News From Terre Haute, Indiana


September 6, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 6, 2012

Corrections to Fonda column

In his history lessons column, Bruce Kauffmann wrote that Jane Fonda went to Hanoi, Vietnam, in late August, 1972, at “the height of the war,” that she says she was “manipulated” to sit on an anti-aircraft gun, that Vietnam veterans “dubbed her ‘Hanoi Jane,’” and that “in her later years” she founded a video workout business “that made her wealthy.”

I read Mr. Kauffmann’s column frequently and appreciate his efforts to popularize history but this column needs the following corrections.

Fonda went in July of 1972 when the war was all but over and there were very few U.S. soldiers left in-country. In her autobiography, she expresses regret for being photographed on the gun and takes full responsibility for having done it.

The “Hanoi Jane” tag may have come from an early biographer but it did not originate with Vietnam veterans; the John Birch Society made it popular. Her workout business was begun in 1979 — later, but hardly her later life — as a fundraiser for the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a pro-union, anti-poverty organization.

She may have eventually made money from the “workout” tapes but it was not begun, as Kauffmann implies, as a kind of venture capital operation to make her rich.

— Jerry Lembcke

(Author of “Hanoi Jane:

War, Sex, and

Fantasies of Betrayal”)

Associate Professor

of Sociology

Holy Cross College

Worcester, Mass.

‘Birther’ theory worth a look

In Sunday’s Tribune-Star Opinion section, John Garner questioned how candidate Romney could be trusted. He criticized the Romney campaign for bringing up the “birther” issue and Obama’s failure to release transcripts of his college records.

It’s just possible both are related. In 1991, an Obama literary agent wrote that he was “born in Kenya and raised in Hawaii.” Despite later claims of simple failure to check facts, 1998, 2005, and 2007 revisions to the article did not correct the “born in Kenya” statement. The 2007 revision was after he had become senator. Seems to me “place of birth” would be important.

A theory has been advanced that Obama purposely planted the “born in Kenya” idea in order to obtain preference in college admission and financial aid as a “foreign born” exchange student.

Whether “foreign born” or a deceitful cheat, it’s obvious he doesn’t deserve another four years in which to completely destroy the economy.

I realize reference website addresses are long and difficult to copy. Just Google “Obama Kenya” and/or “Obama college transcripts” for dozens of related articles.

— William W. Miller

Terre Haute

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