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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The Vietnam War is Not History for Victims of Agent Orange | By | Common Dreams

Posted by Martin C. Fox on October 16, 2017

Did you ever walk up to an old friend and ask Hey, what’s the matter with you today? Then have the response be ‘agent orange’. I have.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/09/vietnam-war-not-history-victims-agent-orange

The Vietnam War is Not History for Victims of Agent Orange

The actions of the US government and the US manufacturers of Agent Orange and other deadly herbicides is a moral outrage.

 

Middle aged gentleman seeking money while he shows his severe arm deformity most likely related to agent orange exposure when he was in gestation and his pregnant mother was exposed to the defoliating chemical, dioxin. It was frequently used during the Vietnam war from 1965 to 1970 and caused many deformities similar to this, to the Asian population of this area. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, SE Asia (Photo: Flickr/Emilio Labrador/cc) 

 

Watching the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 18-hour series, “The Vietnam War,” is an emotional experience. Whether you served in the US military during the war or marched in the streets to end it, you cannot remain untouched by this documentary. The battle scenes are powerful, the stories of US veterans and Vietnamese soldiers who fought on both sides of the war compelling.

The toll in human terms caused by the war is staggering.  Nearly 58,000 Americans and 2 to 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed in the war. Untold numbers were wounded. Many US veterans of the war suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. More US Vietnam War vets have committed suicide than died in the war.  However, those numbers do not begin to tell the complete story of the war.

The US Engages in Chemical Warfare

In one of its most serious omissions, the series gives short shrift to the destruction wreaked by the US military’s spraying of deadly chemical herbicides containing the poison dioxin over much of Vietnam, the most common of which was Agent Orange.  This is one of the most tragic legacies of the war. Yet, aside from a few brief mentions, the victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, both Vietnamese and American, are not portrayed in the series.  More importantly, the ongoing harm created by this chemical warfare program is never mentioned.

Agent Orange/dioxin was an herbicidal chemical weapon manufactured by US chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto and sprayed by the US military from 1961 to 1971.  Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind.

Approximately 3 million Vietnamese and thousands of US and allied soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin.

The US government was aware that the use of poison as a weapon of war was forbidden by international law well before it authorized its use in Vietnam.  In fact, the US government suppressed a 1965 report, called the Bionetics study, that showed dioxin caused many birth defects in experimental animals. It was not until the results of that study were leaked that the use of Agent Orange/dioxin was stopped.

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I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6

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