Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

A trail of toxicity: the US military bases making people sick

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2019

In 1986, Zumwalt and his son published a book, “My Father, My Son” (Macmillan), telling of the younger Zumwalt’s battle against cancer that both men attributed to dioxin, a toxic byproduct of Agent Orange. The story was made into a TV movie of the same title for CBS, which broadcast it in May 1988. Three months later, Elmo Zumwalt III died of cancer at 42, leaving a wife and two children.

Zumwalt, whose other son, James, also served under his command in Vietnam, became America’s highest-ranking officer to return to the war-ravaged country in 1995. He told Vietnamese President Le Duc Anh, “I have felt a very special responsibility to help deal with the wounds of that war.”

But even then, he reiterated that given the same circumstances, he would again order the use of Agent Orange to defoliate heavy brush along riverbanks concealing Viet Cong guerrillas. He said it reduced casualties among Navy personnel along the waterways from 6 percent a month to 1 percent.


The military is deadly. It doesn’t care who it kills, friend or foe. In many ways it is crueler to its own kind.

Burn pits in Iraq, Agent Orange in Vietnam, 30 years of polluted water at Perris Island, Subic Bay is cancer and birth defect laden military remnant, depleted uranium leaving a trail of cancer.

We need a cure for government. It really doesn’t care.


Over the last 80 years, much of the land surrounding Venetucci Farm was sold to the US army to establish the base now known as Fort Carson, and today it is hemmed in by highways. Still, with its 200 acres of fields, farmhouse and big red barn, it is a beloved institution in Colorado Springs. As the only community urban farm left in the sprawling city, it is a valuable resource, educating thousands of children about agriculture, sustainability and healthy eating and known above all for its annual pumpkin giveaways.

A sign at the shutdown Venetucci Farm.
The shuttered Venetucci Farm.
  • Venetucci Farm.

The autumn pumpkin event has taken place for decades, and a local brewer still makes Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, but now the pumpkins are bought elsewhere. The produce is no longer available for public consumption because farming activities have stopped. In 2016, irrigation water was found to be contaminated with elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

The foundation that runs the farm has joined forces with a local water district to sue the US Air Force, alleging that toxic chemicals used in firefighting foam at a nearby base have tainted the water, perhaps for decades, prompting health worries and causing economic losses.

Similar concerns have been raised about dozens of other bases across the country. But the problem is not limited to areas close to military installations.

PFCs and related human-made chemicals, more generally known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been virtually unregulated since at least the 1950s. As well as at industrial sites, airports and bases, PFAS have long been used in household products thanks to their grease- and stain-resistant properties. They are everywhere: from fast-food packaging to carpets and furniture, water-repellent clothing and non-stick cookware such as Teflon.

The extraordinary resilience that led to them being dubbed “forever chemicals” no longer seems such a boon. As more becomes known about their widespread presence in the environment and the potential health risks, activists are urging state and federal regulators take action to increase oversight and even ban PFAS outright….

Be seeing you

Ailing Vets Sue, Say Toxic Burn Pits Cost Them Their ...







One Response to “A trail of toxicity: the US military bases making people sick”

  1. Kenneth T. said

    I was stationed at Parris island (13+ weeks) in the spring/summer of 87. Never heard a word about the “water” until years later.

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