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July 17, 1972: Fonda to American pilots and airmen

FBIS Transcript #3:

Hanoi Radio carries talk attributed to Jane Fonda

B171910 Hanoi in English to American Servicemen involved in the Indochina War 1300 GMT 17 Jul 72 B

Last week, actress Jane Fonda visited Hanoi's Bach Mai hospital which was seriously damaged by U.S. bombs during a recent air raid. After the visit she had this to talk to American Servicemen still involved in the Vietnam War.

((Follows recorded female voice with an American accent b FBIS))

This is Jane Fonda speaking from Hanoi, and I'm speaking particularly to the U.S. servicemen who are stationed on the aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin, in the 7th Fleet, in the Anglico Corps in the South of Vietnam.

You are very far away, perhaps, and removed from the country that you're being ordered to shoot shells at and bomb. And so it's perhaps very hard for you to, to understand in concrete human terms what the effects of, of these bombs and these shells are having.

I'm sure if you knew what was inside the shells that you're dropping, you would ask yourself as, as I have been doing for the last few days since I have seen the victims: What do the men who work for Honeywell and the other companies in the United States that invent and, and, and make these weapons -- what do they think in the morning, at breakfast? What do they dream about when they sleep at night?

Yesterday, I went through the war museum in Hanoi, where there is a display of all the different kinds of antipersonnel weapons, the different kinds of bombs, the guava bomb, the pineapple bomb, the spider bomb, different kinds of shells that contain toxic chemicals, the new kinds of napalm, combinations of napalm and phosphorus and thermite. The list is endless as are the, the victims from these weapons. And, it absolutely amazed me, the length to which man's mind -- or at least some men in the United States -- their minds have gone to create new ways of killing people. They must want to die very much themselves to think this much about new ways of killing people.

I don't know what your officers tell you that you are dropping on this country. I don't know what your officers tell you, you are loading, those of you who load the bombs on the planes. But, one thing that you should know is that these weapons are illegal and thatbs not, thatbs not just rhetoric. They were outlawed, these kind of weapons, by several conventions of which the United States was a signatory -- two Hague conventions. And the use of these bombs or the condoning the use of these bombs makes one a war criminal.

The men who are ordering you to use these weapons are war criminals according to international law, and in, in the past, in Germany and in Japan, men who were guilty of these kind of crimes were tried and executed.

Now I know that you are not told these kind of things, but, you know, history changes. We've witnessed incredible changes for example in the United States in the last 5 years. The astounding victory that has just been won by George McGovern, for example, who, who was nominated by the Democratic Party, is an example of the kind of changes that are going on -- an example of the overwhelming, overwhelming feeling in the United States among people to end the war. McGovern represents all that is good to these people. He represents an end to the war, an end to the bombing.

The women and the mothers in the United States are weeping for the damage and death and destruction that is being caused to the mothers of Vietnam. Very soon, very soon even the people in the United States who have not yet spoken out, will be admitting that this war is the most terrible crime that has ever been created against humanity.

It may be very difficult for you who have been asked to fight it to, to think about the war in a new kind of way, to not think about it in an abstract way, to not think about it as some, some land down there underneath your planes or beyond the sight of your guns, that is just sand or rubble or trees with a lot of gooks or Charlies or whatever you've been taught to call the people who live here.

This is a country that is 4,000 years old. It is a very rich country, it has a rich culture, it has a rich, a rich growth. The trees are lush, the flowers are beautiful. Ibve been in many countries around the world, I have traveled widely, Ibve been very fortunate. Never in my life have I been in a country of people that are so loving, and so nonalienated. They are truly at peace with their land and with each other. What do you see in the streets? You see people holding hands, arms around each other, helping each other, talking to each other, hugging each other, working together in the fields. These are peasants. These are people who are used to being part of their land. Their clothes are stained with the land, their houses are made with land.

Therebs an expression that is used to describe Vietnamese women, which says: feet in the dust and hands in the mud. And you see all these beautiful Vietnamese women leaning over in the rice fields, with their hands in the mud planting the rice. Their pagodas are made of mud.

And their land is being destroyed. Why? Certainly not for anything that is in your interests, the soldiers of the United States, or in the interests of any of the people in the United States except the very few people who are determined to prevent the nation of Vietnam from achieving freedom and independence.

How this came about is an astonishing thing. How it is that a country like the United States of America, which fought for its own freedom and independence, has become a nation which will deprive another nation of freedom and independence, is something that we will all have to answer one day. Webll all have to find out how this came about. But right now, we must, we must stop, we must stop dropping these bombs on the people of Vietnam.

I visited a hospital today, the Bach Mai hospital. I saw a huge bomb crater in the center of the hospital. It was obviously dropped there on purpose. With the kind of bombs, the kind of techniques that have been developed now, you know, particularly you pilots know, that accidents like that don't happen. This was no accident. It destroyed wards filled with patients. It destroyed hospital equipment. It killed some doctors. It is a terrible thing to see what has been done.

Why? Why do you do this? Why do you follow orders telling you to destroy a hospital or bomb the schools. Do you know what happens to the women when the napalm that you're dropping lands on them? You have no idea. Deformed hands, necks twisted out of shape, women with five children who were working women who are used to working with their hands, who were lovely and alive and graceful -- the way Vietnamese women are with the long black hair -- twisted out of shape, not dead, not spared the pain and the misery of living as a mutilated person, forever in physical pain.

Why, why is this being done? The victims in the hospitals with thousands of holes in their body, from the steel pellets that are being dropped, and even worse now, the Nixon administration has gone one step further from the Johnson administration -- the steel pellets have been perfected, they're now plastic, rough-edged plastic. Why? Because plastic doesn't show up on X-rays, which means that these people spend the rest of their lives with their bodies filled with plastic pellets and every time they move, it causes excruciating agony.

The women that I have talked to who were not even under your bombs but came to help victims of the chemical bombs, and the chemical toxic gasses were so strong that even after the bomb, long after the bomb had exploded when these women came to save the other people, they got sick. And, and weeks and months later they still -- they pass out, they have headaches, they are losing their memory. Women who, who were pregnant are, are, are giving birth to deformed babies.

How can it be that the people of the United States have caused this kind of terrible, terrible suffering on a nation so far away? On a nation that has caused us no harm? I mean, what do you think? That the Vietnamese people are going to row across the Pacific in canoes? So I ask you and I will continue to ask you as long as I am here and I ask you as an American and I ask you because I cry every night when I think of, of what these people are having to go through, and I cry every night, when I think of the danger that is being done to them because of the bombing of their dikes. And I say why? And I say that the time has come for us to stop it.

((Recording ends -- FBIS)

Last Updated Thursday, June 19 2008 @ 01:07 PM MDT; 5,379 Hits View Printable Version