxist dictator, Ho Chi Minh, as a "peasant reformer" and "nationalist" who sought only one noble goal: to reunify his nation free from imperial domination. The '60s left even referred to him as "Uncle Ho" - a beloved elder patriotic statesman. According to Ms. Fonda and other radicals such as Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Noam Chomsky, the war marked the defining event in the crisis of capitalism. The burgeoning peace movement would act as the catalyst, the vanguard for utopian socialism. "Bring the revolution home," went the slogan.
Hence, Ms. Fonda was not just an activist, but a self-styled revolutionary. She went to Hanoi in 1972, publicly praised the workers' paradise and sat on top of a North Vietnamese ant-aircraft gun - one that was targeting U.S. planes and U.S. boys. She cheered the murder of Americans. Her actions gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Her intention was to demoralize American public opinion and discredit the war effort. In the end, the left succeeded. America pulled out, the war was lost and South Vietnam fell to the communist North.
Vietnam has been over for decades. Liberals romanticize it as the heroic struggle of the '60s. Their Orwellian narrative - false as it is malevolent - is that U.S. withdrawal led to regional peace and security. The very opposite occurred: The victory by North Vietnam unleashed a holocaust. Rampaging communist forces summarily executed more than 100,000 civilians. Vietnam's ethnic Chinese community was exterminated. A totalitarian state was erected. More than 1.5 million boat people took to the high seas - many of them drowning in dangerous waters. Hanoi would wage a war of aggression against Laos, wiping out the Hmong tribe. The declension of American power also resulted in Cambodia's fall to communism. The Khmer Rouge - initially armed and supported by Hanoi - massacred more than 2 million Cambodians. America's defeat led to the "Killing Fields."
Ms. Fonda bears significant responsibility for these atrocities. She urged U.S. withdrawal. She glorified the murderous North Vietnamese communists. She misrepresented the true nature of Ho's regime and of the war itself. Rather than being a struggle for national liberation, Vietnamsignified the Marxist conquest of the South. It's akin to Stalinist North Korea having defeated South Korea in 1953 - a significantsetback, not a victory, for human freedom. To suggest otherwise is to engage in dishonest propaganda or pathetic self-delusion.
The Vietnamese have had to live with the tragic consequences of Marxist-Leninism. Ms. Fonda, however, hasn't. She couldn't last a day in communist Vietnam. Instead, she went on to become a Hollywood actress and sell millions of workout videos. Like most new leftists, she gorged on American capitalism while simultaneously demonizing it. She mouthed revolutionary socialism but made millions catering to shallow consumerism.
Ms. Fonda embodies the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the '60s left. Its seminal idea boils down to one impulse: hatred of "Amerika," which was spelled with a "k" to suggest its fascist undertones. New-age liberalismrepresented the politics of illusion and self-loathing - the refusal to acknowledge that, for all of its flaws, the United States has been the greatest force for good in modern political history.
Her treasonous behavior and shameful past are why viewers did not want Ms. Fonda on QVC. This boycott should continue until she stops peddling the false image of a misunderstood, aggrieved and noble peace activist. There was nothing noble in what she or her fellow radicals did. Just ask the people of Vietnam.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.
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