Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Operation RAW
During the Labor Day weekend of September 4-7, 1970, Operation RAW ("Rapid American Withdrawal") took place. It was a three day protest march from Morristown, NJ, to Valley Forge State Park by over 200 veterans. It was sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They were joined by members of Nurses for Peace and other peace groups. Dressed in combat fatigues and carrying toy weapons, the march was designed to dramatize a Vietnam-type search and destroy mission to the Middle America they passed through. Upon entering each town along the march, sweeps were made, prisoners taken and interrogated, property seized and homes cleared with the assistance of previously planted "guerrilla theater" actors portraying civilians. The 86 mile long march culminated in a four hour rally at Valley Forge that over 1,500 people attended. The honorary commander during this event was retired Army Brigadier General Hugh B. Hester. Sponsors included Senators George McGovern and Edmund Muskie, Rep. John Conyers, Paul O'Dwyer, Mark Lane, and Donald Sutherland. Scheduled speakers were John Kerry, Joe Kennedy, Rev. James Bevel, Mark Lane, Jane Fonda, and Sutherland. Congressman Allard Lowenstein, Mike Lerner, and Army First Lt. Louis Font also spoke.
In July-August 1972 Fonda made her infamous trip to North Vietnam. By this time, over 50,000 Americans had been killed in the war. While there, she posed for pictures on an anti-aircraft gun that had been used to shoot down American planes, and she volunteered to do a radio broadcast from Hanoi. She made approximately eight radio addresses, during which she told American pilots in the area:
- "Use of these bombs or condoning the use of these bombs makes one a war criminal. Examine the reasons given to justify the murder you are being paid to commit. I don't know what your officers tell you, but [your] weapons are illegal and that's not just rhetoric. The men who are ordering you to use these weapons are war criminals according to international law, and in the past, in Germany and Japan, men who committed these kinds of crimes were tried and executed."
Fonda also quoted Ho Chi Minh during some of these broadcasts. She referred to President Richard Nixon as a "new-type Hitler," and advised South Vietnamese soldiers to desert: "You are being used as cannon fodder for U.S. imperialism."
These radio addresses were aired repeatedly by the North Vietnamese communists.