So intense was the air war against Vietnam, known as Operation Rolling Thunder, that more bomb tonnage was dropped on this small nation than the combined total expended during World War II.
These raids contributed heavily to the enormous Vietnamese casualties ranging up to four million dead, numbers which dwarf those suffered by the U.S. invaders.
It was this aspect of the war which put Jane Fonda and other anti-war activists in the vicinity of the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun which was part of the defense of Hanoi that John McCain and his flyboys had already bombed including dikes holding back the Red River.
That now iconic image is equally seared not only in the minds of her haters, but in those of the war’s opponents as well.
Her action was heavily applauded in antiwar circles at the time as representing the ultimate opposition to the U.S.’s murderous war. Fonda eventually apologized because of the pressure from right-wing veterans who refuse to face the enormity of their own actions and that of the imperial army in which they served. She probably had little choice whether to apologize if she wanted to continue a public career, but still, it was sad to see that forced upon her.
No apologies for celebrating her solidarity will be forthcoming from this publication.
Related story in this issue: “Hanoi Jane Legacy” by Jerry Lembcke