Sunday, April 24, 2005

JANE FONDA: Aid & Comfort

Since Terry DuBose's appearance on Fox cable on 4/23, there has been much discussion about this topic. As a starting point, here are Scott Camil's comments:


Jane Fonda was a wealthy person who could have ignored the war and not been involved in controversy. She didn't have to worry about being drafted. She sacrificed her privacy to do what her conscience called for. I salute her for that. Yes, it may have been a mistake to allow herself to be photographed behind an anti-aircraft gun. People make mistakes. I don't know anyVietnam veterans, myself included, who would not change some of the things we did in Nam. We were young. It's more important to me what a person's motivations were rather than whether they made a mistake. I believe that Jane's motivations were pure, that she had no intentions to hurt us, the veterans. I had no intentions to kill innocent civilians, I just got caught up in the carnage. I think we should not let the other side frame the debate. How many mistakes did our government make?

They were wrong about the Gulf of Tonkin. They were wrong to violate the Geneva accords, signed andagreed to by both the French and the Vietnamese, the actual warring parties. There were many provisions that the United States violated, sending arms, training soldiers, installing Diem and so on. One of the main motivations for the US was to not allow the Vietnamese people to democratically elect a leader that would reunite the country of Vietnam. Why? Because we knew that Ho Chi Minh would win and that was unacceptable to us. (Mandate for Change, Dwight Eisenhower) Going to war to stop Democracy does not have any integrity. Trying to stopthat war is where the integrity is. The crimes of nixon and kissinger are also much worse than what Jane did. They lied about a secret plan to end the war. They rejected a treaty offer to end the war and then, after more than 20,000 moreAmerican lives were lost, many more wounded and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese killed and wounded, we accepted the treaty. To me, this crime so far overshadows Jane's mistake of sitting behind that gun that it is almost nonexistent in the big picture.

What's really going on is that the right wants to divert the attention away fromthe guilt of what our government did by starting this illegal war andits official conduct such as "Free Fire Zones", "Search and Destroy operations" and mostly using the dead as a measure of success officiallyknown as "Body Count". They never talk about things such as My Lai. The right also ignores things such as the use of agent orange and what that did to us and Vietnam. The right seeks to make all wars started byus just and moral and that is just not the case.

I think that on this issue we should be focused on what hell, suffering and death Jane and the Anti-War Movement were trying to stop. It's about honest attempts by citizens in a democracy to stop an illegalwar. It's about the steps that these people took to try to correct thelies being fed to the citizens of our democracy by the government to secure support for an immoral, illegal war. When you weigh Jane Fonda's mistake on one side of the scale and the Lies, conduct of our government and motivations of our government on theother side, Jane's mistake doesn't even register. Don't let them frame this debate.


THE EVIL LIE: Jimmy Massey


Jimmy Massey, founder of Iraq Vets for Peace and author of "Cowboy from Hell" recently spent a few days with Vets for Peace in Minneapolis. There was a good article about him in "The Pulse," that had this quote:

"I killed innocent people for our government, for what?
What is the good coming out of it?
I feel like I've taken part in some sort of evil lie
created by our government.
I just feel embarrassed, ashamed about it."

Lies our government tells us and expects us to foster -- the lies the Swifties carry the torch on -- seem key to what VetSpeak is all about. In many cases it isn't just war that creates PTSD (post-traumatic-stress disorder) for many veterans, it is the LIES we are expected to live, foster and defend that ruins faith, marriages and lives. Refuse and react -- and you become invisible and discredited by people like the Swifties who want to keep a rosy glow on America at all costs.

The vets among us resent having their patriotism and military records wrongfully discredited. They resent being labeled traitors, whistleblowers and worse for trying to bring America into balance with truth, heart -- and facts. We have all known people who live that way: Putting a rosy face on a life that is, at least in part, a house of cards. It is not a good way to conduct a life, and is not a good way to run a country. The world is pushing back against America -- and at the forefront are some of America's veterans who have paid a huge price for these lies, whether in Iraq, Vietnam or...

Sgt. John W. Kniffin, who recently passed away from side effects of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, once wrote: "I have taken an oath to defend the government and constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What do I do when my government becomes the greatest enemy of the constitution?"

Diane Ford Wood, author
Camouflage & Lace
Kniffin quote supplied by Vet supporter Nancy Miller Saunders