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Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist,
author and a popular speaker. Born into a military
family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East
Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces
service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation
from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both
the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive
for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work,
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is
based in large part on his extensive experience in
Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman.
[go to Cucullu index]
Jane Rides Again
An empty, phony apology…
[Gordon Cucullu] 4/14/05
- nor a bogus apology - will make veterans’ hearts
Fonda. As part of her Extreme Makeover 2005 Jane Fonda is back
out on the talk show circuit peddling her new book and, no surprise
from someone whose life is defined by self-absorbtion, herself.
Much has been made, particularly among the usual liberal subjects,
about her ‘apology’ for her actions in support of
North Vietnam during the war. Given their prejudices in the affair
Fonda’s supporters think that no apology is necessary and
that Jane has demonstrated great character in tendering one.
In the opinion of some of these fuzzy-headed interlocutors now
that Fonda has ‘apologized’ for her actions, those
she wronged – primarily American Vietnam Veterans and their
families - are in turn required to forgive her. This is all couched
under the smoke of History Lite.
Ever since her treasonous
behavior in the 1970s Jane Fonda has been trying to recoup.
Her behavior during her trip to North
Vietnam was so awful that on return she recognized that her image
was damaged, not fatally but seriously, with a large audience
segment. Her actions hurt her financially at the time and continue
to do so. As a consequence, in every one of her periodic ‘comebacks’ she
offers some highly qualified exculpatory remark about her behavior
that media sycophants leap upon as evidence that she has ‘apologized’ to
Vietnam veterans. Supposedly her self-serving statements then
wipe out all previous guilt. Any veteran not big enough to accept
these bogus apologies is then made to feel small minded by comparison.
This has been a repeated pattern that we see once again in the
Jane 2005 remake.
I for one, do not
accept that she has even offered a genuine apology. If Fonda
were sincerely apologetic it would not be necessary
for her to speak in such highly qualified, guarded language.
From kindergarten on we have all learned that when we make a
mistake we say ‘I’m sorry.’ If our apology
is real we demonstrate it by modified behavior. There is nothing
complicated or mysterious about it. It is when we reach adulthood
that we learn how to craft language so that our apologies become
non-apologies. We pick and choose our words and phrases so that
they seem to imply more than they really do. Having an on-staff
publicist and ghostwriter to wordsmith it helps also.
Fonda has used a couple
of techniques in her bogus apology that become apparent upon
more than casual examination. First, she
consistently avoided using any phraseology that conveyed sorrow
for her behavior that might have harmed others. Her real focus
is, as it as always been, on herself, not on those she hurt.
So she dwells on such phrases as ‘regret’ and ‘unfortunate’ as
if her actions were beyond her control. By seeming to deflect
responsibility to some outside power she then aims to escape
self-criticism. Further she very disingenuously attempts to focus
all attention on the well-known photo of a grinning Jane Fonda
seated behind a large caliber North Vietnamese anti-aircraft
gun, clapping her hands in glee. This, she refers to as a ‘momentary
lack of sanity that has haunted me my entire life.’ More
self-absorbed language designed to divert attention. As with
most of her life, the visit to Vietnam was all about her and
remains so in her mind today.
If all Fonda had done
was to visit North Vietnam – America’s
enemy in a shooting war – and pose on a weapon that was
killing her fellow Americans, that act in itself would be bad
enough. And it would be understandable if she apologized for
doing it by explaining that it was an irrational act. Everyone
tries to find some excuse for bad behavior. But Fonda never apologizes
for the gun scene. Instead she expresses regret that she was
caught posing on the gun. That is what has ‘haunted’ her.
In Fonda’s mind the act was natural, maybe even positive,
but the adverse publicity that resulted was ‘unfortunate.’
What Fonda fails to
mention let alone apologize for is her egregious behavior toward
American prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese.
She had these men brought to her – cleaned up and dressed
in new prison uniforms for the occasion – and charged each
one with ‘war crimes,’ ‘bombing the innocent
people of North Vietnam,’ and other absurdities. If the
POWs tried to pass a message to her she reported that prisoner
to the North Vietnamese captors who tortured and frequently murdered
the prisoner. One group, intending to get the message out that
they were alive, wrote their names and social security numbers
on tiny bits of paper that they passed to Fonda while she came
down the row shaking hands and accusing them of horrific war
crimes. ‘We felt that it had to be an act,’ one American
pilot said later, ‘we thought that no one could be that
naïve.’ Fonda accepted each piece of paper that was
surreptitiously passed to her. Then after reaching the end of
the line, without blinking an eye, Fonda turned to her North
Vietnamese host and dumped the papers into his hands. Of that
group three of the men were tortured to death. One barely survived
and related the story.
After 1973 when the
POWs were released one of the first questions they asked was ‘Is Jane Fonda in prison?’ Certainly
that is an understandable question. In addition to her actions
that contributed directly to the torture and mistreatment of
American POWs she also made many propaganda statements over Radio
Hanoi that were intended to undermine the war effort. She issued
bubble-headed comments like ‘if we understood what communism
was we would all fall on our knees and beg to be communists.’ Her
reprehensible actions link her directly to the deaths of several
POWs. She should have been charged. Others, like Tokyo Rose and
Axis Sally in World War II, were tried after the war and served
time in prison for simple propaganda broadcasts in support of
an enemy in wartime.
Fonda skated then because of the large anti-war bias among the
media elite and the hard left in this country. It was not considered
wise to prosecute Fonda and others like her who gave aid and
comfort to the enemy. We were as a nation were preoccupied with
exiting Vietnam at any cost, and were obsessed with destroying
the president via Watergate. It was decidedly not popular even
to discuss prosecuting traitors that some portrayed as heroic
anti-war protestors. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that Fonda
will ever have to answer for her treasonous behavior before a
court of law. That is the unfortunate reality.
Nevertheless, if Jane Fonda was really sorry for her actions
she is smart enough to know how to say so clearly, directly and
without duplicitous weasel wording. She could make a sincere,
unqualified, non-self absorbed apology that might carry some
weight with men and women who suffered incredible pain as a result
of her traitorous actions. That she has not done so despite of
the passage of time and with the perspective of history demonstrates
much about her present mindset. She has not changed a bit, but
is continuing her life story of personal aggrandizement at the
expense of those she loathes and despises. Among most Vietnam
veterans the feeling is mutual. As a veteran myself, I urge my
fellow Americans: not to buy into yet another phony attempt at
a remake by this execrable woman. tRO
about North Korea? Learn more in Gordon’s
best-selling book Separated
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became
the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now.
Gordon Cucullu 2005