This was brought home to me yesterday when reading the Sunday Times. There I saw an article (by Sarah Baxter) describing how Jane Fonda has decided to accompany George Galloway on his tour of the US instead of running her own tour on a similar theme.
The end of the article says:
The MP’s critics question whether Fonda is fully aware of Galloway’s controversial backgroundand I wonder the same thing.
It seems that Fonda:
was impressed by Galloway’s pugnacious performance last spring in front of a senate committee investigating the United Nations oil-for-food scandal.Admittedly Galloway made the committee look like ill-prepared idiots on that occasion. In fact I was livid with the fact that they had given this demogogue a platform and made such a hash of questioning him. He skillfully pulled them apart since they seemed to rely only on evidence that did not stand up to scrutiny. In fact the evidence seemed to be the same shaky evidence that had been presented by the Telegraph, which had not stood up in court, earning Galloway £150,000 in libel damages.
It was ridiculous and a cynic might say that it cast a dim light on the abilities of Congress to properly investigate the UN Oil for food scandal.
Jane Fonda, of course, is no stranger to controversy herself. She already has a reputation as a war protester following her activities in Vietnam. In fact her reputation goes further than that; many consider her actions in North Vietnam and her words, pouring scorn on the released POWs, to have been traitorous. She has apologised (though this is debated) for some of her actions, though not all and some are still raw wounds for many. Whatever your opinion of Fonda that has been shaped from that time (if you have one) it is obvious that she made some truly horrendous mistakes and immensely ill judged decisions and now it looks as if she has made another one.
Unfortunately for those of us who did not agree with the Iraq war as prosecuted I foresee that she will become a stick to beat us and others with. In this day and age it is very easy for some pundits and bloggers to pick on the actions of larger than life individuals and celebrities to use as a tool to undermine the whole movement. So suddenly Michael Moore, George Soros and 'Hanoi Jane' are deemed to be fully representative of the anti-war movement. It is too easy and it is something that both left and right do, though if I may add a final point of contention (and bias?) I would suggest that the right are far better at it than the left.