Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda

Hayden/Fonda connection: POW 1LT Nick ROWE - 1965?

Do you have any data on actual US troops, by name, who were killed as a direct result of Fonda's actions? Also, can you link Jane Fonda's trip (to Hanoi) or actions to the POW escape of Col. Nick Rowe? Thanks! Gary Beaver, Fairfax, VA

Tom Hayden: Cofounder of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of the Chicago Seven, was charged with conspiracy after the Chicago Convention. Hayden is divorced from Jane Fonda, and is a California state senator, running for Mayor of Los Angeles (1997).

Gary: There are really two important issues regarding your question: First, I will respond to your literal question of any "... actual US troops, by name, who were killed as a direct result of Fonda's actions?" and quote Jane Fonda's apology acknowledging that her actions were thoughtless. Secondly, Gene Kuentzler (66-67: S-3 Operations, 19th Combat Engineer Battalion) will respond to the larger, and unstated, question: Did any U.S. troops die as a result of anti-Vietnam War protesters, such as Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden? Gene will tell you what North Vietnam's Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap (History professor, general, and Commander of the victory at Dienbienphu) had to say about that issue.

By Don Poss: There have been allegations by POWs to having received direct punishment as result of Hayden and Jane Fonda visiting their "hotel" or area. One POW, Nick Rowe, may have suffered directly from their visits to Hanoi.
      American Special Forces 1LT Nick Rowe was captured at the first Special Forces camp to be overrun during the Vietnam War. Rowe was tortured to try and coax cooperation with propaganda statements.
      Tom Hayden went to Hanoi where POWs SFC. Jackson, and SFC. Pitzer were released to his custody. Hayden took the POWs to Lebanon where they were met by U.S. officials. SFC Jackson became friends with Hayden and his wife, Jane Fonda. Rowe, because of his failure to adopt Communist views, was not released to Hayden.
      Proof of a direct link of Jane Fonda with POWs is slim. Considering the media source, it is interesting to review an interview with Hanoi Hannah by ABC News correspondent, Don North.

      Don North: "During the war I tuned into her broadcasts regularly. Like attending the
      "five o'clock follies" (USMACV's daily briefing), Radio Hanoi's broadcasts in English
      were just another source of information or disinformation to be checked out and sorted
      in the communications pudding of the Vietnam war."

      (Bookmark this page before linking to North's excellent interview, then return and see if any red flags are waved for you!

      Interview by Don North (Voices from the Past: The Search for Hanoi Hannah, Part I), with Hanoi Hannah, Thu Houng, in which a Fonda/POW direct connection is denied:

      Don North: What about the foreigners who helped you during the war?
      Hannah: The Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett helped from time to time and a
      French woman, Madelaine Riffaud. We did several interviews with Cora Weiss and
      Jane Fonda. We asked Jane Fonda if she would like to meet American pilots in
      Hanoi, but she refused, she didn't want to."

      No direct connection was found between Jane Fonda and POW Rowe, by 1968, the VC had decided that reactionary 1LT Rowe could not be reeducated. Rowe was scheduled for execution as a reactionary and for escape attempts. While on a labor detail away from the POW camp, in the U Minh Forest, an unexpected over-flight of U.S. helicopters provided 1Lt. Rowe a chance to escape. He defeated his guard and ran into a clearing where he was rescued by the helicopters.
      The release of U.S. POWs by Communist forces were calculated propaganda events. Release did not imply cooperation with the enemy. Nevertheless, Rowe was not considered a suitable candidate for release to Jane Fonda's husband, anti-war protester Tom Hayden.

Rose was promoted to Major while a five-years POW. Rowe stayed in the Army, teaching survival techniques to Special Forces classes. Promoted to Lt. Colonel, Rowe went to the Philippines in 1968, and trained anti-Communists. Rowe was Rowe was assassinated on April 21, 1989, by a communist sniper.
      Tom Hayden's anti-war efforts included recruitment efforts of military personnel, and propaganda from release of American POWs. Whether or not Hayden and Fonda were in bed together on this one (literally and figuratively) is not clear. Whatever Hayden's politics and anti-U.S. motivations, he did succeed in returning U.S. POWs home.

      Jane Fonda, during a 1988 20/20 television interview with Barbara Walters, apologized for her "thoughtless and careless" judgment in going to North Vietnam, and being used as a propaganda vehicle by North Vietnam. Jane Fonda's apology follows in two parts. First, the media released version, Secondly, an actual transcript version:

Media Released version:
      "I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did," Fonda said.
      "I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm ... very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."

Transcript version (Courtesy of by Gene Kuentzler, WS LM-10):
Hi Don, after again reading your Hayden/Fonda page, I thought I'd view the video tape interview by Barbara Walters on 20/20 from 1988. I'm not trying to be picky, but I found the tape to be somewhat different than what is posted. I was not left with the feeling that it was said with sincere feeling by Jane Fonda. She hesitated an awful lot, paused quite a lot, in order to chose selective words. Something which was not characteristic of the Jane Fonda we all learned to know during Vietnam. Here is a rendition of the actual interview:

Barbara Walters: "There are still people who ... I guess feel you have never apologized. Would you like to just say something to them now?"

Jane Fonda: "Well . . . it's not ... I would like to say something not just to ... the Vietnam veterans ... in New England ... but ... to ... to men who were in Vietnam who ... who I hurt ... or who's pain I caused to ... deepen because of things I said ... or did ... I ... I feel that I owe them an apology ... my intentions were never to hurt them ... or to make their situation worse, it was ... it was the contrary ... I was trying to help end the war ... but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I ... and I am very sorry
... that I hurt them ... and I want to apologize to them and to their families ...."

Many veterans feel that with all the extensive amount of time and energies she spent to go out of her way to travel to Hanoi, to call our POW's liars and to make the situation worse for our POW's, cannot be taken lightly or the slate wiped clean by way of a 5 minute attempt towards an "apology". If she were truly sincere, why has she not gotten half as involved with contributing towards efforts to aid veterans?
      It's like a person who was caught burning someone's home down, and caused much grief and suffering to the family, and with just a few words says, "I'm sorry". Now, that should be accepted and the slate wiped clean? Or should actual and physical means be put forth to reconcile the wrong that was done? Gene

By Gene Kuentzler: The question raised by Gary Beaver, "Do you have any data on actual U.S. troops, by name who were killed as a direct result of Fonda's actions?" can be answered by reading the book written by General Giap, Commander of NVA forces. Giap clearly indicated that NVA troops were without sufficient supplies, and had been continually defeated time and again.
      By 1968, NVA morale was at it's lowest point ever. The plans for "Tet" 1968 was their last desperate attempt to achieve a success, in an effort to boost the NVA morale. When it was over, General Giap and the NVA viewed the Tet 1968 offensive as a failure, they were on their knees and had prepared to negotiate a surrender.
      At that time, there were fewer than 10,000 U.S. casualties, the Vietnam War was about to end, as the NVA was prepared to accept their defeat. Then, they heard Walter Cronkite (former CBS News anchor and correspondent) on TV proclaiming the success of the Tet 1968 offensive by the communist NVA. They were completely and totally amazed at hearing that the US Embassy had been overrun. In reality, The NVA had not gained access to the Embassy--there were some VC who had been killed on the grassy lawn, but they hadn't gained access. Further reports indicated the riots and protesting on the streets of America.
      According to Giap, these distorted reports were inspirational to the NVA. They changed their plans from a negotiated surrender and decided instead, they only needed to persevere for one more hour, day, week, month, eventually the protesters in American would help them to achieve a victory they knew they could not win on the battlefield. Remember, this decision was made at a time when the U.S. casualties were fewer than 10,000, at the end of 1967, beginning of 1968.
      Today, there are 58,229 names on the Vietnam Wall Memorial that was built with the donations made by the American public. Although Giap did not mention each and every protester's name in his book, many of us will never forget the 58,229 names on the Wall. We will also never forget the names of those who helped in placing those additional 48,000 names there: Bill, Jane, Tom, Cronkite, and others.
      Those of us who rotated prior to Walter Cronkite's report on "Tet-68" can clearly state, "We were still winning when I left!"

      by Gene Kuentzler, WS LM-10, 1966-67
      S-3 Operations,
      19th Combat Engineer Battalion

Now, I have a question for you, Readers: After 30 years, how do you feel about State Senator (and defeated L.A. candidate for Mayor) Tom Hayden, Jane (buy my videos!) Fonda, and Hanoi Hannah? (Keep comments clean, and address one or all persons mentioned by name.) Logo
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