23 April 2011
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The night before I showed up to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War, by chance I drove past the Detroit entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, a big, cheap hole that promised me a short trip to Canada, and (thanks to Pierre Elliott Trudeau) sanctuary.
I parked and gazed into the tunnel and smoked cigarettes and thought for about an hour.
Then I got back in the car and drove home to be drafted. Whatever dangers lay in store for me, I refused to be chased out of the Land of my Birth by scoundrels and psychopaths. I was lucky. I lived, and was honorably discharged two years later with all my parts.
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Well, your original question asked what to believe and what wasn't true about the Jane Fonda visit to North Vietnam. I don't know if you've been following this thread on VleeptronZ -- as usual, I redacted your name and K's name (but did mention that you live in the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten etc.), but one Commenter sent along this well-regarded Urban Legend Debunking Site about Hanoi Jane:
and there's a lot of interesting stuff on it. She certainly brought her Big Mouth to North Vietnam, but the forwarded e-mail's most damning treason indictments seem to be made up, fictitious -- well, self-perpetuating lies.
And Obama has nothing to do with it. Ten years ago ABC TV had a special honoring the century's 100 Greatest Women, and named Jane as one of them. Obama had nothing to do with it then, and now as president has nothing to do with it now. Apparently as this very old e-mail evolves through time, someone recently retrofitted a slur against Obama to it.
Specifically, the most damning attack is that POWs at the Hanoi Hilton secretly slipped Jane their Social Security Numbers, and when the parade was over, Jane gave the slips of paper to the North Vietnamese guards, and the POWs were brutally punished for it. The Colonel POW whom the forward claims is the source of this story is still alive and kicking, and vehemently denies it; he never even met Jane.
Of the rest of the Hanoi Jane saga -- and this is me talking, not any website -- when our responsible political leaders screw the pooch with a shitty, ghastly war like Vietnam, they're inevitably begging for outrageously misbehaving goofballs like Hanoi Jane, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Daniel Ellsberg, Timothy Leary -- and in his final years, the stridently anti-war Martin Luther King Jr.
Whatever the fuck Treason really is -- in my lifetime, it begins with the presidents, senators and congressmen who launch these psycho wars and don't have the guts to stop them. After that, it degenerates into the Battle of the Pro-War Traitors versus the Anti-War Traitors. Treason, as the Constitution describes it, ceases to have any real meaning when it's not war, but violent. pointless, endless madness.
Yes, I take a side. All my high school friends deserved to live a long, natural life with family (or a variety of hot young babes hither and yon around town). Anyone -- old vet or scoundrel politician -- who thinks our national interest was served by killing 52,000 young men and women isn't just Wrong. The scoundrel politicians are Evil, and the old vets have been driven insane, and need help, which they'll never seek, and which will never be available.
It's the Life Cult versus the Death Cult -- the naked Woodstock Free Love LSD crowd versus America, Military Terror of the World (Stephen Douglas's proud phrase in the Lincoln debates). I was young and had a right to be dumb, but I began to see clearly in the barracks that it really boiled down to Life Against Death, and I voted for Life. Escape to Canada, dodge the draft, or, if luckless enough to have to serve, keep your head down, never volunteer, and when ordered to kill strangers, have shitty aim.
(In Berlin, the wonderful Checkpoint Charlie Museum has a gallery honoring the East German soldiers who were shitty marksmen -- when they were ordered to shoot their neighbors who were fleeing to the West, they always seemed to miss.)
Oh Jesus, look what you've started. Where's my Valium?
Happy Easter, Happy Passover, a Long and Happy Life, Happy Wife, Happy Kids! Make sure they all know the shortest way to the Windsor Tunnel, and always have the fare in cash on them.