On Saturday, President Barack Obama announced that Memorial Day 2012 would mark the beginning of a special commemoration of those who served in Vietnam, saying that it will be “a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced.”
While Obama’s extended remembrance of those who served in Vietnam is noble, many of his top supporters have a history of openly criticizing the U.S. military and their soldiers.
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama allied himself with individuals who have relentlessly vilified U.S. soldiers.
Jane Fonda, an actress and radical anti-war activist, gave Obama thousands of dollars in donations during his presidential campaign.
Fonda, who famously visited Vietnam during the war and posed while smiling in an anti-aircraft carrier used to shoot down U.S. planes, has made a point to constantly slander American soldiers who served in Vietnam.
During her visit to North Vietnam in 1972, Fonda explicitly stated that, “to the U.S. servicemen who are stationed on the aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin, those of you who load the bombs on the planes should know that those weapons are illegal. And the use of those bombs or condoning the use of those bombs, makes one a war criminal.”
The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was the guest of honor at one of the first inaugural balls after Barack Obama took the Oath of Office, and the president recently praised Muhammad Ali during a gala honoring his lifetime achievements.
However, during the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali refused to serve his country as a soldier, and choose to slander those who were serving their country by fighting in Vietnam. Ali famously stated, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slave masters over dark people the world over.”
Ali was eventually arrested for draft evasion and sentenced to five years in jail.
Tom Hayden, the radical ant-war protestor who organized the vicious Students for a Democratic Society protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, has also been an avid supporter of Barack Obama. Hayden founded the group Progressives for Obama, in an effort to raise money and voter support for Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Hayden was married to Jane Fonda for a period of time, and expressed support for her actions against the U.S. during her trip to Vietnam, saying, “Fonda was neither wrong nor unconscionable in what she said and did in North Vietnam.”
Perhaps the most infamous Obama supporter that vilified U.S. soldiers for serving in Vietnam is Bill Ayers. In 1995, Ayers personally hosted an event announcing that Barack Obama’s intention to run for Illinois State Senate. An unrepentant domestic terrorist, Ayers coordinated a 1972 bombing of the Pentagon in an effort to protest the Vietnam War.
This Memorial Day, it is important to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms that American’s enjoy every day. However, it’s important to ask ourselves if we really support a president that has surrounded himself with individuals who vilify those who serve in the American military? How can Barack Obama honor the lives of the soldiers who died serving the U.S. in Vietnam, when his campaign donors called them war criminals?