On Wednesday, Samantha Power, the new US ambassador to the UN, decided she had license to insult Vietnam veterans by claiming it was a “huge honor” just to share the stage with Jane Fonda. Power was speaking at the United Nations Association of the USA 2013 Global Leadership Awards in New York, at which Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for attempting to attend school, was honored.
Hi, everybody. You know life has changed when you’re hanging out with Jane Fonda backstage. There is no greater embodiment of being outspoken on behalf of what you believe in — and being “all in” in every way — than Jane Fonda. And it’s a huge honor just to even briefly have shared the stage with her.
Fonda was a rabid anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, infamous for posing with Viet Cong soldiers at a missile battery and accused by some of taking notes from American POWs for their families and giving them to the Viet Cong captors instead.
Fonda’s lame excuse for the Viet Cong photo-op? She told Oprah Winfrey last year, “I was an emotional wreck by [then]. I don’t know if I was set up or not. I was an adult. I take responsibility for my actions.”
Vietnam veterans were furious with Power. Ned Foote, 65, a Marine Corps veteran who is president of the New York State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said Fonda’s apologies were meaningless: “What she did is just very unforgivable. Apologies, what does that mean? She did harm.”
Joe Kristek, a 69-year-old former Army sergeant who is president of the North Carolina State Council of the Vietnam Veterans echoed that Fonda “collaborated with the enemy.” He referenced the allegation that Fonda turned over the notes to the Viet Cong; Fonda denies having done so.
Standing with those who have savaged America isn’t new for Power; in 2003 she wrote an essay for the New Republic in which she stated: “We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States…A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors…Some anti-Americanism derives simply from our being a colossus that bestrides the earth…But much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others.”