living with the horror of agent orange

Es­ti­mated reading time is 1 minute.

IN ORDER TO DENY FOOD and pro­tec­tion to those deemed to be the enemy, from 1961 to 1975 the United States de­fo­li­ated the land and forests of Vietnam with the chem­i­cals known as Agent Or­ange. These chem­i­cals con­tained the im­pu­rity of dioxin—the most toxic chem­ical known to science.

It is es­ti­mated that 3,000,000 Viet­namese still suffer the ef­fects of these chem­ical defoliants.

In ad­di­tion, tens of thou­sands of U.S. sol­diers were also af­fected. Agent Or­ange has caused birth de­fects in hun­dreds of thou­sands of chil­dren in Vietnam and the United States—that is, the second and third gen­er­a­tions of those who were ex­posed to Agent Or­ange decades ago.

Today marks the 52nd an­niver­sary of the start of the chem­ical war­fare pro­gram in Vietnam, a long time with NO suf­fi­cient re­me­dial ac­tion by the U.S. Government.

Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford okayed it while it was hap­pening; Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have okayed it retroac­tively by not ad­dressing it.

But the, there are still Na­tive Amer­i­cans (aka In­juns) and Afro-Americans who have waited hun­dreds of years for the Great White Man in Wash­ington to re­dress the hor­rors in­flicted upon them by Eu­ro­pean set­tlers con­querors oc­cu­piers! So I would not sug­gest the Viet­namese nor af­fected Amer­ican vets hold their breath in an­tic­i­pa­tion of this or any other ad­min­is­tra­tion’s recog­ni­tion of past wrongs let alone jus­tice and compensation . . .

As US Army Spe­cial Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz aptly ob­served, “The horror. The horror . . . ”

(For readers wanting more, click on over to Mar­jorie Cohn’s blog,

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