Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

It has been over a week since the poopy-doo hit the fan over the impending induction of antiwar activist Jane Fonda A.K.A. Hanoi Jane to The California Museum’s Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I thought by now your office would have issued a statement to the effect that upon further consideration, the decision to honor a woman who once famously declared that American POWs were being treated humanely, condemned U.S. soldiers as War Criminals, and later denounced them as liars for claiming they had been tortured, is a bummer and is hereby rescinded. As far as I know, that hasn’t happened.

It occurs to me that you are silent on this matter because you don’t know it’s going to happen. Maybe the whole project fell through the crack, or your staff forgot to brief you on the inductee list. Staffs will do that sometimes, just when you least expect it. On the other hand, you may have decided that backing down on your decision to honor Jane Fonda would send exactly the wrong signal to those girly-girls in the state legislature and it is better to soldier on, despite the pesky protests coming from the nine million or so Vietnam Veterans still around. Stiff upper lip and all that.

In case you have decided to John Wayne your way through this mess (Oops, sorry. Bad choice of words. The Duke was actually very supportive of our troops in Vietnam) you need to start thinking about the induction ceremony. The end game would be to make Jane Fonda look as good as possible by reading a few quotes showing the caring and patriotic side of her personality. Quotes like that are hard to come by, but I managed to find three that might work. I kept them short so you can write them on 3 X 5 index cards and put them in your pocket.

“We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.”Bui Tin, a former colonel who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, during a 1995 Wall street Journal interview.

“I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist.”Jane Fonda, speaking at Michigan State University during a fund-raising tour for AWOL GI’s, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the Black Panther Party, November 22, 1970.

“My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military.”Jane Fonda, speaking at VVAW’s “Operation RAW” in Valley Forge, PA, September 7, 1970

Governor, I’ve seen a lot of your movies and I liked them a lot. But making Jane Fonda look good in the eyes of millions of Americans who remember her activities during the Vietnam War would require acting skills that far exceed those of a mere mortal. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to remove her from the inductees list as not being a suitable candidate? That would truly be a heroic act worthy of The Exterminator at his best; and it would be a win-win situation for all of us.

Ron Standerfer is a retired Air Force Colonel and fighter pilot who flew 250 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He has written numerous short stories, magazine articles, and blog pieces on military aviation in general, and fighter pilots in specific. During the initial bombing of Baghdad during the Persian Gulf War, he was seen on national TV as a military analyst. His latest novel, The Eagle’s Last Flight, chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War and Vietnam years. Details of this book can be found at http://www.theeagleslastflight.com. His blog, which presents his views and opinions on a variety of subjects, can be read at http://www.theeagleslastflight.blogspot.com.

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