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Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam Hardcover – 31 May 2002

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly, Thorough Discussion of Treason 19 Nov. 2006
By Beth Fox - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is now more than 30 years since the last Americans left Saigon, and while most of the embers stoked in the 1960s have cooled, the visit by anti-war activist Jane Fonda to North Vietnam still inflames many. Given the temperature of the topic, any indictment of Fonda should be documented thoroughly and analyzed rigorously. The review of Fonda's activities should be divorced from any discussion of the merit of the war itself (or whether the United States was right to have been involved.) This book fits the bill on all counts.

Unsurprisingly, since one of the authors is a law professor emeritus, this book is written as a legal brief would be: the Holzers discuss the facts in detail; then explain the law; and finally apply the law to the facts. "Aid and Comfort" starts with a discussion of Fonda's early life and her involvement as a young adult with left-leaning French friends of her then-husband Roger Vadim. None of this background is necessary for the indictment, as Fonda's motive in going to Vietnam is irrelevant -- what counts are her acts. Nonetheless, it is interesting, and provides a picture of a very insecure woman whose political opinions were formed and shaped by the men with whom she was involved.

The next chapter is a harrowing discussion of the treatment of American POWs by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. It is hard to read, but is necessary to demonstrate the effects that Fonda's words would have on these servicemen. After all, broadcasting propoganda aimed at destroying the spirit of those who were barely clinging to life is more serious than disseminating it to a well-fed population with other sources of news. (In either case, as the Holzers demonstrate, a charge of treason could be levied.) The authors then discuss Fonda's actual speeches (reproduced in full at the end of the book.) They make an eye-popping read. I was unaware, for example, that Fonda had falsely accused the POWs themselves of taking anti-war positions -- a charge which could only sap the strength and morale of these men when the broadcasts were later played to them.

The Holzers then devote two chapters to a detailed discussion of the law of treason. Although legal discussions sometimes can be dry for non-lawyers, the facts of the cases (including the prosecutions of "Axis Sally" and "Tokyo Rose") are interesting and the authors clearly explain the standards for treason. The book then demonstrates why there is enough evidence against Fonda to at least bring a case to a jury. That the government did not do so was due more to the politics of the time than any lack of proof.

Many believe that we should put the Vietnam War behind us and stop ripping scabs off festering wounds. This, in my opinion, is the wrong way to view it. As with Holocaust survivors, the POWs of Vietnam need some measure of justice, no matter how late it comes. While the US government will never actually prosecute Fonda, this book provides necessary healing by trying -- and convicting -- Fonda in the "moral" court.
88 of 110 people found the following review helpful
A thorough review of historico-legal precedent. 15 Jun. 2002
By Phil Dragoo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a historico-legal research and summary of the applicable treason law--as actually applied to convict and sentence other American citizens who gave aid and comfort to our enemies during armed conflict.
The author clearly shows that Jane Fonda's actions in 1972 would have brought her case to a grand jury. Based on comparison to the actions of convicted American citizens during WWII, Jane Fonda would likely have been convicted as well.
The eight-minute O'Reilly Factor in which author Professor Henry Mark Holzer confronted Fonda's former husband and comrade Tom Hayden is devastating to observe. Hayden falls back on a lame First Amendment defense, and cannot even grasp that North Vietnamese leaders themselves said Fonda had given them the strength to continue.
The American citizens who broadcast for the Nazis and Japanese propaganda radio in WWII were convicted on less evidence than is displayed concerning Fonda's July, 1972 work for the North Vietnamese.
That the U.S. Department of Justice failed to prosecute for fear of a public relations backlash seems in retrospect cowardly and badly reasoned.
The service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines was valiant, and their betrayal by Fonda is a vile thing to behold. Her betrayal of the duties of a citizen is clear, and resonates in the cases of John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla.
Aid and Comfort is relevant for then and now.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Compelling case against Fonda 20 July 2011
By Michael M. Rosenblatt - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Many people protested this war, both actively and passively. Some even went to prison as a "fruit" of their protest. Some went to Canada to avoid the draft. Many took part in various public events and protests. Whether you choose to indict that large group or not, it is true that (almost) none of them went to give "aid and comfort" to the enemy. With one major exception:

Except for Jane Fonda, by actually contacting the North Vietnamese, and using her public persona and fame to visit the POWs, make defamatory statements about them and posing in front of weaponry used to fight against the US. This was an entirely new and unprecedented type of "protest."

Now that I write this, there are still South Vietnamese ex-residents who were severely damaged by the loss of the War. By this I mean they were forced to leave in tiny boats, many drowning in the process, spend years in "re-education" camps in starvation, lost all of their property, and in some cases were actively tortured by the "winners."

Pacifism always has a cost. True, it was a civil war. But when we left (after doing everything we could to try to prevent loss of the war), there were consequences.

Pacifism (or if you prefer, non-intervention) is still a very active topic of discussion and has great relevance today, as much as it did during the Vietnam War.

Fonda seemed to support the doctrine of pacifism, at least in this war. I am not familiar with any comments she has made about subsequent US conflicts. For example, as an erstwhile supporter of woman's rights, what has she done to further the rights of the women of Islam? my knowledge. If she would wish to be consistent, she has an obligation to defend the rights of Islamic females who remain enslaved by that religion and culture. This is not an unrelated issue. Either she stands up for the "downtrodden," or she does not.

Instead, she continues to promote herself. That is her right in the US. But according to the authors of this book, she deserved to face a jury for treason. As an over-privileged, indulged, wealthy female blessed with exceedingly good looks, she has much to be thankful for. The authors present a compelling case for their indictment.

Fonda never to my knowledge had a university level experience on Modern Communism. At the least, prior to accepting the "new left's" statements as facts, she was bereft of knowledge on this subject. What did she know about the Stalin purges? The take-over of Europe and the East by Communism? The genocides of Mao? The mass starvation of millions to a failed economic system. Instead, she swallowed the doctrine of Communism and dialectical materialism hook, line and sinker...without so much as a glance to its history. Nobody expected her, as basically an uneducated entertainer to read Hegel or Marx...or to understand their critics. But she openly accepted their doctrines as unquestioning as many who signed up for the draft to fight this very war.

Forgive me if I continue to hold her in contempt, not just for her "Vietnam" years, but all of the years subsequent. She has openly welcomed and accepted REAL capitalism with a capital C for herself. Yet, she denied that to the very people in South Vietnam who wished for the same privileges.

It's possible to write inflamed and angry posts about Jane Fonda. But none is more egregious than Fonda's personal embrace of capitalism...and her utter refusal to allow others in the Third World to share it by her open acceptance of North Vietnam's Communism. That act alone re-defines selfishness and greed.
53 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Finally! 8 Dec. 2002
By M. JM Raffin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This text is a superbly written and seriously scholarly product that provides the fundamental basis, based on a foundation of thorough legal analysis of documented events, for formulating what amounts to an indictment of the behaviors of a traitor. The text is fascinating but nevertheless maintains a rigorous adherence to analyses of various data bases, and provides the reader with a fine example of integrated logic and reasoning in what could easily have been be a purely emotional treatise which typically characterizes much of the published articles concerning Ms. Fonda's behaviors in time of war.
47 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Unmasking Jane Fonda 23 Sept. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read by everyone like myself who, at one time, felt that Jane Fonda was an American idol. The revelations described here, with the irrefutable primary source evidence, will convince even the most diehard supporters that Jane Fonda committed treason as defined by the U.S. Constitution. Instead of being deified by women's groups and opponents of the Vietnam War ( of which I number myself) she should be indicted for treason. The treachery and malevolence of this woman is a revelation.
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